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Thread: Metal wall rust repair ?s // leak chasin

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    Metal wall rust repair ?s // leak chasin

    First things first: thanks to everyone for taking time to post your problems and solutions. I have been trolling this forum going into my third season and this is the first time I really needed to jump in and ask for some help/thoughts. Like most, this polar vortex thing kicked our tails this winter. I hadn't check the pool (25-30 year old 16x32 vinyl in ground) until a few weeks back when to my surprise, water level was way down, I was expecting it to be near the cover... It was about 4 inches lower than the bottom of the shallow end, well below light, returns, etc... It was generally around the level of one of the vinyl seams, but was worried that the winter was bad enough that I might have cracked a main line after the af diluted down. I had RV antifreeze in but that was something I just didn't trust, but followed everyone else's lead. (Reading over the past few days, Next year will swim down and plug main with #8.... And then add rv antifreeze).

    Liner was 10 years old or so talking with the neighbors and pretty faded. I read some horror stories about water being down to low and that messing up the base, so I decided to pump the remaining out and pull. I save the liner where the level was, hoping to find some small flaw, but haven't had any luck.

    I tried something new that I have not read here. There are USB borescopes that have 15+ feet of wire for 15 bucks or so. I got one, taped it to a plumbing snake and pushed it right up the main drain. A couple lessons learned: use a shop vac first to suck / blow the line dry, couple hours if need be. Take your time going in the first time, play with the contrast. I had a white powder film in the inside, so when I pulled it back out it there were scrapes, so it could scare you. In the end, the line maintained a vacuum after pumping down, maintained water level when filled and plugged, the camera was just a final check. Might save a **** load of digging for one of you, if you need to isolate exact location of a line failure. I can't say I had an expectation for what a typical hole is, but felt good to verify take a look.

    Now on to my real mess. I think the floor crack is the cause. Real sharp to the feel. Near as I can tell this is a concrete pool. Floor is hard enough to resist causing a flaw with a screwdriver. But from everything I have read, concrete bottom is not common? My plan is to just chip off rough edge and repair with hydraulic cement. Yes?/No?

    Second, the metal edge of the skimmer looks to have been exposed to the pool water for a long time and rusted away. I am no newbie on rusted metal having restored an old rusty car. I was able to gently pry back, and dig out the silicon that some put there. I found a little piece of an old paper gasket, so this was a patch job. My plan is to lightly sand the rust, used extend rust converter, rust oleum top coat, and the use a butterfly gasket to seal off the metal from the skimmer.

    My light has me most concerned. I humbly say, everyone talks light, 'niches' as I have learned they are called, rarely come up here. As you can see, I have had a leaker. There was a lot of silicon oozing out from between the niche and the metal wall. Having just dug out the skimmer patch job, I guessed that silicon to have been applied at the same time. Knowing the main plate needs to screw into something, I guessed(wrongly....) that that something was a bucket like can behind the main dome section with the screw bosses. I thought all I had to do was break the silicon joint to pop the can out just a little bit to re-seal, extend, paint, etc... The millisecond pea gravel started falling out, I knew my assumptions ( that you and me thing, and I was the only one involved) were way wrong. After some research I verified there is just a small ring behind the metal wall, not a bucket. I reinstalled the thick ring, and used the screws and a dead blow hammer to persuade the niche back in, just to make sure I could. Here's where I think my plan sits: Pull out niche just a little bit again just barely enough to extend and paint the metal wall. Push as much silicon down in between metal wall and niche and draw back together just like before to form a makeshift gasket. I'm worried about the pea gravel locking it in place too much, but I just hope I can get it back in place a second time. In my mind, as long as I get a good joint between the niche,the liner and the plate, that is the most important part. Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Casey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW PA

    Re: Metal wall rust repair ?s // leak chasin

    I can't really advise but wanted to welcome you officially to TFP!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Metal wall rust repair ?s // leak chasin

    Welcome to TFP!

    You seem to be heading in all the right directions.

    About the light, I see that the wire is epoxied into the back of the niche. The back of the niche is supposed to be sealed to the conduit, with an open hole the wire could be pulled out of when the fixture needs to be replaced. In a brand new install the conduit would be flooded. I don't know if you want to deal with all of that right now, but I suspect there is more going wrong there. Given your description of what happened and the epoxy I can't imagine the conduit is still fully intact. The problem is you would need to dig it out from the other side to make a "good as new" repair.

    One other things about the light. The niche is supposed to have a fairly solid structural connection to the wall, and a non-structural water tight connection to the liner. I'm not sure if what you described will give it enough mechanical support or not. You don't want any of the mechanical stress transferring to the liner.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Metal wall rust repair ?s // leak chasin

    Thanks guys. Got running around for Easter and just now had time to sit down. I'll report back how I get along.


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