My family and I have been living in our first home for 2.5 years. When we moved in, we knew the in-ground gunite & plaster pool (1) needed to be resurfaced (it was delaminating) but not leaking and (2) at some point in the past, half of the pool sunk 2" (later supported with concrete injections under the sagging side of the pool and we have not seen the pool sink noticeably since owning the home). We are in very expansive soil that causes significant home and foundation damage in our neighborhood.
Now we have developed several very large cracks over the last year that are getting bigger and bigger. We are losing about 1 inch of water a day. I have had several pool repair contractors provide bids, and I am not sure how to proceed. I was hoping to get some sage advice from all of you .
Some pool information:
A free form, "L" shaped" in-ground gunite & plaster pool. 27,000 Gallons approx. 800 - 900 square feet.
I am guessing over 15 years old but could be much older. (To help visualize my issues listed below, assume the top of the "L" is facing North.)
The cracks are significant. One crack is running on both sides of the inside turn of the "L" (the South East inside corner) 6 to 8 feet on each side joining at the bottom of the pool (Coping brinks and tile have cracked and broken away due to the separation. A second crack is on the North West corner "L" running from the top of the pool down and South along the bottom of of the pool along the side of the pool wall (approx 15 to 20 + feet in length). Pus a few smaller cracks that could just be the plaster delaminating rather than actual cracks in the gunite.
The pool is 6 feet from our house along the East side of the "L" and I believe the water is what has been contributing to our foundation heaving and cracking recently since we are in very expansive soil and have been battling water issues / foundation issues, especially along the wall closest to the pool, since we bought the house.
For the crack repair, some of the contractors proposed staples and epoxy while others want to remove the gunite cround teh cracks, add new re-bar and re-gunite. I am leaning toward the latter fix. However, with the amount of water that has seeped into our expansive clay soil and the age of the pool I am concerned about the integrity of the structure and how much damage has/will be done to the shell of the pool and the stability of the pool once the shell has been repaired (and the eventual drying of the soil) . Should we be looking at tearing up the deck and doing something to better manage the expansive soil or to strengthen the entire shell of the pool, or will we be okay with patching the gunite? None of the pool repair people suggested a larger repair such as this. (see page 6 of this PDF for an example of how to build a pool on expansive soil http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/expansi...VE%20SOILS.pdf. I am assuming our pool was not installed this way originally)
I have had fiberglass and plaster quotes. I originally was not considering fiberglass since I believed everyone has plaster, but after reading a bit and having one plaster contractor say that fibergass may be a good solution for our issues,I am wondering if plaster may still allow water to leach into the soil while fiberglass would be a water tight seal. Also the fiberglass pool guys all say that fiberglass is less likely to crack and leak if the gunite cracks and fails again, since fiberglass is more flexible than plaster. And even if the gunite cracked and needed to be repaired, a fiberglass patch would be cheaper to fix than plaster and when patched would be invisible. Are any of these fiberglass claims true?
I am only working with reputable pool guys who provide 1 to 5 year warranties, but not if the gunite cracks again, which is the main issue (so that makes the warranties fairly useless). I am hoping to make the right choice here and any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated.