Hi...I'm completely new the forums and the joys of owning a pool! I have a feeling this post will be long and all over the place -- sorry in advance!
We purchased our home at the end of the 2013 season, and got or first real taste for owning a pool (and house) this past summer. For the 2015 season, we're facing major decisions with the pool. We need to replace the liner (after having the pool closed, we lost all the water and the liner completely lifted), and there are serious deck issues. Attached are pictures, but I was hoping people would chime in with their ideas, or what they might do -- or maybe even have advice from their own similar experience!
Here's what I know about the pool: 16x32, installed in 1987, wood walls, last liner replacement in 2001. We're in Minnesota, so keeping the seasons in mind is always a must
As you can see from the pictures, the concrete has settled and cracked significantly. Most notably around the shallow end ladder, and the area around the diving board. Separately, the surface behind the diving board hasn't cracked, but settled at an extreme slope. The same sort of settling has occurred to a lesser degree on the opposite end.
We're trying to figure out the best solution for salvaging the pool (our available budget took a huge hit correcting water damage that was covered up). When we bought the house, we intended on having the deck replaced when we eventually replaced the liner (our pool company told us that's by far the best time to do it). We're also trying to find a way to not have our backyard look like a concrete jungle. Between the concrete and pavers, there isn't much in terms of green space. So far each pool and concrete company will only stop by and ballpark it. I never thought it would be so difficult to get a legitimate written estimate! One did come through, and here's the breakdown
Lines tested: $200
If repairs needed ball park at $1,300
Liner with foam on walls: $3,200
Concrete removed and new deck installed (swept finish-500sq ft): $5,400
Deck "jig": $200
Ladder cups: $150
Anchors for mesh cover: $150
I'm not sure if this sounds reasonable or not. I've had a few concrete companies come out, and they estimated the deck work around the same price. The other pool companies that service our area don't do concrete work, but quoted the liner at $2,500 without foam (both said they don't find foam necessary -- I thought it would give an extra degree of protection and maybe warm the water slightly). I also have concerns about a section where the concrete heaved, and the coping is higher in one section than the other. The current liner is just molded around it. The quote didn't include the fixing of the coping (although we discussed it). Does anyone have thoughts on what might need to take place to correct that section? Or should all coping just be replaced while doing a deck or liner when it's 25+ years old? Also, the drain would needs to be updated -- which was not discussed at any point. I have no idea what the new safety drains would cost.
Our other option is to remove the pool, and create a green space with the hot tub to the side. A very reputable pool removal company did a complete quote, and with permits, complete bottom removal, fill/compacting and sod, it will come to $6,200. Also includes removing of all plumbing and pool equipment (we keep the equipment if we want to try to resell -- they "recycle" at a cost). This would gain us our free space, but I'd be sad losing the pool, and the dogs would be devastated On the other hand, maybe it's the right decision give the age and possible future repairs.
If we do fix it, does anyone have opinions/experience removing a deck? Can it be a DIY project? I see the concrete looks like it's poured up to the coping (filling in the backside). Would that mean taking a concrete saw and making a joint as to not ruin the coping when removing? I have access to a dump truck and a couple helpers (local recycler will take any size load for $20). On the project it would save me about 2,000, but I'm worried about what it could cost in terms of damage if done wrong? I realize that it would be a labor intensive project, but maybe the savings are worth it?
I was also wondering about using the existing pavers in place of concrete? I like the idea of having something I can pull up in the event of a plumbing problem, but can small individual pavers like this be used in conjunction with a mesh cover? Could the ladder cups and deck be set into a concrete pier with the pavers then coming up to or around the pier? I know there might be concerns about heaving, but I'm willing to reset individual pavers if the trade off is some green space, possibly saving on material cost, and having a deck that visually looks a little better than plain concrete. I really do like this idea, but have no idea if it's even an option.
On the other hand, does anyone feel it would be worth trying to save the existing deck, replace the sections around the ladder and diving board, and do void filling in other areas (there are only a few other hairline cracks, but you do hear a hollow sound when stepping on certain sections)? Would a product like Cool! work in an environment like ours? No concrete company was interested in just doing the small sections because of the job size, and the pool company will only do a full replacement. If I could find someone to do small sections, does it even look feasible? Has anyone poured their own small section?
Again, and input would be great! I have a whole winter to plan our project (provided the walls don't cave in), so I'm trying to cover every possible option. Thanks so much!