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Thread: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

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    Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    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
    Bonding: $200
    Deck "jig": $200
    Ladder cups: $150
    Anchors for mesh cover: $150
    Misc: $500

    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!










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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    It's difficult to tell really how bad it is (or not) from these pics. Posting more pics from further away and of around the diving board might be helpful.

    With that said and from the pics you supplied, If it were me, I woiuld seriously consider revitalizing the deck you have. From what I see, I think replacing it would be overkill. It might not very good right now, but it not be as bad as you think it is.

    The first thing, would be use a serious power washer on it. One with 3750 or 4000 psi. That would remove all the years of dirt, discoloration and what looks like blue paint. You can rent those things at a rental store. Power wash the devil out of it! Every square inch of it.
    You will be shocked what a really good power washing will do.

    Then, caulk the cracks and deck joints with self leveling caulk so water doesnt get in a freeze and make it worse! In fact, I would caulk those cracks now, asap before winter gets really bad.

    Once its cleaned and caulked it will look 1000 times better. I guarantee it. Then if you still aren't happy, You could consider staining the concrete with a concrete stain and seal it. Would cost 3 or 4 hundred in materials. Easy DIY.

    And you could replace a couple of small sections if you want. Again DIY. Its a bit of labor but so what? A small section replacement you can do with Sacrete from the building supply store and rent a small concrete mixer to mix it in (or wheelbarrow, but that would be a lot of wheelbarrow mixing).

    You would need to use a concrete blade in a skill saw to saw out the old section. I wouldnt try to chip out the concrete from in the coping. It probably wouldnt work out too good and the coping would not be easy to replace without tearing out the whole deck. Use the saw and saw a few inches in front of the coping would be the thing to do.

    As for coating the deck with cool deck or something similar, I'm sure there are also deck coatings that would work fine in your part of the country. The main thing about those coatings, as well as any type of coating, is the prep-work of the concrete and applying the coating properly.

    Putting a new liner it would be a DIY project too if you are careful and do your homework and watch tons of Youtube videos on how to do it.
    Regardless of what the pool guy says, it's not hard to do.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    Thanks for the great reply. Saving the existing deck would definitely help our situation a lot. I wish I could have snapped some better pictures before winter hit us. If it clears up over the weekend, I'll try to get a few more.

    Cutting the small section of concrete out that has the ladder would improve the deck considerably, along with making us feel more comfortable when using the ladder. The diving board area is another story. Since the coping is heaved in that area, I'm not sure about an effective repair. Is the coping generally just attached to the backside of the pool wall? Where it's heaved is at a point where two pieces are fit together. If the concrete were to be removed, is it possible to just excavate around the area in question and maybe adjust or even replace that part of the run?

    I was also kicking around the idea of basically trying some DIY slab lifting on the north end slab that meets the screen room. Since the sinking has occured withing three feet of the edge of the concrete, it might be possible to raise it with a bottle jack and back fill with a base and then grout or concrete. I was hoping a jacking company would do just that this past summer, but they were all afraid of cracking the slab. At this point, I'm not out much if it cracks. I know that isn't a permanent fix, but if it's stable, cheap and would help us in saving that section, I'm willing to give it a try.

    The far back section behind the diving board is another story. That's definitely an area I need to get a good picture of. The slab is in great condition, just sunken at quite the angle.

    I agree, cleaning the deck and filling cracks would really help. Has anyone used a crack chase to clean the cracks up, and then used an actual patching material other than caulk? If I did a coating on top, maybe that would be a better route repair wise?

    The DIY liner does scare me, but again is something I've been trying to decide upon. Some of the videos make it look manageable -- I'll have to do a lot more research into that.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    Would really need to see some good pics to comment on the diving board end.

    About the coping though, and how it attaches. The top of the pool wall has a couple of inch wide flange on it.
    The bottom of the liner coping has a falnge on it, and the coping is screwed onto the top of the wall flange with screws.

    To replace teh coping, you would need to go all the way down to the top of the wall, some how remove the coping and install a new one. In my mind, it could get complicated.
    I really dont know of a good way to repair or replace a short section of liner coping. A pool builder might be a better person to ask than me and a short section repair or replacement.

    I know your walls are wood, but the process is all about the same. Here is a pic of my coping installed onto the walls when initially installed. Maybe this will give you some idea.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    Thank you for that picture...it helps a lot! I'm wondering if the heaving in that section pulled the angle support off the top of the wall.

    I'm hoping we'll have a break in the weather this weekend so I can clear the deck of snow and snap more pictures. It's hard to make any comments when you don't know what you're working with Hopefully I'll have an update before too long!

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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    The first decision is so you still want a pool or not, that will determine some of the other decisions. Personally if you think you will still use it, much cheaper to rehab then fill in and rebuild later if you change you mind. A liner is not to difficult to install if it is the proper size. The PB that assisted my in my DIY build suggested against the foam based on his 20+ years of seeing tears more often with foam behind the liner. I'm sure others may have a different opinion on that.


    18x36 Vinyl, sports depth, 8' Roman steps at each end. Hayward 1.5hp 2speed pump, catridge filter, 2 skimmers, no main drain, 3 SR Smith Treo LED lights

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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    Thanks for the reply. In terms of using a pool, we're just starting a family, so the next 10+ years would definitely be when it sees the most use. Thank you for bringing up the point about the foam...I'm going to look into the pros and cons a bit more.

    I'm again interested to hear about DIY liners. I'll have to give this serious consideration. We're supposed to finally get weather above 30 this week, so I'll spend some time clearing the deck and taking some pictures. Thanks again!

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    Re: Deck Replace and Liner Failure -- Looking for Advice/Suggestions/Ideas

    Just caught this thread for the first time. Firstly, welcome to TFP!!

    I can't really comment on the how-to's of any of it, but I can say that if you decide to fix it all up, we will all be very excited with you while you do it! I think you totally should!!!!!
    14K Freeform Gunite w/60% Blue Quartz plaster, Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS Pump + Booster for Cleaner, Aquacal Heat Pump

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