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Thread: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

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    Unhappy I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Hi,

    It's my first post on this forum and I hope the experts here can help me.

    I've just opened the pool after the winter, and as you can see from the pictures below, the pool wall that connects to the pool coping has deteriorated. Last year some patch work was done by a friend of mine (not professional) with hydraulic cement and it seems that it has fallen off again.
















    I called around, and a company quoted me $1500 to drain the water, put on some marble mix to fix the cracks, and gurantee the work for 15 years. He said it would take 2 guys a full day's work and come back again the next day.

    My questions are:

    1. What is the proper way to fix this issue?
    2. Can I tackle it by myself?
    3. Why is hydraulic cement not working, is it because the crack is too big (as the company told me)? Or is it because it wasn't done properly last time?
    4. Do I need special expansion additive to mix into the hydraulic cement?
    5. Should I drain the pool and use regular cement to make it stronger?
    6. How do I fix the cement around the skimmer?
    7. The shallow end has smaller cracks from the previous patch, should I remove the previous patch and fix it again properly too?

    Thanks a lot and appreciate for your help!

    Regards, Fei
    Last edited by fei; 05-13-2015 at 01:05 PM. Reason: url to img

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Please change all the URL tags to IMG tags, like I did for the first picture, so they show up without having to click a link.
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Please change all the URL tags to IMG tags, like I did for the first picture, so they show up without having to click a link.
    Yes sir!

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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Thank you for doing that, and welcome to TFP!
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    IMHO to do it right you need an experienced pool repair. I am pretty handy with many things and own enough tools to start my own construction company. Considering the environment of concrete pools I think a professional is the only way to go. I would be very careful hiring the contractor. References would be a must and checked 100%.

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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by pondfishr View Post
    IMHO to do it right you need an experienced pool repair. I am pretty handy with many things and own enough tools to start my own construction company. Considering the environment of concrete pools I think a professional is the only way to go. I would be very careful hiring the contractor. References would be a must and checked 100%.
    Thanks for your answer.

    I still want to tackle the problem myself and if it cracks again, I will find someone else to do it. Do you have any answers to my questions above, or any special cautions to take?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    I do not think you want to use cement between the coping and the pool. You want to use something that has some flex ... like Deck-o-seal or Sikaflex-1CSL or polyurethane caulking.

    Here are a bunch of threads: https://www.google.com/search?sitese...ive&gws_rd=ssl
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I do not think you want to use cement between the coping and the pool. You want to use something that has some flex ... like Deck-o-seal or Sikaflex-1CSL or polyurethane caulking.

    Here are a bunch of threads: https://www.google.com/search?sitese...ive&gws_rd=ssl
    Thanks a lot! I will look into that. I just bought Rapid Set Concrete Mix (hydraulic cement) from Home Depot. It looks like I got the wrong thing then.

    The gap is mostly about 1" tall, with somewhere between 0.5" to 2". Do you think caulking can fix that?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    That is a big gap ... no idea what the caulk can do. Cement will just crack again as the deck and pool move independently.
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    That is a big gap ... no idea what the caulk can do. Cement will just crack again as the deck and pool move independently.
    Should I just build up the gap with concrete, and leave some space between the pool beam and the coping, then seal the seam with caulk?

    How did the pool and the coping hold together in the first place?

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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    The pool and that type of coping are not usually attached directly. Usually just poured separately (no rebar). Because the slab and pool will move around a bit independently. There would have been a line of caulking between the top of the tiles and the coping.
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    The pool and that type of coping are not usually attached directly. Usually just poured separately (no rebar). Because the slab and pool will move around a bit independently. There would have been a line of caulking between the top of the tiles and the coping.
    I see, so I guess caulking is the way to go then. I found Sikaflex Construction Caulking to be quite popular.

    So let me understand, is the procedure as follows?

    > Remove the previous patch concrete, grind or chisel to clean and solid surface
    > If the gap is less than 1/2" tall, then just caulk it with Sikaflex. (Do I need to stuff anything behind?)
    > If the gap is more than 1/2" tall, then I use hydraulic cement to fill it up until 1/2" gap

    Is that right? It seems that these caulking are usually used horizontally between the pool coping and the pool deck. Is it correct to use it between pool beam and pool coping vertically?

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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    I think that sounds right.
    You may need to put a backer rod in if there is a large void.
    I guess I am not 100% sure which product is usually used on the vertical gap like this. I know mine has some kind of caulking, but I am not sure what was used.
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I think that sounds right.
    You may need to put a backer rod in if there is a large void.
    I guess I am not 100% sure which product is usually used on the vertical gap like this. I know mine has some kind of caulking, but I am not sure what was used.
    Jason, thanks for your invaluable information. I will start the work soon and see how it goes.

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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Jason,

    I still don't understand. Isn't pool coping cemented on top of the pool wall with mortar? Then pool wall and pool coping should move as one unit when temperature changes. IN that case, why would cement between them crack and I have to use a flexible caulking instead? I called the pool contractor again, and he said that pool coping and pool wall move together. It's probably because of my pool concrete deck touching the pool coping that caused the issue.

    Please clarify, thanks.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    You know what. I apologize. I just saw the pictures again (I do not see them at work) and in my head was thinking of another members deck. With your type of coping, you are right, it is usually attached to the pool and the caulking flexible seal goes between the coping and the rest of the deck. Again i am sorry for the confusion.

    But, you are right. If the coping was attached to the pool, it should not be cracking apart. Maybe the decking is too close to the coping or they did not use a flexible seal between them?
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    You know what. I apologize. I just saw the pictures again (I do not see them at work) and in my head was thinking of another members deck. With your type of coping, you are right, it is usually attached to the pool and the caulking flexible seal goes between the coping and the rest of the deck. Again i am sorry for the confusion.

    But, you are right. If the coping was attached to the pool, it should not be cracking apart. Maybe the decking is too close to the coping or they did not use a flexible seal between them?
    Jason, yes you are right. The decking is too close to the pool, making contact with the pool coping. I think that is what caused the pool coping to break away from the pool wall.

    I'm thinking to use Rapid Set Concrete Mix for big gaps (> 2") and Sikaflex Concrete Fix (<0.5") for small gaps, then use a interlock saw to cut a new gap between the pool coping and the concrete deck. Hopefully that is the right solution to fix it once for all.

    I still have a few more questions:

    1. Do you have any further suggestions on the material and how to do the concrete work? Is Rapid Set Concrete Mix the right material, or Portland Cement, or Portland Cement with sand (1:2)?

    2. I'm not sure how to deal with the gaps that are between 0.5" and 2" though.

    3. Also, do I need to grind down the gap between the pool wall and the pool coping to make a horizontally flat gap, so that I can push cement into it easier?

    4. I'm concerned about cement shrinkage because this is to patch a gap instead of rebuilding top of the pool wall and reseating the pool coping. Any additives to add to the cement?

    Thanks again!

    Regards, Fei

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Unfortunately, I have no insight for any of those questions. Sorry.
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Are any of these coping pieces loose?
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    Re: I need help with fixing the pool wall asap

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    Are any of these coping pieces loose?
    Not quite, except one or two are slightly loose after I remove some loose concrete or mortar between the coping piece and the pool wall.

    I'm now thinking to buy the Sakrete Plug-Tite to fill them into the void. Is that a good idea?

    Or do I have to remove the coping stone, clean them, put new concrete to fix the wall top, then new mortar to glue the coping stone again?

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