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Thread: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

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    Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    Hi All,
    I'm a newbie to the world of pools, so I hope that I am able to provide enough information for someone to help us out.

    We have a San Juan fiberglass pool in our newly purchased house which has waterline tile that is cracked, chipped, basically coming off in very sharp pieces. The installation of the tile seems rock solid. No cracks in the grout, tiles are not loose at all. The tile is cracked/chipped. Eventually some small pieces hang off of the side of the pool because they are still adhered to the pool by the grout. A friend's son pushed off of the wall and got such a deep cut on his foot that it required stitches.

    We've asked the original pool installers about it and basically they have been no help. Supposedly the tile came from a store which is out of business.

    Ignoring all the unpleasantness about spending so much money on pool repair, we've decided that we definitely need to remove the tile for safety reasons. How does one go about removing this from a fiberglass pool without damaging the coating? I don't want to take a contractors word that he/she knows what they are doing. I THINK that it is a silicone type grout. I am assuming because I've used silicone caulk in other projects and the texture seems similar. I've seen some posts about using epoxy for fiberglass pool applications, but I have no idea what a epoxy thinset, grout would look or feel like.

    Additionally, would you recommend that we install new waterline tile? We did like the look of it, but are afraid that we will pick tile that won't last. No idea what the issue was with the old tile, but I certainly don't want the new one to crack. We live in NJ.

    If anyone has information that they'd like to share, it'd be greatly appreciated.
    18x36 IG, vinyl, 24k gal
    1.5 HP, sand filter
    TF-100

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    Hey,

    I would suggest your get a tile pro who works with pools to look at it. It should be epoxy thinset and grout.....I would doubt the longevity of silicone. Epoxy is hard and has little flex. Silicone is almost rubbery.

    Trying to do it yourself in either case would be very challenging. I think you'll be forced to recover the area with new tile but a tile guy will be able to help you much more.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    We had the same problem with a San Juan pool and live in NJ also. We contacted San Juan a year after purchase 2006 and they sent out 2 people to change the tiles. They removed the tiles, believe it or not, with screw drivers. It took them a couple hours to pry off all the tiles, then they used a San Juan patented product to adhere the new tiles. Then they used another San Juan patented product in a caulk gun for the grout.

    The whole experience has been not too good, because 2 winters later when we took the cover off we had cracked tiles again. San Juan is now backing away from the problem and we are close taking legal action against them. I have spoken to their tile supplier AlphaTile, and they do not have many favorable words to say about San Juan Pools. They claim the tile cost about $140.00.

    Let me know if you have any more question.

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    Hi, All.

    I have exactly the same issue. My pool was instilled By Artistic Pool in 2006, and manufacturing by Sent Juan. Tiles were cracked and cheeped and the next year when cover was removed.
    Sent Juan arranged a tile replacement which paid of Alfa tile. In 2008 I have the same problem. New tiles were cracked and cheeped ones again, but this time
    Sent Juan refused replacement and sent me a settlement letter with replacement. San Juan literally washed there hands and get off this problem. I contacted Alfa Tile and after
    Long time battle they send me tiles for replacement, but I am not going to install them of cause, it is not a quality product.

    If someone is going taking legal action against them I am in. Because Artistic Pool ask me for $1500 for tile replacement.

    Verizon.

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    Bumping this older post. I have the same problem as the poster- I'm in NJ and own a San Juan fiberglass pool that was tiled at the factoring in 2006 using tiles from an outfit in FL called Alpha. After opening last week, the tiles are worse than ever. Flaking and chips galore - I'd say 40% of the tiles are affected. I tried during the winter to remove water from the pool with an external pump, but this did not help, or else I wasn't diligent enough on my frequency of removal.

    I did notice another thread with the same issue: need-help-with-waterline-tile-freeze-damage-t19988.html?hilit=fiberglass tile

    I've come to the conclusion that I need to remove the tile, especially after reading about someone getting cut badly on the flaked tile! But, I'm wondering if anyone could help answer my questions:

    1. Can you remove the old tile with water in the pool? Obvioulsy, you'd drop the water a foot or so below the tile. I've heard strong advice about not completely draining a FG pool for fear of it popping out of the ground.

    2. Similar questions, can you install new tile with water in the pool?

    3. If you can do a removal/install of pool tile with water in pool, would anyone have concerns about water quality and what accidententally might fall into the water? Not really sure what they use for removal of excess grout. Looks like they used a soft silicone based grout to install.

    4. Are there tiles you can buy that will actaully stand up to harsh winters so this flaking and chipping would not be an issue again? I can't imagine this being just a symptom of a FG pool and I would say this problem is just poor quality (porous) tile from Alpha. Obvioulsy, I would not want to go through the expense of putting new tile in only to have the same issues. I'd rather then have no tile.

    5. Similiar to the original post, I have concerns that a pool guy would need to have experience with fiberglass and fiberglass seems to be rare in NJ. Would anyone else have this concern, or is a pool tile guy the same no matter what type of pool is being repaired?

    6. If I didn't replace with tile, any other recommendation that could go around the pool's waterline to make the pool more attractive?

    7. Finally, if anyone has recommendations of a contractor in (central) NJ that can do this work, I'd love to hear it!

    Thanks !!
    10K IG fiberglass pool, Hayward 24" Sand Filter, 1.5HP Hayward superpump, Heat Pump Heater

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    I'm very familiar with this problem. My name is Bob Ault. 30+ years ago I developed the process and materials for tiling fiberglass. Every fiberglass pool manufacturer in the country utilizes the method and materials I recommended for tiling fiberglass. The owners of the manufacturing plants know me. I consulted with San Juan about this problem.

    It is my openion that the tile on your pool had a manufacturing defect. The tile in question is the "ANNA" series.

    Your answers are below.

    1) Yes you can remove the tile with the water about about 6" below the tile.

    2) Yes you can install the tile with water in the pool.

    3) I would recommend cleaning the pool after tile removal. After the tile is removed, you clean the grout off with a razor blade scrapper. A film will remain but it isn't detrimental to the adhesion of new tile.

    4) Ant tile listed as frost proof will hold up. I recommend dropping the water level below the tile when you close the pool. You are correct. This is not a fiberglass related problem.

    5) You are correct again. A tile guy that has experiance tiling cement pools will not have the knowledge required for tiling fiberglass.

    6) I'm not sure if there is anything you can install other than tile.

    7) The only people I know of in NJ that tile fiberglass pools are the installers at a manufacturer named "Waterworld". This company installs tile at their factory. I have taught many home owners how to tile their pool. None of them have had a problem.

    There is a conflict of interest here. It is unethical for me to advertise or sell in this forum. This forum is for people like me to help others. I would recommend that you contact me on "Facebook". I am "Robert Ault" living in Florida.
    Mikie

    12K Pebbletec with attached spillover Spa, Waterway 320 sqft cartridge filter, 2HP Waterway filter pump, 1.5HP Waterway waterfall pump, 2 skimmers, in-line tablet chlorinator (no longer in use), Levolor LX2 water level system, Polaris 280 w 1.5 HP booster pump.

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    Many thanks for the thoughtful reply. You are right - the tile is the ANNA style. I have contacted Alpha tile and surprise surprise, I've got no response. Your conclusion is one I share - the ANNA tile is defective. However, I still see them for sale and labeled as Frost Free!! Buyer beware. Seems like San Juan got stuck using defective tile if you ask me and they realized it late.

    Anyway, since my post, I've sent numerous e-mails and made a lot of phone calls to San Juan dealers and came up pretty empty. I did contact Waterworld last week and they were supposed to get back to me with an estimate, but so far have not heard back. I also contacted a company that handles Viking. I'm having very good luck working with their service department so I am going to use them for the job. I really don't want to do the removal/repair myself.

    I do drop my water way below the tile before closing. But, due to the snow and rain, I always open to water all the way to the top. From time to time, I've gone out there with a pump and removed water, but it hasn't helped, and it was a pain. I guess I wasn't dilligent enough with how often I did it. I really don't want to have to worry about water removal during the winter so hopefully my next "frost free" tile will hold up better than the Alpha Tile did.

    I have 2 boxes of spare Anna tile if anyone is interested!
    10K IG fiberglass pool, Hayward 24" Sand Filter, 1.5HP Hayward superpump, Heat Pump Heater

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    Re: Removing cracked/chipped waterline tile from fiberglass

    The Viking dealer will know how to do the job. He probably doesn't get his pools tiled at the factory.

    Keeping the water below the tile while the pool is closed is imperative. Freezing water can crack the hull of a ship.

    I hope you have better luck this time.

    Bob
    Mikie

    12K Pebbletec with attached spillover Spa, Waterway 320 sqft cartridge filter, 2HP Waterway filter pump, 1.5HP Waterway waterfall pump, 2 skimmers, in-line tablet chlorinator (no longer in use), Levolor LX2 water level system, Polaris 280 w 1.5 HP booster pump.

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