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Thread: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

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    Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Hi, I have visited this website for some time now, and have gained some valuable knowledge from here. Thanks to everyone who contributes here! I have a problem and hopefully someone can help me . We live in Southern California (Whittier) and completed our pool July 2006. Last year I noticed that in a small area around the perimeter, the pool seem to have "sunk" and the expansion joint had a gap. I didn't think too much about this since our pool builder had given us a summary of the pool phases and in this it stated that " the pool could appear to have sunk or moved, but this is normal due to soil expansion" It also stated that this was out of their control and normal. After doing some research, I thought after the cold season was over, it might shift back in place and level out and would would just patch the mastic in the joint. This didn't happen, and now it has gotten worse and there are now small opening in the mastic throughout the perimeter, aside from 2 significant areas. I contacted the pool builder and he said that this was the responsibility of the concrete sub who did the concrete deck and the concrete (gunite)in our pool also. We hired him to do our deck based on the recommendation of the pool builder who said if we used anyone else who was inexperienced in pool decks, he couldn't guarantee that the pool would not have problems. I contacted the concrete sub who agreed to take a look at our pool, but also stated that this was normal in our area. In my opinion, I don't think we should be having these problems so soon. I would appreciate any input on this, as I am not sure whether to insist they repair it or take on the repairs at our expense. Note: the owner of the pool company has since retired but the company is still running under new ownership. The new owner, who I contacted originally, told me since it was prior to 2007, he was not honoring any type of warranties and that I should contact the original owner of the pool company.Here are some pictures, this is the area where we originally noticed the problem.
    [attachment=2:3821n0h3]Picture 339-1.jpg[/attachment:3821n0h3][attachment=0:3821n0h3]Picture 336-1.jpg[/attachment:3821n0h3][attachment=1:3821n0h3]Picture 337-1.jpg[/attachment:3821n0h3]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    15,000 Gal IG Plaster
    Hayward Sand Filter
    Hayward 1.0 HP Pump
    Hayward H Series Heater
    Really OLD Polaris Pool Cleaner

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Quote Originally Posted by ally83100
    Hi, I have visited this website for some time now, and have gained some valuable knowledge from here. Thanks to everyone who contributes here! I have a problem and hopefully someone can help me . We live in Southern California (Whittier) and completed our pool July 2006. Last year I noticed that in a small area around the perimeter, the pool seem to have "sunk" and the expansion joint had a gap. I didn't think too much about this since our pool builder had given us a summary of the pool phases and in this it stated that " the pool could appear to have sunk or moved, but this is normal due to soil expansion" It also stated that this was out of their control and normal. After doing some research, I thought after the cold season was over, it might shift back in place and level out and would would just patch the mastic in the joint. This didn't happen, and now it has gotten worse and there are now small opening in the mastic throughout the perimeter, aside from 2 significant areas. I contacted the pool builder and he said that this was the responsibility of the concrete sub who did the concrete deck and the concrete (gunite)in our pool also. We hired him to do our deck based on the recommendation of the pool builder who said if we used anyone else who was inexperienced in pool decks, he couldn't guarantee that the pool would not have problems. I contacted the concrete sub who agreed to take a look at our pool, but also stated that this was normal in our area. In my opinion, I don't think we should be having these problems so soon. I would appreciate any input on this, as I am not sure whether to insist they repair it or take on the repairs at our expense. Note: the owner of the pool company has since retired but the company is still running under new ownership. The new owner, who I contacted originally, told me since it was prior to 2007, he was not honoring any type of warranties and that I should contact the original owner of the pool company. I tried posting pictures , but I am receiving an error message saying my file is invalid??
    posting pics - the easiest way is to upload them to a "photobucket.com" or similar account, choosing the forum or message board/medium size), then copy the "IMG code" and paste it into your thread here.

    Sorry about your pool troubles.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Thank you, I edited the original post to include pictures. Here are a couple more pictures of the other area with problems. In this area, I can't see any foam backerrod (?) like you can in the other area, all I see here are small pieces of loose concrete??? [attachment=0:3gsy1yn0]Picture 334-1.jpg[/attachment:3gsy1yn0][attachment=1:3gsy1yn0]Picture 333-1.jpg[/attachment:3gsy1yn0][attachment=2:3gsy1yn0]Picture 335-1.jpg[/attachment:3gsy1yn0]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    15,000 Gal IG Plaster
    Hayward Sand Filter
    Hayward 1.0 HP Pump
    Hayward H Series Heater
    Really OLD Polaris Pool Cleaner

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Did they extend the rebar from the shell into the decking when they built the pool? It seems like the new owner of the pool company should honor the previous warranties. Sorry I can't be of any help with how to repair the damage.
    Pool completed in the fall of 2008.
    Landmark's pool build

    Freeform 26' x 45' IG gunite, 4' to 8' deep, 29,500 gallons, WetEdge PearlMatrix Tropical Mystic, Freeform 8' X 11' Ultimate 16 jet spa, 38' moss rock weeping wall and 3 waterfalls,

    4 pumps (Intelliflo 4X160 filter pump, WhisperFlo 3HP spa pump, Pentair 2 1/2HP WaterFall pump, cleaner booster), EasyTouch 8 controls, Quad DE 100 filter, MasterTemp 400K heater, Pentair Legend Platinum cleaner, 995 sqft. Sundek.

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Hi, no they did not extend the rebar into the deck. I believe both are independent. I know that they added sand and some mesh wiring for reinforcing in the deck prior to it being poured. Has anyone had this kind of problem with expansion joints with a fairly new pool?
    15,000 Gal IG Plaster
    Hayward Sand Filter
    Hayward 1.0 HP Pump
    Hayward H Series Heater
    Really OLD Polaris Pool Cleaner

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    How frustrating it must be to have an issue like this and get the responses "Its not my problem" or "Its normal". Heck, I wish I had a job where I can just say "It's normal for that result" when everyone is looking at my work wondering why the heck its so shoddy.. Do you have any neighbors in the area with pools built along this time frame? Perhaps a google earth of your house will show some pools. Do a knock and talk with the other owners and see if they had similar results. If not..there's your answer.
    24,000 gal SWG pool
    Bunch of stuff
    Aqua Blue Pebblesheen
    2 Colorlogic LED lights
    Huge Hayward D.E. filter
    more stuff

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    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Quote Originally Posted by ally83100
    Hi, no they did not extend the rebar into the deck. I believe both are independent. I know that they added sand and some mesh wiring for reinforcing in the deck prior to it being poured. Has anyone had this kind of problem with expansion joints with a fairly new pool?
    Sounds like your area has a high clay content in the soil. Clay is highly expansive when it gets wet (and dries often with cracks). The water is not necessarily from your pool, but could be spashout or (heaven forbid) a leak in a pipe. I only way leak is a possability because the pictures are right at the skimmer where there is plumbing. I am involved with a building that had a small plumbing leak in high-clay soils and it destoyed the entire slab-on-grade.

    I suspect clay as all of the warnings are not typical of all areas -- they mentioned that this is typical 'in your area'. Rebar to the pool would not have solved this problem. Rebar in the slab would have helped some (instead of mesh -- which is basically useless) but if the soil is expanding, the force is pretty extreme -- enough to break the deck rebar or not.

    What could have ben done if the soils were expansive? In large commercial projects, the soils could be treated with lime to mitigate the expansive properties -- but not practical for a small area. Another solution is to remove the bad soils to 2 or 3 feet (out of the influence of most water) and replace with clean import -- could be done, but expensive.

    What can be done now (other than yell at the contractors)? Assuming the problem is clay in the soils will expand with water and shrink as they dry If they stay wet they will stay expanded. Pool water and landscaping are way enough water to cause this. Drain the lansdcaping well with area drains and do not over-water.

    Too late for this, but a movable deckign like pavers can handle these soils well, as they won't crack.

    I don't want to side with the contractors, and they definitely should have educated you more on the issue (assuming it's a soils issue) but there may have ben little they could have done that was affordable....

    I hope this helps,

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Thank you both for your reply. Steve, we do have clay soil. We removed a lot of it from the other side of the yard when we did our landscape and sod. We also have three drains in the grass area (put in by the concrete guy). I called our city's inspector (the one that approved all the phases of our pool)earlier this month to ask his opinion. He did tell me that because of our soil, the dirt for the deck should have been compacted prior to the wire reinforcing and sand being poured. He said by not doing this, the soil expanding could be causing all the problems. But he also said that because it wasn't even 2 years old, that i should call the contractor. I wasn't sure how to approach the concrete guy when he comes out to look at the problem. He has been promising to come out for the last week and every day their is a different reason for not making it. I think he is finally coming tomorrow and I wanted to know if this seemed like a construction issue. It's just upsetting to know that we are going to have more cost so soon. Thank you again for the information, and Ill let you know what he says.
    15,000 Gal IG Plaster
    Hayward Sand Filter
    Hayward 1.0 HP Pump
    Hayward H Series Heater
    Really OLD Polaris Pool Cleaner

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    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    I feel really bad for you -- I know what it's like for the new 'toy' to be broken....

    Compacting the soil would prevent the ground from settling, but would not prevent the expansive soil from heaving if it gets wet....
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    How about the portion of the expansion joint where I don't see any backer rod, just crumbly small pieces of concrete. Could this have contributed to any of the problems?
    15,000 Gal IG Plaster
    Hayward Sand Filter
    Hayward 1.0 HP Pump
    Hayward H Series Heater
    Really OLD Polaris Pool Cleaner

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    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Ally,

    If the mastic has holes in it, water could get in these holes and make the problem worse. I would keep these areas where water could get in repaired. The backing rod (usually a foam stick-on expansion material) helps the two move independently (better than taking out your pool with the deck) but is not required for placement of the mastic. For larger joints, it's needed as a substrate to place the mastic on. I would not worry too much aboutwhat's under the mastic, just that it's in good shape.

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

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    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Did you ever talk with your contractor? What will they agree to do for you...?

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Hi Steve, here's an update on our problem. The concrete sub finally came over to see the problem. He said it was normally and common. He first looked at the area next to our skimmer , which has the most damage and next, lifted the skimmer cover and looked inside. He said since it was almost two years since the installation, it wasn't under warranty, but he would replace the mastic around the pool for $150.00 and also seal up the area inside the skimmer. After he left, I took a closer look at the inside of the skimmer and notice that there was gaps all around. In one area, I could stick my finger in and feel all the foam from the expansion joint. I have tried to look for information on the web for the proper construction of this area (between the pool shell and the skimmer) and can't find anything. Should there be concrete here or sand or something else? Also, while I was looking at this, my kids had jumped in the pool and since the water was swaying ,the water inside the skimmer started moving and also splashed into the areas with missing concrete. I am sure this has contributed to this area having the most damage, since the water is getting in between the skimmer and pool shell. The concrete subcontractor was in charge of this area also. He is suppose to come by at the end of the week and I want to make sure he seals it up properly. Thank you for any input!
    http://www2.snapfish.com/slideshow/Albu ... _=72754464
    http://www2.snapfish.com/slideshow/Albu ... _=72754464
    http://www2.snapfish.com/slideshow/Albu ... _=72754464
    http://www2.snapfish.com/slideshow/Albu ... _=72754464
    http://www2.snapfish.com/slideshow/Albu ... _=72754464

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Amber,

    I'm jumping in late here but my pool was facing the same dilema (I built my own) and it was really a pretty easy fix (and still could be in your case.

    I would suggest you go to the PB and tell him while it's now out of warranty, it was never correct from the beginning so the warranty is irrelevant. It is not a "wear" item so it should, in all fairness, be fixed.

    Incidentally, I am not a PB basher...usually quite the opposite but this is a case of a simple fix that was never right to begin with.

    The skimmers can be fixed with about an hours labor.....I cannot see enough of the expansion joint to have an opinion bjut, in any case, it's less than a full day's work.

    Edit: I now have seen the expansion joint pictures. repairing there is a little more of a problem and the results may look worse than just some minimal patching. I'd be tempted to accept some cosmetic work (I don't think you have any structural problems) around the skimmers and have them fix the inside of the skimmers.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Hi , thanks for the reply, what would be the proper way to correct the problem around the skimmer. I felt the same way , it didn't look like an area that would need to be maintained, and like I said , I was unable to find any information on what should be in that area. The concrete guy said he was going to "seal it". I didn't ask any questions as to how because I didn't actually know what he was referring to. What would have been the correct way of building this area and how wold you now repair it? thanks for your help

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    There are several types of quick dying masonry fillers that you purchase as powder and add water to mix to a thick "paste" consistency. They dry in about three minutes.

    Mix that product and simply trowel it smooth with a putty knife inside the skimmer and it's done. You could even paint it if you were ultra-picky but just smoothing it out (it works a lot like drywall compound) will give you a nice finished surface.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Dave, what was the problem originally that you had? How did you construct that area? Would the area inside have to be waterproofed after it was fixed?

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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Amber,

    I agree with duraleigh that there is probably not a structural problem with the pool, just expansive soils with water getting to them. The areas where this water is coming from should be sealed off -- the rest is up to 'looks'. I am a bit concerned with soil heaving about an inch and what that could do to the pipes of the skimmer -- luckily these are probably toward the bottom of the skimmer where the soil movement is much less severe.

    The good news is that it may subside somewhat once the source or water is reduced. I would wait and see what happens. If a hard masonry product is used to fill the gap under the lid of the skimmer it might pop the lid-ring of the skimmer out of the deck if the deck were to sink back down a little. Is there a more mastic-like product that could be used?

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Hi, I finally figured out why I was having so much trouble finding info on the proper installation of my skimmer. My skimmer was installed with a gap between the body of the skimmer and the adjustable collar. The adjustable collar is meant to attach to the body of the skimmer, therfore not exposing any concrete. Since mine was not constructed this way, everytime the pool was in use , and we had water movement, instead of hitting the walls of the skimmer, it was hitting the part of my pool bond that was exposed. slowly eroding the concrete, causing my deck to heave and separating the mastic from the expansion joint. . After speaking with our city inspector, he also confirmed it was constructed incorrectly. The concrete sub originally wanted to charge me $150.00 to repair that area and the mastic, but after I spoke to him again, he agreed to fix at at no charge.He said he would use a grout bag to get to all the voids not visible around the the inside of the skimmer and then seal it. He said any adapter that should have been used originally , will no longer fit because of the deck that is no raised. I feel that this is just a way of patching up thier mistakes. This new concrete will never bond to the existing pool structure shell and therefore that area is no weaker than the rest of the pool. Is it reasonable to expect it to be done correctly and what would that be? My concern is bigger problems that might not yet be visible, but damage is already done? Is this possible? Duraleigh: Do you also install your skimmer at an incorrect height and were also left with a gap?

  20. Back To Top    #20
    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Expansion Joint problem in new pool, need advice please!

    Sounds like they screwed up (they as much as admitted it). I'd send them a letter, so there is something official on file that explains the situation -- explains what they admitted to and goes on to say they will be on the hook for and skimmer, pool, deck, or other damage caused by this mistake. Hopefully this'll inspire them to do the right thing -- whatever this is.

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

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