Anything tricky about owner replacing skimmer faceplate and gasket on FG pool?

otherchuck

Member
Aug 27, 2012
23
Greetings,

I have a fiberglass pool with a Sta-Rite skimmer. We have a leak in the pool and are fairly sure it is at the front edge of the skimmer. We were going to seal the gap, but realized (if we understand the construction correctly) that there is a gasket between the skimmer faceplate, and the fiberglass pool. It looks like this gasket is a black rubber foam material, and it seems like ours is badly degraded, and might be responsible for the leak. So we'd like to replace the gasket, and at the same, we'd like to replace the faceplate since it is discolored.

I think I have found the right Pentair replacement parts. The faceplate looks like it is U-3 Skimmer Face Plate WC2-8P. Someone told me the gasket is Pentair part #U9-366, and I have seen evidence that this is indeed the case. And yet the skimmer face is only 10.75" wide, while the gasket is 11" wide; I don't remember the previous gasket being wider that the face plate, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, is this an easy thing for a handy homeowner to do? Is it as simple as screwing off the current plate, peeling off the decaying gasket, and then replacing with new gasket and face plate? I am always a little nervous with respect to pool stuff, and i don't want to open something up only to find that there is something unexpectedly tricky about the replacement process. I mean...it seems straightforward, but it never hurts to have reassurance!

Thanks

Otherchuck
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
18,987
Evans, Georgia
To tell you true OtherChuck.... I"ve not ever read anyone needing to do it on a fiberglass pool. Maybe someone else has?
Does the leak stop at that level? That would help determine if it is in fact the skimmer.
IF you do this, please take pictures and share it here in case others ever do it.

Maddie 🇺🇦
 

1poolman1

In The Industry
Jul 14, 2014
1,638
Sacramento
Care needs to be taken. Your skimmer is attached to the fiberglass shell with the screws going through from the inside. The shell is "sandwiched" between the inner and outer portion of the skimmer. If you attempt this, be very careful to watch for any movement in the body of the skimmer. Earth movement/pressure might have put a lot of pressure on the skimmer or its plumbing and it could move out of alignment with the holes in the shell. A tree root could have grown across the suction plumbing going to the equipment exerting enough lateral/downward/upward pressure to move the skimmer body if it is released from the shell. Just things I have seen.
 
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Reactions: YippeeSkippy

otherchuck

Member
Aug 27, 2012
23
Thanks for comments so far. Re: Yippy Skippy's question, yes, since the water was dropped below the skimmer, we have not seen the water level continue to drop except for what I think is just normal evaporation. And re: 1poolman1, thanks for the caution. That is exactly the kind of thing I was afraid might be the case, unfortunately. We know we have roots in the area, and in fact wondered if root-related pressure in the area produced a tiny gap at the front of the skimmer.

We could just reseal the skimmer edge with Boss 801 sealant, which would prevent us from having to remove the faceplate, but after consulting with my wife, we think we will try taking the faceplate...one screw at a time...and stopping and replacing screws if we see any movement. We could consult with a professional and have them do it, but I sort of think they would do exactly what we would do.

Feel free to offer any more advice! I am attaching a picture of the skimmer face where we assume we have a leak.

Otherchuck

fiberglass skimmer faceplate.jpg
 

Toxophilite

Silver Supporter
Feb 23, 2022
561
Dickinson, Texas
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You have a good approach. I would back them out one at a time but leaving about 4 threads still threaded. Never taking any single one all the way out. Once they are all backed off to this point, barring any tightness in their bores, you should be able to wiggle each one and tell if any undue pressure is being exerted on the units the bolts are holding.
 
V

vtpools

Only thing I would add is that gaskets aren't used for fiberglass pools anymore. Most people use silicone sealant, but a marine adhesive (Boss 801 like you mentioned, 3M 5100/5200, etc.) is a more effective solution.
 

arvil

Well-known member
Mar 7, 2010
104
Quakertown, PA
Pool Size
21240
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
My AG is 20 years old, replaced the skimmer once with no problems at all, just get the vinyl, gasket, and faceplate in the right order. When tightening do just like tire lugnuts tighten all a little at a time, and tighten in a balanced pattern, not just go to the next one, then the next one, etc.
 

otherchuck

Member
Aug 27, 2012
23
Thanks all, but follow-up re: vtpools' comment: Interesting to hear that gaskets aren't used for fiberglass pools anymore. I said I was content to do the work myself, but my ignorance on things like this make me a little worried (truth be told, I worry about everything, as my wife often reminds me). We are pretty sure we know where our leak is...front edge of skimmer...and so in preparation for reseal (with Boss 801), my wife pulled out the existing sealant, and noticed that the black gasket underneath was depositing black 'soot' everywhere. So obviously when the FG pool was put in in 2006, the pool contractor utilized both gasket and sealant at that edge. So we figured we'd replicate that paradigm with a fresh gasket (but still sealing where possible) as opposed to just sealing on top of old, now degraded, gasket. Our instincts are to hit this leak-problem hard -- anything that looks like it could use sealant, we plan to seal. Is there a reason to NOT use a gasket?

And also, Toxophilite (archery enthusiast?), thanks for the advice about backing screws only part way out!

Otherchuck
 
V

vtpools

If you think it's the front edge of the skimmer you should be able to bring the water level up and use dye/food coloring to pinpoint it.

Gaskets aren't used specifically for the reason you discovered, they break down leading to all of that black soot that you saw. You could replace the gasket and seal the skimmer at the same time, but I think the gasket may be unnecessary. A sealant is going to do the same thing as the gasket, and will likely hold up longer as well.
 
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