Bad concrete & coping job?

Zeberifo

Member
Aug 23, 2020
9
Michigan
Hello,
New to the forum and finding it really informative. We had a fiberglass pool installed this month. Concrete came last week and every time I look at the concrete (and read more about it) I get more depressed. I attached photos.
1. stress cuts aren’t all the way through the deck or coping. Is that ok? What’s the point otherwise?
2. concrete guys sealed the deck jets in their set direction and the work around the jet head is lousy. Should be flush and direction should be rotatable.
3. plastic Strip (don’t know what it’s called) between shell and deck is warped out in some spots (eg concrete oozing behind it down the shell).
4. Coping Surface is really rough. Is it supposed to be this rough or smoothe?

Builder knows of the issues But hasn’t dealt with it yet and I don’t know how these issues will be resolved. Should I ask for them to fix and a discount? My fence job and landscaping (as well as any use of the pool) will now again be very behind schedule.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Hi, and welcome to TFP. Sorry to hear about your pool building woes. I'm not seeing any pics.

1. If by "stress cuts" you're referring to what I think you are, no those don't go all the way through. The hope is that when (not if) your concrete settles and cracks, that the cracks happen in the indents they "draw in" for that purpose. So that you'll see the cracks a bit less. They don't actually keep the concrete from cracking. They're usually quite shallow (around 1/2" deep or so). So you can cross that one off the list. We'll probably need those pics for 2 through 4.

Have you paid the PB everything yet? If not, don't. That's your only leverage if he's not the kind of guy that stands behind his work...

 

Zeberifo

Member
Aug 23, 2020
9
Michigan
Builder knows of the issues but we haven't discussed a resolution yet. Should I ask for them to fix and a discount? My fence job and landscaping (as well as any use of the pool) will now again be very behind schedule. It was already behind schedule. If they need to repour, I can't get the fencing up. Is this a normal quality pool concrete job?
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Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Woah, that was weird. I didn't write that post! ;) Then I saw a mod did... So, is that coping as awful on your feet as it is on my eyes? I suppose it could be a trick of the lighting, or a too-close camera angle, but that really does look pretty bad. Chips and gouges and crooked lines and uneven brushing and sharp edges, etc. I'm not sure what the fix can be, but I wouldn't want that around my pool. So sorry. See what the contractor is willing to do before you stress out too much.
 
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Winger 03

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2009
295
Frederick County, MD
My thoughts.....

Not the greatest broom finish, I agree with Dirk. The facing of the coping is awful, I do not think there is a fax for that. They may try to get you to agree to them "skimming" the facing with more cement, but the color will not match (even though it is not colored concrete) and will be prone to chipping off. I have first-hand experience here - builder ended up ripping out the coping (we had a separate coping pour) and re-doing it for us.

Take your time with the builder, express your dissatisfaction and see what he comes back with. You will have to live with it, he will not.
 

Zeberifo

Member
Aug 23, 2020
9
Michigan
Woah, that was weird. I didn't right that post! ;) Then I saw a mod did... So, is that coping as awful on your feet as it is on my eyes? I suppose it could be a trick of the lighting, or a too-close camera angle, but that really does look pretty bad. Chips and gouges and crooked lines and uneven brushing and sharp edges, etc. I'm not sure what the fix can be, but I wouldn't want that around my pool. So sorry. See what the contractor is willing to do before you stress out too much.
Thanks for commenting and for your patience with my forum prowess. I don’t think I’ve used a forum since I got an iPhone!
Glad to get some feedback that the job is awful. Hope to talk to them today. This is a completely new install and of course I paid a lot of money for this!
 
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Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
510
Martinez, CA
That is the worst concrete job I’ve seen in 30 years! Amatuer at best. Beginner at worst. Concrete was not properly floated or steeled, Broomed too early, etc. If you have any recourse (e.g. You used a licensed concrete installer). I’d tell them to jack hammer it out and start over. Still shaking my head!
 

Zeberifo

Member
Aug 23, 2020
9
Michigan
The concrete crew ended up sanding the coping and they are painting it... I suppose to hide any color variations. They will fix the jets too. What’s the talk of bad floating/steeling and bad brooming? I thought the brooming was passable, no? I’ll post pics when they’re done. Hard for me to judge a concrete job when I know nothing about it.

Last note that apparently, the sloppy white seam bulges (between the shell and deck) are what they are. Concrete guy said they’d have to redo the whole slab of decking in several spots. They pretty much just caulked it w/ silicone. Acceptable?
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
I suppose some of this is subjective. If you're OK with the brush lines as is, and walking on them suits your comfort preference, then you're good. Paint will be a maintenance item and will need to be redone periodically. How often depends on many factors: use, sun exposure, application method, quality and type of paint, etc. It'll certainly last long enough to solve the PB's dilemma so that he won't have to deal with it anymore. You will. Some folks use various concrete treatments. I think one is called CoolDeck, or something like that. Presumably to solve for hot concrete underfoot. Others are looking for color treatments. Some folks stain concrete, or mix the color in so it is permanent. All kinds of options. I would choose colored concrete, as I would not want to deal with a coating that will eventually wear or peel off. If I wanted to maintain a deck, I'd build it out of wood.

I'm not onsite, and only can view a few random pictures. So just from those, and your descriptions, none of this sounds acceptable to me, and the PB is getting out of having to redo the job. But you're the one that has to be happy with the work, and so that's all that matters. I was only making you aware of what painting might mean for you down the road. Like all painting, surface prep, application technique and quality of material used will greatly influence your future experience.
 

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
510
Martinez, CA
there is no way I’d accept that quality or their band-aid repair. I’d get a reputable company to come out and give you an opinion as to whether it Can be properly repaired or should be torn out. If the latter, get estimates for the work and have a come to jesus meeting with the builder. If you still have progress payments due. Don’t pay until it's adequately resolved.
 
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Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
@Rossterman, do you know this stuff well enough to better explain your comment "Concrete was not properly floated or steeled, Broomed too early, etc."? Are those all cosmetic concerns, or are there any structural or maintenance considerations when those things are not done correctly? The OP asked, and I'm curious... Thx!

Though I'm with you. Sorry Mr. Contractor that you have to rip it all out. But don't sell a service for which you are under-qualified to perform unless you're willing to keep redoing it until it's right... Learn your trade on your dime, not mine... Or, if you are qualified, then stay on-site and supervise while your employees are learning! (Which is what I suspect is what failed to happen here, from the looks of it.)

Sorry Zeberifo, I'm projecting and venting because this has happened to me way too many times (different trades). I'm currently preparing my Small Claims case for a local contractor that won't make good his shoddy work. I won a case a few years ago that got me a brand new pool. Ripped out the plaster and made him pay ($9K) for new. I don't back down any more... If more of us didn't, there'd be less shoddy work going on.
 
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Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
510
Martinez, CA
I’ve contracted quite a bit of concrete work over the last 30 years- some for me At our home and some for our company. I’ve also finished a few smaller jobs for my daughters place (8 yards in their barn last month). My work is pretty decent but nothing compared to people who do this for a living. It really takes experience to know when it's ready to float, steel ( the thin metal trowel that puts a smooth finish on the cream), and finally broom. That work is rushed and sloppy. Likely the cement crew was short handed and was supplanted by day laborers (who have little skill but trucking mud, tamping, and screeding forms) Attempting to do assist in the finish work. some of the broom work, for example, was done way too early.

Structurally, the finish quality is irrelevent. If bar (Or wire mesh) and dobies (the little blocks that keep the bar off the dirt) Were used it should last a long time.

If the OP is happy with it that’s all that matters but I’d be hopping mad. Also offering to paint is not a viable long term solution. Possibly having cool-deck applied over the Crud,work may be a good solution and likely cheaper then tearing out and starting over.
 
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Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Thanks @Rossterman! That sounds right. All I know about it is: concrete is supposed to look the way it's going to look just before it sets up. It's not wood! You don't come back and sand it or patch it or paint it to finalize it. That's not the way it works. If that's the skill set, then stick to drywall hanging, because those "fixes" are appropriate to that trade!
 
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Winger 03

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2009
295
Frederick County, MD
Might tile cover up the white strip? Run it to the top where the strip makes a 90° turn. You can trim back the strip where it might stick out from the tile.

On a second look, it appears that the desk is too high. I do not recall seeing that much of the "curve" where the pool wall transitions to the lip that gets covered by the deck with my fiberglass pool. I am questioning the placement of the forms for the cantilever coping.
 

wilkj1

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Nov 27, 2017
176
okc/okla
that is a very rough finish it was way to wet to broom. you can broom a float finish and have a great product. i give that finish a 5 out of 10 not good work . a steel trowel helps tighten it but also may make it slick it is a fine line.
one bonus is if it is cool decked (a costly option too) it will bond great and some extra work to clean up edges and coping may help if your happy walking on the surface as is. good luck and a happy TFP will make swimming even better.
 

Zeberifo

Member
Aug 23, 2020
9
Michigan
Might tile cover up the white strip? Run it to the top where the strip makes a 90° turn. You can trim back the strip where it might stick out from the tile.

On a second look, it appears that the desk is too high. I do not recall seeing that much of the "curve" where the pool wall transitions to the lip that gets covered by the deck with my fiberglass pool. I am questioning the placement of the forms for the cantilever coping.
Yep, the only repair option seems to be that a tile job conceals the lousy install. PB stated that the white strip is actually made for a tile job - it’s got that 90 degree edge at the top of it. I did not ask for a tile job and now I need one. Any ideas on whether I should demand a free tile job? I know it’s mostly labor, but I’d be willing to buy the tile at most and he installs it on his dime.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Well... it kinda seems you're looking to us here to make yourself feel better about letting this guy off the hook. And if you're going to be OK with that, then you don't really need our input, even if we agreed. Several of us have implied, and a few have outright said: "Make him rip it out and do it right!" If you're not willing to go down that road, then certainly anything that he can offer to make up for his poor workmanship, that is less than the cost of a complete redo, is appropriate to ask for. Doesn't mean you'll get it, of course.

On another tack: I think I understand what you are describing about that 90 degree strip. It's hard to tell from the pic's, but it looks like the deck stops right where that strip does. So if you add tile, along with the associated layer of adhesive behind it, will the face of the tile and the edge of the white strip and the face of the deck all be inline? Here's why I ask. That's not going to look all that great, and maybe not work all that well. The deck is supposed to overhang over the side of the pool, including the tile, for two reasons (there might be more?). (1) to hide the top of the tile and that white strip, and (2) to act as a splash guard to keep the water in the pool. My overhang is only about an 1-1/2" but it is very effective at keeping the water in the pool when folks are jumping in and splashing around. Even one of my cannon balls doesn't push much if any water out of the pool. But if you don't have an overhang, or not enough of one, then those waves are going to end up on your deck. Which is not great for concrete and will waste a lot of water, and could affect whatever landscaping the water might run off into! I'm not sure you have enough of an edge even without tile.

Speaking of which... have you tested the level of the deck? It's supposed to run downhill, away from the pool, so that splashes or rain or flooding landscape irrigation does not run into the pool (which can contaminate the water, causing algae, staining, etc). If that was also done incorrectly, then that's another issue that will affect you long term.

I think someone advised you to hire a pro to come out and evaluate the deck. Are you going to do that? There may be other things we haven't thought of, or can't see in your pic's, that could be a problem, now, or down the road...