Bad Things Happened - Leaving Pool w/o water over winter

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
0
#1
So I've posted earlier about how I had an inground vinyl pool, and was unable to get the liner in before it got unseasonably cold early (lots of snow in November).

It ended up being that I was considering trying to get the liner in when it went up to 50F over a day, but the coping never arrived, so it didn't happen. We ended up having a lot of snow, which covered over the pool for the last couple of months.

We had an unseasonably warm period here, and the snow has all melted. I'm now left with about 4 feet of water in the deep end of the pool, without a full liner on (I left the reminants of the old one in to help protect the concrete, mostly from erosion).

However, bad things have happened it seems. The pool uses prefab panels for the first 3 feet, made of a concrete like material. Those are just fine, and the walls appear to be holding steady. The bad bit, is that the deep end bowl is poured concrete. It was already looking a bit sketchy in the fall, but its worse now.

Most of one half of the poured concrete has simply flaked off. The deep end bowl is now sand. The walls above seem to be ok, and hopefully will be alright for the rest of the winter (and not slide down). The other half, which was covered by the reminants of the liner, I had hoped would fair better. It didn't, it has all heaved and cracked up. The shallow end is fine however (which has a poured concrete floor).

Any idea how hard it would be to repour the concrete for the deep end? It probably won't be the whole surface, since some of it is intact, but it will be some work. It is a liner pool, so I don't have to get it picture smooth, just smooth enough to not be horrible.
 

JohnT

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TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,446
0
SW Indiana
#2
It's a concrete vermiculite mix usually, and it's not poured, just trowelled on a couple of inches thick. Not a huge deal for a pool installer.
 

waste

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
Mar 29, 2007
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Coastalish 'down easter'
#3
Rob, sorry things didn't work out for you to get the liner in! John is right that most installers use a vermiculite mix to do liner pools, however some do use a sand and cement mixture, which may well be what you have.

As an aside: the sand and cement mixture doesn't let water through it anywhere near as well as the vermiculite mix. It is also abrasive on the liner and can cause premature failure :evil: . You also said that the bottom doesn't have to be "smooth enough to not be horrible" , your floor should be 'smooth' if not perfectly level! Any ridges will wear on the liner and subsequently shorten it's life!!

It's easy for knowledgeable and competent trowelers to just patch the affected areas (my boss charges $85 per mix applied) and leave you with ~ a new bottom. Please keep in mind that since you already have the liner, whoever does the patching/ floor fix MUST!!! stay at or slightly below the floor level that your liner was cut to!!! - otherwise you'll have wrinkles in the new liner when it's installed.

One other caution is to have them remove any 'squishy mud' before applying the new floor material (gravel can be used to fill any large voids to reduce the amount of 'crete' material that needs to be used - but you do want ~ 2" of 'crete' material for the floor.)

As always, if you have further questions on what I've said -- all you need do is ask :!: Happy New Year! & good luck with the new liner drop!
 

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
0
#4
Excellent! Thanks for all the replies.

I might look into trying to find a reputable pool builder around here to do some of this work, especially since thats a good point about having things level and smooth. There is an issue though it seems around here, in finding reasonably priced pool builders. Not a lot of competition out there for the work, on top of having a shorter pool season, seems to mean anything to do with pools in this area is more expensive.

I have a bit to decide though, I'm sure I won't be able to even think of doing any of this until March or so, since its already started snowing again.
 

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
0
#5
Update to pool woes

So just to update, spring is starting to hit here finally, and I've called someone about coming over to take a look.

The walls, which make up the first 3' of the pool, both shallow and deep end, appear to be just fine.

The deep end however, is basically a sandy pit. The vermiculite is basically gone, or at least turned into a sludgy mud. We had a pretty cold winter, and it didn't make it.

If anyone were to guess, what would be the cost to have the deep end repoured with vermiculite? The pool is 8' deep, and is 18'X40'. I realize there are all sorts of variables that feed into this including local supply and labour costs etc, I'm just looking at a really rough ballpark:

0-500, 500-1000, 1000-2000, 2000-5000, 5000-10000, that kind of idea.

I can try and add some pictures tonight, there is a bit of snow left in it, so I don't have a complete picture yet, just trying to sort out our spring budget.
 

sefrlw

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2008
130
0
Wake Forest, NC
#7
waste said:
As an aside: the sand and cement mixture doesn't let water through it anywhere near as well as the vermiculite mix. It is also abrasive on the liner and can cause premature failure :evil: . You also said that the bottom doesn't have to be "smooth enough to not be horrible" , your floor should be 'smooth' if not perfectly level! Any ridges will wear on the liner and subsequently shorten it's life!!
Could you define premature failure? I have had a 4 inch thick 3000 or 4000 PSI cement floor in my pool for 10 years now. The floor is as smooth as a babies rear. I have 3 holes in the liner. I caused all three holes. The first 2 in the first year being stupid with the vacuum head and the 3rd a few years later being stupid with a brush. I have no signs of "premature" failure. I think I have 26 mil liner I can't remember at the moment. How long do they last or what is the expected lifetime of a liner? I ask but, I personally would have a cemet floor repoured and not patched.
 

waste

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
Mar 29, 2007
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Coastalish 'down easter'
#8
Sefrlw, I'm glad that you are happy with your pool and that the only liner problems have been caused by yourself :) As I was trying to express, the crete floor may have caused a few other holes if it wasn't 'smooth as a baby's bottom' (then again so would a vermiculite bottom with ridges).

As I used it in the quote, 'premature' means that the liner could have a hole worn through it more quickly with a crete floor than with a vermiculite floor (...holding all other variables constant).

Let's face it, I prefer vermiculite over crete or sand and cement (mostly for the things I mentioned). However, I'm not trying to say that a liner and pool will necessarily suffer from having a crete floor, in the end it all comes down to how well the floor material was applied - vermiculite is more forgiving than the alternatives.

As for 'how long should a liner last': (barring manufacturing defects) I'd say 12 years is ~ as old a well cared for (not chemically abused or letting sharp objects fall in) can be reasonably expected to give NO problems -- I've seen many liners that are 20 + years old who's only problem is a little fading and loss of elasticity from the Sun - heck I've even seen a few that were dropped at least 30 years ago :eek:
 

sefrlw

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2008
130
0
Wake Forest, NC
#9
Thanks for the definition/clarification. Just to make sure. I was not questioning your preference in any way shape or form. I was just concerned since I have a concrete floor.

Thanks