Buying house with "junk" pool?

PoolHelp1011

Member
Feb 8, 2019
6
Grand Rapids MI
Hello - new to the forum! If this is the wrong place to post please feel free to advise/move.

We have an accepted offer on a home we love. It was built in 1936 and has an in ground concrete pool. We have received MINIMAL information on this pool. We know it has not been opened in three years. We found it was going to be painted a year ago but they did not go through with it. After a lot of question asking we talked to the company who pulled the file and let us know he opted out of the painting because the pool has "run its life course". Essentially, the pool is junk. Worse, we live in Michigan and have had the worst winter weather the past couple weeks, resulting in even a topical pool inspection being nearly impossible. I realize without it being up and running we cant be told much but it'd be great if we could have someone look at it.

I have googled a lot but can not seem to find much information on concrete pools or when a pool is essentially unable to function. I am looking for guidance as far as the "life" of a pool. I'd like to know how you know a pool is junk and if a concrete pool is something you can repair? Sorry for being a total newbie, we know nothing about pools and are trying to be as informed as possible. We love the house so much, the pool was such a great bonus but we have no concept of what this could potentially cost us long term.

Any and all information would be so appreciated. Feel free to ask any questions you may have & I will try my best to answer.
 

Texas Splash

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LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to the forum! :wave: A conrete/plaster pool's service life can vary. First, there's the concrete or shell of the pool which is one issue. Then you have the plumbing and equipment (pump, fiter, etc). In VERY general terms, a well-maintained plaster pool can last decades IF it was maintained well. It is not uncommon for plaster pools to require re-plastering after x-amount of years - again depending on how it was maintained. But if the plaster is cracked, chipped, etc, it can usually be repaired professionally. As for the equipment, you won't know if it works until the pool is full of water and you try to turn it all on. Some new home owners get lucky and the equipment lasts for a while, others scrap everything and start with new equipment. The plumbing underground is another issue. Today's pipes are PVC while some of our much older pools may have used a different material that was suceptible to corrosion. That's just one of those things you won't know about until you try running the system to see if it holds pressure without any leaks. But pool repairs are generally something that can be done if needed. The amount of work and $$$$ depends on everything I noted above.

As you get settled, you can tell us more about this pool and/or post some pics. We'll try to help.
 

PoolHelp1011

Member
Feb 8, 2019
6
Grand Rapids MI
Thanks Texas Splash! I probably should have mentioned we have not purchased the home yet, just going through the inspection process.

It is unsettling to hear a pool is "junk", as you can imagine! So right now we are in limbo as far as "buy this house and take the gamble on the pool, or say no to the house we love because that pool will never work again" :confused::confused:
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
13,083
Bedford, TX
1011,

Welcome to TFP... a great place to find the answers to all of your old junk pool upgrades... :shark:

Of course without pictures, or better yet being there, it is impossible to know anything for sure, but my guess it will take $20 to $30K to bring the pool into shape.

I estimate about $ $15 to $20K to redo the plaster, the tile, and the coping.. Another $3 to $5K for new equipment. This assume the Decking, which you should be able to see, is in OK shape, or at least something that you can live with..

One option would be to have the seller put $30K in escrow until after it warms up enough for the pool to be properly inspected. Or just tell the seller they need to drop the price by $30K...

If it is the dream house you have always wanted, and you just can't walk away, it will cost almost the same thing just to bury the pool. Unless you have the money to fix it, it will soon turn into a constant reminder of a poor deal.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
6,802
Northern NJ
Every pool can be brought back to life. Even if it is by transplanting a new pool in its place. It is all about money and how good a deal you can get on the house.

Right now you need to assume you are buying a hole in the backyard and a project. Are you a DIYer? There have been threads here of folks bringing pools back from the dead. An issue you will need to deal with is finding people and subcontractors to do the work. Pool builders like to do new construction. Rehabs are big unkowns and hard to make profitable for a builder.

The concrete pool shell is almost always useable if you like the shape and location in your yard. Cracks in it can be patched. The big unkown is the status of the plumbing. And it will take pressure testing of the pipes to figure that out. If the shell and plumbing are good then the rehab becomes more straightforward.

All new equipment should be assumed. Plaster jobs are straightforward. Then you have tile, deck, and coping to evaluate.

You have to decide if the house price is right and if you are up for the pool project.
 

PoolHelp1011

Member
Feb 8, 2019
6
Grand Rapids MI
is the pool full of water
if not can you see any cracks around the water level
or has the water level settled around a plumbing or lighting fixture
The pool is not full, looks to be about a quarter of dirty water, snow & ice. We don't see any cracks around the water level.

Every pool can be brought back to life. Even if it is by transplanting a new pool in its place. It is all about money and how good a deal you can get on the house.

Right now you need to assume you are buying a hole in the backyard and a project. Are you a DIYer? There have been threads here of folks bringing pools back from the dead. An issue you will need to deal with is finding people and subcontractors to do the work. Pool builders like to do new construction. Rehabs are big unkowns and hard to make profitable for a builder.

The concrete pool shell is almost always useable if you like the shape and location in your yard. Cracks in it can be patched. The big unkown is the status of the plumbing. And it will take pressure testing of the pipes to figure that out. If the shell and plumbing are good then the rehab becomes more straightforward.

All new equipment should be assumed. Plaster jobs are straightforward. Then you have tile, deck, and coping to evaluate.

You have to decide if the house price is right and if you are up for the pool project.
You are right, we ARE assuming a hole in the ground - I just wish we knew the cost of repair (I know, nearly impossible). We have a friend coming out Monday who has 30+ years in the pool business. Hopefully we can in the very least learn something. Equipment is outside and probably has been, so we know that's a wash.


1011,

Welcome to TFP... a great place to find the answers to all of your old junk pool upgrades... :shark:

Of course without pictures, or better yet being there, it is impossible to know anything for sure, but my guess it will take $20 to $30K to bring the pool into shape.

I estimate about $ $15 to $20K to redo the plaster, the tile, and the coping.. Another $3 to $5K for new equipment. This assume the Decking, which you should be able to see, is in OK shape, or at least something that you can live with..

One option would be to have the seller put $30K in escrow until after it warms up enough for the pool to be properly inspected. Or just tell the seller they need to drop the price by $30K...

If it is the dream house you have always wanted, and you just can't walk away, it will cost almost the same thing just to bury the pool. Unless you have the money to fix it, it will soon turn into a constant reminder of a poor deal.

Thanks,

Jim R.
Thank you! Ideally we dont want to bury. & I think we could live with $30K of reno. Its the unknown thats scary! Also not thrilled that it wasn't disclosed prior to making an offer.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,359
Damascus, MD
Can you post a picture? Include the pool and equipment pad and some zoomed out shots. We'll give you 1000 words for it!
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
5,170
Central MD
One thing I'd check is to see if the pool has popped. Meaning is the pool level. Looking at the decking will give you most of that answer. If it's all still in line with the pool and pretty flat it's likely fine. But the easy way to test is measure from the waterline to the top of the coping in 4 evenly spaced areas around the pool. The distance should be exactly the same, or within 1/4", assuming the coping is of consistent thickness and not popped off. It's just a very high level test of a potentially very big issue for an abandoned pool.
 

kimkats

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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,921
Tallahassee, FL
I am and will wait for pics as everything has been well covered so far! Here is hoping we can tell you some good news!