Can this be patched or is it a total demo?

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Both my pool contractor and the gunite company say this can be patched. It looks more serious to me than a patch job. IMG_10428.jpg
The backstory:
Initial construction (rebar, plumbing and gunite shell) were completed in 2017. Plaster and tiling were done in the spring on 2018.
The structure is on a blue stone base, as solid ground couldn't be reached until 25' down.
We noticed small cracks in the plaster and thought they were superficial. Our GC sent his gunite subcontractor, who started digging and found they went through to the gunite.

The theories:
The gunite guy didn't like hearing that the shell sat over the winter without plaster or water. He thinks maybe it wasn't watered for the first 3 days after being shot, but I can't remember one way or the other. (If that was our responsibility, then we definitely did it. If the GC was supposed to do it or if he didn't tell us to do it, it might not have been done.)
The rebar grid was too large. (It's 12"x13" for a 14'x32' pool.)
The plumbing was too close to the rebar on both sides of the pool (actually touching it) and grouped together so not enough gunite was able to get between them.
Our GC says maybe the gunite mix wasn't correct.

The suggested fixes:
The plumbing has been cut away, spliced (with sweeps), and moved back from the rebar. Additional rebar will be patched in today. They plan to reshoot the gunite next week.

My questions:
Is patching the correct approach? (And if not, what is?)
What will prevent it from cracking elsewhere in the coming years?

Both the contractors say that all cracks would have shown up by now, so patching is okay. I'm not so sure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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We have a few guys here that are contractors, Hopefully they'll chime in and impart some wisdom.

From the looks of it you're almost at the point of rip it all out and start over. Do you have a price for the repairs they say are needed? You can compare that to the original install cost.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
We have a few guys here that are contractors, Hopefully they'll chime in and impart some wisdom.

From the looks of it you're almost at the point of rip it all out and start over. Do you have a price for the repairs they say are needed? You can compare that to the original install cost.
Both the original pool contractor and the gunite company are honoring their gurarantees and doing the work for free. The original build was so stressful - I don't want to go thorugh it again. If they patch it, we may get August-September out of the pool. So far we've had two half-summers with it. The reason I'm posting here is because I want to do the RIGHT thing, which may not be the thing my heart wants.
 
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bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
Both the original pool contractor and the gunite company are honoring their gurarantees and doing the work for free. The original build was so stressful - I don't want to go thorugh it again. Also, my husband is sick and I don't know how many summers he has left. If they patch it, we may get August-September out of the pool. So far we've had two half-summers with it. The reason I'm posting here is because I want to do the RIGHT thing, which may not be the thing my heart wants.
Did you mean for your username to be 8765309? I'm still going to call you Jenny!
 
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8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Just heard back from another pool contractor in our area. (We wanted to go with him originally, but he was scheduling out 2 years.) He said there's supposed to be 3" of thickness in the gunite between the rebar and inner surface of the pool. The wall with all the pipes has a space 1/2" between the rebar and the inner surface of the pool. The other side of the pool has 1.5" between the rebar and the inner surface. Does that sound right to anyone? Thanks!
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
The holes were drilled by the gunite team. It doesn't crumble if you rub your fingers on it.
pool 04.jpg
 
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bdavis466

TFP Expert
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Aug 4, 2014
5,493
San Clemente, CA
Just heard back from another pool contractor in our area. (We wanted to go with him originally, but he was scheduling out 2 years.) He said there's supposed to be 3" of thickness in the gunite between the rebar and inner surface of the pool. The wall with all the pipes has a space 1/2" between the rebar and the inner surface of the pool. The other side of the pool has 1.5" between the rebar and the inner surface. Does that sound right to anyone? Thanks!
I don't see any reason to salvage what is there other than convenience for the builder. The rebar has poor coverage and the gunite integrity looks questionable.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
18,162
Northern NJ
I don't see any reason to salvage what is there other than convenience for the builder. The rebar has poor coverage and the gunite integrity looks questionable.
Jersey translation - insist the builder rip it out and start over. It is the only way you will know you have good construction throughout the pool.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
More photos for context:
View attachment 140803
I don't see any reason to salvage what is there other than convenience for the builder. The rebar has poor coverage and the gunite integrity looks questionable.
Thanks for weighing in. Can you elaborate on what you mean about the rebar having poor coverage? I just want to know so I can make sure it's right for the rebuild. Thanks!
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Jersey translation - insist the builder rip it out and start over. It is the only way you will know you have good construction throughout the pool.
Thank you! In the meantime I'll have to learn how to correctly build a pool so I can instruct the crew. That's life!
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,162
Northern NJ
There was not enough rebar put in. It was too widely spaced. More rebar closer spaced needs to be put in curved areas. The gunite was not put in thick enough and the actual mix quality is in doubt.

You can see many pics of lots of rebar in pools in pics in threads in Under Construction. For the gunite ask for the mix ticket for each truck. And observe that all rebound is hauled away and not troweled back on low spots as fill.

Consider hiring an independent contruction supervisor to oversee the work during the rebar and gunite installations. It may be cheap insurance.

See Construction Best Practices - Rebar and Gunite
 

Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
103
Alpine, Ca
I would suggest if possible the building inspector take a look at it. What happened to the plans after the pool was complete? Not sure if plans would be too much different in your area but I would think you have a master swimming pool plan for the rebar. For a standard pool where I live it is called sheet 1. It has all the specs on it. You maybe able to google one to see what it says, If PB is not cooperating. I'm in agreement with others that I would want it torn all out and done over. The gunite can also be sent in for an evaluation. Just suggestions to make your case. Good luck, hope you get the pool you were promised.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
There was not enough rebar put in. It was too widely spaced. More rebar closer spaced needs to be put in curved areas. The gunite was not put in thick enough and the actual mix quality is in doubt.

You can see many pics of lots of rebar in pools in pics in threads in Under Construction. For the gunite ask for the mix ticket for each truck. And observe that all rebound is hauled away and not troweled back on low spots as fill.

Consider hiring an independent contruction supervisor to oversee the work during the rebar and gunite installations. It may be cheap insurance.

See Construction Best Practices - Rebar and Gunite
Thank you!
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
I would suggest if possible the building inspector take a look at it. What happened to the plans after the pool was complete? Not sure if plans would be too much different in your area but I would think you have a master swimming pool plan for the rebar. For a standard pool where I live it is called sheet 1. It has all the specs on it. You maybe able to google one to see what it says, If PB is not cooperating. I'm in agreement with others that I would want it torn all out and done over. The gunite can also be sent in for an evaluation. Just suggestions to make your case. Good luck, hope you get the pool you were promised.
Excellent points. Thank you for your advice and for the specific tips. I'll have to find out what happened to the plans. I also overestimated that the town inspector would, ya know, actually inspect the thing and make sure it was right before the gunite was shot. Surely he should have been able to see that the rebar was wrong? The PB is cooperating. I'm grateful for that. I like to settle disputes privately, but I think they know that if I post the picture at the top of this thread to a Google review, they'll lose business. And they've been around for a long time. Fingers crossed we will continue to have their cooperation and attention. Thank you for your help!
 

Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
103
Alpine, Ca
I agree with the rebar if wrong should have been caught. But they would not know about the thickness of rebar to out gunite surface, but now that it is exposed.......
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,162
Northern NJ
The local inspector is not there to do quality control on the build. He will only review the build to see that it is built to the approved plan and all building codes are followed. The quality of the gunite is not his concern and what is built can fall apart the next day and it is not his problem.

The responsibility falls onto the builder who submitted the pool design plans to the town for approval and any engineer who put his stamp on the plan. A plan that meets the minimum structural requirements may not be appropriate for your properties specific conditions. The town and inspector only reviews the plans to see that it meets minimum code requirements. It is up to the builder to determine that the minimums are insufficient for the job he is taking on.
 
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