Complete Overhaul of older pool - Spring/Summer 2017


New member
Mar 12, 2014
Toronto, Canada
Hi, This is my first post but I've been an avid reader of the site for 3 years. Great place to learn about proper pool maintenance! Now I have a major job coming up and hope to get some advice about others experiences.

Our old pool needs a complete overhaul…liner, coping, concrete decking, all piping, skimmer, electrical all need replacement. We live in Toronto with severe weather extremes, 30 plus Celsius in the summer and down to minus 20 Celsius in the winter. While researching options a number of questions have come up:

1. A landscaper told me that stamped/coloured concrete is weaker than regular concrete and will crack within a few years. Has anyone had experience, good or bad, with this?
2. It has also been suggested to sink sono-tubes to below the frost line to stabilize a concrete deck. Has anyone done this and found to have less shifting of the concrete over time?
3. I want underwater LED lights installed, my wife does not because of possible leaking, is there a way to make them leak free? Again, any experience in this area?
4. Any experiences with solar panels in northern climates, or recommended products?
5. One pool shop claims that we should not go to a salt water system because we have steel walls and will experience corrosion. Thoughts?
6. Will spray foaming or insulating the walls to retain heat be beneficial? Heard of this done on a few new installs.
Any other ideas, suggestions, experiences, or things to watch out for when doing a major pool overhaul will be welcomed! Thanks!


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
I can touch on the insulating the walls-unless you have a cover on the pool you will lose your heat that way. Nothing you do to the walls will really help keep the heat in.

I am going to ask someone to come in to answer the weaker concrete question. I know what my gut says but have not facts to base it on. He will.



Well-known member
Jan 3, 2016
Mesa, Az
As for the idea that stamped/colored concrete is "weaker" than uncolored concrete is not true if performed correctly. Yes, retarder is a component in stamped concrete, but retarder is just a temporary condition and SHOULD have no affect on ultimate strength at maturity. As for surface spalling due to freeze/thaw, if a properly proportioned and air-entrained mix is used and properly finished, there should be no deleterious effect.

As far as your question about piers supporting a slab, I've never witnessed this in ANY climate, unless it is a structural slab with integral grade beams sitting on a deeper foundation component. Your slab should be on a properly prepared base (separate subject) and isolated from other structures that may or may not move during ground freeze. A slab on grade needs properly designed (and executed) control AND expansion joints and must have some type of supplemental reinforcement (and I don't mean fibers).