Concrete decking and cracks

newpoolj

Active member
Oct 15, 2020
33
California
I'm currently trying to find a pool builder and in my area it seems there are mixed reviews of all of them. One of the main things that goes wrong is that concrete work will crack. I don't know if this is because the concrete decking on pool builds wasn't reinforced with rebar or what. I wondered if anyone has thoughts on how a quality concrete job should be done and how to assess whether a concrete contractor will do good work?
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,219
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Concrete deck subsurface has to be properly prepared with sufficient compaction and gravel to be a stable base. Then rebar or fiber mesh embedded within the concrete pour. And control joints cut so any cracking happens in the control joints. Many contractors take shortcuts to save time and money and it shows up a few years later with cracking.

@Rich D and @jimmythegreek may have more details.
 
Last edited:

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,219
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
34,477
Sebring, Florida
Concrete cracks....period. Proper substrate preparation will minimize cracks and sinking but it STILL will crack. No piece of concrete should be installed that doesn't have a control joint every 15 feet in either direction. The concrete then cracks within those control joints and you don't see it.
 

newpoolj

Active member
Oct 15, 2020
33
California
Concrete cracks....period. Proper substrate preparation will minimize cracks and sinking but it STILL will crack. No piece of concrete should be installed that doesn't have a control joint every 15 feet in either direction. The concrete then cracks within those control joints and you don't see it.
Thanks @duraleigh. That's totally understandable. What I am hoping to avoid is cracking that occurs on the flat surfaces away from the joints. A lot of pool decking near where I live seems to be poorly done in this respect, with unhappy customers, so I just wanted to educate myself about how to pick a good concrete contractor.
 

jimmythegreek

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In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,077
Morris Cnty NJ
It's all about cost really. You need good mix, good prep, amd the right conditions and finishing for a good job. Problem with concrete is it looks good 99% of the time when done. Guys get paid amd problems arise down the road. High quality mix amd prep takes time and everyone is out for the best price. If you check the mix ticket of 99% of the pool decks out there you will find 2500 or 3000 mix at best, usually right on dirt or an inch of uncompacted stone.

I got a sign behind my desk that reads:
Good Fast Cheap
If you want it fast amd cheap it wont be good. If you want it good amd fast it wont be cheap. If you want it cheap amd good it wont be fast. words to live by
 

newpoolj

Active member
Oct 15, 2020
33
California
It's all about cost really. You need good mix, good prep, amd the right conditions and finishing for a good job. Problem with concrete is it looks good 99% of the time when done. Guys get paid amd problems arise down the road. High quality mix amd prep takes time and everyone is out for the best price. If you check the mix ticket of 99% of the pool decks out there you will find 2500 or 3000 mix at best, usually right on dirt or an inch of uncompacted stone.

I got a sign behind my desk that reads:
Good Fast Cheap
If you want it fast amd cheap it wont be good. If you want it good amd fast it wont be cheap. If you want it cheap amd good it wont be fast. words to live by
Can you elaborate on what a good mix would be? I'm sure that's something I could specify when using a concrete sub.
 

Tagle281

Member
Jun 19, 2018
9
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas
Surface
Plaster
We have joints within 5 ft and ours is cracking. I believe it's erosion of soil underneath. Actually I know it is. Unless you can keep water from getting under the decking its bound to happen.