Draining and framing a hybrid pool?

BustedPool

New member
Sep 21, 2022
2
Northwest Indiana, USA
Pool Size
12568
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Liquid Chlorine
Hello Trouble Free Pool, long time lurker, first time poster. Are you ready for a horror story? I'll try to keep it brief, really. With warm weather leaving us and cold days ahead, I've got a question.

I bought a house with a pool, closed October 2021. Just repairing the hidden damage to house itself has been the primary focus for almost a year (it's been a nightmare of course, I could go on). The pool itself is a hybrid pool, built in 1985. It has a painted concrete bottom with what seems to be soft vinyl sides (I can't tell for sure), and a fiberglass lip above the waterline. Amazingly, the equipment is in (nearly) perfect working order even though it seems to be original. I've had no issue running the pump 24/7 and the sand filter does its job.

The problem is the pool itself. The paint is dissolving*, the caulk along every seam is disintegrating and peeling away, and it's losing water faster than what evaporation could explain. It loses about an inch a day. The pool's size is listed in my profile.

So here's the thing: I'm happy to take my time and DIY repair these things when the weather turns nice next spring/summer, and I'll just winterize it until then. Either I'll repair and repaint the pool, or install a liner. Either way though, how do I keep the walls from collapsing when I drain the pool? It's not going to pop out of the ground like a fiberglass pool might, so I assume some kind of frame is the solution? Would lumber work? I couldn't quite find a TFP post about framing hybrid pools in order to completely drain them, but please let me know if someone's already done this and detailed how.

Or, is this a non-issue? The pool is about 4.5 feet deep at its deepest. I don't want to take any risks, but if the walls simply aren't tall enough to collapse, then maybe it's fine to completely drain it with no frame?

Finding a contractor to do it for me is the last thing I want to do after all the expenses refurbing this house has cost me already, and especially given the fact that hybrid pools are

*About the paint, I thought it was dead algae settling during SLAM, but after the water became crystal clear and all the chemicals had been balanced for weeks, passing the SLAM requirements multiple days in a row, the brush would still kick up white clouds. I scraped the bottom of the pool with some plastic to confirm, yep, the paint was coming off.

I can get photos, just let me know!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,010
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
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Plaster
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

Some reading for you…



 

Lake Placid

Well-known member
May 27, 2021
351
St. Louis
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hi BP and welcome to the forum. I’ve got a Hallmark Hybrid pool that was originally built in ‘84. If your sidewalls are typical they are constructed of fiberglass. I‘m lucky in that the original documentation from the pool was left in the file for me so I have some construction docs that indicate how my pool is built. Your walls, if typical, would have a metal reinforcing beam that attaches to the top of the wall and runs perpendicular to the wall back into the earth behind the wall acting as a brace. The deck is then poured over this reinforcing structure thus becoming integral to the wall reinforcement as well. If you ever have deck work done, this needs to be known and planned for. The pool walls will bend/collapse or become damaged if the deck is removed and the walls aren’t reinforced.

In theory you should be safe to drain and paint if the deck is in good shape. To be on the safe side, however, I would reinforce. You can rent shoring posts and use those to to reinforce the walls. If you go that route, buy some 2x6 or 2x8 and place it flat against the wall for the shoring posts to brace into against the wall.

When I painted earlier this year, the only rental house in town that had shoring posts long enough would only rent them in blocks of minimum 30 days. This priced me out of the market as I only needed them for 10 days max. Instead of using them, I built 2x4 framing to reinforce. I’ll attach pics of what I did. By day 7 of paint curing, it was evident that I really didn’t need the extra shoring, but again I wanted to be safe rather than sorry.

As far as popping out, it’s possible for any pool to float when you empty it depending on the surrounding water table level and soil conditions. Don’t think it can only happen to fiberglass pools. If your pool is like mine, you will have a hydrostatic valve in your main drain, reducing the chances for a pool to float due to groundwater. The hydrostat will allow water from under the shell to enter the pool if the pressure from water outside the pool is higher than the downforce of water in the pool closing the valve. When the pool is empty, it’s a good time to check the hydrostatic valve for wear/replacement.

What your seeing from the paint is typical. Even the manufacturers reference this sloughing or chalking in their documentation. Olympic states in their tech bulletins this is normal by design and you will get at best about 5 years before you’ll be repainting again. If you can identify the current paint that is installed, try to use the same when applying this application (I.e. if it’s an epoxy based paint, reapply an epoxy based paint. If it’s an acrylic use acrylic…etc etc). If you have the time, you can send a chip to Olympic and they will identify what type of paint you have installed. Prep is everything when painting. Read the recommended tech bulletins on prep and follow them to a T. Sadly anymore due to epa required reformulations, paint doesn’t perform well at all so your best hope is to prep really well for the best life possible (5 years at most in the best case scenario). The two brands that were always recommended in my previous professional life for these applications were Olympic and Tnemec. Olympic seems easier for us as consumers to get ahold of and is a little more price friendly.

Ask away with any other questions or if you want me to post up the original docs from hallmark etc.

B3552AF2-B3AE-4BC1-85D9-7F920CEA6EB1.jpeg46F178E8-0537-4FD8-8D43-D1D2A21B4D25.jpeg
 
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Lake Placid

Well-known member
May 27, 2021
351
St. Louis
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
As far as the caulk you describe between the wall seams, it sounds like someone has DIY’d the wrong fix. The original seal between the wall panels is a rubber seal/gasket. If you’re seeing caulk, it’s a probably a poor homeowner fix with the wrong type of sealant. I’ve had good success in sealing wall seams using Olympic Permaseal. If you clean the joints and prep with painters tape and take your time, you wont be able to see the permaseal as caulk. It will look factory. In my repairs, the rubber gaskets were in decent shape in some spots and missing pieces in others so I left it in place and cleaned it well, then used permaseal over the top of the gasket and to fill the missing spots in the wall seams.

The key is to tape as close to the edges of the seams as possible keeping straight and true. Once you lay in the bead of sealant, wet the sealant with 409 and wipe off the excess sealant with your finger wetted with 409. After the first pass with your finger, peel the tape, then moisten the bead of sealant well with 409 again and tool it again with your 409 wetted finger to get a very smooth result. This video here describes tooling control joints in concrete, but the process is the same for the wall seams. The pertinent info starts at about the 13:40 mark in the video.

 
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Lake Placid

Well-known member
May 27, 2021
351
St. Louis
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
One last tip when you‘re prepping the concrete for paint. After your initial acid wash, tsp wash, rinse cycles make sure to give the concrete ample time to dry before applying the new paint. I let the surface dry 18 hours and the next morning it was evident that I didn’t wait long enough and the concrete was weeping almost like dew. There were a few spots where the weep happened after I painted over the prepped surface and it caused bad runs that needed to be back rolled to smooth and cover. I’d suggest an extra day of dry time after the wash rinse cycles before applying paint to prevent this.
 

BustedPool

New member
Sep 21, 2022
2
Northwest Indiana, USA
Pool Size
12568
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Amazing! Thank you greatly! This alleviates a lot of my worry, honestly. I don't have much of the original documentation, so it would be good if I could get my hands on some, just in case I end up needing it. As long as I can safely drain the pool and take my time restoring it, I feel much less anxiety. Had no idea you could rent shoring posts, but I'm glad to see confirmation that 2x4 posts are a viable option.
 

Lake Placid

Well-known member
May 27, 2021
351
St. Louis
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Amazing! Thank you greatly! This alleviates a lot of my worry, honestly. I don't have much of the original documentation, so it would be good if I could get my hands on some, just in case I end up needing it. As long as I can safely drain the pool and take my time restoring it, I feel much less anxiety. Had no idea you could rent shoring posts, but I'm glad to see confirmation that 2x4 posts are a viable option.
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