Exposed Rebar in New Pool/Spa

Jimtim21

Member
Jul 30, 2020
6
Arizona
Currently in day 10 of the curing
Process of the shotcrete shell. I have come across 3 areas of exposed rebar in the pool and spa shell. I asked the builder and he said not to worry because they will put a “mortar bed”
over
The exposed areas and that its normal for some
Rebar to be exposed .
What do you guys think I should do?
 
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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
There's a couple issues here.... all of the rebar should be encased in a minimum of 3 in of concrete above and below. Since yours is at the surface it is not providing the structural the structural reinforcement that it was designed to provide. That tells me that your shell is either not thick enough, the rebar was placed too close to the surface, or the hole was not dug deep enough.

Placing mortar over the rebar won't do anything structurally and will just mask an issue that will surface at a later date. It is very common for rust stains to work their way up through the plaster and cause a huge discoloration. Every time this happens it is a result of rebar being too close to the surface.

The first thing I would do is drill a core sample in the shell and make sure that you have the full thickness that you need. If that's not the case then they need to come back and apply two to three more inches on top of what you have now to encapsulate the rebar. If by chance those are just stray pieces of rebar that are out of place then cover them up but then coat the entire shell with a high quality waterproofing agent like BaseCrete.

You're going to need to be your own advocate on this because the Builder is just going to want to do a quick fix and move on down the road. This issue will surface itself at some time sooner or later.

Good luck.... sorry that this probably isn't what you wanted to hear
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
Thank you for the information on this! But now I am nervous about it on my new build. Are there steps that a person should take to avoid things like this when their new pool is being built? Maybe watch how far the rebar is from the soil before the gunite is shot? Any other way to have an idea of thickness besides drilling? Install 37 cameras in the backyard to spy on them while the gunite is going in, lol?
 

darinclifton

Active member
Jun 2, 2019
34
St. Louis
There's a couple issues here.... all of the rebar should be encased in a minimum of 3 in of concrete above and below. Since yours is at the surface it is not providing the structural the structural reinforcement that it was designed to provide. That tells me that your shell is either not thick enough, the rebar was placed too close to the surface, or the hole was not dug deep enough.

Placing mortar over the rebar won't do anything structurally and will just mask an issue that will surface at a later date. It is very common for rust stains to work their way up through the plaster and cause a huge discoloration. Every time this happens it is a result of rebar being too close to the surface.

The first thing I would do is drill a core sample in the shell and make sure that you have the full thickness that you need. If that's not the case then they need to come back and apply two to three more inches on top of what you have now to encapsulate the rebar. If by chance those are just stray pieces of rebar that are out of place then cover them up but then coat the entire shell with a high quality waterproofing agent like BaseCrete.

You're going to need to be your own advocate on this because the Builder is just going to want to do a quick fix and move on down the road. This issue will surface itself at some time sooner or later.

Good luck.... sorry that this probably isn't what you wanted to hear
This is not just good practice, this is a code requirement. Minimum concrete cover is under IBC (International building code) Section 1913 and generally under the IRC (International Resident Code) R404.1.2.3.7.4 and specifically under reference to ACI (American Concrete Institute) 318. Don't be shy, this is not a subjective appearance issue. concrete cover and the problems associated will cause a quick end to your very substantial investment.
 
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Jimtim21

Member
Jul 30, 2020
6
Arizona
There's a couple issues here.... all of the rebar should be encased in a minimum of 3 in of concrete above and below. Since yours is at the surface it is not providing the structural the structural reinforcement that it was designed to provide. That tells me that your shell is either not thick enough, the rebar was placed too close to the surface, or the hole was not dug deep enough.

Placing mortar over the rebar won't do anything structurally and will just mask an issue that will surface at a later date. It is very common for rust stains to work their way up through the plaster and cause a huge discoloration. Every time this happens it is a result of rebar being too close to the surface.

The first thing I would do is drill a core sample in the shell and make sure that you have the full thickness that you need. If that's not the case then they need to come back and apply two to three more inches on top of what you have now to encapsulate the rebar. If by chance those are just stray pieces of rebar that are out of place then cover them up but then coat the entire shell with a high quality waterproofing agent like BaseCrete.

You're going to need to be your own advocate on this because the Builder is just going to want to do a quick fix and move on down the road. This issue will surface itself at some time sooner or later.

Good luck.... sorry that this probably isn't what you wanted to hear
Thank you so much for this information! The exposed rebar is on the outside of the raised spa and on the inner wall of the spa. There was also some rebar ties that I noticed on the other side of the pool. The exposed rebar I am concerned about does not seem to be stray rebar either.
 
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Jimmie48

Well-known member
Dec 13, 2019
143
Frisco, TX
I remember seeing a couple of the ties poking out through mine but not actual rebar. They dug out the ties and grinded them down then put a bondcoat over them. I was told this is normal but who knows...It is very hard to tell but is the middle picture of an actual piece of rebar? Seems odd to me it would poke out like that. I would have them shoot actual gunite on it if it were me...I am no expert but was told by a concrete guy that shotcrete/gunite bonds to shotcrete/gunite. Experts can chime in on that one
 

Jimtim21

Member
Jul 30, 2020
6
Arizona
I remember seeing a couple of the ties poking out through mine but not actual rebar. They dug out the ties and grinded them down then put a bondcoat over them. I was told this is normal but who knows...It is very hard to tell but is the middle picture of an actual piece of rebar? Seems odd to me it would poke out like that. I would have them shoot actual gunite on it if it were me...I am no expert but was told by a concrete guy that shotcrete/gunite bonds to shotcrete/gunite. Experts can chime in on that one
Yes you can see the actual rebar in the spa. Theres more rust now then in the picture. Im not home otherwise i would take that picture too. You can literally touch the rebar.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Sorry, don't mean to pile on, but I'd be more worried about what you don't see than what you can. How much other rebar is too close to the surface? You'll never know. I like Brian's fix. If the shell is too thin then make them shoot the whole thing with 2 or 3 more inches. That'd solve for both what you see and what you don't. I'd start documenting everything if I were you, starting with communicating in writing from this point forward, or at least with email follow-ups to in-person conversations (as in: on so-n-so date we talked about this-n-that and you said that-n-this, etc). If he's been doing shoddy work and then offering incorrect fixes that just hide his mistakes, this might end up going south... You don't have to blast him (yet) with "Fix this or I'll sue!" but you can subtly shift your tone (and writing letters does that) to let him know you know what's-what and that you are expecting a quality end result and proper fixes to get there if required. These guys will often first attempt to see if they can push you around. Now's the time to make it clear that he's not going to be able to do that.
 
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Jimtim21

Member
Jul 30, 2020
6
Arizona
No worries. Im glad to see all this feedback and suggestions. I definitely want this fixed properly at this stage of the build instead of 2-3 years down the line. I have the city inspector coming out to check on things the beginning of next week. Ill be meeting with the pool guys tomorrow to discuss my concerns and what direction this is going to head.
 
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