First Build. Am I crazy?

chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
Hi all,

I have this dream to turn my old semi-below grade garage footer structure into a pool. I had to tear the structure down for insurance purposes and then my wife got the idea to turn it into a pool. I am getting pretty serious into the design phase and ready to get started on it. I just got my city permit today.

The structure is about 12'x18' and 48-54" tall (sloped toward front). The three walls are made of 9-10" poured concrete. The wall where the garage door was will be filled with CMU block anchored to the existing concrete and slab with 1/2" rebar then poured full of concrete. I have spoken with a structural engineer so I believe I have that part of this project figured out but really need some help with the best way to waterproof this type of pool. Internet research has not really helped as this is a unique type of project.

I've had a few thoughts and wonder what you think:

1. Fiberglass cloth and resin epoxy. This would allow the concrete structure to move/crack a little while the fiberglass "shell" stayed intact. I don't expect movement but there are a few existing cracks in the over 100 year old walls.
2. Surface bonding concrete over the whole surface. This would fill in all the cracks and then I could come over with another layer of ?? waterproofing.

I am planning on performing most of the work myself. I have renovated this 1915 house down to the studs and am a fairly capable craftsman so it would be great if recommendations were geared toward diy type applications.

I have attached a few photos and design sketches. Any help would be more than appreciated and I am excited to get started and become a part of this community.

Feel free to tell me I am crazy but help me dream if it is possible!

104124104125
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,019
Bedford, TX
C,

I am pretty sure you passed "crazy" a few miles back.. :mrgreen:

I would think you could plaster it just the same as you would a standard gunite pool.

Neat idea...

Good luck with your new pool,

Jim R.
 

MinerJason

Bronze Supporter
Jan 29, 2018
269
Tucson, AZ
You are a little crazy, but so am I, and I like your idea. I would make sure your horizontal rebar penetrates the adjacent walls to really tie things together. I would then drill holes for the return lines, cut a notch for the skimmer, and run most of the plumbing. Use a core bit slightly larger than the pipes, and use some good epoxy to seal the back side of the hole when you stub the pipes in. Make a form around the skimmer, install two rebar loops inside the form and around the skimmer and anchor them to the walls. Once all the plumbing is in place, pour the concrete around the skimmer.

Plaster is usually used as the waterproofing in a pool. For something like this it might be a good idea to do a waterproofing layer below the plaster though. I'd squeeze some hydraulic cement into any larger cracks and corners, around the pipe penatrations, and around the skimmer throat. Then I'd roll on a cementitious waterproofer like Merlex super blockade. Then I'd install waterline tile. Once the tile is in, I'd call around and find a plaster crew to plaster/pebble it.

Because it's so rectangular, another option would be tile instead of plaster. This would likely be more expensive even if you DIY it, but it's still an option. You'd want to use low permeability frost free tile and epoxy based grout if you go this route.

Good luck!
 

SBall

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2017
249
Nashville, TN
The least expensive option would be to just put some liner track on top and have a custom vinyl liner cut, it would be very straightforward and simple.
 

chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
C,

I am pretty sure you passed "crazy" a few miles back.. :mrgreen:

I would think you could plaster it just the same as you would a standard gunite pool.

Neat idea...

Good luck with your new pool,

Jim R.
I wonder if It makes sense to fill in the cracks and level/smooth out with a nice 1/4” thick surface bonded concrete layer. Then use plaster on top of that. (Need to check that plaster adheres properly with that surface bonded.)

Surface bonded concrete has fibers in it that would resist a little movement in the structure.
 

chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
You are a little crazy, but so am I, and I like your idea. I would make sure your horizontal rebar penetrates the adjacent walls to really tie things together. I would then drill holes for the return lines, cut a notch for the skimmer, and run most of the plumbing. Use a core bit slightly larger than the pipes, and use some good epoxy to seal the back side of the hole when you stub the pipes in. Make a form around the skimmer, install two rebar loops inside the form and around the skimmer and anchor them to the walls. Once all the plumbing is in place, pour the concrete around the skimmer.

Plaster is usually used as the waterproofing in a pool. For something like this it might be a good idea to do a waterproofing layer below the plaster though. I'd squeeze some hydraulic cement into any larger cracks and corners, around the pipe penatrations, and around the skimmer throat. Then I'd roll on a cementitious waterproofer like Merlex super blockade. Then I'd install waterline tile. Once the tile is in, I'd call around and find a plaster crew to plaster/pebble it.

Because it's so rectangular, another option would be tile instead of plaster. This would likely be more expensive even if you DIY it, but it's still an option. You'd want to use low permeability frost free tile and epoxy based grout if you go this route.

Good luck!
This is a super helpful reply. Thanks for taking the time. I’ll look into some of these applications.
 

chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
Hey All. I posted a few weeks/month ago about my pool project. Here is a link

I wanted to update you on my progress and I appreciate the input received. I built up my open wall with rebar and concrete filled CMU blocks and then formed around the existing concrete wall to clean up and build up the wall by about 6". I have also installed my skimmer and two drains. The skimmer was done typically with rebar epoxied into the concrete and filled with concrete. I used hydraulic cement to make the joint between the plastic skimmer and the concrete.

My plan right now is to even out the existing structure with Surface Bonded Concrete with the Acrylic Fortifier. This stuff sticks nicely to concrete and has fiberglass in it so it is very strong. It is used for mortarless CMU block walls and is apparently as strong or stronger than mortar. With the fortifier it claims to be waterproof but I am not going to trust this alone for a pool application. After this is applied, I will have a nice surface to start to figure out the waterproofing.

Many people said previously to do plaster. I'm ok with plaster but it doesn't seem to get great reviews when I start to research it. Epoxy paint seems to last 7 years or so. I'm hoping someone has some experience with waterproofing existing concrete structures and can offer some valuable advice.

Thanks All. See progress pics attached.
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,740
Laughlin, NV
Paint in a pool does not work. Will not last very long and when it comes apart it is nightmare.

Plaster or vinyl liner are your choices.
 

MinerJason

Bronze Supporter
Jan 29, 2018
269
Tucson, AZ
Looking great! If you want to try the surface bonded concrete in place of plaster, but are worried about how waterproof it is, you could apply a waterproofing product beforehand. I'm a usually a big fan of cementitious waterproofing agents, like Merlex super blockade, but they don't tolerate any movement at all. With the unorthodox construction method here, a membrane type might be more suitable, but could also be a bit costly.

How are you planning on building the ledge/steps, more block work with a slab on top?
 

chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
All,

I was leaning towards plaster but I am worried about all the different cold joints in this construction cracking the plaster. Does anyone have any experience with tiling a pool? I was thinking about putting down that schluter stuff first to control crack joints and help with waterproofing. Then I could tile over the schluter. Is this a reasonable way to go about waterproofing with this many joints?

Thanks.
 

duraleigh

Admin
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Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,863
Sebring, Florida
The big issue you have is with the joint between the pool floor and the pool walls. That is a cold joint (isnt it?) and it will be constantly exposed to movement and cracking.

I would taker a FAR easier path and install a vinyl liner......much easier and more forgiving.
 
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chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
The big issue you have is with the joint between the pool floor and the pool walls. That is a cold joint (isnt it?) and it will be constantly exposed to movement and cracking.

I would taker a FAR easier path and install a vinyl liner......much easier and more forgiving.
Yea. The walls and floor have a cold joint. Then there are also a lot of mortar joints in the wall I created.

Vinyl seems to have a cheaper aesthetic to it so I havent really considered it but many have suggested it for this pool structure.

I am going for a more natural looking pool. Are there higher quality vinyl suppliers? Also, are there any vinyls that might have texture to them so they don't just feel like slippery plastic? Thanks!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,123
Tallahassee, FL
There are gray and brown liner that give a wonder water color and they look oh so neat as well!

My liner is not slippery at all so............
 

chrsar

Member
Jun 1, 2019
8
Chattanooga, TN
There are gray and brown liner that give a wonder water color and they look oh so neat as well!

My liner is not slippery at all so............
Yes. I have seen a few online that give a nice natural look. I like the darker colors and will probably skip on the water line tile look. I think those would look nice.