Gunite pool - fixable or ???

Emc.Carter

Gold Supporter
Aug 29, 2019
17
Ohio
Hello All - hope you are safe with all the Covid-19 ongoings... if you have time, please read and share your thoughts... please help!

I first joined the group last year as we were deciding on the type of pool, etc. Excavation and pool shell were completed last December. Contract: 20% down payment; additional 70% upon pool shell completion. We paid 90%, they left without instruction. Our septic service provider came by and called me because he took a look at the pool (said he was concerned as he used to pour concrete and new we would be investing a lot of money into the pool), and had some concerns about the pour. When I took those concerns to the PB, he said those concerns would be patched with cement when they came to tile the pool. They disappeared since last December and reappeared 2 weeks ago. They came out and pumped out the water to start applying the tile. I took a look... I see cracks.

Meanwhile, we had contracted a landscape design company to help up figure out the surrounding area, deck design, etc. I asked them about the cracks. They had concerns. They called out a retired PB to take a look. The PB said it wasn't the worst thing he had seen and that he knew our contracted PB, and it was one of the "better ones". That said - it was a shoddy job, and we would be rolling the dice - never a problem, 1 yr, 3, yrs, 10 years later there could be issues. We had a mild winter... the retired PB wasn't sure it would stand up to a harsh winter.

Over the past weekend, there were storms, and I was able to document by video, outside ground water running into the pool, not just trickling, but a steady stream. Also found leaks that were not even associated with any cracks! Our PB says these cracks are normal and can be repaired. PB says this is the way that pools are built... seal the outside, plaster the inside, and it will be fine... but we've lost our trust and our faith.

Our contract stipulates 7,000 PSI concrete. Independent retired pool builder, didn't think it was 7,000 and that could potentially be our "breach of contract". The rebar is not in the middle of the concrete wall, but almost up against the edge of the wall. The bond beam is 6" thick - they think that is the bare minimum and that the gold standard is 10"?

Here are some photographs... would really appreciate your thoughts. I've placed them in sequential order. The image with third image is the blue water the collected over the winter months. The last picture is the muddy water that collected inside from outside ground water seeping in after a storm...
IMG_9166.jpeg
 

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Emc.Carter

Gold Supporter
Aug 29, 2019
17
Ohio
Also of note... we requested the PB refund our money, and that we would eat the cost of removal and move forward with another company. They responded that they wanted to build our pool, i.e., no they would not be refunding our money.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,847
Bedford, TX
Emc,

I edited your title...

Sorry about your problems..

Please keep in mind this is a pool forum and we will be glad to provide you with pool and construction advice.

We are not lawyers, and even if some of our members are, we will not be providing any litigation advice..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Emc.Carter

Gold Supporter
Aug 29, 2019
17
Ohio
Sure. Absolutely understand. Not looking for legal advice.

Wondering if anyone has had similar problems and if some people would be comfortable moving forward with repairs? Or others would be inclined to start over. Thank you.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,496
Northern NJ
With 90% into the payments what do you got to lose to complete the pool and see how long it lasts?

Looks like he laid in the minimum rebar. You will find lots of builds and you can look at how much more steel most of them have compared to yours. The gunite also looks thin. All the cracks and open areas can be patched with cement. The question is if the PB will do a quick sloppy job with the patching or really get all the areas that need to be patched.

It looks like most of the voids are on the outside of the shell where the forms were. That is more easily patched then on the interior that looks smooth.

@bdavis466 you think it is worth finishing this pool and seeing how it holds up?
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
6" bond beam?

12" bond beam, 6" wall, 6" floor, 10" cove is the minimum. With the rebar so close to the surface you're going to have a lot of rust issues leaching through the plaster.

7,000 PSI concrete - I highly doubt that. If it was delivered by truck, call the ready-mix company and ask for the batch ticket. If they mixed it on site then it's anyone's guess....

It might seem appealing to just finish the pool but when you have issues it will cost a fortune to demo everything - decking, landscape, plumbing, electrical, etc.

Time for an attorney. I hope the pool was permitted and your contractor is licensed...I feel like I already know the answer though
 
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Emc.Carter

Gold Supporter
Aug 29, 2019
17
Ohio
6" bond beam?

12" bond beam, 6" wall, 6" floor, 10" cove is the minimum. With the rebar so close to the surface you're going to have a lot of rust issues leaching through the plaster.

7,000 PSI concrete - I highly doubt that. If it was delivered by truck, call the ready-mix company and ask for the batch ticket. If they mixed it on site then it's anyone's guess....

It might seem appealing to just finish the pool but when you have issues it will cost a fortune to demo everything - decking, landscape, plumbing, electrical, etc.

Time for an attorney. I hope the pool was permitted and your contractor is licensed...I feel like I already know the answer though
Thank you for taking the time to jot down your thoughts bdavis466. Our pool was permitted with the township and county. I tried to get a few referrals prior to going with this company.

The landscape company contacted the township and county to receive copies of the documents that were submitted and they were surprised by the acceptance of such crude non specific application.

Just needed a few more eyes to help us gather our wits. We didn’t know any better and really disappointed. But better to know now then a few years down the road.
Thank you.
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,521
SW PA
You are definitely better off now to know than down the road with a completed pool with issues. If this were my pool. I would stop all work, lawyer up and stay off social media about this!!! But that's just me.
 

Emc.Carter

Gold Supporter
Aug 29, 2019
17
Ohio
You are definitely better off now to know than down the road with a completed pool with issues. If this were my pool. I would stop all work, lawyer up and stay off social media about this!!! But that's just me.
Thank you - we have not posted anything on social media - or are you referring to this forum as a social media venue?
 
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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
I can't imagine that rebar passing an inspection. If it actually did pass an inspection then I would file a complaint against the building department as well and provide that information to your attorney.

The whole purpose of permits and inspections is to prevent a homeowner from unsafe/unsuitable construction practices by contractors. While inspectors can clearly be a pain in some circumstances, in the case of yours he was either drunk, high, blind or a combination of all of them.