In Ground Gunite New Build Pool/spa Leaking

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hello! San Antonio new build. Pool has been leaking since they built it. A return was cut short which created a huge leak in the yard. Pool was filled in May and leak wasn’t fixed until a month later.

After it was fixed the ground under the concrete decking was still damp.

They just emptied the spa on Friday to see if the area would dry up and it appeared the wet area initially got bigger.

Any idea why that would happen? Pressure tests shows no big leak. There is definitely still a small leak somewhere. We have lived in our house 7.5 years and our yard was never wet.

Pink denotes calcium deposit on tile that constantly is there even after acid wash.

Red denotes return that was leaking 360degrees from pipe being cut short.

Blue denotes several sections of Concrete behind and both sides of spa have already cracked. Poured in January.

Pool was started in Oct 2020 and sprinkler system has been off since day 1 of dig.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. The pool company will not acknowledge it could be their work.
Thank you in advance,
Kathy
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,721
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

It may be time to bring in an independent leak detection company like...


You may need to break up and remove your deck that is sinking and see what is going on under it. Then once all the leaks are fixed replace the concrete.

The calcium deposits on the tile can be calcium waterline scale caused by evaporation or efflorescence caused by water in the gunite shell pulling salts out. Depending on the way your stone and tile were done in your spa you may have water leaking from the spa through the gunite and creating the efflorescence. It is likely no concidence that the area with the white deposits is opposite the spa.


What to do about your unresponsive pool builder depends on the consumer protection laws in your area. You may need to document what you do to repair the builders poor workmanship and then look to recover it in small claims court. Often you need to give a contractor the opportunity to fix their problems before you bring in others. But your first step is more diagnostics to figure out where the problems are.
 
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KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thank you for your reply. The pool company hired them and they have been out a few times and can’t detect any large leaks. When he shines a flashlight to look into the stone that wraps around the spa he has noticed water behind the stone on the same side where the efflorescence is.

The pool company wouldn’t acknowledge the first bad leak (all over the yard). They blamed it on rain, evaporation and new plaster. It was found by a third party sent out by their plumber from Austin. The pool company fixed the shortened pipe with plaster aid. I’m wondering if there is still a small leak there. Pressure tests have held.

Thank you, Kathy
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,721
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Another question, how is the spa gunite normally waterproofed? I’m reading gunite is porous. I have photos from the whole build.
TIA


Here is the recommended buildup by a glass tile supplier.



1626430671428-png.355575


A waterproof coating like Basecrete should be used. Otherwise you can end up with problems like this...

 
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Dec 14, 2020
17
Houston, Texas
Also a Texas Kathy here! Your issues sound similar to mine. Our pool was completed in October 2020 and we have had a wet yard ever since. Too many plumbing problems to count. We scheduled American leak detection to come out ourself after their last plumbing replace left us with an even bigger wet issue than we had to start with. Pool builders leak detection co showed nothing. Our deck is cracking in several areas also. I wanted to post just to give you a virtual hug as I know how stressful this can be.
In addition to the wet hole currently behind my one skimmer, we have a lot of deposits on one side of our spa. Fingers crossed our independent leak detection co can find something. Our quote to test the entire pool was $500.

Hopeful for a solution for you!!
-Kathy
 
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Reactions: KDFin

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,071
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Hello! San Antonio new build. Pool has been leaking since they built it. A return was cut short which created a huge leak in the yard. Pool was filled in May and leak wasn’t fixed until a month later.

After it was fixed the ground under the concrete decking was still damp.

They just emptied the spa on Friday to see if the area would dry up and it appeared the wet area initially got bigger.

Any idea why that would happen? Pressure tests shows no big leak. There is definitely still a small leak somewhere. We have lived in our house 7.5 years and our yard was never wet.

Pink denotes calcium deposit on tile that constantly is there even after acid wash.

Red denotes return that was leaking 360degrees from pipe being cut short.

Blue denotes several sections of Concrete behind and both sides of spa have already cracked. Poured in January.

Pool was started in Oct 2020 and sprinkler system has been off since day 1 of dig.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. The pool company will not acknowledge it could be their work.
Thank you in advance,
Kathy
Your comments say they don’t see a “big” leak? Does that mean they acknowledge there’s a small leak?
 
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tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,946
Houston, TX
Kathy,

Sorry you are experiencing all these issues. There is a solution and one day soon it will all be fixed for you.

First, when you say "a pipe was cut too short", do you mean it was glued and bc so short, it stressed a joint and it leaked? Either way, this should not be fixed w external means. It needs to be sized properly, cut to spec and then properly tested for no air loss. This needs to be done for all closed systems to insure there are not leaks anywhere. Any leaks, even small, are unacceptable.

Next, you need to make sure all of your pool surface structures are properly supported w the appropriate subsurface materials and aggregate. If this is not done properly before concrete poured or stones laid, you will forever be chasing the problem in perpetuity. Since you live in SA, you are subject to excessive hot temperatures and drought, then copious rains. This causes shifting and it not properly stabilized, minor climate changes will impact you. If you lived in Texas in 2010-2011-2012, you know this first hand.

Finally, review your pool contractors contract and make your notes. Hire independent contractors to give you unbiased results, then forward to your pool contractor via Certified Mail RR referring to the contract terms.

Good luck and pls post back if you have any further questions.
 

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Also a Texas Kathy here! Your issues sound similar to mine. Our pool was completed in October 2020 and we have had a wet yard ever since. Too many plumbing problems to count. We scheduled American leak detection to come out ourself after their last plumbing replace left us with an even bigger wet issue than we had to start with. Pool builders leak detection co showed nothing. Our deck is cracking in several areas also. I wanted to post just to give you a virtual hug as I know how stressful this can be.
In addition to the wet hole currently behind my one skimmer, we have a lot of deposits on one side of our spa. Fingers crossed our independent leak detection co can find something. Our quote to test the entire pool was $500.

Hopeful for a solution for you!!
-Kathy
Welcome to TFP.

It may be time to bring in an independent leak detection company like...


You may need to break up and remove your deck that is sinking and see what is going on under it. Then once all the leaks are fixed replace the concrete.

The calcium deposits on the tile can be calcium waterline scale caused by evaporation or efflorescence caused by water in the gunite shell pulling salts out. Depending on the way your stone and tile were done in your spa you may have water leaking from the spa through the gunite and creating the efflorescence. It is likely no concidence that the area with the white deposits is opposite the spa.


What to do about your unresponsive pool builder depends on the consumer protection laws in your area. You may need to document what you do to repair the builders poor workmanship and then look to recover it in small claims court. Often you need to give a contractor the opportunity to fix their problems before you bring in others. But your first step is more diagnostics to figure out where the problems are.
Thank you!!
 

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Your comments say they don’t see a “big” leak? Does that mean they acknowledge there’s a small leak?
No, they want to blame it on some other water source. (sprinkler or septic system). Sprinkler has been shut off since the day of dig Oct 2020 and just recently rerouted and RPZ replaced from Jan freeze. Septic was added on to and recently inspected by Bexar county. Lines that were dug are no where near the pool and dry clay /dirt is between the septic lines and the pool. We have lived here 7.5 years and the yard was never wet.
 

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KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Also a Texas Kathy here! Your issues sound similar to mine. Our pool was completed in October 2020 and we have had a wet yard ever since. Too many plumbing problems to count. We scheduled American leak detection to come out ourself after their last plumbing replace left us with an even bigger wet issue than we had to start with. Pool builders leak detection co showed nothing. Our deck is cracking in several areas also. I wanted to post just to give you a virtual hug as I know how stressful this can be.
In addition to the wet hole currently behind my one skimmer, we have a lot of deposits on one side of our spa. Fingers crossed our independent leak detection co can find something. Our quote to test the entire pool was $500.

Hopeful for a solution for you!!
-Kathy
Thank you, it’s been a nightmare.
 

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Kathy,

Sorry you are experiencing all these issues. There is a solution and one day soon it will all be fixed for you.

First, when you say "a pipe was cut too short", do you mean it was glued and bc so short, it stressed a joint and it leaked? Either way, this should not be fixed w external means. It needs to be sized properly, cut to spec and then properly tested for no air loss. This needs to be done for all closed systems to insure there are not leaks anywhere. Any leaks, even small, are unacceptable.

Next, you need to make sure all of your pool surface structures are properly supported w the appropriate subsurface materials and aggregate. If this is not done properly before concrete poured or stones laid, you will forever be chasing the problem in perpetuity. Since you live in SA, you are subject to excessive hot temperatures and drought, then copious rains. This causes shifting and it not properly stabilized, minor climate changes will impact you. If you lived in Texas in 2010-2011-2012, you know this first hand.

Finally, review your pool contractors contract and make your notes. Hire independent contractors to give you unbiased results, then forward to your pool contractor via Certified Mail RR referring to the contract terms.

Good luck and pls post back if you have any further questions.
For the first major leak I was told by the leak company owner from Austin that the return pipe was cut too short - he assumes by the plaster company workers. The directional flow eyelet (not sure the correct name) was not connected to the return pipe so every time the the pool was on water was escaping 360 from that connection underneath the concrete pool decking.
The pool company used a plastisizer to fix it. I now wonder if it may not have been fixed 💯 or if the spa was not properly waterproofed.
 

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Has the yard only been wet since the pool install? If so, when did you start to see the wet area and has it persisted ever since pool install?
Yes, the yard has been dry for over 6 years before the build.
The first a big leak was easily detected by a leak company that was sent out via the pool company’s plumber. The pool company kept telling me there was no leak. It was obvious.
Now that area has never dried up. It remained damp even after the initial leak was found. Concrete is raising up and cracking.
Concrete was poured in January and showed cracking within first 4 months. No doubt water pressure under it contributed to it.
 

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Has the yard only been wet since the pool install? If so, when did you start to see the wet area and has it persisted ever since pool install?
Yes, the yard was dry until the pool was installed and filled in May. It was soaking until about 1 month later when the bigger leak was found and fixed.

It is still damp. No puddles but can tell the clay is damp under the concrete decking where the initial leak was escaping along the “trunk” of pipes.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,071
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Yes, the yard was dry until the pool was installed and filled in May. It was soaking until about 1 month later when the bigger leak was found and fixed.

It is still damp. No puddles but can tell the clay is damp under the concrete decking where the initial leak was escaping along the “trunk” of pipes.
Have you done a bucket test to confirm how much water is being lost (assuming there is a leak)? If the yard is wet, that would seem to be large enough to show up on the bucket test.
 

KDFin

Bronze Supporter
Nov 22, 2021
16
San Antonio Texas
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Spa was turned off for one day. Tape mark shows loss.
It’s always explained away by loss due to wind, evaporation (because it’s hot or it’s cold), pipe size - never acknowledged it could be a small leak.
B1633B71-DB70-40D9-A335-0C70C13AB444.png
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,071
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Spa was turned off for one day. Tape mark shows loss.
It’s always explained away by loss due to wind, evaporation (because it’s hot or it’s cold), pipe size - never acknowledged it could be a small leak.
View attachment 383659
Need to do a bucket test to distinguish between all that stuff. Put a bucket in there full of pool water and mark the level in the bucket and on the pool tile. If they go down the same amount after a couple days, there’s no problem.

If the pool has less water than the bucket after a couple days, something else may be going on.
 
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