Is this DIY or am I in over my head

BrianWithAY

Member
Apr 17, 2021
5
Dallas
I live in Dallas and I suspect the extreme freeze this winter may have led to this.
Is this as simple as finding some magic tool that will remove the cement / grout and cementing it back into place?

Or is this one of those "That is a band aid and there is a much bigger problem, get a professional" type of things?
I am fairly handy and great at figuring things out but I don't know what I don't know.

My instinct was to look up the best tool for removing the cement from the underside of the coping.
I want to actually remove and replace all the grout in the coping because it is cracking badly.
Next step was to buy tiles that closely match the existing ones. Learn what I need to do to affix them to the lower wall.
Then do the same research on the stone pieces
And then the coping.

I have basic tools / power tools.

Also would be worth asking what one would expect to pay someone to repair this for me.

Thanks in advance.

20210417_120123.jpg
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Are you familiar with doing masonry? Its not really that hard. But what concerns me about your pic is the hole I see in the facing.. maybe its just a shadow.. but yeah, the freeze thaw probably caused water that got behind the stones to break the masonry seal. what bugs me is how did the water get back there? Like is there a leak from the raised spa. Also some of your water line tile is cracked off and it will never be right if you just try to glue it back on, you should really remove the whole tile and replace it.

The above water stuff is easy for a DIYer, You just need a trowel, a level and a right angle eyeball. But to get it to match what's there, a pro would be better. The waterline stuff I would bring in a pool tile person. Lets see what the others have to say. Those guys and @jimmythegreek too
 
Last edited:

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,812
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
That is a common problem with tile and stone in the freezing latitudes. Grout lines get cracks and water gets behind the stone or tiles. The water then freezes and cracks the stone and tile.

If you hire a professional it will look like a pro did it. Your first time doing tile and stone work will be a learning experince and it will look like a DIY job. DIY tile and stone work can ususally be spotted a mile away. There are lots of tricks to the trade. What it will cost you in time, equipment, materials, and rework will probably equal hiring a pro to fix it.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,812
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Doing curved coping cuts like that cleanly so everything lines up well is not as easy as a square cut job.

I will let @jimmythegreek tell you the level of difficulty for a DIY novice.

I would get some quotes from masons and talk through the job with them.
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
4,243
Tampa, FL
Pool Size
7000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Oh no! So sorry!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,812
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
If you just need to reset coping stones then you can chip off the old mortar and reset them using Type S mortar.

It gets more complicated if stones cracked and need to be replaced.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JJinNM

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

BrianWithAY

Member
Apr 17, 2021
5
Dallas
Well, I bought an angle grinder, removed all of the coping and I am in the process of leveling it off.

Question... I bought some S type mortor based on a few recommendations. Is this the same stuff between the coping stones the same stuff?
Or is it like tile where one bonds and then grout goes between. It looks like the same stuff to me but not 100% sure.

THnaks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,812
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Well, I bought an angle grinder, removed all of the coping and I am in the process of leveling it off.

Question... I bought some S type mortor based on a few recommendations. Is this the same stuff between the coping stones the same stuff?
Or is it like tile where one bonds and then grout goes between. It looks like the same stuff to me but not 100% sure.

THnaks!

Same stuff.
 

Poolhockey

Member
Mar 31, 2021
5
Richmond VA
A couple of things about tile. I am like the OP, not a pro, but I have done a lot of tiling (i really enjoy it).

Tile and grout and mortar are _not_ waterproof. typically you want a waterproof barrier behind your tile install when erosion may be an issue. In this position in your pool and looking at your wall it may not be an issue, but as another poster pointed out, that oddly shaped hole in your mortar is a little concerning - water is getting in behind your tile and into your base and eroding it away. Its not obvious how long this has been going on, but ideally you will redo that section of base behind your tile. This erosion issue isnt the sort of thing that will crumble the structure in two years like a badly done tiled shower, but you may have to redo this every 15-20 years. My in-law's pool is at this stage as well.

From your pics it seems to me you are doing the right thing - remove old mortar and retile. I would read up on mortar and grout for this installation (which maybe you have already done, it sounds like) but while the type s might be great for your mortar base, it may not be great for your grout. The reason for this is that it isnt very flexible, which gives it strength. on a typical brick patio, for example, you would want type N, which has the flexibility to allow the brick to move slightly with freeze/thawing. Using type S in that application would lead to cracking over time in the mortar grout, the brick, or both. I'd be more concerned about the grout. And, as far as I know you wouldnt want to waterproof with a coating unless you can tolerate the slick feel and can do it every year.

Last comment from the peanut gallery - I would keep after little cracks and gaps to minimize water intrusion. While not waterproof, tile is tolerant of moisture, but intrusions of water, especially during freeze-thaw, leads to relatively rapid degradation of the area.

good luck, I hope to see some pics of the finished product :)