New Pool Bowing Inward

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
Hi all! Forgive me if this isn't the right place to post this, but we recently had a new fiberglass pool installed (Imagine Pools Freedom model). It was a several month process due to the fact that after they put the pool in, but before they put the brick coping in or the concrete deck, it rained almost every day for a couple of months, and they couldn't get the dirt out of the back yard. The pool company we used subcontracted pretty much everything, or we had to subcontract. For instance, the dirt removal, actual pool installation, etc. Anyways, we definitely regret going with the company we used, but it's nearly complete now so the stress level has dropped a bit. One of the issues is that before the concrete deck was installed, a lot of the rain we had filled the hold around the pool. The pool was backfilled with gravel, but I guess all of the rain caused dirt/debris to get into the hole and it caused the walls to bow inward. I'm obviously not happy with it, but I can live with it if I know that it's not going to damage the pool or perhaps cause a problem in the future. I've attached a picture. The question is, aside from the cosmetic issue, is there a cause for concern?
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,360
Northern NJ
Welcome to TFP.

Have you called Imagine Pools to discuss your situation with them?


We have had this thread of a troubled fiberglass pool install where they needed to get the manufacturer involved...

 

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
I called Imagine Pools and the receptionist transferred me to someone's voicemail. I left a message, so hopefully they'll call me back. I'll post another update as soon as I hear something.
 

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
I got a call back from a man named Ronnie, who works for Imagine Pools and is based out of Knoxville, TX. He made me feel a lot better because he told me that there won't be a problem structurally, as their pools are designed to be flexible. It won't affect the pool warranty either, which was one of my concerns. One off topic thing he mention and said was very important, was to keep the calcium levels below 100. It has something to do with the clear coat on the pool.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,437
Evans, Georgia
Brian, You should get Ronnie to email you his response on the warranty so you have it in your records for any possible future need.

Sidenote-
One off topic thing he mention and said was very important, was to keep the calcium levels below 100. It has something to do with the clear coat on the pool.
Well, now *this* is truly interesting to many of us who have wondered about calcium and gelcoat issues-
@Texas Splash @mknauss
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
885
MA
Brian, You should get Ronnie to email you his response on the warranty so you have it in your records for any possible future need
Yes, that exactly..

Did you send the rep the same picture? That looks like a significant bow in the wall.

One of the issues is that before the concrete deck was installed, a lot of the rain we had filled the hold around the pool. The pool was backfilled with gravel, but I guess all of the rain caused dirt/debris to get into the hole and it caused the walls to bow inward.
That is not exactly clear to me. Are you saying the pool was backfilled and then the wall bowed in or was there np backfill at all and the open trench filled with water and pushed the wall in?

The term gravel can have different meanings in different areas. Was the backfill a clean stone or a mixture of dirt and stone?

When was the pool filled? During the backfill or after the backfill?

Thanks, Rich..
 

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
Getting his response in an email is a good idea. I'm going to contact him again today, as I wanted to forward him the picture I posted above. He never actually saw the bowing. He just asked me approx. how much of a bow that it had in it. It's hard for me to tell but I figure it was at least 6".

That is not exactly clear to me. Are you saying the pool was backfilled and then the wall bowed in or was there np backfill at all and the open trench filled with water and pushed the wall in?

The term gravel can have different meanings in different areas. Was the backfill a clean stone or a mixture of dirt and stone?

When was the pool filled? During the backfill or after the backfill?
The pool was backfilled and the wall bowed in. My thought is that maybe he didn't backfill it enough? After some time of it raining, you could start to see some void space around the pool where there was no backfill. It rained every day or every other day for a couple of months down here (Birmingham, AL), and the pool sat that entire time with no deck around it. It took forever to get the dirt out of the back yard, and we eventually had to hire a different contractor because the one we were using didn't really have the equipment to work in wet conditions (his Bobcat had tires, not tracks). We had to deal with different contractors for the pool, pool install, dirt removal, and the concrete decking. The pool company basically subcontracted everything.

The backfill was all clean stone, and the pool was filled during the backfilling.

Attaching another picture that shows how the pool sat for basically 2-3 months because of all the rain.
 

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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
885
MA
The backfill was all clean stone, and the pool was filled during the backfilling.
It sounds like they followed the proper procedure. How far down from the top of the pool did they stop with the backfill? Could the water on the outside of the pool been 1-2' higher than the inside at any point? Seems very strange you ended up with that much of a bowed wall.
 

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
It sounds like they followed the proper procedure. How far down from the top of the pool did they stop with the backfill? Could the water on the outside of the pool been 1-2' higher than the inside at any point? Seems very strange you ended up with that much of a bowed wall.
The day they finished the the backfill was pretty close to or pretty much level with the ground, but the pool sat for a couple of months before we were eble to get the brick coping and deck built. I'm not sure if any of you are from the South, but we had several months of almost constant rain, and a few periods of flash flooding. The bow didn't happen immediately, but over time it just got worse and worse as it rained more and as more sediment got into the hole. The bowing probably wouldn't have been as bad if they would have been able to get the dirt mounds out of the yard quicker so that they were able to start on the brick coping and concrete deck.

And yes, at one time the water definitely got higher than the inside of the pool (not much higher). At one point during one of the flash floods, it rained so heavy so fast that the drains we have in our yard couldn't keep up (yard wasn't graded properly at the time) and the water carried dirt and sediment into the pool.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,819
Chapel Hill, NC
One off topic thing he mention and said was very important, was to keep the calcium levels below 100. It has something to do with the clear coat on the pool.
Call me distrusting, but this sounds like a setup for warranty denial. - It's going to be impossible to keep your Ca below 100 and any issues you have with blistering gelcoat will be due to "water chemistry" and not covered by the warranty! Get everything in writing and question him on the Ca issue.
 

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
Call me distrusting, but this sounds like a setup for warranty denial. - It's going to be impossible to keep your Ca below 100 and any issues you have with blistering gelcoat will be due to "water chemistry" and not covered by the warranty! Get everything in writing and question him on the Ca issue.
I need to educate myself a bit more about all of this stuff before I can have a meaningful conversation with him about it. He was mentioning all kinds of things that I had no clue about, such as hydrostatic water suspension and sequestering agents.
 

bhambrian

Member
May 13, 2020
9
Birmingham, AL
I hate to say it but if that was my pool they'd be back out there fixing it. That bow would drive me nuts.
It does bother me, and I think if this whole process had gone smoother and hadn't taken as long then I'd be willing to argue with them or whatever was necessary to get them to fix it, but I know what would be involved to fix it and honestly I just don't want to deal with it. We've had to be the ones to coordinate just about everything on this project, and we're just ready for it all to be over so that we can hopefully enjoy it.

I honestly didn't do my due diligence when choosing a pool company. The only reason we went with the company that we did was because a good friend of our's occasionally does work for the owner of the company, and recommended him. I'm old enough to know better and should have been more cautious.

I really didn't mention all of the things that have went wrong on this project, but just to give you some perspective on why we're to the point that we are:
  • We wrote a check to the pool company in Oct., and the pool is really just now about ready. I say "about" ready because the company still hasn't came out to cut off the pump drain pipe or put the salt/chemicals in the pool.
  • Not everything was the pool companies fault. We had a period of where it rained almost every day for several months. This was a very unusual weather situation. I don't recall the last time it rained that much for that long, but it prevented the man we hired to remove the dirt from getting all of the dirt out of our yard. We went with him because out of 3 quotes, he was the cheapest. That turned out to be a mistake and we eventually had to pay someone else to get the dirt out. The dirt removal (along with everything else) was much more expensive than we anticipated.
  • The pool installer made several mistakes. First, they put the pool pump in the wrong location. I asked them to move it and they did, so no big deal. Second, they damaged our ~70 year old stone retaining wall with their backhoe. He offered to fix it, but honestly I wasn't comfortable with him working on it, and we had already planned to have some work done on the wall, so we just had someone else fix it.
  • During one period of especially heavy rain (an actual flash flood warning), it rained so hard so fast that water poured into the pool and washed a bunch of debris and sediment into it. We had to hire someone to come out and clean it, because there's just no way we could have done it with the amount of dirt that got into the pool. This was all before the sod and landscaping was done, or even before the brick coping and deck was built, which is why the water was able to get into the pool.
  • Pretty much everything was more expensive than we were told it was going to be: the dirt removal, the cost of the electrical work, the concrete decking, the landscaping, etc. I kind of figured that would be the case, as I've heard to always plan on any big project taking longer and costing more than you anticipate, I just didn't realize how true that would be.
I'm sure I'm leaving several things out, but the stress of having to deal with all of this - partially during a pandemic, I might add - has just worn on us and we're ready for it all to be over so that we can have some nice quite time to enjoy our backyard. I hope this doesn't come across as me complaining too much, because I realize these are all 1st world problems and we're very fortunate to be able to do all of this stuff, but it has been stressful nonetheless.
 
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DiverGirl1972

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
May 11, 2018
196
Delta, PA
Wow, sorry it's been such a rough road for you! I can understand why you're "up to here" with the whole process and just want to be done with it - I'd totally feel the same way. I hope you can get everything sorted out and start enjoying your new pool very soon!
 
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