Pool construction quality concerns

Cobraguy

New member
May 30, 2020
4
Peoria, AZ
Hi all,

I am currently in week 10 of my pool build and I have some concerns about the quality of the job that is being performed. I would like your expert opinions to take a look and let me know if I am being OCD or if my concerns are valid.

I think overall rebar, shell, plumbing and equipment being used is good. The entire pool was even surcharged with the rebar being 12” x 6” O.C.

Where the problem has come into play is with the decking and stone trades.

First issue - Scuppers - Noticed that when the stainless steel scuppers were installed, the copper bonding wire that was nicely placed there for them was not attached. They decided to cut the wire off and not attach it to the built-in clamp on the scupper. Is there any reason why they would not attach it? They have now backfilled the scuppers with concrete. Also, the plumbing on one of the scuppers was not tucked in far enough therefore is it sticking out of the concrete. I can live with that as it is the back of the pool where you can’t see it. Just looks un-professional.

Second issue - Stacked Stone - The stacked stone I selected I guess does not come with corner pieces. Never came to my mind and I was never told that would be an issue. This however has become an issue with how bad it looks. My understanding is the proper way to install it is to miter the corners. Instead they have just been cut flat. There are also random large gaps between the stone that I don’t think should be there. I brought these issue to my pool builders attention and he told me they the tile I selected does not have pre-made corners and that the gaps would be filled with grout. Not the answer I was looking for. They have randomly filled some gaps and I think they look worse.

Third issue - Pillars - Instead of cutting four equal pavers to complete the 24” x 24” top of the pillar they used two 16 X 24 copping pavers and added a small strip in the back to fill the gap. Looks sloppy. The stacked stone on the pillars is crooked. Looks bad when aligned with the water line tile. They tried cutting the bottom stacked stone to compensate.

Fourth issue - Copping is not level. Waterline tile installer held off grouting between coping and glass tile on one side of the pool because the coping was not level and the gap was increasing along the side. Coping guys came out and pulled up and lowered a couple of the pavers but did not fix the entire length. Now it has a nice bow to the grout line. I noticed in our pool contract we paid for a “laser level.” : /

Fifth issue - Space between coping and hot tub trough not equal the entire length. Gradually increases 1 1/2” From one end to the other. Doesn’t sound like much but when there is only supposed to be 3 1/2” overall it is very noticeable.

So, would you guys accept this work or demand it to be fixed? My wife and I have been so stressed about this pool, which we have been saving for over 7 years to build and the experience has not been what we hoped. It was supposed to be completed a few weeks ago, but these finishing trades have been working slow as molasses. I honestly would prefer my pool builder to fire these guys and bring in someone else as I feel they are terrible at their job.

Thank You
 

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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,959
Tucson, AZ
Stop the job NOW and call the PB to a meeting.

Demand to speak to the owner of the pool building company. Sit down with them and have a meeting. Ask to record the meeting or have an third-party there taking notes (if you’re meeting at the job site instead of indoors). Detail ALL of your concerns and tell the PB what you want fixed, eg, stacked stone redone with mitered corners, reset and level the coping, etc. Give priority to the items you want fixed the most and consider which ones you might leave in place for a rebate. Try to make the situation as low tension as possible and listen to the PB’s remarks. Do not get angry and do not get emotional. Set everything in writing and request time to consider options (with dates of response). Try to come to a reasonable settlement and realize the PB is likely working with sub’s laborers that he has very little control over. Let him take your concerns to the subcontractor and see if they can’t find a work around.

Others can give opinions on what they would like to see but to me the bonding wire isn’t a huge deal and could be fixed with some surgical drilling and chipping into the concrete behind the scupper. Everything else seems to me to be labor and, possibly, new materials. So you might consider having to meet the PB halfway in the cost of new materials or labor to get things corrected but don’t let that be the starting point. See what the PB can do with the subs.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,161
Central MD
Tell your PB to have a hard think about his QC on this pool. It’s bad. But some I’d live with. The column corners...agreed that they should have mired them. However, I don’t so much mind the smooth edges since they did they exactly every other level on both sides. Top of column is bad. Needs to be redone as you say with 4 pieces. Spa spacing with coping it terrible and needs redone. Some people’s heads would explode looking at that growing gap. Coping needs to be leveled. Scupper must be bonded and plumbing hidden. Ok, so I am almost completely with you.

Time for a heart to heart with said PB.
 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,161
Central MD
Stop the job NOW and call the PB to a meeting.

Demand to speak to the owner of the pool building company. Sit down with them and have a meeting. Ask to record the meeting or have an third-party there taking notes (if you’re meeting at the job site instead of indoors). Detail ALL of your concerns and tell the PB what you want fixed, eg, stacked stone redone with mitered corners, reset and level the coping, etc. Give priority to the items you want fixed the most and consider which ones you might leave in place for a rebate. Try to make the situation as low tension as possible and listen to the PB’s remarks. Do not get angry and do not get emotional. Set everything in writing and request time to consider options (with dates of response). Try to come to a reasonable settlement and realize the PB is likely working with sub’s laborers that he has very little control over. Let him take your concerns to the subcontractor and see if they can’t find a work around.

Others can give opinions on what they would like to see but to me the bonding wire isn’t a huge deal and could be fixed with some surgical drilling and chipping into the concrete behind the scupper. Everything else seems to me to be labor and, possibly, new materials. So you might consider having to meet the PB halfway in the cost of new materials or labor to get things corrected but don’t let that be the starting point. See what the PB can do with the subs.
Haha, I saw that someone posted while I was typing but I didn’t review it because I didn’t want it to bias my thoughts. Turns out we were on the same page.
 

Cobraguy

New member
May 30, 2020
4
Peoria, AZ
Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking time to look at this and your feedback. I will have a conversation with him tomorrow. Last time I brought up an issue I was told to “let him do the job I hired him for“ and that “I was too picky“. He is a small builder and my reason for going with him is I thought I would get better quality control and oversight then going with one of the large pool builders. He had great reviews and I couldn’t find anything bad. He has made mention how that he is frustrated with the trade doing the decking and stone. Not because of the quality but because they are slow and keep jumping back and forth between my job and some others. I also feel like my builder is not out here enough to keep an eye on what’s happening. I honesty think he has too many jobs going himself as well.

Thanks again!
 

Jimmie48

Well-known member
Dec 13, 2019
82
Frisco, TX
As far as the corners of the ledger stone I had the same discussion with my PB as I didnt like it at first. I asked if it was possible to miter the edges and he said because of how these are glued together in a block its difficult to do so they stagger the edges like they did yours. With the travertine ledger stone it will wear some on those edges and you probably wont notice it after time. I am fine with it as they did a decent job with mine overall and dont see any gaps like you are noticing. If it really bothers you you could have them install L Corners like this: Silver Travertine "L" Corner Ledger Panel - Wallandtile.com

As far as the gaps and the coping theres no excuse for that....I agree completely with most everyone else has mentioned.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
742
MA
Some people’s heads would explode looking at that growing gap
I would be included in that crowd... ?
overall terrible, inconsistent, unprofessional, unacceptable work.

Can’t they just rough up,the cut edges to better match the other stone on the corners?
Agreed. I am not familiar with that stone but I know granite can be flamed and chiseled to soften a cut edge. I would get a few opinions from a "real" Mason about blending those edges. Those installers can't even set the pillar cap without a 2" mortar gap I would hate to see them try to miter the edges. Perhaps @jimmythegreek would have some input on this.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,467
Morris Cnty NJ
Your not picky you want a nice job. I'm never the cheapest guy usually expensive or at the top end. But you pay for perfection as if it was my own house. The PB is just letting these guys get it done and not overseeing it enough. The caps need redoing. Make a template its not rocket science. shouldnt be joints showing they usually make corners. If mo corners they should be split to match the texture. The gap on the trough is basic masonry shouldnt be there. Not sure where he came in on bid price but sit him down amd meet him along the way to make it how you want. Maybe cover the replacement caps or throw him a small bone and stress you camt live with it like this and make it right by you.

For the record my OCD would have me screaming at those masons
 

Cobraguy

New member
May 30, 2020
4
Peoria, AZ
Thank you all. My PB was probably one of the highest bids I got. I thought I was paying for quality as I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. I am just just at a loss with the masons. It is worse then what the pictures show. You can even see in the very first picture that they couldn’t even center the caps on the pillars. It sits about 3” more to the right then the left and slops down in the center where the two 16 X 24” meet. Not sure if these guys own a tape measure or a level. I also noticed that they managed to break some of the glass waterline tile when they tried to fix the decking. Today the clean up crew was on site at the crack of dawn scrapping and cleaning getting ready for pebble sheen. They tried to make things look better with grout and caulk. ?. The PB is supposed to be here tomorrow to inspect. I told him I have some items I would like to go over with him. We shall see how this goes. He is planning on calling for pebble sheen on Monday if final inspection passes.

I also noticed the masons must have accidentally taken my big landscaping rake that they took upon themselves to make use of while they were here. That, and I noticed they decided to use probably a ton of some 3 quarter minus landscaping rock I had on side of my house for bringing up the elevation of the pavers they installed. They must have run out of their own fill. Really??? I will let you guys know how the meeting goes.
 
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