Pool Currently Demo'd - Long Crack under coping

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
Hi TFP Experts,

I love this forum... been a lurker for a couple of months since I bought a house with a pool for the first time in my life. A little background:

The pool is at least 30-40 years old and I don't know how many times it's been re-surfaced. All I do know is that when I purchased the home, the pool had pebble that had been painted over with epoxy paint. No main drain and other lines, like a Polaris line, that have been plugged up. I could clearly see cracks under the coping that had been painted over on the water line and there was no tile. Bottom line, I knew the pool had issues and would have to be repaired at some point, but the inspector said it was no reason to Not buy the house.

Okay, so I knew I'd be in for a hefty re-do, and bill, at some point but thought I'd get a couple/few years of use out of it before completely redoing the pool. Guess again...

The pool started losing and inch to 2 inches a day so I had a leak detection test done. Located the leak by a spa return jet and it was supposed to by a quick 2x2 saw cut to reveal the leaking pipe. Not so much. Turns out the leak was way down there in the spa wall structure, where the return jet enters the spa and then my simple leak repair turned into a major leak repair... so now I'm basically re-doing the entire pool.

However, due to all the costs involved, I'd like to keep the coping if possible. I'm adding a split main drain (main drain was currently canceled), a split spa drain, a vacuum line and resurfacing in white plaster.

I've attached a few pics, I've got a ton more as the pool is currently demoed, but I'm curious to hear any expert opinions with regards to how these cracks should be repaired... and wondering if I'm making a big mistake by not replacing the coping right now. I am adding tile, if that makes a difference.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

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mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
773
OV, CA
Welcome to the Forum!

That's quite a project you've got yourself there... from my uneducated eye.. it looks like the decking is tipping up in BondBeamCracks3... and is no longer bonded to the gunnite. From first glance the only substantive fix would be to take the deck out and remedy what's causing it to rise (roots, etc) then poor a new deck. If you really want to keep the coping I think you can probably knock the bricks out.. but it just looks like regular brick coping. Is there something special about it I am not seeing? Because, I bet you can find something new that is similar looking for the price/time it would take to pull the old ones off and clean them up to reuse them. ... I've done some brick work with old reused bricks.. but they had some historical significance so it was worth the hassle to clean them and reuse them.
Calling... @bdavis466

BTW we like old pool renovations here.. keep the pics coming
 

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
Hi @mguzzy , thanks for your reply. The contractor said that it was tipping up because of roots but that once it's sealed up and tiled that the roots will die and not try to suck water from the pool. That's really the worst area in that pic, but there is a crack probably about 2/3 of the pool. It's a big pool, not huge diameter wise, maybe about 107 feet, plus jacuzzi, but it's like 11 ft deep in the deep end. Heck even the shallow end is pretty deep.

The bricks have no significance to me, what I meant by keeping the coping was to just leave it as-is and work around it. To remove the coping and replace it is another several thousand $$$ that I did not want to spend.

Thanks again for any advice.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,023
San Clemente, CA
It doesn't look like the bond beam but more like the mortar bed that holds the coping on has cracked. Probably not what you want to hear but I feel you need to replace the coping
 

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
Ugh... You're correct, definitely not what I wanted to hear. Especially since plaster is scheduled for this Friday. Thanks for your input @bdavis466 . No other options here?

What are the ramifications of NOT replacing the coping?

Thanks again.
 

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
Well, I just went out there to take some more pics as they're removing the old epoxy that's been jammed in those cracks. Maybe these will provide a better view. I really don't want to misstep here and have another major repair in the near future. Any other advice is much appreciated... if replacing the coping is the only safe solution here then I definitely need to hear it now.

Thanks.
 

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mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
773
OV, CA
Hi @mguzzy , thanks for your reply. The contractor said that it was tipping up because of roots but that once it's sealed up and tiled that the roots will die and not try to suck water from the pool. ...
Roots from what? if its a big tree near by the roots will continue to grow and undermine the deck. Whenever I see roots upend concrete like that there is usually a big tree nearby. Roots from most smaller shrubbery would behave as the contractor said.. and at the same time wouldn't be strong enough to cause a deck to buckle.. I state this based on the plants in my neck of the woods.. your neck may be in a different woods ;)
 

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
@mguzzy Here's a pic of my neighbor's backyard... mostly small trees and shrubs (may be hard to tell from the pic, but the big one's are several houses away) Nothing big on my property at all. I doubt those trees caused the cracks, but we live in Earthquake country here in SoCal, so if I had to guess that's likely the culprit. Also, I know the pool was empty for several years prior to me buying the property. They only recently filled it, patched it and painted it to sell the property.
 

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Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
@bdavis466 There is both and it was pointed out during the inspection that there should only be an expansion joint and no concrete between the coping and deck. There have definitely been some Mickey Mouse repairs done over the years at this house and now I'm just trying to pick up the pieces.

Is it possible to saw cut out an inch or two around the entire coping and then have them put in an expansion joint? (note: I already asked if they could and they said it would likely break the bricks... but maybe another contractor could do that when they're done)

I know you can't say for sure... but do you think it's a huge mistake to not replace the coping now?
 

d_red1

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2016
59
Keller, TX
Sure, the crack can probably be patched and grouted and you can get a few more years of life out of that coping. However, it is much better to demo the coping and older mortar bed now and fix it right. If it is going to cost you thousands more to do it now, it will cost you double that to do it later after the pool has been replastered and waterline tile installed.
 
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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,023
San Clemente, CA
Now is the time to do it. If you don't you might get a year or two of use before you start having issues again and it will likely start with the tile popping off. This could damage your plaster too and I doubt you'll want to replaster at that time.

Remove the old coping and mortar bed, clean the bond beam really well and apply a bonding agent prior to whatever new surface you install. Be sure to install a proper expansion joint this time and you will likely not have an issue again.

Here's an informative thread written by a really knowledgeable and good looking guy:

 
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Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
Thanks for your detailed reply @bdavis466 . I think the ship has sailed for me unfortunately... just called a bunch of coping companies and the minimum turnaround time for a kidney shaped pool like mine is 2 weeks. Nobody stocks any coping to fit my pool. Plaster is scheduled for this Friday. That's what I get for trying to save a few bucks.
 

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
What about poured in place coping? That would actually be relatively easy to do and would probably be the most structurally sound option.
Poured in place coping... never heard of it, all the quotes I got were for purchasing from a "coping" company. I'll ask my contractors if they are familiar. Any special material they should use? Thanks for the suggestion @bdavis466
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,023
San Clemente, CA

Palpatine

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
80
West Hills, CA
Of course they can't pour in place... oh well, I suppose I can get a quote from them to do the pre-cast coping and just hold off on plastering.

They are digging out those cracks pretty good though. They're telling me they have to do this so that they can fill the cracks before tiling.

Other option would be to buy a bunch of bullnose red bricks and use that as the coping. Definitely not my first choice, but likely the cheapest. I'm gonna see how much the bricks or the pre-cast stuff is gonna be, but with the pre-cast I'll have to leave my pool empty for 2-3 weeks which I understand is not ideal and potentially dangerous for the structure. Will definitely update this thread when all is said and done though.

I truly appreciate everyone's input/advice here.

Next on my list... figuring out the correct startup process for white plaster.

I love this forum!!!