Pool Remodel leads to leak. Seeking solutions

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Looking for some feedback on what my potential options are here with regards to a leak in my spa.

Quick history on remodel. Complete refresh. New coping, tile, interior finish (ecofinish).

During the demo, while pulling the old coping off of the spa, they damaged quite a bit of the spa raised shell. Simple enough right. They built it back up with concrete and finished construction.

Since then water has continuously leaked from the spa to the exterior of the shell. Water pools on the outside of the raised spa on the deck. If I shut off the return flow to the spa, water drops a few inches and these areas dry up. Some pictures for visuals:

Picture of the rebuild process:
IMG_1275.jpg

Picture of the completed job:
IMG_2591.jpg

Picture of pooling water on exterior of spa:
IMG_2573.jpg

The pool contractor has since tried to fix this once by applying some type of material to the grout/tile in the spa. I wasn't confident this would fix it and sure enough it's still there. The tile/grout should not be your water barrier. He plans to try again, not sure what he plans.

So for our construction experts out there? Where do I go from here? Is this something that should have been applied with some type of water barrier during install/buildup of broken out section and now will have to be torn out and redone to correct the leak? ughhhh.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 4, 2014
4,680
San Clemente, CA
There's a cold joint between the existing Gunite and the new material they placed on top that's allowing water to seep through. The interior of the spa should have been waterproofed prior to the installation of the finish materials. if what I'm thinking is correct this is going to take a lot of demolition to correct.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Thanks Brian. That’s the answer I was expecting but was dreading lol. I’ll try to steer my builder in that direction but I’m sure he’s going to be resistant. It really sucks too as I’m kind of tied to him with the ecofinish and don’t want to agravate him off if there needs to be any repair.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,084
Connecticut
There's a cold joint between the existing Gunite and the new material they placed on top that's allowing water to seep through. The interior of the spa should have been waterproofed prior to the installation of the finish materials. if what I'm thinking is correct this is going to take a lot of demolition to correct.
Do you believe in cold joints or faulty concrete placement - or consider them one & the same?
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Thanks for the feedback all. Don’t think it’s related to a returns as the water pooling on the deck is at a higher level than the returns. Also when I let the water drop it stops well above the returns. To confirm though I’m going to lower the water level and just run the spa with no overflow to see if there’s any issues with water pooling on the outside.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Contractor came out and pressure tested the lines. Told him it would be a waste. Given the leak characteristics I knew it wasn’t in the plumbing. Sure enough no leak found. Sending out a leak detection company Wednesday. I’ve seen a few posts recently about intermittent leaks. Great example of that In my case. During peak heating of the day leak is a steady drip, at least from the coping, nearly drys up overnight. Cycle continues each day.

Have a video to show the leak if anyone’s interested. What’s the best way to link videos here?
 

keithw

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2007
304
Virginia Beach
I would post it on youtube.com and just link to it here in your thread. Good luck with the repair. It looks like major demo is going to have to be the ultimate resolution and I am sure that your reno contractor will eventually get there if you don't give up. It'll probably end up making your job a loss for him but those are the breaks.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Here’s the link to the video. Given what I paid for a remodel he’d probably still come out ahead even if he had to demo it and start over (paid a premium just to get him out of his normal operating area).
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Interesting enough it was actually a cracked wall fitting and not where they built back up the spa structure. No idea how this got cracked in the process of remodel. Only thing I can think is that they over tightened wall fitting when replacing. Since there's no good answer on how it happened of course my pool guy is waffling a bit, which I can't exactly blame him. Anything I should look for in repairing this? Guessing they're going to have to chip out around the fitting, fix the pipe, fill in hole, and reapply ecofinish.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Any feedback on the proper way to repair this? Found an old thread that may be similar to my situation. Talks to cold joints and rebar rusting after being exposed. I just want to be sure any repair is done right and don't have any long term issues with future leaking or unsightly repair. Thanks
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Still chasing this. Pool remodel company had a leak detection company come out and they believe they’ve narrowed down the source of the leak to the spa return fittings. Every one of them. Remodeler is saying that whoever built the pool originally didn’t pack plaster tightly around each fitting. As such when they put heat to them when they applied ecofinish it shrunk around the fittings and hence the leak. Not sure how much truth there is in this vs how much it’s the remodeler is trying to cover his butt. Brian any thoughts here?

Either way we’re still working on the fix. First attempt was drilling a hole under each fitting (water poured out of these holes, which hopefully indicates we’re close to correct on the diagnosis) and filling with hydraulic cement. This didn’t resolve the issue. Open to any suggestions on how this can be fixed right. Anything we may be missing
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,153
Chapel Hill, NC
Remodeler is saying that whoever built the pool originally didn’t pack plaster tightly around each fitting. As such when they put heat to them when they applied ecofinish it shrunk around the fittings and hence the leak. Not sure how much truth there is in this vs how much it’s the remodeler is trying to cover his butt.
Classic "not my fault", but if you had the pool re-plastered, it IS his fault. He needs to chip out the plaster arounf the retuns, fix the leak problem and refinish those areas.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
176
Houston, TX
Pool wasn’t replastered in the process. Plaster was in decent shape. He’s coming back out and I imagine will drill a few more holes around each return and fill with hydraulic cement again. Any chance this is the right way to do this?