Replacing ooooold tile

ICSVortex912

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Jun 2, 2016
10
Omaha, NE
We have a fairly gigantic (20' x 40') gunite pool that has been around for nearly 60 years. The previous owner was 93 years old by the time we bought the house, and all of the neighbors say that the pool went a good 8-9 years without being opened. I was able to get it sparkling clear last year and enjoy it for about half the season, thanks to the abundance of knowledge on this site -- so thank you all for that!

Now, there is a ring of tile around the top 6 inches of the pool, and through age and neglect it has fallen into complete disrepair, to the point that many of the tiles have actually fallen off and shattered on the bottom of the pool. Obviously, this needs to be replaced, and my wife and I would like to do this ourselves.

My first question -- and I'm sure more will follow -- is this: do I need to use an angle grinder (or some other tool) to totally level out the surface in preparation for new tile? Or, will I just level out the surface with mortar? I'm guessing the former, since it seems the tile will otherwise not end up looking flat and even in the long run if I try to take a shortcut. I can get some pictures later today if necessary, but it looks very rough where the tile has fallen away, and I'm guessing that is likely the case behind all the tile.

If an angle grinder or some other tool is necessary, does anyone have a specific recommendation that has worked well in your experience?

Thank you in advance for your help!
 

duraleigh

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You are tackling a big but doable job. the old grout and thinset needs to come up. It would be virtually impossible to trowel over the old thinset.

I used an electric jackhammer to get the thinset up......the angle grinder just wasn't up to the job. They are rentable at home Depot, etc.

Your thinset might be less strong since it is so old.....I hope so. Mine was an incredibly difficult job.
 

ICSVortex912

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Jun 2, 2016
10
Omaha, NE
Wow, an electric jackhammer up on the side of the pool? Sounds startlingly difficult (my shoulders already hurt just thinking about it). Will it be easy to take away...more than I intend to if I'm not careful, or will the grout/thinset come off without fear of hammering through the side of the pool?

I do have an angle grinder and a decent diamond disc, so I can at least try that without any wasted investment.

Thanks!
 

duraleigh

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The 50 year old concrete will not be troubled by your jackhammer efforts, trust me.

Anyway, The jackhammer has about a 4-6 inch blade on the front and acts more as a scraping, vibrating type tool.

The mortar may come up easily....mine didn't but it was a newer polymer added thinset with more "holding power" than older mortars.

Give it a try with the angle grinder......you'll soon know if you need something more robust.
 

ICSVortex912

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Jun 2, 2016
10
Omaha, NE
As it happens, the angle grinder is working like a charm. The mortar bed is very weak, and is coming away quite easily. I'm pleasantly surprised with how well it's working.

Now, the joint that was between the old tile and the coping is very brittle and is just falling right out. Is this anything that I need to be concerned about?
IMG959333.jpgIMG959335.jpg

Do I need to remove all of this and try to repair it with a pool plaster mix, or is it enough to just make a thick grout joint here when I tile?

Thanks!
 

duraleigh

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Are you removing the scum line tile and mortar (installed vertically on the pool wall?)
 

ICSVortex912

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Jun 2, 2016
10
Omaha, NE
Are you removing the scum line tile and mortar (installed vertically on the pool wall?)
I'm not sure if I know what you mean, Dave. There are 6-inch tiles all the way around the top of the pool -- I'm removing all of those and all the mortar/grout/thinset/whatever, which is leaving me with just a smooth concrete surface, as pictured above (less the mortar joint under the coping, which we are now working on removing).

Sorry, I just might need some more clarification. I'm still very new to this pool stuff. :(
 

duraleigh

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Yeah, we'll get on the same page. I assumed the tile you were removing were on your decking. I think now they are on the pool wall....is that right?
 

duraleigh

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Yikes! Sorry about the jackhammer suggestion.....I got it now.

I am glad the old mortar is letting go. Do a nice job so you (or the tile man) can spread thinset evenly.
Do I need to remove all of this and try to repair it with a pool plaster mix, or is it enough to just make a thick grout joint here when I tile?
Neither. remove all the old mortar up underneath you coping tiles that you can get out. Then, when the new tiles are laid bring them up to stop about 1/4" short of the coping tile.

That area between the underneath of the coping and the top of the waterline tile will be best filled with polyurethane caulk. There is always movement at that point and mortar or grout will crack.
 

The dog

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Apr 17, 2017
147
sacramento CA
Funny thing for me. I had this 60 year old pool too wanted to replace the tile. But decided to do a complete remodel. Well it looks like the previous owner put another layer of tile on top of the original tile They must have done a plaster job when they did it. When I did the remodel this year I noticed it. Looks like it was pretty easy for the plaster guy to float another 1/2 inch of material to make it look good.


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