Rust Around Skimmer Plates

smthomas7

Member
Jun 2, 2014
19
Harrisburg, PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I have rust stains around my skimmer plates and can’t determine the cause. The stains are mostly near the water line on the outside of the skimmer plate, but also a little below the water line and a couple spots on the inside of the plates and a tiny bit around a couple screws too. I had the same problem a few years ago a few years after the pool was built. I lowered the water level and replaced both the inside and outside gaskets and touched up the rust on the adjacent pool wall and installed new cover plates. A couple screws had tiny rust spots, but the vast majority of the rust seemed to be from the pool wall. Now a few years later the stains are coming back again.

I attached a current photo (this is after it was cleaned up a little with CLR). Unfortunately I can’t find my photos from a couple years ago while I was replacing the gaskets. From what I remember though the skimmer body actually sits about flush with the pool wall and the gaskets were installed on each side of the vinyl liner and the gaskets/liner get sandwiched between the skimmer body and faceplate. Unlike the Hayward SP1085 instructions it appears the pool builder cut out the skimmer opening in the pool wall the entire permiter of the skimmer flange…pool wall does not attach to the skimmer. I would think this would seal better this way anyway without the pool wall between the gaskets/liner.

Other than winter when the pool is closed I follow TFP methods to maintain my saltwater pool. pH is around 7.5 and rarely needs adjusted. Since it is vinyl pool I don’t worry about hardness and it is usually pretty low. Finally, I watched the pool being installed from new and I know the pool was bonded.

Until a couple years ago I tended to get small water pockets behind the liner in a couple spots on the pool walls near the water line. Sometimes they would go away on their own, but I sometimes also had to pull the liner back and pump them out. This appeared to be related to poor drainage issues around the pool combined with clay soils and after drainage issues were corrected I have not had that problem. Also, none of these water pockets were located near the skimmers. However, I wonder if this past issue or ongoing minor unnoticed groundwater is the cause of the rust stains? Hayward uses fiber type gaskets on the skimmers. It wonder if the fiber slowly allows small amounts of moisture/rust to permeate the gasket from the outside in (instead of the gasket leaking pool water out)? Why are fiber type gaskets used? I would have thought a rubber gasket would seal better?

Thoughts or suggestions anyone? Thanks in advance.
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
39,890
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
@jimmythegreek any thoughts on the rust issue around the skimmer?

How old is the pool?

When the time comes to replace the liner you will see what is going on behind the skimmer area.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
4,678
Spring Valley, NY
Unlike the Hayward SP1085 instructions it appears the pool builder cut out the skimmer opening in the pool wall the entire permiter of the skimmer flange…pool wall does not attach to the skimmer. I would think this would seal better this way anyway without the pool wall between the gaskets/liner.
So what you describe is the skimmer is attached to the vinyl only and not the wall which means from the back the skimmer isn't sealing the wall cut out and water gets in there from rain. Your wall is probably all rusted between the liner. Not sure where the rust on the edge of the skimmer frame comes from other then the screws rusting away because that's not attached to the metal wall.
 

smthomas7

Member
Jun 2, 2014
19
Harrisburg, PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
So what you describe is the skimmer is attached to the vinyl only and not the wall which means from the back the skimmer isn't sealing the wall cut out and water gets in there from rain. Your wall is probably all rusted between the liner. Not sure where the rust on the edge of the skimmer frame comes from other then the screws rusting away because that's not attached to the metal wall.
Yes, that is correct, but I can’t imagine anything is water tight behind the liner regardless. Even if the skimmer was attached to the pool wall, I assume ground water would still find it’s way between the wall and liner at the bolted wall panel joints.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
4,051
Morris Cnty NJ
The earth immediately around a pool is usually dry and acts like a sponge soaking in ground water and rain water.
If I understand your explanation the PB cut out the skimmer completely and it has no attachment to the pool wall? Regardless you can add sealant to the gaskets but usually not necessary if installed correctly. Many PBs use silicone to hold the gasket when installing liners. Some use it on both sides as well
 

Hoster

Silver Supporter
May 27, 2016
146
Berkeley Heights, NJ
@smthomas7 were you able to fix / repair yours??

What I did last weekend prior to closing my pool - I had the same issue and you can see the "condition" of the skimmer box in the pics. I can also use some feedback from others about the work I did so that I can sleep at night :)
1. Removed the liner from the track (7-8 ft?) and lower the water (about 2 ft remaining on the shallow side)
2. Scraped off old gaskets (both sides) and the PB used silicone (when they installed the new liner 3 years ago) - as residual rust can "fall in" between the liner and the wall, I periodically used shop vac to suck up any rust / gasket
3. Used Por-15 kit from advance auto (includes degreaser and metal prep stuff as well but they are basically CLR lime revover) to remove some rust / prep
4. Painted POR-15 over the area (2-3 coats) and let it dry overnight
5. Inserted (with silicone) the rear gasket
6. Insert the liner back into the track - this was the hardest part (may be I lowered the water too much and/or should have finished the work on a same day as the liner may have been pulled, perhaps?) - used a heat gun (and a wedge tool), lowered the water a bit more, and somehow got the liner back in. Since I do not have liner lock, I may get it for next season. HOWEVER, the old, skimmer markings on the liner is now visible at the bottom of the skimmer (don't care about the "looks" as long as it is safe)
7. Applied some silicone (back of the liner) to ensure there is no gap between the liner and the skimmer plate
8. Repeat #5 for the front gasket - since the liner did not perfectly aligned to the original position, I also ensured the "old holes" are not exposed by applying some silicone
9. Reinstall the plate

Hope this works and I do not have to touch the again, for at least 5 years
 

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