Still dealing with a nightmare, but not afraid to tackle it. (repair / replace)

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
WARNING: Very long post, I sometimes get a bit carried away.

I have posted numerous times over the past several years about all of the headaches and nightmares I have dealt with in regards to my in ground pool. Everything from a cracked shell, broken pipes and side wall bulges and floating. I got to the point where the best thing would've been to tear it out and fill in the hole. But being that I ended up in "nothing to lose" mode I just started hacking away at it and learning as I went along. The nice thing is I learned a ton about in ground pools and their installations. I also learned how to work with fiberglass and got good exercise digging in the STL heat.

Anyways, so far I have had about 5 feet of patio cut and removed around the pool. I also dug a trench several feet wide all the way around and replaced the pipes. I dug down along the walls about 4-5 feet and removed the bulges. So right now I am ready to fill in the trench and have concrete re-poured, but I have a few hangups. First of all the pool had floated prior to the concrete removal about 2-3 inches. Which means if I pour concrete there will be a slope going up towards the edge. Second I think I need the shell re-gel coated. The pool is about 19 years old and has lost it's luster. Last summer I drained it (yep... lol) in order to repair the floor crack. I should've re-gel coated it then as I know its REALLY dangerous to drain a FG pool. Luckily I didn't have any rain for 2 weeks and it was up near 100.

Sorry this is getting to long. My question is what should I do? I am on the edge of ripping it out again due to the floating issue. I also would love a new pool but can't afford an entirely new one with install. My family wants a pool also, otherwise I would just fill it in and plant grass. So I am also wondering if I removed it if it would save me money doing either a self install or switching to another shell type. The hole is there and I can do all the plumping etc myself and I also already have a new pump / filter system.

TLDR: Would you keep repairing everything on a 19 year old pool. Or try and self install something yourself?

SIDE NOTE: The pool is small
 

mariane

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May 8, 2012
1,097
Southeast Michigan
I don't have any experience with IGP so I can't give a suggestion re: keep or replace the pool (we have an AGP and its ~20 years old and we rehabbed it in summer 2018)
But I do have a question: Is it a high water table that's causing the problem? Have you considered a french drain or sump pump system (if they even make one for a pool) that would divert the ground water away from the pool so it won't float? Is it even possible what I suggest?
I'm sure some IGP people will get back with you.
 

revitup

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Nov 30, 2019
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Pawleys Island, SC
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If the pool floated when it was drained then there's a water table issue. My understanding is that is usually recognized at pool install and well points installed to drain the ground water during install. That was my experience with our FG pool install anyway. The well points are left in place to pump the area if the pool needs to be emptied for any reason. I don't think a FG pool should ever be drained without accounting for ground water.
 

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
I am not sure how high my water table is. But I do have clay soil and after heavy rains it does take awhile for the backyard to dry out. I do know that we had nearly a foot of rain over a week a few winters ago and it caused pressure buildup around my shell damaging it. I am wondering if I can dig down somehow and install a sump now, or that one HAS it be installed during the initial pool install.

Anyhow the pool floated and it seems fill fell underneath. Some of the floor isn't as even as it once was. At this point I keep wondering also if I should have the shell pulled out (professionally) fix the ground and put back in, redo gel coat while it's out etc etc.
 

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
If the pool floated when it was drained then there's a water table issue. My understanding is that is usually recognized at pool install and well points installed to drain the ground water during install. That was my experience with our FG pool install anyway. The well points are left in place to pump the area if the pool needs to be emptied for any reason. I don't think a FG pool should ever be drained without accounting for ground water.

I have one pipe that sticks out of the ground near it. If I shove a hose down inside I am able to pump water out. Is this the well point?
And ya I knew the risk of draining it, at that point I didn't care what happened as I was about to have it torn out. The pool at some point prior floated though and lifted the decking a few inches. I did actually suck water out of that pipe prior to draining due to thinking it was a good idea. AND I got really lucky that a drought was pretty much going on during that week.

I am wondering at this point the best way to progress. I also considered finding out how much it would be for a company to lift the shell out so that I can fix the ground and reinstall it. Or even purchase a new shell similar in size and prep the hole myself, run the plumbing etc. I still have a newer pump station. Tough decision, I just know my family WANTS a pool but I don't want to spend 40-50k getting a new one.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
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@jimmythegreek Any insight to offer on this one? Tough situation.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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This sounds like a similar situation as was dealt with here ....


That pool got crooked during the install. This pool got crooked from popping out. Either way once a fiberglass pool gets to that place I think it needs to be lifted out, a solid level base be prepared, and the pool reset in the ground.

Hopefully the fiberglass shell survives the lift.
 

jimmythegreek

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Aug 10, 2017
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Morris Cnty NJ
This is a tough one. If the shell was solid and in good shape I'd say definitely repair it. The problem here is the shell is bulged, stressed, and faded. A smaller pool shell is still in the 10-15k range delivered to site. Take into account the crane, excavator, and labor and base prep and your at 25k just to get a shell in the ground not finished. I account for a drainage system and dewatering in those numbers. Now add the deck and plumbing and your way up to the # you dont want to be at

On the flip side if you just dig out the old shell you still need to do a whole new base and a permanent dewater system and drainage. The shell needs a pressure valve in your situation. Even if you got it out its not easy to prep a bulged pool to be reset. Once its reset its alot of work to strengthen and reglass the pool. If that was the plan I'd do the work with the shell out of the ground as once its inground water is your enemy. Theres no advantage to ripping it and replacing with a liner pool kit it's way more work and money than a shell replacement. You may be able to find a slightly smaller shell for cheap and use stone to fill in the extra area that would be best case scenario but still 10k plus and then some. Fixing and reglassing a small pool is a big job especially for a DIY job. I've done alot of glass work its horrible work and hard to make it look good.
No easy cheap way out of this. Would be in much better shape if it didnt float up. If you were gonna glass it anyway 2 holes drilled in bottom would have kept it down. Day late and a dollar short on that.....
 

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
Thank you so much Jimmy,

I wonder how much it would cost to have it JUST removed and reset? I am fine doing the work and taking as much time needed. Mostly due to the fact that I was going to have it pulled out and disposed of anyways. The shell is all patched up now, but it needs re-coated. Is it possible to use some type of supports and glass them over on the back side of the bulge to help keep it flat? I also wonder if I can shovel the ground and re contour / level it. As mentioned the pool is pretty small and I removed a large portion of the decking all the way around. PLUS dug out around it.

I appreciate the advice and opinions!
 

YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
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Evans, Georgia
Can I just confirm that the pool was empty when it lifted up? Assuming it was, what was going on at the time that you decided to empty it?

Maddie :flower:
 

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Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
It was not empty when it floated up. We had a foot of rain during the winter one week and it cause all sorts of issues. I had a company come out and look at fixing it (the bottom cracked). They told me that they were seeing a lot of pools with similar issues in my area. So I waited into summer since in my areas (STL) rain chances fall. As soon as we didn't have rain in the forecast I pumped the water out from the well point. Then as the pump flow slowed (the crack was seeping) I started draining the pool. A lot of this was with crossed fingers (lol). The quotes coming in to drain and fix it were around 3500. The crack was about a foot long by half inch wide. I didn't want to pay 3500 for such a small area so I watched some youtube videos and chatted with a supplier. Then I got inside the pool and fixed it. I think it cost me around 200 in materials. It's a bit discolored but rock solid. I learned how amazing fiberglass was that day. =)

Anyways as mentioned I am not afraid to dive in (lol) and give anything a shot. I am by no means an expert but it's nice to have something to learn on that you haven't invested much in (came with the house). So it's either A. remove it and fill or B. get a workout and learn things.

BUT... I have no idea how much having it lifted out, then set back in costs. /shrug
 

jimmythegreek

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What size pool we talking here? Small means different things to different people lol. A 12x24 can be pulled out with an excavator after its dug out carefully. Even a mini excavator can get a shell out once the sides are free it's all about the rigging and spreader bars. Its alot easier to do with straps under it. You need permanent de watering with either gravity or a sump pit and pump with discharge line
 

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
I measured it years ago and honestly forgot. If I had to guess it's probably around a 12 x 24. But around 10' at most where the middle curves in (guess). It's actually too small IMO but big enough to cool off.

Here's a photo of it from my deck, all the concrete squares around it currently are gone and the dirt / fill is dug up around the sides (as I mentioned).
 

jimmythegreek

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Not too big it's definitely do able. Doesnt loom horrible from pics. How is the access? Can you get equipment in there or a small crane?
 

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
The access isn't good to be honest. I would have to remove part of my fencing which I can do easy enough. But in order to get down to it there isn't a ton of room between my front landscaping and neighbors yard. Not sure how wide a small crane is, or what the most narrow piece of equipment would work. Although I suppose if the ground is fairly hard at the time maybe it won't destroy the yard. But I could remove two sections of 6 foot fence as I need to replace a post anyways. I am kind of curious WHO I would actually call, as I have a feeling it's not just a normal pool company.
 

jimmythegreek

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Yup a mini excavator to dig it and a large crane. Or if you have room to set it you can dig it all out and use excavator to lift each end with a strap underneath up onto wooden blocks then strap the whole thing well and lift it out. That shell is less than 1000pds ive seen small ones adjusted with a few guys lifting one end. A pool company will laugh at this they want no part of it. There are lots of crane services out there but expensive. My guy is 500 an hour 2k a day. Crane costs half a million tho lol
 

Aleforge

Well-known member
May 31, 2014
287
Wentzville, MO
Any idea who I would call? This entire process is seeming more and more involved than I imagined (lol). I guess due to it being partially dug out and so small. But I get what your saying about needing to be underneath it. I wonder how many guys it would take to lift it, 10 or so? J/K

Thanks for the help!
 

YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
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Evans, Georgia
It must be lifted in one *even* way..... so you're not twisting it or something. I just can't imagine humans being able to all lift it and move it as "one" as necessary.
 

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