Structural crack repair warranties

BB_Sacramento

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2015
78
sacramento/CA
We're getting bids on replastering and there are cracks in the plaster that might be structural issues. Each company who has given a bid has different opinions and ways to repair the possible structure cracks, costing different amounts, and none of them include any warranty on the crack repair work. I'm trying to find a structural engineer now to assess it and give advice. Have you had the same experience? No warranty on crack repairs?

We have no idea if there are structural cracks - it might be the plaster itself. Some cracks are very long and straight (20') but they're all hairline width. Others are not as long, in several parts of the pool. We don't think they're leaking and none have stained the plaster. We were told that if there is a leak that is deep the plaster would get stains from rusting of the rebar or ? but the plaster is white.

All bidders say they can't know until the plaster is removed if there are structural issues, or how bad they are, but their bids describe their solution to the worst-case scenario: either 1. cut a trench to the soil and put in new rebar and gunite or concrete, or 2. cut a V shape into the crack and fill with a compound, or 3. fill the cracks with a pressurized fluid that hardens.

But by the time the plaster is removed we've already hired the company and $$$$ into the project. If the crack repair isn't warrantied, how can we choose? Maybe a structural engineer will help with the decision. Or maybe the structural engineer won't know either until the plaster is removed!?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
25,739
Do you have pictures?

Crack repair really can't do anything if the ground is settling.

Think about it, if the original solid concrete couldn't withstand the stress, how can a patch hold up against the stress?

Check the cracks for leaking by squirting some food coloring into the crack to see if it gets sucked in.

If the cracks are not structural, you would get some sort of buildup around the cracks.

If no buildup, it's probably because the water is going through in one direction.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
26,269
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Let's start with no plaster is structural. The gunite shell is what provides all structural support for the pool.

Cracks in the plaster are of no issues unless they extend into the gunite and the gunite is cracked. You will only find out the status of the gunite shell after the plaster is removed.

You may need to do the project in phases and hire a company to only remove the plaster and then asses the condition of the gunite shell.

If the pool is not leaking water it is probably not structural crack.

You get the opinion of a structural engineer on the root cause of the cracking and fix. What is the best fix technique can only be determined after the plaster is removed and the cracks in the gunite shell are examined.

Being in CA you are in earthquake country and the ground may be moving causing the cracks.

You may need concrete staples with epoxy injection for a mechanical solid fix. This is a common concrete repair technique.

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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Hi BB..
Yeah, we really need some pics to get an idea. @ajw22, the Sacramento area is not really prone to earthquake settling like those that live closer to active faults. Its in the middle of an ancient lake bed. But it really depends on where in Sac area BB is located. I know everyone from the east coast thinks all of CA is ready to fall in the Pacific at any moment. The same way we thing all of the east coast is going to get sucked into a hurricane or tornado at any moment.

Sounds like you are going to re plaster anyway.. So this will need to be a phased project.. and you can get the people lined up for each phase as it progresses.. The cracks really can't be accessed beyond leak detection until the old plaster is removed. Then an engineer can evaluate it.. if there is nothing there, then proceed with the replaster.. if the cracks need to be addressed that's when it needs to be dealt with. Seems odd to have such a young pool (2003) with cracks that you think are structural.
 

BB_Sacramento

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2015
78
sacramento/CA
I've attached 3 photos below. Since the water is too cold to get in yet this year I can't check for leaks with dye. and the one long one is too deep for me to dye test anyway! I don't have scuba equipment. Last summer we patched all the cracks with putty. You can see the putty and places where putty is gone is from the vacuum running over it. The cracks on the steps are new since last summer because we patched all cracks then and this has no cracks but it is not leaking. I don't think any cracks were leaking last summer before we puttied except the one on the wall just below the skimmer - I saw dye being sucked into it then - and as you can see in the photo the putty is still there.
To understand, are you saying the best most permanent fix if it is structural is the staple method? Or is the cutting through the concrete to the soil and reinserting new rebar a more permanent fix? Or are they different depending on the issue?
 

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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
25,739
Those are structural cracks.

There really isn't anything that can really fix a crack.

If the shell is moving enough to cause full strength concrete to crack, how would any fix be strong enough to hold?

If you want to stop the crack from getting bigger, you have to stabilize the ground.

If the ground is giving away in a particular area, the weight of the pool will follow the ground and the pool will crack.

Even if you had infinitely strong epoxy injected into the crack, it would just crack right next to the crack.

That's why no one will warranty the fix.

Unless you address the shifting ground, the cracks will continue regardless of any patch.

A patch will not hold the entire weight of a section of the pool that has no ground support underneath.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
26,269
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
If I was there I would look at your deck/pool interface and where your expansion joint is. The deck and the pool are two separate structures and should be able to move independently without putting pressure on each other. If you don;t have a proper expansion joint then the deck can put pressure on the pool causing cracking. That horizontal crack indicates the deck and ground put pressure on the bond beam in that area.

 
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