Suggestions for presumed leak in bench waterfall (in-ground pool)


New member
May 10, 2019
Charlotte, NC
Hey everyone,

I'd like your suggestions about how to handle what I believe is a leak from a waterfall that is installed in a slightly rounded, concrete, tiled bench adjoining my in-ground pool. There is a build-of a hard white deposit on one side of the waterfall. I assume that this is calcium from leaking water that is leaching through the mortar from the inside of the bench and then hardening once exposed to air and sunlight. I do not have any deposits anywhere else in my pool or anywhere below the waterline. The only deposits are above the waterline and near the waterfall. In addition, I've checked my water chemistry, and there are no apparent issues.

I've attached a few photos to illustrate the issue. The waterfall is turned off in the pictures, but the water comes out from a long horizontal spout positioned just under the bench's upper bricks. (And please don't judge -- I'm about to replace the mastic this week lol.)

*****Question 1*****: Does this look to be a waterfall leak to you all, or is this evidence of another problem?

I purchased this home last year with the pool and waterfall already installed. There is no access panel in the bench in which the waterfall is installed. The bench is completely tiled over, on all sides.

*****Question 2*****: Assuming that this does in fact appear to be a leak from the waterfall, what is the best way of accessing the waterfall for inspection and repair? Should I use a handheld masonry saw to cut out a section of the back wall of the bench? Should I remove one or more of the bricks on the top of the bench?

I'm basically trying to crowdsource this issue before starting the project. ("Measure twice, cut once.")

Thank you in advance for your help!

Tate Helms
Charlotte, NC



Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Welcome to TFP.

Post wider pics showing where the problem areas fit in to your overall pool and spa.

That looks like efflorescence.

Before you go ripping open walls looking for leaking pipes it is more likely that water is getting into the walls from cracks in the grout between tiles on the spa overflow area. I would carefully inspect the tiles and grout where pool water is flowing over. WE have also seen where a waterproof membrane was not applied to spa walls before tiling and plaster.

If you are replacing mastic on the waterfall that can be a source of water incursion into the walls. Mark the areas in the pics since I don;t know why mastic should be applied to a tiled waterfall surface.