We just had a new in ground pool built, and it has had significant issues, the last of which is the waterline tiles (glass) are popping off. Last week, three in a row popped off and today three more on the other side. We have contacted the PB and he says he is ‘working on it’.

In the first set that fell off (picture 1) the substance under the tile has a crack running across all of them. The second set (picture 2) doesn’t have a crack. Both are the top line of the waterline. One of the popped off tiles from the first set has no thinset on the back of it; the others do. (Picture 3).

The pool had a huge leak the week after it was finished. They drained it, demo’d plaster, and re-plastered, while keeping the tile intact.

We are just sick at this situation.

2 Questions:

1.) What could be causing the tiles to pop off?

2.) Given these 2 huge issues, we have no confidence that this pool isn’t completely screwed in this way and, who knows, I’m ways we may not even know. What recourse do we have against the PB? The pool is warrantied for a year, but who knows what comes up when.

Thank you.
 

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cowboycasey

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Welcome to TFP :)

I think the reason they are popping of is because there is no perimeter joint.. As you can see in the picture below the perimeter joint should have 100% silicone.. do you know how many waterproofing layers they did before installing the tile?

1626430671428.png

1626430778037.png

In this picture can you get a picture showing the tile and the bottom of the coping along the line I drew.. was there any kind of joint put in there? also get a picture of the other side of your coping, is there a perimeter joint there also?

1626430958013.png
 

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ajw22

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Where is the expansion joint between your pool and your deck? The pool and deck need to be two separate structures that can move independently. The horizontal crack show that the deck put pressure on the pool causing the crack. That needs to get fixed before tile is reapplied or the tile will just get knocked off again.

 
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Welcome to TFP :)

I think the reason they are popping of is because there is no perimeter joint.. As you can see in the picture below the perimeter joint should have 100% silicone.. do you know how many waterproofing layers they did before installing the tile?

View attachment 355575

View attachment 355576

In this picture can you get a picture showing the tile and the bottom of the coping along the line I drew.. was there any kind of joint put in there? also get a picture of the other side of your coping, is there a perimeter joint there also?

View attachment 355577

Thank you for your reply. We investigated further this morning. And this is what we found:

1.) Tapped on the tile with fingertip next to one of the tiles that had fallen off —it made a hollow sound and fell off.

2.) No hollow sound on deck.

3.) Looked at the perimeter of the pool this morning —and it looks like other tiles may be popping off shortly. Pls see pics of loose grout.

I have attached additional pictures based on your marking on the picture in my initial post. Does that look like an expansion joint? It looks like plain old grout to us.

Follow-up questions:

1.) Are the pictures showing the area you asked? If so, does it look like a proper expansion joint was used? It looks like plain old grout to us.

2.) Aside from using the proper expansion product issue, do the pictures indicate the bond beam has cracked? If so, what does that repair entail?

3.) Could the major leak we had during the 1st week the pool was filled (1/2 inch of water every 12 hrs on a 16x36 pool and it took the PB a week at least before demo and re-plaster) have caused or added to this issue in addition to incorrect expansion product? They demo’d the plaster (one of the lights wasn’t sealed properly and had a crack jutting out) but left the tile intact and re-plastered —-could water have gotten behind the thin-set?

Thanks so much again. This is unbelievable on new construction.
 

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ajw22

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Show us pics showing the coping and deck and where they interface.

You probably have the precast coping design...

Pre-Cast_Coping.png
 

cowboycasey

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show us some more shots not so close to see.. the ones above are to close up to see what is going on... :)

Newspaper huh.. not even remotely the right stuff.. I wonder how long newspaper lasted.. maybe 10 or 15 minutes...
 

ajw22

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It’s a single pour cantilever deck. PB’s concrete sub said he used newspapers to create space when pouring.

If it is a cantilevered deck then you need to have the expansion joint under the coping and not hard grout. The expansion joint can be filled with flexible mastic.

A “decoupling” expansion joint should extend across the entire width of the top of the bond beam to allow the deck to move independent of the pool shell. This joint can be created with a 4mm plastic sheet or 2 layers of roofing felt underlayment. Not newspapers!!

It is very important that the waterline tile is installed after the deck is placed so there is no chance of the deck expanding and popping off the tile (see tile placement in the diagram). The tile can be grouted as usual but the top joint between the deck and tile should be filled with a flexible sealant that is not silicone based.

Cantilevered_Coping.png
 
It’s a single pour cantilever deck. 5 ft on the ends and about 3 or so feet long ways. PB’s concrete sub said he used newspapers to create space when pouring. We discussed making sure there’s space btw pool shell and deck before the pour.
 

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show us some more shots not so close to see.. the ones above are to close up to see what is going on... :)

Newspaper huh.. not even remotely the right stuff.. I wonder how long newspaper lasted.. maybe 10 or 15 minutes...
I just attached additional pictures.

I asked him doesn’t newspaper disintegrate and he had some random reply.

Can this be fixed without tearing up the deck?

PB’s communication has been really problematic. At one point, he was only communicating through his wife after getting upset that his work and honesty were being questioned.
 

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ajw22

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I think your coping/deck was incorrectly installed and your pool shows all the problems of a lack of a proper expansion joint.

You need to decouple the deck from the pool structure. I don't know of anyway to repair it other then remove the deck/coping and pour a new deck with a correct decoupling layer. I would find a contractor who understands how to install such a deck and work with him.
  • Demo the existing deck
  • Examine and repair any cracks in the bond beam
  • Pour a new deck with a proper decoupling joint
  • You will likely lose tiles when you remove the deck. Replace the tiles as necessary with no tiles or grout touching the deck.
  • Fill the decoupling joint with a flexible mastic
 
So, taking off the top-most line of tile, taking out the grout, cleaning out the decoupling space, and replacing it with flexible mastic won’t do the job?

If it won’t, and since the pool is under warranty for a year, and the last payment of about 3k has not been made yet, we are tempted to have the PB fix the issue by re-doing it the right way, which he has to figure out.

Now there’s the common sense thought that if he knew how to do it the right way, he would have done it the first time. However, if he can’t fix it right, then he has to pay someone else to do it, instead of us paying to have someone fix the issue caused by him. Is that a likely event without suing?

Thank you
 

ajw22

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So, taking off the top-most line of tile, taking out the grout, cleaning out the decoupling space, and replacing it with flexible mastic won’t do the job?

The decoupling joint needs to be the entire depth of the bond beam. The deck cannot be touching the bond beam and needs some moveable surface such as plastic or roofing felt between the deck and the bond beam to allow movement. How do you imagine "cleaning out the decoupling space" without removing the concrete slabs?

If it won’t, and since the pool is under warranty for a year, and the last payment of about 3k has not been made yet, we are tempted to have the PB fix the issue by re-doing it the right way, which he has to figure out.

Now there’s the common sense thought that if he knew how to do it the right way, he would have done it the first time. However, if he can’t fix it right, then he has to pay someone else to do it, instead of us paying to have someone fix the issue caused by him. Is that a likely event without suing?

If it is under warranty make it the PB's problem and see what he does.

Worst case you have to fix it if he can't.

You are in CA and have good pool contractor consumer rights. @Dirk has written about how he has handled his pool contractor problems. Read...



 

Xentex

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PB’s concrete sub said he used newspapers to create space when pouring.
There's the possibility of miscommunication / mishearing here. Is it possible somebody said "roof paper" and somebody else heard "newspaper"?

Seems possible the decking is fine and the problem is the mortar/grout was run right up against the decking rather than leaving a gap. Seems like an easier problem to address if that's the situation.
 
There's the possibility of miscommunication / mishearing here. Is it possible somebody said "roof paper" and somebody else heard "newspaper"?

Seems possible the decking is fine and the problem is the mortar/grout was run right up against the decking rather than leaving a gap. Seems like an easier problem to address if that's the situation.
Hi Xentex, thanks that’s a great point. We’ll check in regarding roof paper vs newspaper —that would be nice, if so. I remember saying won’t it disintegrate when I heard newspaperand he had some reply.
We are hoping it’s the issue with mortar and can be solved at that level. Will start there with PB, who hasn’t communicated beyond ‘working on it’.

Thank you
 
I think your coping/deck was incorrectly installed and your pool shows all the problems of a lack of a proper expansion joint.

You need to decouple the deck from the pool structure. I don't know of anyway to repair it other then remove the deck/coping and pour a new deck with a correct decoupling layer. I would find a contractor who understands how to install such a deck and work with him.
  • Demo the existing deck
  • Examine and repair any cracks in the bond beam
  • Pour a new deck with a proper decoupling joint
  • You will likely lose tiles when you remove the deck. Replace the tiles as necessary with no tiles or grout touching the deck.
  • Fill the decoupling joint with a flexible mastic
Ajw22, So you think just taking out grout and using flexible mastic wouldn’t solve the issue (barring any applicable details that may be missing from the info I provided?)
 

ajw22

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Ajw22, So you think just taking out grout and using flexible mastic wouldn’t solve the issue (barring any applicable details that may be missing from the info I provided?)

It all depends if the deck is coupled to the bond beam or there is a decoupling joint between them.

I don’t know how you can find that out without taking out a section of concrete to determine what was actually done.
 
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Xentex

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I don’t know how you can find that out without taking out a section of concrete to determine what was actually done.
I'd start by asking again for clarification from the cement contractor. If he won't give a straight answer, that's not a good sign. If he says he used "roofing paper" then it increases the likelihood the problem was with the tiling job, not the decking.

Next, I'd go to one of the areas where the tiles already popped off, like shown in the second picture in the first post. I'd chisel out some of that mortar that's attached to the deck at the top and ends in a big crack behind where the tile was. That junk has to come out no matter what, so might as well chisel it out and get a look. With some of that out of the way you might get a view of what's happening at the bond beam / decking interface.

If you still can't tell, and the PB swears it's done right, then you could probably do the kind of "core sample" that's done to inspect stucco walls. In this case you don't care about the actual core, you just want to see if you come across a couple layers of roofing felt before the beam.

So, taking off the top-most line of tile, taking out the grout, cleaning out the decoupling space, and replacing it with flexible mastic won’t do the job?
It might. If the deck was done correctly.
 

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