Tiny Pool Orlando Bond Beam and Tile Repair


New member
Jun 14, 2021
Orlando, FL
Pool Size
Liquid Chlorine
Hi everyone,

I've recently joined this community owing to the large amount of research I've been doing on pool construction and related issues. Our Orlando home has a small pool which we love since it's great for the kids and is easy on maintenance. It was never is super condition because of the a nearby palm tree which pushed the deck away from the pool at one location and there was a horizontal crack running the entire perimeter of the pool just below the topmost tile of the mosaic. Over the past 6 years, the problem has grown worse as the water entering the crack eroded the concrete behind the tiles, causing about a dozen of them to fall out.

At the start of May of this year, I decided to try and address the tile issue by pulling the loose tiles, chipping out the old concrete, patching the holes and reinstalling new tiles. This was all before I had any knowledge about how pools are constructed and what sort of problems can occur if care is not taken during construction. After about a month of intermittent removing of the bad tiles, cleaning and patching the concrete and attaching new tiles, I had all of tiles up (about 1/4 of the total were replaced), I was just about ready to grout but when I started removing the old grout from the tiles which were not replaced, initially only the cracked grout line, many more tiles were coming loose and much more damage to the concrete was becoming apparent. At the start of June, I got tired of cleaning thinset from behind individual tiles and removed all of the tiles I had not yet replaced (the remaining 3/4).

The project was put on hold due to vacations and family visits, but is now back up and running. Over the past week I've cleaned up all of the exposed concrete to make it ready for patching and in the process discovered that the reason for the crack was not the palm tree, but the fact that ground was not graded properly when the deck was poured and that it was also attached to the bond beam. Of course this eventually caused the bond beam to crack and the palm tree just made it worse by pushing the deck up and speeding up the water ingress.

I know now that the proper fix for my problem is to remove the deck, fix the beam and lay a new deck with proper expansion joints. This however is not in the cards at this time. We're going to live with the lifted deck for now and so the goal is to repair the bond beam so that the tile can be re-attached. My plan is to patch the bond beam and then to cut a control joint right where the crack used to be. Because this cut will be in line with a grout line, I can carry this joint to the surface and caulk it at the grout line. My hope is that when it again cracks, the crack will not run into a tile, and the caulked joint will accommodate the movement without cracking.

I wanted to post this here in the hopes that those of you who know something about this topic can tell me where I'm making a big mistake and that I will regret this all someday soon. Just remember that my goal is to get the pool operational, not to completely refurbish it for posterity. The surface is also in poor condition and I do plan to try and polish it a bit. If I can make a reasonable improvement to the surface on and near the steps, I may do the entire pool when time comes to drain it for cleanup (another bad idea perhaps?)

I've included photos below, along with diagrams showing my interpretation of the problems and how I'm planning to address them in this case. I appreciate any recommendations, comments or words or encouragement.


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