Southampton gunite pool renovation & repair
By Patrick Kenney / Southampton pool renovation
This is the sad story of a 10-year old gunite pool that was built by a pool builder who cut corners. This pool was built by a pool builder hired by the GC of the house for most likely the lowest bid of all bids received. The situation depicted within this blog is a perfect example of why its probably not a good idea to buy a pool from the lowest bidder.
The pool industry is a largely unregulated industry. There are no codes saying that the pool walls must be built to a certain minimum thickness. No government body telling pool builders they must use a concrete of a certain strength. In most areas on Long Island no one is checking the steel rebar cage. It is solely up to the pool builder to build a pool that will last, and it is up to the homeowners and GCs to choose a pool builder they believe will do this.
This is why when getting bids from several different pool builders on Long Island you may see a range of up to 100% difference between prices of the “same” pool. The reality is this pool may seem to be exactly the same from quote to quote, and for a few years may even seem to be the same pool on the surface. But once structural problems start to arise, as is the case with this example, the amount saved initially by using the lowest bid, can be a small percentage of the costs to fix the problems caused by the pool builder cutting corners to be able to sell the pool at the lowest bid in the first place. Since there are no enforced structural construction codes for swimming pools there is nothing stopping pool builders from taking short cuts and giving corresponding low ball bids, other than their own personal ethics.
This is why the Professional Pool Building Certification tested by the APSP is important. This certification requires certain minimum standards governed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) be followed by its certificate holders. I assure you, you will not find an APSP CBP Pool builder giving out the lowest bid for a swimming pool very often. This is because we are building pools to a much higher standard than those who are not certified.
Interested in using our gunite pool repair and renovation service? Gunite pool and spa renovations
This photo below depicts the crack we discovered that ran the forty foot length of the pool. The beam of the pool, which is the section at the top of the pool wall that expands to a larger width to accept the coping, has actually cracked directly off from the rest of the pool shell. This is a common issue amongst gunite pools when they are not built by quality pool builders.
Since the entire beam had separated from the rest of the pool shell the correct way to repair this issue is to remove all concrete above the crack and create a new beam.
After removing the top section of the gunite pool (the beam) we come across the alarming fact that this pool was built with walls that are only 4″ thick. I was told by the homeowner that the pool was only 10 years old. Because the pool and entire patio look much older, I confirmed for myself the age of the pool by checking when the house was built and 10 years is accurate. This was alarming because the pool had essentially fallen apart within 10 years of its construction. An entire 40′ section of beam had cracked off of this pool shell, all of the coping had come lose from the beam, most of the tiles had cracked or fallen off of the pool, and both skimmers had cracked away from the pool shell. After considering what had happened to this pool in its first 10 years of existence, taking into account that the pool walls are half as thick as they should be, and the cost of this pool repair alone, I advised the homeowner that it would be more cost effective to demolish this pool and build a new gunite pool. His decision was to go ahead with the repair. The cost of this beam replacement along with new tile, new coping, and new skimmers was $30,000. We decided to skip the planned new marbledust finish since there will very likely be more structural repairs needed in the future since the
remaining 3 walls are already showing signs that the beam will fully snap off there as well. The 4″ shell thickness is very troubling. If a pool builder was willing to make a wall this thin I imagine they were also cutting every other corner possible. I don’t foresee a good future for this pool.
This is a form we created to construct the new beam. Instead of placing a 10″ beam on top of a 4″ wall, we excavated behind the pool wall down to a depth of 30″. What this does is make the entire top section of the wall 10″ thick down below the freeze line.
Here we added a rebar cage, prepared the existing concrete and created a new concrete wall for the pool. The new pool coping has been installed on top of our new pool wall.
Here we have added our new pool tile and made a 1/2″ cut into the existing marbledust so that we may add a new marbledust patch to our new wall we have created.
Here we have created a new marbledust patch over our new pool wall.
This is the final product after the repair has been finished. Please keep in mind that this pool still has its original 10-year old marbledust finish so this was not a full renovation. This was a structural repair with a marbeldust patch.
By Patricks Pools