We should begin this topic by acknowledging that cracks in a gunite pool are not common. Gunite is the only type of pools where some pool builders offer a lifetime warranty on the gunite shell. However, even with that lifetime warranty, if a pool company comes out to fix a crack, the homeowner is usually responsible for costly refilling the pool with water. Nevertheless, if you’ve found this article, you need to know how to fix crack in a gunite pool? We will explain how to identify a crack and the steps involved in fixing a crack.
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How To Fix Crack In A Gunite Pool?
Perhaps you bought a house with a pool, but the pool has a crack. Now what do you do? The first step is to determine just how bad the crack is. One thing you’ll notice in any gunite pool is that if you look closely are hairline cracks in the plaster. This is perfectly normal. What is not normal is for these cracks to be large enough to see without getting a few inches away from the surface.
Determine If You Have A Leak
First you need to figure out if your cracks are losing water. Do you have a leak? This is one way to inform you whether the crack is structural or if the crack is only in the plaster finish itself. One way to check is to use food coloring. Squeeze out food coloring along the crack and you should be able to see it go into the crack if there is a leak.
If it’s just a crack in the plaster, you might use a plaster patch to fill in the crack. In cases where you don’t have a white plaster pool, but still want to patch it, reach out to the manufacturer of your interior finish or your pool builder to see if they have any patch compounds that would work better for your finish.
Structural Crack: How To Fix Crack In A Gunite Pool
If you find you have a structural crack you have some options to consider. One option is to remove the pool and build it again. That’s obviously the most expensive option. Another, more practical, option is epoxy concrete welding. This process involves drilling holes through the crack at 12” centers.
Afterward, you then inject an epoxy into each hole starting with the lowest hole on the wall. This way you are able to “weld” the concrete together by filling the crack with epoxy. This generally is followed by a re-plastering of the pool since the holes are somewhat unsightly. However, it’s one of the best ways to repair a structure with only a few structural cracks.
Understand What Caused The Crack
One thing to remember when considering repairing a cracked gunite pool is why the cracks are there to begin with. Is there sloping earth going toward the pool causing water to build up next to the pool shell which then freezes over winter? Will or is the pool already sinking into the ground? Is the pool or deck moving in any noticeable way? The answers to these questions can sometimes lead you to something greater which caused the crack and help you with solving the structural failure before it reappears.
Ask Your Pool Builder About Cracks
Generally speaking cracked gunite pools are rare. However, they do happen. Knowing how to address the issue is important for pool owners and pool builders alike. When purchasing a pool it is a good idea to ask the company what happens when the pool cracks, and how it’s dealt with. Ultimately, it’s best to go into a construction project knowing how the worst case scenario will be handled if it comes up.
Pro Tip: Don’t Cut Corners
One final note. Cracked pools happen but they can be prevented with proper geotechnical, civil, and structural engineering up front, then proper execution through construction. Geotechnical to handle the soil conditions, civil to handle the drainage, and structural to design a pool structure inside the parameters determined by the geotechnical and civil engineers. It may sound like a lot of engineering, and it is. But if you consider what you are spending on a pool project, it’s best to pay to plan ahead then force a project through making assumptions.