Inground pools can breathe new life into an outdoor space. From providing a mini oasis on the hot days of summer to offering joint-friendly exercise opportunities and a great place to entertain guests and family, inground pools are a popular installation on many properties. However, without proper maintenance, they can begin to wear out and experience problems that threaten both their longevity and the safety of the people using the pool.
Being aware of some frequent pool owner mistakes and learning how to avoid them can eliminate some of the issues that can make your pool unusable. Here are the five most common concrete inground pool problems and their solutions.
Spalling describes the process by which the plaster on a pool degrades. It may flake off or peel, and usually start at the bottom. This can be caused by improper application with an inexperienced installer who may have over-trowled the plaster, done so at the wrong time or added too much water during the process. Minor spalling can be corrected by sanding the area to even it out. In the event of spalling that is especially severe, the area will need to be completely replastered to ensure a smooth seal.
Cracks in the structure can occur due to shrinkage or improper installation. When a pool surface shrinks, it creates light or hairline cracks called craze cracks that can be an aesthetic eyesore, or hold onto algae and bacteria contributing to staining and odors.
Deeper cracks in the pool shelf, called structural cracks, almost always arise when the pool was not built with the environment in mind. As soil expands and shifts, the pool may crack as its in-ground support changes.
Repairing structural cracking requires significant refurbishment or a complete reinstall. These severe cracks typically result in leaks that make maintaining a pool and the water level difficult and can cause flooding in the yard or even foundation damage if the pool is located close to the home.
Leaks can be caused by structural cracking, but they may also arise as part of a plumbing issue. Plumbing problems can start as soon as a pool installation is complete if procedures were not properly followed. However, sometimes these issues arise later, after the pool has settled and shifted in the ground or if tree roots begin to compromise the in-ground plumbing lines.
To fix plumbing leaks, the source of the leak must be identified. This can be achieved through pressure testing, which should have also been done during the initial pool installation. Once the origin of the leak is located, you will need to access the pipe or joint that is the culprit. This process will likely require breaking through some of the pool’s concrete or digging into the ground. Remove the damaged plumbing and replace any necessary parts.
A discolored pool can happen for many reasons, from incorrect trowling during installation to chemical imbalances. Most often, the discoloration stems from a disproportionate chemical makeup of the pool’s regular water treatment. Installing tile along the water line can help to prevent a discolored ridge from forming in the plaster, which is porous and eager to retain stains. To fix existing discoloration, an acid wash can be used. However, without correcting the underlying problem, the discoloration will return.
Be sure to test the water chemistry at least once per week to catch any imbalances; in addition to discoloration, they can also cause other issues or damage.
Popping, also called floating, refers to the process in which underground water exerts pressure on the shell of a pool, causing it to heave out of the ground. This will make a pool sit higher than ground level and destroy the concrete or patio surfaces around it as it breaks out. Concrete pools are the most common type to experience popping, but it can happen in any variety.
The easiest way to avoid having the shell of a concrete pool popping or floating is to install a hydrostatic valve which reduces the pressure buildup that causes the popping. However, the hydrostatic valve must be maintained to ensure it continues to function as intended. This includes cleaning and checking it to make necessary repairs if required.
Choose a Company That Installs the Right Way the First Time
Every pool owner can increase the longevity of their pool through regular maintenance routines. However, one of the biggest impacts on the duration of the pool is how well it was initially installed. Whether you are building a new pool or have one that needs repairs or updates, be sure to work with an experienced pool contractor.
The experts at Masten Pools have been installing in-ground pools for more than 30 years in both Maryland and Delaware. We install the right way to avoid many of the common problems associated with improper construction, and can create custom pools to suit any landscape. Contact Masten Pools to learn more about an inground pool installation or to discuss renovation work on an existing pool.