Does your swimming pool have cracks? If so, what next? Well, it is not unusual to spot damages in your pool. And even if you always keep it clean and maintained, there are a few damages that are sometimes inevitable.
Cracks are the most common type of swimming pool damage. They often occur as a result of many factors including earth movement, poor construction, uneven water pressure distribution, and so on. Unfortunately, if left unrepaired, these cracks become extensive and even harder or costlier to fix.
Therefore, it’s always wise for a pool owner to ensure that cracks get repaired as soon as possible. So, does your pool have cracks? If it does, then the main question in your mind would be: how to fix swimming pool cracks without spending a fortune on repairs. Well, there are ways to achieve that.
But, before we dive into the repair methods, there are a few things that you might want to know, including the types of pool cracks, causes, and lastly, how to carry out cost-effective repairs.
Types of Swimming Pool Cracks
1. Surface cracks (minor)
Obviously, not all swimming pool cracks translate to a leak. Some cracks are often too shallow to allow or lead to extensive damages. Such cracks are referred to as surface cracks. They sometimes occur as a result of shrinkage during the pools curing process.
Tile cracks are also a good example and in such a case, all you need is an adhesive and a new tile to fix the crack in a jiffy. In general, surface cracks do not necessarily need professional repair services. But if the damage is extensive you may have to consider hiring an expert.
2. Structural cracks
If your pool exhibits signs of structural damage, then you have every right to be worried. That’s because structural cracks can only mean two things: either your swimming pool is leaking or it will start leaking and soon. Therefore, the earlier you identify and fix structural cracks, the better.
These cracks often appear in various parts of a pool. They may be horizontal, vertical, on the sides, at the bottom or on the corners. Their main characteristic is the fact that they often run straight through the concrete are visible on the plaster coating or tile area around the crack.
What causes swimming pool cracks?
Cracks can be as a result of many factors. Some due to human error and others from natural occurrences. Since prevention is better than treatment, learning about the main causes of cracks can help you to set up proactive measures against damages.
This is one of the leading causes of pool cracking. Using shortcut procedures in disregard to proper pool construction plans can be a major contributor to the formation of cracks. And, depending on the level of incompetence, on the builder’s part, the pool’s lifespan is guaranteed to be short.
2.Weather and earth movements
Swimming pools – especially new ones – have to be moist during the concrete’s curing process. During dry periods, the excessive loss of water encourages cracking on the surface. Luckily, these are only minor cracks that are easy to repair.
But, when it comes to earth movements or poor soil structure, the possibility of structural damages increases. When the earth around the shell moves, it weakens the pool’s support and sometimes leads to tilting. And while cracks may not necessarily form on the first days, if the pool’s support system isn’t restored, structural cracks are definitely going to form.
The design also affects a pool’s stability, strength, and support. That’s because there are different types of soils; each with a specific load-bearing capacity. If the pool is not designed based on the soil type, then complications are bound to arise.
Also, for pools constructed on hillsides that experience slope creeps, the movement, and shifting of soil exert a lot of force on the shell. A prolonged exertion of this kind of stress may cause cracks and damages.
How to Fix Cracks in Your Pool
Depending on the extent of the crack, repairs can be done by either a DIY or a professional pool repair service provider. Here are a few simple ways to fix pool cracks.
Method 1: Using a screwdriver and putty (for surface cracks)
As mentioned earlier, these cracks are very easy to fix. Here’s how:
- Using a mask and a flathead screwdriver, scrape the full length of the crack to remove debris and widen the crack a bit.
- Mold and carefully squeeze putty (designed for pools) into the crack making sure to cover every inch of it.
- Smooth the putty over to blend it into the pool’s surface seamlessly.
Method 2: Using a grinder and pool plaster. (for major surface cracks or minor structural cracks)
There are instances when the cracks can be bigger than a surface crack but without any signs of leaking. In such cases you can:
- Drain the pool completely and remove at least two hydrostatic relief plugs in the pool floor.
- Widen the crack using the grinder (preferably a 4-inch grinder) and make the crack a reverse ‘V’ or dovetail shape.
- Dampen the crack and apply a bonding additive while ensuring that the crack remains moist until you fill it up.
- Prepare the pool plaster on a clean surface. If the crack is over an inch deep, you should use hydraulic cement to fill most of the crack and later add the pool plaster for finishing.
Note that for this method (and the next), you will need to wear protective gear.
Method 3: Use staples (for structural cracks)
If the crack is extensive, it’s advisable to seek professional help. But, if you are sure you can pull it off, here’s how to go about it:
- The whole process is similar to method two. The only difference is that you’ll have to make a horizontal cut on the crack.
- Drill a hole on both ends of the cut.
- Install a steel or carbon fiber staple to bond both sides of the crack hence stopping its advancement.
Evidently, repairing swimming pool cracks is not that hard. With the right tools and a little bit of knowledge, you can keep your pool in mint condition. But, if you realize the crack is too big for you to repair, you should hire a skilled professional to fix it instead.
The following article was provided by Granite Foundation Repair, a local foundation repair company servicing the DFW area.