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Gunite Pool Not Level - 2.5"

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Greetings,

We've got an eight year old gunite pool here in Houston, TX. The pool has the following characteristics:

- 40 ft long

- 24 ft wide

- 6 ft deep end

- 3.5 ft shallow end

- 12 man raised hot tub, situated near the deep end

- approx 40,000 gallons or so

Originally when the pool was built, it was level, however, over the years it has settled, so that the deep end is about 2.5 inches lower than the shallow end. I don't know how to tell if it is the deep end which has sunk or the shallow end which has floated up, I suspect that it is the shallow end which has floated up due to the cracks in the decking (hairline). Also, if you take a transit and shoot the pool, the deep end to about the mid-point is level, from this midpoint to the shallow end is where the rise occurs. This troubles me, as the rise is concentrated in a shorter portion of the pool and is therefore more pronounced and I can only imagine the stresses invoked at the point where the kink is.

It is to the point now that the shallow end skimmer is close to being not covered, especially if the level gets a little low.

Our question is, what can be done about the level of the pool? How is this typically fixed? We've had some people tell us that you will dig out the skimmer on the shallow end and make it deeper, but that just seems kinda wrong and not a true fix for what is going on. What have others done in this case?

I've talked to the original builder who gave us a life-time structural guarantee and he indicates that unless the shell is cracked there is nothing that he's going to do. Even if it does crack, I'm sure we'll have to fight him tooth and nail.

Michael

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First, you'll need a soils report from a soils engineer. If the pool raised or lowered, it means the soil moved. A pitched shell usually means expansive soil (clay usually) as a bed for the pool to rest on but can also be caused by creeping soil.

Scott

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Trying to think if a soils report would tell you anything you don't already know. It moved! Do i want to spend the money to find out exactly how? And the why is irrelevant, it already happened, you can't change that.

Not trying to bag on you Scott, just don't know if a report would be a benefit at this point.

If you were going to demo the pool and start over, definitely, a soils report. Because then, you can do something about it. But who has that kind of money?

If the decks are going to come out for this, you can build up the bond beam on the low side, and re-tile the pool to make it level again. Since the difference is over two inches, you should have the guy use spikes driven into the bond beam to help stabilize the build up. Downsize is that your finish grade elevation around the affected area of the pool is now going to be higher +/- 2.5 inches., but if you plan on new decks, The contractor may be able to make it look not so noticeable.

Having said that. That pool may, and probably will move again.

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How are you going to prevent it from doing it again after it's fixed? That's the purpose of the report, It'll say if drainage is needed and where it is suggested.

Lets say it was just mud jacked level. Two years of normal to heavy rain soak the ground and cause any clay finding the moisture and swell. Two years of dryer than normal conditions and the swollen clay has now shrunk. This time, the deep end sinks. Putting drainage where needed keeps the moisture away. Digging out a new bed and refilling it with something more suitable or mud jacking services aren't cheap. Doing it twice? Nah.

Scott

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Ok, see? Learn something new. But would it cost more to do the jack, than to build up the BB? Just by the sound of it makes me think that is quite an undertaking. That isn't done around here, so i don't know the cost, or how involved it is.

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Here's the Wiki on mud jacking, aka slab jacking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_leveling

A number of holes are core drilled in the floor and slope. Fill one with the desired amount, reseal the core with hydraulic cement. Continue as needed to right the ship, so to speak. Sometimes cheaper than busting out and rebuilding a gunite pool bottom.

Building up a bond beam and replacing the skimmers so they are at the right height may not keep it from happening again.

Scott

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sounds like I'm in for an expensive project. I've looked into the slab jacking, just haven't found anybody here in Houston to discuss this with. Any recommendations?

And as for the clay, yep, we're sitting on top of it here.

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I imagine each plumbing penetration would have to be exposed, and monitored, maybe even cut before the jack starts.

And at some point, the cost of the leveling fluid would come into play if you started to fill a large void, and it kept taking it... and taking it.

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