Nothing ruins summertime fun faster than a pool that has to be drained and repaired (or replaced). If you’re considering installing an inground pool, it’s good to know what to look out for as the pool is being installed. Here’s how to avoid seven potential problems with the installation of inground pools in Camp Hill, PA.
1. Structural cracking of concrete pools can occur if the pool shell is incorrectly designed or built. Pools need to withstand local soil conditions and are usually backfilled with stone. Improper backfilling can cause intense pressure of soil (inward) or water (outward) that can cause the shell to fail.
2. Surface cracking (called “crazing”) may occur in concrete pools due to shrinkage of the concrete as it dries. It’s usually due to improper installation. Although surface cracks don’t leak, they may invite algae to take hold and will need to be replastered.
3. Spalling, or flaking, of concrete pools results from a surface that hasn’t been troweled properly (over-troweling and adding too much water are common causes). The area that is spalling may need to be sanded and likely replastered.
4. Bulging or collapsed walls may occur in fiberglass pools because of poor installation. Fiberglass pools are delivered as pre-manufactured shells, which means that proper installation of the shell can be the only way to prevent walls from collapsing due to the site’s soil conditions. If the area around the shell is filled with sand, any water that collects around the pool can causes the sand to liquefy and become substantially heavier. The pressure can cause pool walls to fail. In addition to back-filling with the right stone, a swimming pool contractor may install a "dry pit" that allows for removal of most of the water that has collected around the pool.
5. Spider cracks occur in the gel coat on fiberglass pools due to high pressure. This usually happens during delivery and installation, so care must be taken during this time to protect the pool shell. Another consideration is the choice of manufacturer—thin shell walls may be more prone to cracking than thick walls. While spider cracks may not affect the structural integrity of the pool, they are often considered an eyesore.
6. Plumbing leaks can result from improper installation of plumbing, or frozen pipes. Leaks may lead to the need to tear up the surface to locate the problem. Leaks can be avoided with proper installation and carefully draining the pipes at the end of the season.
7. A floating pool. If you’ve ever heard of pools popping up out of the ground or “floating,” the effect can happen, whether it’s a concrete or fiberglass pool. Any pool can float due to trapped water building up hydrostatic pressure underneath the pool; if the water has nowhere to go it basically becomes a pond, and like a boat, the pool will rise. Proper installation is the remedy, including the potential need to install a hydrostatic pressure relief valve. This may allow water to escape before it builds up enough pressure to dislodge the pool. Since fiberglass pools are lightweight, they must always have some water in them to help weigh it down and keep it in place.