Swimming Pool Tips
The coping is the capstone for the beam, and is used to finish the pools edge and bring it up flush with the pool deck. Pre-cast concrete coping with a bullnose front edge has been the standard for many years. Modern designs are making use of bullnose brick coping in many colors and textures. Flagstone is also a popular choice. The pool without coping has been accomplished with the cantilever deck. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's designs, the cantilever deck extends over the edge of the pool, and is free-floating.
[No coping] Vinyl liner pools have their coping attached to the wall, and is usually C - shaped, such that the pool deck is poured into the coping. A typical vinyl liner pool, or a pool with a cantilever deck do not require caulking of an expansion joint, because, there is none.
Loose coping? First question to be asked is "have you caulked your expansion joint?" Freezing water in the joint will put pressure on the coping, breaking the mortar that attaches it to the beam. Second question will be "Is the expansion joint true, or does the pool deck touch the coping?" This pushes on the coping (and the beam) every time the deck or the pool expands.
Crumbling mortar joints between coping stones? If there is only a small check crack, it's probably not a problem. Cracking large enough to allow water to seep in will create havoc. We also want to note the possible reasons for this mortar joint to be crumbling. It could be just chemical breakdown or a bad mix, or there could be a directional force applying pressure to the area.
Typical costs for removal and replacement of pre-cast coping average $21 per linear foot. Add a few more $ for bullnose brick, and a few more than that for custom cut flagstone coping. To repair yourself, use a chisel and hammer and perhaps a cut saw to carefully pull up the loose stone. Carefully chip old mud off of it, and off of the beam, and reset it in a new bed of mud or thinset mortar. Once set, fill in the mortar joints between the stones.
Localized coping repair is billed hourly. When replacing or resetting a few coping stones, bear in mind that the new will be much brighter than the old. It is also difficult to pull up and reset coping stones because many break when coming up or when cleaning up the undersides. For this reason, many people with several, but not all bad stones, will replace all anyway. Especially if they're changing styles or colors.
Tile patterns have come a long way from the 6" x 6" blue standard. Tile from all over the world give us an endless palette of color, shapes and sizes. Pool tile differs from bathroom tile in that it is formulated to be frost free. It is more than likely that your tile is six inches in height, although it occasionally is installed in 12" depths. Sometimes they just continue it down and all the way across the pool or spa. Tile provides an attractive accent to the pool's edge while allowing for an easily cleanable surface to catch oil and dirt. Without tile, there would exist a difficult to remove bathtub ring. Vinyl pools don't have tile, but it can be added with a special hanger piece.
Tile is falling off?
This could be a result of bond failure of the "mud" that was used to set the tile in. Look behind the tile for a horizontal crack. This could be evidence of a cracked beam. "Popped" tile could be the result of not having caulking in the expansion joint between the coping and the deck, allowing water to run behind the tile and freeze. Water freezing in the expansion joint itself, or a joint that is not "true" ; where the pool and deck are touching, will also cause tile to fall off, and create beam damage. If just the tile has fallen off (and not the old mud) The tile may be temporarily regrouted back in place. Use waterproof tile grout. Or thin set mortar cement. If small amounts of the wall is missing, you would want to parged this back up before resetting tile. Use a hydraulic cement. Use rebar if the missing amount is over 2" deep.
Tile has white deposits?
Known as efflorescence, mineral salts such as calcium and magnesium may come out of the grout or from the setting mud and deposit on the front of the tile. It may also originate from the pool water. The efflorescence can be scraped off, and/or "burned" off with a tile acid wash.
Tile is cracked?
This may be caused by a cracked bond beam, or perhaps from freezing surface water pressing against the tile during expansion. Or maybe it wasn't Frost Free pool tile to begin with. Cleaning tile to remove the bathtub ring can be accomplished with an abrasive cleaner such as Comet.
Standard remove and replace charges average $15 per linear foot, plus $75 per skimmer. Wide variety of patterns/colors to choose from. Tile band patching is billed hourly.
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