While there are some general ways to discover the source of a swimming pool leak as well as typical sources of leaks (see Part 1), there are also some specific issues to consider — along with specific remedies — depending on the kind of pool you have. Whether you have a fiberglass, gunite, or vinyl liner, the type of swimming pool you have comes with its own potential problems along with many benefits! We’re sure you know all about those benefits, but it’s also helpful to know the potential leak related issues that can come up, so you can spot them and know how to respond if they do.
Leaks in Fiberglass Swimming Pools
Fiberglass swimming pools are appreciated for their longevity, often lasting for over 2 decades without any need for repairs. Made from pre-fabricated shells set into prepared holes, proper installation will include gravel backfill. Unfortunately, though, many fiberglass pools have sand for backfill, which can cause all kinds of problems — including leaks. What happens is that as the sand becomes overly saturated or settles, the pressure on the plumbing can cause leakage. Because the plumbing lines are under the pool deck, leaks in the plumbing can be quite difficult to find as well as to repair.
Some fiberglass pools can have fissures or small cracks in the gelcoat surface. Caused from improper handling during installation, these cracks require immediate attention so they don’t spread and cause leaking. Another important leak-prevention measure is keeping the pool full in order to maintain the amount of pressure needed to ensure that the ground surrounding it doesn’t push into the fiberglass shell and cause bulging or cracking.
Leaks in Gunite Swimming Pools
A composite material made from gravel and concrete, gunite is known as the most industrial material. Used in many public places as well as throughout Florida, gunite pools will last for many decades. In order for gunite pools to enjoy the kind of longevity they can have the potential for, any cracks that occur must be repaired right away. Cracks in a gunite pool can be caused by sharp objects hitting the surface or simply by the effects of age. You should suspect cracks or fissures when you see decorative tiles, railings, or the skimmer pad, or other items becoming loose or detached.
A crack in the surface in a gunite pool can be repaired by injecting a flexible polymer adhesive into it; thankfully, this process can occur even when the pool is still filled with water.
Leaks in Vinyl Liner Swimming Pools
The most common source of leaks in vinyl liner pools is, undoubtedly, tears in the thin lining. Anything from a fingernail to a pool toy that hits the side or bottom of the pool can cause the vinyl liner to tear. While easy to patch, a tear in a vinyl liner must be repaired right away in order stop the tear — and the leak — from spreading.
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