Concrete Swimming Pool Repairs

We have a concrete swimming pool at home. When we first viewed the house on the market, the pool was overfilled with water and just lapping underneath the header course. At the time we didn't think too much of it, but after we moved in discovered the water was hiding a multitude of sins. As the water evaporated during the next few weeks I noticed discolouration in the tiles around the edge of the pool. Upon closer inspection I found the border tiles were cracked with pieces missing altogether. The concrete underneath was visible along with the steel reinforcing rods and mesh.

I was obviously angry and annoyed at being fooled at the final inspection by the vendor & agent, but it was to late to moan about it now. It appeared the damaged tiling was caused by the dividing fence between us and the neighbour leaning over. As the fence moved, over the years if put pressure on the brick retaining wall. The retaining wall started to lean over and put pressure on the brick paving, which was laid right up to the brick header course on the pool. The end result being, the header course cracked and the border tiles cracked. All adding up to a pool of money to repair. We lived in the house for the first summer and let the kids enjoy the pool. Finally it got the better of me and I drained the pool and cleaned it out.

Surprise, surprise. The thirty year old pool surface was deteriorating and required re-surfacing. The pool stayed empty over the following summer and the kids used it as a soccer practice area and skate bowl. 

Eventually it was time to repair the tiling and resurface the pool. I spent one afternoon phoning around and obtaining rough prices over the phone. What I thought was a reasonable budget for the work was way off the mark. The prices and feedback I received put the figure at around $10k +

The skate bowl turned into a refuse site over the next couple of seasons until.... DIY guy came to the rescue.

After a trip to Hanmer Springs on New Zealand's South Island I found the hot pools were finished in paint. The water in these thermal pools are naturally heated to 34 + degrees. If the paint used in these pools withstands these sorts of conditions, it would certainly work in my pool. I quizzed the staff and maintenance people on site and left armed with enough details to locate the manufacturer.

Luxapool was the paint manufacturer and the paint I used was an epoxy 2 pack solvent based product. The colour chosen was Mid Blue. After doing the math and working out the surface area of a kidney shaped pool, I need 6 kits to complete the pool with two coats.  

My investigative DIY brain then made further inquires on how to prepare the surface for painting. Luxapool had most of the answers, however I needed to know how to sand the surface without damaging the remaining pebble finish. The answer, purchase an electric car polisher and buffer. I bought a Dewalt for this job. In place of the lambs wool mitt that normally sits over the buffing disc, I purchased several Zec abrasive discs. Now these discs are commonly used in the mining industry to remove corrosion and rust from steel and sand back concrete mouldings etc.

Once you attach the Zec disc to the buffer, bed it in on a spare brick paver or similar to take the edge off the disc. This will ensure that when you first start to sand the pool surface it does not dig in and cause pits and holes in the surface, as the Zec disc will easily chew into the plaster finish. Now the fun part commences, it will take you approximately 6 hours and 10 discs to finish the job properly. 

Next step after sanding is to sweep and vacuum out the dust and mess. After that the surface should be cleaned down with a quality grade de-greaser and the whole area washed down with a pressure cleaner to remove all ingrained oils, dirt and pool chemicals. Once your happy with the result check to make sure the finish doesn't require etching prior to painting. If it does be careful, as etching utilises hydrochloric acid. Wear protective clothing, shoes and eye wear.

I found the Luxapool product really easy to apply and deal with and plenty of how too information on their website. The 2 pack paint can be brushed on in areas requiring cutting in and the remainder is completed with a good quality roller.

The finished product came up really well, the kids were happy and the budget stayed intact and available for other parts of the house. In case you were wondering, the paint cost me $2,000, consumables about $200, tiles glue and grout came in around $150 - so all up saved an absolute fortune....... Happy DIY!


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