Whether you live in Tampa, Orlando, Naples, or Cape Coral, there is a good chance of dealing with the deceptively shifting Florida soil. For many homeowners, this means the sudden realization that home foundations are no longer level. However, there is the added risk of dealing with pool leaks that are a sign of settling or partially sinking pool for other homeowners.
Is the Ground to Blame for Concrete Cracking around the Pool Deck?
Your pool deck was once a thing of beauty. Pristine, flat, and gorgeously encasing your pool, it featured concrete slabs that show off the water’s blue tones. This hardscape area is also ideal for sitting, enjoying time with friends, or reading a book.
However, lately, there have been cracks that mar the deck’s surface. They seem to focus on one area. These cracks probably started as hairline fissures that continued to split into more significant gaps. Frequently, concrete cracking could be a sign of pool settling that occurs when the ground shifts. You notice it around the home, the pool, and even the pavers that you have in the driveway or yard.
Do Florida Sandy Soil Problems Contribute to Pool Cracks?
At other times, homeowners notice that the cracks are not just on the pool deck but also in the pool itself. In these situations, you may be dealing with a leak that has affected the coping. A well-designed and built pool features coping that prevents water from affecting the soil surrounding the pool shell. However, cracking can lead to water flows that could lead to the sinking of a pool’s sides.
Inevitably, you will notice cracking in the pool walls themselves. That said, fissures and gaps that occur below the waterline are much harder to spot. Therefore, they frequently go without any effort at repair for a while, which worsens the situation. By the time you finally notice the problem, it may have spread to affect your home as well.
Why Do the Pool Builders Say They Cannot Fix the Pool Leaks Brought on by Soil Loss?
Your first inclination is to contact the pool builder. A reputable company will send out a technician to assess the problem. This expert most likely notices that shifts in the soil have contributed to the cracks and sunken portions of the pool. They will identify the pool cracks as something that goes beyond the scope of a simple leak fix.
You may be surprised when the pool company tells you that they cannot help you with the remediation. Citing sandy soil, pool leaks, or soil loss, the experts suggest that you enlist the assistance of a firm specializing in sinkhole repairs and poly foam lift applications.
Why a Pool Leak can Turn into a Big Problem
Your leak just went from a relatively small home repair to a need for professional remediation. Why is this the case?
Ground collapse. Whether your pool has been in place for a decade or a week is immaterial. If a plumbing or coping leak is in place, it could result in soil loss. The ground is getting washed out. As a result, there is a soil collapse process under the pool itself.
Backfill problems. When you first had the structure built, the company handling the construction used soil around the pool shell. This was done as an extra stabilizing step. However, improperly compacted soil can lead to settling. That said, even soil compacted by the book can become washed out due to a minute leak. Therefore, the structure is now lacking support in an area, which leads to cracks and possibly additional leaks.
Soil creep. This is a process that can take months or years before it creates problems. It typically refers to the slow movement of the earth due to a low grade. Gravity does the rest. If there is creep on your property, it can take decades to show up. However, once the damage is done, the leaks can rapidly contribute to other problems such as soil loss.
Expansive soil. Did your pool builder mention that your soil seemed to be made up of clay? These minerals contribute to swelling of the earth when it becomes saturated with water. On the flip side, it will contract considerably when it dries out. A leak can cause both problems, depending on the air temperature.
Voids. A pool leak can wash out soil from underneath your pool. If you have a fiberglass shell, the sudden shift in weight will result in cracks. Additional leaks can now wash out more soil, which may eventually lead to complete structural failure.
Slab pivot. Shifting ground can cause slabs to settle differently from one another. The process creates gaps between the pool shell and the backfill edge. Water leaks into the holes, which results in further damage.
What Goes into a Poly Foam Lift Project That is Done Right – the First Time?
Determining that the soil has shifted is easy. Pinpointing the reason for the problem and dealing with it requires expertise. A reputable soil stabilization company will team up with a swimming pool contractor to determine the exact location of the leak.
It typically requires a test of the plumbing. Even if there are leaks in this part of the pool, it could be a good idea to check the shell as well. Of course, if you have noticed cracks beneath the waterline, this step should be a given.
If necessary, now is the time to drain the pool by maintaining proper pressure around the emptying shell, which prevents further damage to the deck pavers and walls. With the area dry and accessible, a firm expert will take soil samples from the determined problem areas.
Confirmation of the initial suspicion of loose soil, shifting ground, and subsequent sinking earth is essential. The next step involves the use of poly-foam chemical grouting. This material is ideally suited for lifting a concrete slab, fixing the foundation of the home, dealing with a sinking pool, and handling a cracking pool deck.
How Expanding Polyurethane Foam Fixes the Pool Problem
By now, you can see that there is plenty of room for error. However, fixing the problem with poly-foam chemical grouting makes sense because it eliminates what is causing pool leaks or caused by them.
Whether you live in Tampa, Orlando, Naples, Cape Coral, or anywhere else in Florida, the process is pretty much the same. It begins with densifying loose soil. The experts work with the first 15 feet of the land beneath the yard’s surface. Doing so is instrumental in preventing a recurrence of the leaks. In addition to repairing known voids and similar issues, the material also fills developing pockets and strengthens areas of loose soils.
Foam injection is the best delivery method for this process. Targeting injection sites depends on the location of the identified leaks and other problem spaces. Because the foam expands, experts can control the degree of lift that slabs and other surfaces undergo. Therefore, it is possible to level the shell and surrounding structures once again.
By the way, injecting the foam and leveling the soil does not take long. Within a couple of days, you will be back to splashing in the water! Here at Helicon, we offer more than 15 years of experience, and our estimates are always free. If you are a homeowner in Orlando, Tampa, or Naples, and have a pool that is leaking, call us today: 813-567-1065.