Fiberglass Nightmare--Is there a solution?

love2weedOctober 27, 2012

We've had our Viking pool for 4 years. In third year we noticed a bulge on the floor bottom. This spring, there was a crack that was causing a leak. Viking sent people out and they repaired it. This year when we went to close, we dropped out water level to air out lines, plugged them and brought the water level back up. When we first bought the pool--we left the water below the jets. The guys who repaired the pool said they now recommend that you bring the water level back up. Anyway long story short--we noticed that the pool seem to be leaking before we put the water on--yes another crack that wasn't there when we went to close pool. I call our pool company, told them what happened. He tell me that Viking now tells customers to not drop water ever--to air lines out but chasing the water as you air out lines.

Last week Viking people came out again and fixed the new crack. Told us to wait until next day to fill pool. Well it started raining yesterday--we started to fill as soon as it started. We have sort of a drywell with piping with a sump pump in it, we run it during the wet months (November to May). That was running and the pool was filling at the same time. Well this morning when I went to check the pool--scoop out leaves to get ready to put cover on-- another blasted crack--this one looks like it cracked where the original repair was.

A little background--I'm sure the pool was built over a water table. I have several gardens in the yard, and I've always noticed that sometimes in the dry weather, that I can dig in some places and water will fill the hole. I have a feeling that even though we keep the sump pump running that pool in under constant stress from water pressure. When they were installing the pool, my husband said at the deep end when the installed stood on the ground it look like our old waterbed from the 70's. Telling my age there.

Of course hindsight is 20/20, but they contractor or even we should have stopped the installation and not put a fiberglass pool there.

Right now, I am literally sick to my stomach. I'm sure at one point Viking going to give us the boot and refuse to fix the pool yet again. We have done everything we have been told to do by Viking to keep this from happening. Even if they do come and fix it--seems like it's something that will continue to happen. So back to my original question--is there a solution. I cried this morning when I saw that crack--I'm fearful that we may have to just fill the hole and suffer a huge financial loss. I love my little pool--but it have been a tremendous source of stress. Can something be done. What a nightmare.

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Suspect that your problem may be installation related. The fiberglass shells are pretty tough and when full of water they should act similar to any other structure.
Underground water should not affect the pool as long as it has water in it. If a pool is empty it can have unusual preasures exerted from conditions on the outside of the shell. If ground water is present the shell can act like a boat and pop out of the ground.
Expansive soil could be a contributing factor.
Suggest you keep after the PB and the manufacturer until the pool is replaced if necessary.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 5:57PM
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I really don't see the PB or Viking replacing this pool without a fight. I dread my phone on Monday to the PB. We have been very patient so far and I've never brought up that there may be an installation problem. I don't want a legal battle--cannot afford a lawyer.
The bottom of the pool did actually bulge when it was full of water. We had an earthquake here in 2008--well epicenter was Illinois--but it was so strong that it woke us up in the middle of the night. We've always wondered if it shifted the water table under our pool causing that original bulge. Probably not--but you know how we tend to find blame. Anyway--that bulge developed the first crack.
It seems the Catch 22 here is--in order to repair pool--it has to be emptied and it is almost impossible to remove the underground water beneath the pool.
The funny thing is, there was no crack yesterday when I started adding water to the pool. It's almost like adding the water caused the crack.
The drainage issue needs to be addressed. We just do not know how to do it. The sump well right now is not deeper than the pool. The repair guy this week, suggested we dig it out deeper. We are at a loss. There is no way we can afford re-setting this pool

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 8:42PM
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No pool should be lowered to the returns except for major services. The only other time a pool should be somewhat lowered is for winterizing and that is only to the tile line. If there is no waterline tile, the pool isn't lowered.

Getting wet is a part of every pool closing. When blowing out returns, it is done from the equipment pad to the pool. As the lines are blown, the air blown in will eventually make it out the return and it will blow bubbles pretty strongly causing splash.

Who told you the proper procedure was to lower the pool to below the pool returns to winterize the returns anyway?

No Viking fiberglass pool should ever be installed without a sump or dry well that extends to all the of the underside of the shell, from shallow to deep end. The sump or dry well must be able to draw from the deepest point under the shell. That is part of the proper installation procedure, just as using washed sand or 5/8" gravel for the bed and back fill are. The failure there is the fault of the installer.

Other brands of shells should follow that procedure. Most don't.

The sump doesn't need to be emptied unless the water level in the pool is being lowered. The water in the pool, as long as it is above the water table outside the shell, will keep the pool set.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 3:54AM
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Our PB told gave us instructions on how to close the pool. The first crew that came this spring told us to lower below jets and then bring back up to skimmer. I did that and a new crack appeared I called our PB to tell him about the new crack, he stated that Viking had changed their policy because of all the spring flooding that year, they were telling customers to not lower the water at all to close. but we were never informed of that change. I feel it was the PB's responsibility to inform all of the customers of a major closing change like that. They also told us to keep the sump pump running in the wet months. I'm not sure how the dry well is installed under the pool. We have a lid with black drain pipe that has a sump pump in it. It would run for days in the winter--we were told to do that. Geez--we thought we were doing everything and it looks like we were doing it all wrong. I do believe our PB was too inexperienced when we had our pool installed. It was they're third year when we went with them.
We are so frustrated and have no idea what to do. I haven't talked to PB yet about this new crack, so I'm not sure what Viking's response will be. I think if we could get it fixed, with all the "new" info I have, maybe we can prevent this from happening again.
We are not sure what happened this time--why the original crack repair appeared. When I started adding water back to the pool there no crack. I wonder if adding the water pushed the sides down first causing the crack down the middle of the pool.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Are the cracks actually leaking? The flexing of the shell could be causing the just the surface gel coat to separate. That fiberglas shell is usually pretty tough.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Love2weed, so sorry this is happening to you! I have a fb pool as well and the guy who sold/installed my pool turned out to be con man so I completely understand your anxiety.

You didn't do anything wrong and hopefully Viking will come through for you.

I can't offer you any technical solutions, just don't want you to beat yourself up. I think anything can be fixed.

Also, my water level is below the returns right now and has been every winter for 6 years. When did that change? We hire a pool co to close every year and they always tell us to lower the water below the returns.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 3:13PM
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tlbb, I pray the water table around your pool stay below the water level in the pool or the pool can become buoyant. That practice is one I strongly discourage for all pools.

The reason many say lower the water like that is because they don't want to get wet sticking their hands and arms in the water. To that, I say Too Bad.

Love2weed, sorry for the delays. Hurricane Sandy created a bit of a mad rush for my time lately. My phone number is on my website. I don't really want to post the site as a link but if you use my username as the domain... I don't want it to be said I spammed the board.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:43PM
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Sad to read about this- we too are currently having the same issue on a 3 year old pool. It bulged 2 yrs ago, we spent money to have it repaired and this year the same side cracked in three places and dirt was pouring into the pool. This happened 3 weeks ago and Haven't had any luck with insurance or getting anyone out to repair or give us a quote... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:25AM
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Hi love2weed and suzkay, I am just seeing this post for the first time. Would like to know how things worked out for both of you (hopefully, for the best)?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:38PM
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