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Thread: Stone waterfall needs repair and sealing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Question Stone waterfall needs repair and sealing

    Our waterfall was built with soft, porous stone (I'll skip the story) and was not sealed in any way. Some of the mortar (concrete?) near the edges of where the water falls, has come loose and/or developed fine cracks. This has allowed the water to find its way outside the stones and onto the deck. The water on the deck appears within just a few minutes of turning on the waterfall. It's not gallons and gallons, but definitely noticeable, creating a puddle. Based on where the deck first starts to get wet, it appears the "leak" is from one or two specific places.

    We have some deterioration of the stamped concrete deck, about 8"x10", where the top layer of the concrete is gone and the aggregate is exposed. I blame it on the leak of pool water (saltwater) collecting there, especially during freeze/thaw cycles in winter...we don't close the pool and the waterfall runs as part of the freeze protection cycle for the pool. It's gotten worse each winter (just 2) and I'd like to get this repaired before another winter makes things even worse.

    While the longterm solution to the waterfall issue is probably to demolish the existing waterfall and have it done right with the proper stones, that's not in the realm of possibility for us right now. I'd like to just seal up the cracks and voids as best we can and perhaps put a penetrating type sealer on the stones as well, at least the interior portions where the water is supposed to be falling.

    Any advice on products and/or techniques to use??? Please don't advise us to contact our PB...that's NOT an option.

    I've also posted this on troublefreepools, so no need to respond in 2 places.
    Last edited by dawndenise; 08-28-2008 at 10:00 AM. Reason: modified description
    Sandy
    15,600 gallon, screened 15x30 IG plaster sport pool with 6x8 tanning area, Aquarite SWCG, Hayward cartridge filter, Polaris 280 cleaner

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Lowell MA USA
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    141

    Default Re: Stone waterfall needs repair and sealing

    Without actually seeing it, it's really hard to tell but......

    There's probably two schools of discipline. Caulk or a mortar type solution.

    If it's a mortar type solutions you'd be looking at some kind of water plug, hydraulic cement, or what is generically referred to as Thorite . Most can be found at your local Home Center. They dry extremely fast and probably won't match the "joints" they fill, as they are usually darker then any typical mortar. I've seen hydraulic cement stop leaks while they are actually occurring. So if you can shut the water off and apply it you might have a good chance at sealing the cracks.

    I've used a lot of products from this major company: Thoro

    The other is probably a caulk type solution. There was a "marine" grade caulk I used in very limited situations (temporary solutions), that was pretty good, but I forget the exact name of it . But it was described like that "marine grade" caulk. It might have been this: 3M Marine 5200. Probably going to be fairly unsightly as it's not going to match the mortar joints in between the rocks at all. And was nasty stuff. Think marshmellow that sticks like tar to things. It was brutal to work with.

    A two part epoxy joint sealer like Deck-O-Seal (generic term) used for gaps in pool decking or something similar might work. But it's not very viscus so it's hard to apply on anything other then flat horizontal surfaces. Again very nasty to work with, doesn't come off anything it gets on very easily. Can get unsightly very fast if your not careful.

    Again with out seeing it, those are my thoughts.......

    Good Luck.

    Added: And watch the Thorite and other waterplug products, they can chemically burn as they dry. You'll need gloves of some sort, and they are very very abrasive.
    Last edited by Vinyl_Guy; 08-29-2008 at 09:54 AM. Reason: punctuation/warning
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Vinyl Guy

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    North Florida
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    Default Re: Stone waterfall needs repair and sealing

    Thanks Vinyl Guy. Your cautions and advice are appreciated.

    The leaking areas are in a corner and a bit upwards of that, so anything that can't adhere very well to a vertical surface probably won't work. We're lucky, I suppose, in that the area to be repaired will usually be covered with water when the waterfall is on, so perhaps any color difference will not be all that noticeable.

    We ARE able to turn the water off, but since we've had the waterfall off, we've noticed that the valve doesn't stop the water completely...there's a moderate trickle that comes thru and goes right over the areas we need to work on. So we either have to find a way to temporarily divert the trickling water, or get at least 1 valve replaced before we start the stone repair.

    Our PB installed cheap irrigation valves (from Home Depot or Lowe's) rather than pool valves, so we may need to get them all switched out at some point anyway, hopefully before one of them cracks or breaks.

    Under normal circumstances, I don't think we'd even consider doing this DIY. But it's been well over a week since we first talked to someone at the supposed-best-pool-builder-in-town. Their scheduler still has not called us to schedule someone to take a look at our problems, which would be just the very first step. A lot of people in town talk about how it seems all the PBs want to do just the big money builds, but no one wants to do the smaller repairs. Maybe it's just not the lean time of the year for PBs yet...
    Sandy
    15,600 gallon, screened 15x30 IG plaster sport pool with 6x8 tanning area, Aquarite SWCG, Hayward cartridge filter, Polaris 280 cleaner

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Lowell MA USA
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    Default Re: Stone waterfall needs repair and sealing

    Quote Originally Posted by dawndenise View Post
    Thanks Vinyl Guy. Your cautions and advice are appreciated.

    We ARE able to turn the water off, but since we've had the waterfall off, we've noticed that the valve doesn't stop the water completely...there's a moderate trickle that comes thru and goes right over the areas we need to work on. So we either have to find a way to temporarily divert the trickling water, or get at least 1 valve replaced before we start the stone repair.
    Your welcome,

    Is it not possible to turn the water for the entire system off? If your going to use a Thoro , hydraulic cement, or waterplug type product, they do dry extremely fast. 24hrs is way more then adequate for a drying time. In fact many of the products boast that the repairs can be done while water is present. Although not having the pressure of the water during the repair is ideal.

    Having owned companies and worked in several different trades and construction related businesses, I can say that swimmingpools have the worst costumer relations and track records. AG being the worst, IG not too far behind. I think it stems from the lack of licensing of most of the trades involved and the lack of regulations and inspection requirements. Make a person, company, or tradesman jump through a certain amount of hoops, and you'll tend to get more ambitious, intelligent, and conscientious people attracted to the business. The fewer hoops to jump through, the more it attracts those who see it as a "quick buck" type opportunity.

    It's a shame too, since there are some really good people out there, which I hope I was one of them whenever I was involved .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Vinyl Guy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    North Florida
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    Default Re: Stone waterfall needs repair and sealing

    Yes, we are able to turn off the water to the entire system. Doing so definitely stops the trickle so that would certainly be an option. But for right now, the water temp is 87 degrees or higher (naturally) and we're running the pump 10 hours (split into 3 time periods) at 50% on the SWCG, so, of course, I'm very hesitant to have the pump turned off for any period of time. Although maybe the pool could handle a 24-hour period......

    Funny thing...if we do the repair now, we can be in the pool, giving us better access to the repair, but we risk the potential of some algae taking hold when we turn off the pump. But if we wait until the water is cooler, we don't risk the algae as much, but I may be too wimpy to get into the cooler water.
    Sandy
    15,600 gallon, screened 15x30 IG plaster sport pool with 6x8 tanning area, Aquarite SWCG, Hayward cartridge filter, Polaris 280 cleaner

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