" Tip #5: Diving Board Safety"
This tip points to an often neglected pool accessory, the diving board:
A child bouncing on the end of a diving board produces hundreds of pounds of lift on the back of the fulcrum. When a 200 pound man bounces on the board, it puts an incredible strain on the anchors holding that board to the deck.
I know of two boards that popped loose during normal use; one resulted in a split scalp requiring many painful stitches to close.
An inspection of all boards, fulcrums and anchor bolts should be made every two years. Remove the two bolts at the back end to inspect the bottom of the board and interior of the fulcrum. The fiberglass was found to have delaminated along the entire length of this board and a blister spot turned to rot.
(photo, left) The entire foot of this board has turned to Goo.
A homeowner slopped a little resin over fiberglass cloth where the board rear tie-down has already failed. Simple tightening of the bolts has destroyed the repair. Note also the lack of a stainless steel mounting plate between the bolts.
This repair could be ruled as gross or criminal negligence and, should an injury occur, will negate a homeowners policy claim. My own best guess is that the first guest to take a bounce on this board would land in possession of the home.
The board has been moved aside and looking into the fulcrum, the deck bolts have not fared much better. A little water gets under the board and the bolts never have a chance to dry. In a few years, all you have are just little piles of rust.
A close- up of one of the bolts after loose debris has been brushed away. "I don't know how much longer this fulcrum will safely hold a board. These four bolts are buried deep in the deck slab and when they're this far gone, how can it can be repaired?
The bolts will have to be cut, using a masonry 'cut- off' saw or side- grinder fitted with a 4" Diamond blade. There are two possible bolt mounting systems you can use, one employs expanding plastic inserts and one uses a polymer resin to anchor new bolts. In either case, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions. Use Stainless Steel carriage bolts, nuts and washers and coat them well with 'Aqua Lube' or other waterproof grease. As the fulcrum appears undamaged, it can probably be saved; but wait until it's been removed to inspect it for hair line fractures and blister juice (rot) around the bolt holes. All procedures mentioned are covered in Pool School
"Tip #6: Problems during Pool Construction"
In Florida, we don't do mediocre. Our days are bright and sunny and busy with bugs or dank, dark and dreary; it's either sweltering heat or painful cold; our leaders are bible thumping crusaders or money hungry land thieves or a lot of both and our economy has always been boon or bust.
When things are good, we don't just build homes; we build whole communities. When it's boon-time in 'O'-Town, anyone who wants work has as much as they can handle.
This interesting take on the 'down- side' of our bustling economy might help diagnose problems you're having with your pool surface. It comes from an Orlando residential pool contractor who, for obvious reasons, wishes to remain anonymous.
A sloppily run jobsite can cause headaches for the homeowner years into the future.
"It's general practice to install the pool shell and wait until other subs are finishing up (getting permanent power) before completing the pool. Till then, you've got just a big cement hole in the ground.
"There may even be two or three feet of muddy ground water laying in the bottom of the pool. The pool looks 'abandoned' and this encourages abuse by other contractors. When the general contractor can't or won't exercise control over the job site, all sorts of things end up in the pool.
"There was one pool we re- surfaced three times before we realized what was happening. Now I cringe when we find an oil slick on the water. We know then, that if we don't pressure wash the shell with a good de- greasing soap and acid wash, the finish coat will give us problems.
"Some construction workers are too lazy to carry their waste another 20 feet to the trash pile. Sometimes, I think the morons like to throw things into the pool just to see a 'splash'.
"We had a 'weak sister' construction manager and one job was always a mess. Beer bottles, syringes; you name it; we found it in the pool. He was finally replaced with someone strong enough to exercise the necessary authority. This guy started back- charging all the responsible contractors for our clean- outs. It's pretty obvious when you find dry wall buckets or roofing nails where the stuff came from.
"When it started costing them money; that's when the abuse stopped. All our surface problems disappeared about 3 months after this guy took charge. The builder had always been one of my biggest customers and I was seriously thinking about dropping them."
Both topics featured on this page are from our
Excerpts from Pool School, pictures, text, graphics and web page design © 1997-2016, Scott Cruikshank, all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited.