Great American

Dull Metal

Q. I have noticed that the white metal side topping that surrounds the pool isn't as bright and white like it once was. How do I clean it?

A. The metal is aluminum and will eventually oxidize like just about every other metal around pool water. You can find aluminum polishes and waxes in any R.V. or boat supply store.

Patching Under Vinyl

Q. The material used to build the sloping sides and bottom of the pool, looks like cement, but isn't, has two large holes in it where it was crushed. I'm replacing the vinyl liner and when I removed the old one, the holes were there. What is typically used as a surface material for vinyl lined pools and is there any trick to doing the repair myself.

A. What you see is probably a mixture of cement and vermiculite or perlite. The material is typically only about 2" thick and you can repair it with a bagged cement and sand mixture. Remove any broken pieces and dig out the ground so that your repair is at least an inch thicker than the rest of the floor. Mix the cement to the consistency of peanut butter and sponge the repair smooth.

Acrylic Cracks

Q. My main question is that my acrylic steps are getting small cracks in it. Is there a way to coat them. I think they are causing my leak.

A. The gel- coat on fiberglass or acrylic steps can 'craze', but this isn't the cause of your water loss. Check with your local boat store for fiberglass paints and gel- repair kits, the small cracks in the gel- coat allows pool water to breakdown the fiberglass resin.

Cleaning Screens

Q. My screen is covered with leaves and pine needles. It's too high to brush and the hose just makes them wet and too heavy to move. How do I clean my screen?

A. You can try a pressure washer, but this is usually ineffective against pine needles. One clever homeowner made a 'needle scraper' with a pool pole and an old ice scraper (used on auto windshields). This cuts the top of the needle off and the rest simply drops. There are also screen cleaning companies that employ small people to scurry all over your screen cleaning up the debris.

Sand in my pool

Q. I'm getting sand in my pool. It's coming out of the water jets going into the pool. Is this a leak?

A. You didn't mention losing water, so it's not a leak. On the Pool Poll you indicated that you currently have a D.E. filter and I'd guess the sand you see is actually filter powder. If you've had the grids re- skinned recently, they weren't re- assembled properly. If you haven't re- covered the filter grids in the last seven years, I'd say it's a rip in one of the grids. Check with your local pool store about re- skinning the filter grids.

Cracks in Tile

Q. I've got a crack through the tile on one whole side of my pool. The pool is a few years old and it doesn't seem to be getting worse, but it looks so terrible. What can I do ?

A. The crack you describe is actually a deck problem. The edge of the deck is on top of your pool wall and the tile covers this joint. When the deck settles, usually in the first year or so, it causes a crack in, or just below the tile line. As long as the settlement's stopped, you can either fill this crack with grout colored to roughly match the tile or pool surface or knock off the old tile and replace it. Assuming, of course, that matching tile is still available.

Marcite pitting

Q. The marcite surface on my pool has pits and large grey areas showing through. The pool is not leaking yet, but how long do we have before we have to re-surface?

A. You should never 'have' to resurface. Pool surfaces are an aesthetic coating, a pleasingly consistent backdrop for the water. Constructed properly, the pool will hold water without any surface at all. Watch for leaks around the fittings, but when you re- surface is entirely up to you.

Skimmer Clogs

Q. My skimmer line is clogged in a twenty year old, screened- in pool. The main drain works fine. I've tried everything to un- clog it. Do I have to dig up the skimmer line or is it worth fixing ?

A. What appears to be a clogged plumbing line on an older, screened-in pool is usually a bad valve. Disassemble and service the valve you have or in most cases, it's more economical to replace your skimmer (and main drain/vacuum line valves) before you hunt for a clog that isn't there.


Q. The Fiberglass is peeling from the tile line of my pool. The job is only two years old and the warranty is for twenty- five years but company won't come back to fix it. They say they've just purchased the franchise and aren't responsible for my pool. Also, the pool leaks.

A. Fiberglass franchises seem to get sold every few years or so. I honestly don't know if this is a paperwork shell game or is, in fact, new owners stepping into a mine field but 'new companies' typically refuse to back the 'old companies' warranty. Backing someone else's work can be one of the pitfalls of buying an established franchise, or it can be an interesting way of getting out of your own warranty, depending on the situation. I assume you have a concrete pool and have always recommended only cement surfaces on cement pools and only fiberglass surfaces on fiberglass pools. Fiberglass is no guarantee against pool leaks. Read the "Excerpt" on leaks and if that doesn't help, go to the Help Desk, fill out the information requested and we'll solve it together.

Pump leak

Q. I've had a constant leak at the top of my pump. The male adaptor's been replaced three times. It works for a while and then it leaks again. What's up ?

A. Assuming that you're using teflon tape or paste on the threads, I'd guess you've got stress on the fitting. If the pump and filter can't be be secured to the pad, get a PVC Union fitted with a male adaptor. The rubber seal will absorb a small amount of stress and keep the fitting water- tight. If that doesn't work, re plumb the piping between the pump and the filter. Also, make sure the pump is picking up the prime right away. A dry- running pump will cause enough heat to melt this fitting.


Q. The surface on my pool is in good shape except for two "pop- offs" . The Realtor says this will have to be repaired before she'll show the house. Re- surfacing is so expensive, what can I do ?

A. If you can safely drain the pool, you can patch the spots with sanded tile grout matched to the 'true' color of your surface. You're writing from Florida, so be careful with the water table when you drain the pool. 'Pop- offs' in the pool are no problem compared with 'popping' the pool.

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