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Silicon Caulk

Q. A leak was repaired at the beginning of the summer and it's leaking again. The company used silicon caulk to repair on the steps and they say it needs to be replaced because my water messed it up. They won't do anything unless I pay them. Does this sound right to you?

A. Sounds like a great idea if you own the pool company. Silicons aren't generally made for underwater application and typically loosen after a month or so. I know of only one silicon caulk sold through marine supply stores that might work on your pool. A better choice is 3M- 5200 marine sealant. Applied like a caulk, this stuff will hold underwater. If the company won't back their work, call the BBB and find someone who will.

Bugs eating the above-ground liner?

Q. Our above ground pool started leaking about 2 months after we got it. Its always leaked at the same rate. That is, it didn't start out leaking a little and work up to this leakage rate. I had to pay some guy (sub-contracted by the store) to come out and look at it. He said bugs are eating the liner. Have you ever heard of such a thing???

A. Sure have. Now the question is: Should the bugs have been eradicated as part of the installation?

Most installers treat for bugs, most instructions call for a non- petroleum based pesticide and herbicide treatment before an above ground pool is erected. I'd have some sympathy for the installer if you'd been offered an optional bug treatment and refused it, but they're supposed to be the pros here. You paid for a professional installation and didn't get it. I'd say they owe you a new liner and a refund on the leak finders fee.

Imperfect Surface

Q. We just had the pool Diamond Brited and when the lights are on at night the surface looks rough and wavy. It feels smooth to walk on and looks fine in the daytime. If I hadn't noticed the rolls, I would have believed the pool was perfect. thanks.

A. Throwing a little light across a surface will illuminate every imperfection (try a flashlight across a counter top) that you could never see otherwise. It's true of any pool surface, but less noticeable in say, a commercial pool, where multiple lights soften shadows. As long as it isn't rough to touch or walk on, this won't affect the service life of the surface.

You have two options:

Soften the light by using a smaller wattage bulb (a standard 100 watt lamp bulb) or a color cover over the lens (available in blue, yellow, green and red)


Aim the return 'eyeballs' up and have the system run at night during the hours you're likely to be out by the pool. When you ripple the water, imperfections in the pool surface disappear.

Is it a Light Leak?

Q. My light doesn't fit snugly into the wall, it's loose at the bottom. Could this be the cause of my leak?

A. Pool lights are water cooled; that is, they rely on water circulating into and around the niche to keep the light from cooking itself. Your leak could be in the niche or the conduit that carries the light cord out the back of the niche. Light area leaks are both the easiest to repair and 'least likely to be done properly' leak site.

It's important that you don't seal the fixture into the pool wall. People who seal up the light cord with pool putty aren't doing you any favors, either.

You can secure your light by loosening the top screw; catching the bottom hook and re- tightening the top screw.

Stains on Quartz

Q. I had one of the quartz finishes put on my pool about six months ago. Now there are little BB sized rust stains all over. The contractor said it's stains from a tree in the back corner of the yard. I don't think so. For one thing the stains are growing and they're evenly spaced.

A. When I talked to one of the quartz material sales reps, he mentioned that they sieve all materials that go into the product. At the time, it sounded like 'fluff' and I didn't pursue it. An engineer mentioned it later and I asked him about it. What you've got is a metallic contaminant, probably iron and probably brought in with the lime in the cement. It's evenly spaced because it's evenly distributed throughout the material.

Don't think harshly of your contractor. Your rust spots are probably as much a surprise to him as they are to you. Material manufacturers can be incredibly creative with the SideStep when it comes to the 'Warranty Dance' and chances are when the contractor repairs the problem, he'll be doing it out of his own wallet.

Marcite checking

Q. I'm so mad I could spit. After the pool was Marcited, it wasn't filled until the next day. We discovered many checking cracks which were filled at a later time. I am wondering if we should demand that the contractor do the job over. We intend to keep the house for a long time and need to make the right choice.

A. Not immediately filling the pool was unfortunate (dumb), but is rarely fatal. Have no idea what you mean when you say the 'check cracks' were filled in. Surface checking disappears when the pool's filled with water.

Was once filling a pool when the owner asked 'When will you make the surface blue?' Thinking he was kidding, I joked about the 'underwater paint' we applied just as soon as the pool was filled. Next morning he came out and seemed genuinely disappointed that the pool was already blue. "I wanted to see the diver work". He was even going to keep the kids home from school to watch us paint the surface underwater.

Only damage that may have occurred is delamination (pop offs) that won't become evident until much later and on a new pool (marcite applied to gunite), is unlikely. Only way to find out is to drain the pool and 'tap them out', but don't be surprised when the 'checking' reappears and the surface turns white again.

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