Waterproofing a pool (an odd one, but not as odd as you might think) [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-23-2013, 01:13 PM
Hello: We've gotten the pool built and up/running thanks to help from a lot of folks — and we've conquered several bathroom remodels thanks to help from folks on this board. I'm wondering if these worlds could mix for a while.

We're about to build a pricey deck around the pool and in doing so, have discovered the pool is 3/4in off level side to side. It's something that you can notice while in the water and we certainly don't want to build a sloped deck.

The pool is a very small (8x12x4 @ 2500gal) metal-walled square pool. It presently has a vinyl liner which isn't terrible, but the liner doesn't fit well in the (square) corners.

The best/easiest way to fix the level problem pre-deck is to remove the liner, level the track itself with blocking and shims and re-hang the liner. i could put foam (or wood, someone suggested) 45deg blocks in the corners to fill out the gaps where the liner gaps. this would proved a serviceable and somewhat straightforward fix. However, my dealer wants to charge me almost $1200 for the liner (a known, exorbitant markup -- the previous invoice shows it cost him $550).

This got me thinking about other solutions, specifically tile — which I would be very happy with if I could get it to work (it would fit well with the space and style). I wouldn't mind the extra cost if it worked (was waterproof).

I'm looking at ways to waterproof the pool as well as retrofit the returns and skimmer to accommodate. This is where you come in (hopefully):

Idea #1 (From the CustomBuilding tech rep): Adhere CrackBuster membrane film to the metal walls. Tape and mortar the joints. Use RedGard to coat the floor and joints and hang tile.

Idea #2: Affix 1/4in Hardiebacker to the walls with adhesive and a few screws making the entire surround cementitious. Coat the entire surround with RedGard or similar wet-applied membrane. Hang tile.

Idea #3: Prep as above. Instead of Redgard, use Kerdi mortar-applied membrane. Hang Tile.

Idea #4: Smilar to the above, but use Kerdiboard which has the Kerdi membrane pre-applied. (This is likely my favorite idea as the Kerdiboard would be slightly insulated and impervious to water altogether... However, the Kerdi is less "foolproof" than RedGard

The biggest question would be how to retrofit the skimmer and 2 returns, but I'm sure there's a way using fittings for a gunite/concrete pool.

So... Am I crazy? Thoughts, suggestions or warnings? Any alternate (likely more pool-specific) ideas? Any wisdom would be appreciated. You can see I'm very much in the mindset of "bath" more than "pool". Thanks.

If you're interested, here's a picture of the shell: http://redneckmodern.typepad.com/redneckmodern/2012/08/new-.html#more

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Tool Guy - Kg
06-23-2013, 04:38 PM
Hi Hunter,

Even if one of your suggestions were to work perfectly, I can't imagine your metal sheet walls won't flex to the point of causing problems with the stiff tile. Water is extremely heavy and those walls would be bowing in and out as it was filled or emptied. Just how thick are your metal walls?

What about building a level deck and having a return of some sort around the perimeter of the pool that dropped down over the interior of the metal shell by an inch or so? The wood would disguise the fact that the shell isn't level and would be perfectly parallel to the level water line of the pool.


06-23-2013, 05:40 PM
thanks, tool-guy:

ironically, that was my initial thought with the existing liner... i called it a "dickie" and was thinking aluminum or stainless L trim or something similar. If i were to stay with the vinyl liner, there are enough things goofy with the existing one that i'd want to reinstall, methinks, and now that i know the measurements of making it level, it wouldn't be hard -- just the cost of a new liner.

on the walls: they are super-heavy, buried 3/4 in the ground and wrapped with concrete — they're more sturdy than my shower walls (i.e. little/no flex). the flex of the walls is (for me) less of a concern as things "sticking" to them (kerdi board, etc)... and long term viability of the membranes.