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Old 06-18-2018, 05:44 PM   #1
pdpantages
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Repairing Pool tiles. Do I need to use leveler for 1/8 inch.

Hello Forum,

I have a few tiles fallen off my hot/tub spa. I noticed when cleaning the old thinset off that there is some "leveling" mortar that was used to smooth out the circular substrate. There is about 8" of this material missing. It is about 1/8 thick at one end and tapers off to 0 about 8" away.

--> I wanted to know if I need to repair this or if I can just use the thinset/mortar to fill in this small gap. I understand that it would be a little trickier to set the tiles this way.


Also, any advice on thinset/mortar to use? I have this CBP "Tile Repair Mortar" that I was going to use. "Works Underwater" ... There isn't an ansi number on the pkg, but it lists ingredients as Crystaline Silica, Portland Cement, Polyvinyl Acetate copolymer, and gypsum. Pic below.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:59 PM   #2
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Whoever built the spa screwed up your waterline tile. Tile line should be below the cantilever concrete not halfway on the gunite and the cantilever. The movement of the concrete and gunite will continue to pop those tiles off as things expand and contract. Just go ahead with your repair mortar and set the tiles as best you can mix it on the stiffer side to help with sag.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:11 PM   #3
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Hello CaliGrown, thank you for the reply.

I think my pictures are a bit misleading. I will add a zoomed out shot tomorrow. The tile in question is not along the pool decking; this is the waterfall outlet (from the spa/hot tub) that overflows into the pool.

As far a movement goes, I think I have some as some of my mortar is cracked on the stonework. But the spa is about 20 years old; if my repair lasts another 20 I will be happy with it...

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Old 06-19-2018, 10:56 AM   #4
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Extra pic

Just an extra pic to clarify what I am working on.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the picture showing it all. Same issue I’m afraid so for the spillway tiles there, since they’re set on the coping. I’d take some mortar and shove it into any voids between the coping and gunite, score up the surface of the coping where the tile goes and go ahead with your repair. Will it crack again or lose bond? Yes, when? Next day, month, year or decade.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:07 PM   #6
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OK thank you. Hopefully the 20yr lifetime of the prev. work means that there is not a lot of movement going on to pop them off.

Any suggestions on the right grout to use to finish it off. Is there an "underwater" grout that I should use?

Also my next adventure will be fixing some of the coping's mortar where it has cracked or worn down. ( this is between the stones, not underneath ). I saw a reference to a "type S" mortar somewhere; would this be best?
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:21 PM   #7
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Hi Paul, I can't tell exactly what the red material is. But, in my opinion, there shouldn't be any tiles stuck to it at all. The red material should have been larger to hang over the bottom row of waterline tiles.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:51 PM   #8
pdpantages
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Hi Davy, I haven't talked to you in a while. Hope all is well with you.

The red material is stone (sand stone, I think). It is a sedimentary rock, that flakes off occasionally and is not very hard.

On the "pool side" of the waterfall, the coping does overhang a bit. Several steps, including the last one that overhangs the tile in the pool proper.

It might be feasible to leave the tiles off and grout the top of the second row to created a finished edge?
( These tiles are continuously submerged due to the spa fountain . )

They may not have wanted to overhang the coping as people in the hot tub would be sitting with their back to it. Or maybe a screwed up installation that they covered up with tile. Regardless, I have to deal with it.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:39 PM   #9
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That's what I would do, grout up to the stone and leave the top row of tiles off. Maybe you can remove the old mortar stain that's on the red stone.
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:50 PM   #10
pdpantages
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Hello Forum, thank you for the advice on the tiles....

Now I am looking to make some minor repairs to the mortar around my stone coping. Assorted cracks and a place where it has worn off and crumbled away a bit. The coping is a red standstone and the mortar is a tan colour (I think this may be called buff). I have included a pic of the mortar and stone.

I wanted to know if I need a special mortar for pools. Some of it will be in the area of the spa waterfall and will be continuously wet (when the pump is running). Or would I need any type of additive to add to the mortar when mixing?

I have seen references to "S3" type mortar, which I see at Home Depot web site; about $6 for 80lb of it.

I posted this question in the pool forum troublefreepool.com and got a few suggestions,
(1) was to use grout, not mortar on the small cracks, and (2) use "Sand mix concrete" on areas where there is more substantial material to be added. I have both these situations. Just wanted to see what the jb forum thought about this.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:41 PM   #11
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Hi Paul. I would use sanded tile grout. I like Custom Prism, it works well and gets rock hard. https://www.custombuildingproducts.com/TDS/TDS-128.pdf

You'll have more color choices using tile grout. I would make sure the old grout is removed so the new grout has enough depth to take hold. I see your joints vary in width. Prism is good for joints up to 1/2 inch wide. You can get by using it in a little wider joint if you mix it on the stiff side. Get all your cleaning done first.
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