What causes a shotcrete pool to crack? Although it is a rare occurrence, shotcrete pools can crack. While usually happening within the first year, cracks can be due to shrinkage, settlement, improper engineering and design, or poor technique. Let’s take a look at the hows, whys, and what to do if your shotcrete pool has a crack.
Structural Cracks vs. Surface Cracks
Not every shotcrete pool crack is a reason to panic, and most of them are not really serious. Shrinkage cracks are often shallow and a typical occurrence with shotcrete pools. They are often part of the curing process when the pool is first shot with shotcrete. Surface cracking is usually seen in the plaster. It is not a leak because it does not penetrate the shell or body of the pool. These cracks are more of a maintenance issue than a major repair. It’s wise when seeing surface cracks to not jump to conclusions that there are leaks. One way to check is by using a dime. If you see cracking large enough that a dime will stick into it, then it may be cracked through to the shell. At that point, you can do testing to determine if a suspected crack is leaking.
If a crack is a structural crack, the chances are good that your pool is leaking or will eventually leak. Structural cracks occur in the shell of the pool. You will usually find them running vertically or horizontally along the sides or bottom of the pool. The plaster coating and tile area over the bond beam can also suffer from structural cracks.
Three Main Reasons for Shotcrete Pool Cracks
1. Improper engineering and design
If a pool is designed and engineered improperly, then the chances increase for structural cracking. Proper soil testing, understanding of the soil load-bearing capacity and stability, and design of the areas around the pool like retaining walls and decking will help prevent structural cracking.
2. Poor technique
Shortcuts and lack of following construction plans can lead to structural cracking of a shotcrete pool. Keeping a close eye on maintaining the proper balance of water to shotcrete, securing rebar properly, and attention to the curing process will keep structural cracking at bay.
3. Soil issues
Soil must be compacted properly to avoid cracks. Soil movement, expansive soil, and even earthquakes can cause a pool to crack.
The Good News
Overall, shotcrete pools are strong and provide many, many years of enjoyment for the owners with proper maintenance. The good news is that cracks can be repaired and further cracking stopped.
Mastercraft Pool & Spa is your helpful ally for all your service needs. Looking to buy a new home with a pool? We offer a free homeowner pool inspection to give you peace of mind. From maintenance, to repair or renovation of your pool, you will find the exact solutions you need with our experienced team. Our prompt and efficient service technicians will get you back to enjoying your pool before you know it. And don’t let a leak put your pool out of commission. Our full renovation and repair team can find and fix leaks—pinpointing the problem to a 2’ x 2’ area, even underground. With the foremost training and knowledge in the industry, we do it all. No project is too big or too small. Contact us today and make us your one-stop-shop for the best in customer care, support, and innovative solutions for all your needs