How are Settling Swimming Pools Repaired?

Your pool might look different from how you knew it in previous summers, appearing as though it’s a little down and dehydrated – or at least losing water. It can be a bummer you don’t need for the summer. 

Your pool appears to be sinking. Ironically, outside of water.

Your pool is experiencing foundation settlement and needs fixing. 

How are pools repaired when they range in various types, shapes, and sizes? 

How does a foundation repair company go about this process? 

How can your summer be saved? 

Dalinghaus Construction has inspected over 10,000 homes, looking at plenty of pools for signs of foundation settlement, and repairing about 10-15 per year. While we do foundation repair more so for homes, we’ve repaired enough pools to understand how to prevent settlement issues in the future, saving summers for hundreds of homeowners.  

What is settlement?

We aren’t talking about an official document to resolve a problem or an established community. 

When we in the foundation repair industry refer to foundation settlement or settling, we mean the phenomenon of a structure sinking into the ground due to the soil under its foundation shifting, usually from a lack of moisture. Dry soil will contract, sinking an area of your home into the ground.

Pools don’t settle too often, at least compared to homes. Makes sense since there are more houses than there are pools. Regardless, pools are susceptible to settlement issues.

Before doing fountain repair on a pool, there are factors to consider

First, there are factors about the pool itself to consider:

  • What’s the current condition of the pool?
    • If the pool is in poor condition, foundation repair will likely be a large chunk of money for a pool that may never be used again.
  • Is the pool being used?
    • There is an option to empty the pool, cave it in, and fill in the area if you no longer desire the pool.

Second, is the pool settling? 

Identifying a settling pool:

  • Water level
    • Use the tile at the top of the pool. You’ll notice if the water goes up or down when using the line through the tile. The water level will look different on each side since one of the ends has moved.
  • Visible cracks
    • It’s unlikely the whole pool will move. Only a certain area will move around, causing cracks in your pool. The worse the settlement, the worse the cracks.
  • Loss of water
    • If the pool has cracks, the water slips through like an opportunity wasted. 
  • Separation of coping and concrete at the top.
    • When you notice settlement, you’ll find more gaps. It will appear as though the concrete is trying to end a long-term relationship with the pool, slowly pulling away.

If your pool has been settling, ask yourselves these questions:

  • How long has the pool been moving?
    • If your pool has been moving for a long time, you need to consider the extent of the damage. The more movement, there is likely a lot of damage. 
  • What damage is the pool currently causing?
    • Sometimes the damage can be cosmetic, which isn’t a big issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
    • You want to prevent mechanical issues, structural damage, plumbing issues, broken pipes, or broken fittings. These are common causes of leaks.

Settle down and read our article How to Know if Your Pool is Settling or Sinking for a better understanding of what you need to look for. 

Repairing a settling pool

Typically helical piers will be used for your pool’s foundation repair. 

Helical piers are hydraulically screwed into the ground until they reach competent soil for stabilization – similar to how you would use a screw in wood with a screwdriver. This works very well when a pool has a foundation to it. 

Not all pools have a foundation. Pools come in various shapes and sizes. Some pools are just the shell that holds water, which is more fragile during the repair process.

Having repair plans to show your foundation repair contractor will help with your process.

If you don’t have pool plans, it’s no big deal. There may be more excavating involved to see how your pool is constructed, but foundation repair will happen nonetheless.

Repairing a pool with a foundation

If your pool has a foundation, a production team will attach brackets to the bottom of the foundation, install helical piers underground for stabilization, and then attach the helical piers to those brackets.

Repairing a pool without a foundation

A production team will cut out a two-foot strip from the middle of the pool, take out concrete to put helical piers underground from where the strip is, build a rebar cage to place into where the old strip was, and finally pour in concrete back to hold up the pool. 

There are times concrete haunches – a concrete square footing – will need to be constructed, which acts like a pad footer for the pool. It’s basically a little footing the helical pier would be attached to. 

Regardless of footing or no footing, hillside properties would need helical tiebacks

Hillside properties are often susceptible to lateral movement, or move side to side, as they settle. Helical tiebacks are helical piers installed at a more horizontal angle. These will be installed under the pool to prevent future lateral movement.

If you don’t repair your pool

Technically, the settlement of your pool becoming worse is unknown. There’s no way we can predict the future pool, even if it would be cool (or horrifying). However, our experience with foundation settlement usually indicates settlement gets worse before it gets better. And the damages cause the cost of repair to go higher. 

Continued foundation settlement will cause more structural damage to your pool, shortening its lifespan. 

Dive deep into our article Sinking Pool Repair Recommendations to learn more about pool repair strategies.  

Foundation repair for your pool prevents further settlement

You would hope so. This depends on how well the installation goes with the foundation company you choose. 

The goal of foundation repair is to stabilize a structure – whether it’s a home or a pool – to prevent further movement. Any good foundation company will be able to accomplish this with no problem. 

Cost and timeframe for pool repair

The average foundation repair for a pool takes an average of 2-3 weeks, costing anywhere between $30,000 to $100,000Sometimes higher. It depends on the severity of the damage. 

Foundation repair isn’t the cheapest thing in the world to do. That said Dalinghaus Construction offers 0% financing options to make life a little easier for you.

Is there a certain time of year to get your pool repaired?

You can have the foundation settlement of your pool fixed at any time of the year. If there is a recommendation, have your pool repaired in the winter. That way you can have access to it by the time summer rolls around, enjoying fun times in water and getting exercise when the hot days hit. 

In California, this would be anytime between October and May. Going a little past winter in some months, but still a sweet spot for repair.

You might have to hire a pool contractor after the foundation repair

Most homeowners need to hire a pool contractor, but not all. It depends on the severity of the damage due to the settlement. There might be cracks in plaster or pebble tech, and tiles might not line up. Pool contractors specialize in these types of fixes. 

Foundation repair companies should be able to fill in concrete. It depends on the company you choose. Asking about concrete fill won’t hurt you.

Now you know how settling pools are repaired. Be sure you talk to multiple foundation repair contractors to see who best suits your needs

You’ve learned how to identify if your pool is settling, how they’re repaired, and the cost/timeframe of your repair. The next course of action is to have multiple companies inspect your pool. That way you’re comparing and contrasting pricing, methods of repair, and figuring out which company best fits your needs. 

Even if you understand how to identify your pool settling, looking for the signs can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the experience. Having a professional come out and do an inspection can give you valuable insight. 

Read the article Should You Get Multiple Foundation Repair Bids? (How You Benefit) to see how receiving multiple bids works in your favor.

You can start with Dalinghaus Construction for a FREE evaluation of your pool for any settlement issues. 

For any questions, call Dalinghaus Construction at (877)360-9277, or click the button below to schedule your free foundation evaluation today!


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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