Rain and Ultimate Pools: Getting the pool ready to be surfaced

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This is Part Two of our series on rain and moisture and how it affects the pool-building process of Ultimate Pools. To access Part One, click here.

Before getting started on the second part of this series, here’s an article that reflects how strange the weather has been, as it was actually hotter in Alaska two weeks ago than it has been in the Greater Houston area in 2015. A lot of that has had to do with the overabundant rain, but luckily the forecast seems to be clearing up a bit.

Forecasting, along with determining that the ground is dry enough for the big dig, has us to the next part, getting the pool ready to be surfaced. But although we have dug out the pool and made sure the soil is able to handle that, rain and moisture under the surface can still have an adverse affect if proper care isn’t taken.

While the test holes that we dig to get soil composition and moisture help us determine when it’s appropriate to make the big dig in the pool, those holes typically go 3-4 feet deep. Since almost all of the pools we develop are deeper than that at their lowest point, sometimes we’ll hit some water and moisture on the big dig.

If this happens, we need to make sure that the appropriate moisture is removed from the equation before starting any sort of surfacing. Typically, we’d like the surface to be free of standing water for a minimum of four hours before starting any sort of surfacing, because surfacing prematurely while the ground is still wet and moist can cause a multitude of problems that can be costly.

  • Walls that cave: Too much moisture can cause the walls of the pool to become fatigued and porous, making it susceptible to erosion prior to surfacing and caving after it’s been surfaced, which brings about repairs that can be costly.
  • Tiles popping off: Too much moisture in the surface can weaken the gunite coating, making it more porous. If the gunite is compromised, water can seep into walls and prevent the adhesive in the tiles from sticking properly. This can cause tiles to be insecure, slide out of place, or completely pop off.
  • The pool “floating” away: This sounds absurd, but too much moisture along the surface of the pool prevents the gunite shell from settling firmly along the surface. This can cause the gunite shell to be dislodged by the accumulating dirt and moisture under the surface. That accumulation separates the pool shell from the ground, causing it to slide or “float”.

But enough with the doom and gloom. A little tender care now can prevent a whole lot of headaches later, which is why we go out of our way to make sure we get things done the right way the first time. Having to wait a few weeks now is better than having to do a bunch of repairs later. But besides waiting for the surface to have optimum dryness, here are a couple techniques we use to make sure your surface is dry and secure.

  • Weep holes: When putting down the bigger gunite shell, we will drill weep holes into the shell to allow any water below the surface to seep out. This is something we do for every pool. This is done to equalize the water at the surface with the moisture “weeping” into the shell. This causes the gunite shell to “sink” to the surface, securing it in place for it to be plastered. The plaster is then placed over the weep holes, with the water coming in immediately after.

    Think of it like a heavy glass bowl in water — the bowl will float if completely intact, as the amount of water the bowl displaces will be greater than the force pushing it down in the water. However, if holes are poked into the glass bowl, that bowl will displace less water and be pushed downward toward the surface. Read more on this here.

  • Flashing gunite: Before we create the bigger gunite shell that will serve as the foundation for the tiling and plaster in your pool, there is the option of flashing the pool with gunite. This can be requested by the home owner at a fee. We’ll flash the desired surface with a layer of gunite to provide a secure surface that will keep out moisture and keep dirt from eroding and collapsing.

There are other measures we’ve taken in the past to combat moisture, such as plastic coverings and constructing small moats to catch and accumulate run-off water. We’ll continue this series next by talking about how rain affects pool maintenance.


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Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

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