A crack in your pool is a serious problem that needs to be fixed immediately. Luckily, fixing small cracks is a lot easier than you might think, and most people can also repair larger cracks without professional help, although the process is somewhat more involved.
If you don’t currently have a crack in your pool but are trying to prepare yourself for the future, consider looking for home warranty options for pools. Many plans cover pool crack repairs, which will save you time and effort if your pool develops a crack. Otherwise, let’s learn how to repair a crack in your pool.
Why Fixing Cracks Is Important
Large cracks in your pool’s foundation will lead to water loss and compromise your pool’s safety, so you must fix them immediately. Smaller superficial cracks are not as problematic, but they can develop into structural cracks over time. It’s better to repair all cracks your find right away to save yourself from expensive repairs in the future.
How to Fix a Small Crack
Small cracks that aren’t very deep don’t pose as much risk as larger ones, but you should still fix them as soon as possible.
1. Scrape Loose Material Out
Use a flathead screwdriver to scrape out any loose material inside the crack. You can also use the screwdriver to widen the crack slightly, which will make it easier to apply the Pool Putty in step 3.
2. Clean the Inside Edges of the Crack
Before you fill the crack, you need to make sure the inside edges are clean. Use a stiff-bristled brush to clean the crack, focusing on areas with visible dirt or algae buildups.
3. Add Pool Putty to the Crack
Mix up a batch of Pool Putty and roll it into a long tube approximately the same size as the crack. Use your hand to push the Pool Putty into the crack. Make sure the putty completely fills the crack.
4. Smooth It Out
Run your hand along the top of the putty to smooth it out. You don’t want any putty protruding out from the crack, as this will increase the odds of the putty breaking down with time.
How to Fix a Larger Crack
Fixing a structural crack is more involved but still within reach of most homeowners.
1. Empty the Pool
The first step in repairing a larger crack is to empty the pool. You need to drain the pool far enough away so that the water doesn’t run underneath the pool. If you let the water seep under the pool, hydrostatic pressure could dislodge it from the ground, creating a much larger—and much more expensive—problem. You should also avoid draining your pool after significant rainfall for the same reason.
2. Open the Hydrostatic Relief Plugs
Locate and open the hydrostatic relief plugs on your pool’s floor. These plugs can be difficult to open, so you might need to break through some plaster before you can unscrew the caps. You don’t need to open all of them; opening 20%–30% is enough. Most pools have between four and six hydrostatic plugs, so opening two of them is the safest option.
3. Widen the Crack
Widen the crack with an angle grinder. Make sure to wear protective equipment, including eye protection, ear protection, and a dust mask.
4. Clean the Widened Crack
You need to clean the crack when you finish widening it, just like in the small crack case. There will be a lot more debris in a larger crack since you’re not working underwater. Use your garden hose and a brush to remove loose material inside the crack.
5. Fill With Hydraulic Cement and Pool Plaster
Mix up a batch of pool plaster and get some hydraulic cement from your local hardware store. If you want the best seal possible, moisten the crack and apply a bonding agent to the crack’s walls. Acryl 60 is a good choice for plaster that is widely available.
Fill the bulk of the crack with the cement, leaving the top half-inch or so empty for the plaster. Cover the cement with pool plaster.
6. Keep the Crack Moist or Refill the Pool
It is imperative that you keep the crack moist after repair. Most people just refill their pool, but if you’re not going to refill your pool immediately, water the crack twice per day and lay a damp towel over it to keep it moist.