Save money by patching your pool yourself

July 28, 2015

A patch in time, just like the proverbial stitch, will keep your pool looking good for years — and save big repair bills. If you can find your leak, see below for what to do.

Save money by patching your pool yourself

Find your leak

  • One way to find leaks is with food dye.
  • Place dye at suspected trouble spots, such as cracks or blistered areas. If it moves through the wall, you've found a leak.

Patch your pool

  • In pools with vinyl liners, attend to tears or punctures as soon as possible.
  • Repair tears with a manufacturer-supplied patching kit, many of which can be used above or below water so you won't have to drain the pool.
  • Some repair kits come with a small can of adhesive and a vinyl liner patch.
  • Simply brush on the adhesive, and apply over the tear. Others have the adhesive preapplied to the patch.
  • Just remove the paper backing and press in place.
  • Liner tears longer than five to eight centimetres (two to three inches) may not be repairable, in which case you'll have to replace the liner.
  • In pools finished with plaster, repair hairline cracks in the plaster at least once a season.
  • The plaster is the layer — usually applied over Gunite or Shotcrete pool floors and walls — that forms the waterproof membrane around your pool. To repair it, lower the water level below the damage.
  • Clean loose pieces from cracks and fill them with plaster, marine-grade caulking compound (don't use ordinary house caulk), or a two-part epoxy putty.
  • Smooth with a trowel or your fingers, and allow the patch to cure before refilling the pool. Call in a pro to handle large cracks.
  • Some wear scuba gear to make the repair underwater, avoiding the expense and time involved in draining the pool.
  • Fibreglass pools can also be patched if the damaged area is small. Drain the pool to below the damage, and let it dry.
  • Abrade the damaged area with 100-grit sandpaper. Mix and brush on a two-part liquid epoxy, and lay on your patch of fibreglass cloth.
  • Smooth with a bristle brush, making sure you haven't left any air bubbles under the cloth. When the adhesive dries, brush on another coat of epoxy liquid.
  • Sand to feather the edges of the patch. Reapply the liquid epoxy one or two more times. Then sand lightly, and paint to match the rest of the pool.
  • If the damage is extensive, the entire pool may have to be recoated.
  • A coat of epoxy paint will improve the appearance of an older fibreglass shell.
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