Fix This Aluminum Wall

by Ben
(Ottawa, Canada)

Aluminum Wall Split

Aluminum Wall Split

Last winter was tough on my pool! I'm trying to decide whether or not I should fix the wall...
The pool is about 16 years old but there are no other damages beside this.

The other thing that preoccupies me is the hill on that side of the pool. If it was to burst open, all the water would go in direction of the neighbors basement with practically no obstacle on its way.
What if I fix it properly with bolted aluminium flashing over it?

I was going to install some extras like floor padding, center drain, foam on the wall, new skimmer, new liner, cove, etc.

I don’t want to spend all that time and money if everyone believes it is just going to burst open in the end.

Thanks for any opinion.


Hi Ben

If that is the only damage I would fix it. I would use at least 6' of heavy material, about the thickness of the existing wall. This section of wall would be bolted at each end with at least two rows of bolts.

I would bring the height up to just a few inches below the skimmer. You don't want to interfere with the way the skimmer installs.

Done correctly you should not have to worry about the slope leading to your neighbors place, that is as long as this is the only area of wall damage. Check it very closely.

Comments for Fix This Aluminum Wall

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May 04, 2014
What I plan doing, is it too much?
by: Ben

I examined the pool wall closely today and it looks good.
What do you mean exactly by 2 rows of bolt?

I’m concerned with water pressure at the bottom of the wall.
From what I read, there is much more pressure there…

Because of that, this is what I was planning to do (but perhaps it is overkill and not necessary?)
One thing is sure, it won’t be easy (the bottom track is filled with dirt and roots…)

-Flip the wall upside down, relocating the tear at the top of the wall, on the opposite side of the pool and away from the hill.
(The water pressure on the tear would be less)
-Patch the old skimmer and water return holes and cut new holes.
-Patch the tear with white aluminum facing, 9" x 4' and for reinforcement, I would fold 3/4" on each side.
On the left side, this patch would be bolted in place with the current joint (reusing the existing bolts, etc)
On the right side, 2 aluminum flat plates (3/4" wide) would "sandwich" the wall and the patch together.
I would drill hole every inch and bolt the whole thing from top to bottom.

What do you think, too much?


Hi Ben The last thing I would do is flip the wall, that is leaving the large skimmer opening at the bottom of the wall, where yes, there is the most pressure.

Your thoughts about splicing in the new wall material are good. If you wanted to open up the wall connection and start there that's fine. The idea is to just duplicate that joint on the other end of the splice. I say a double row of nuts and bolts, side by side, as another way of duplicating the strength of the splice without bending metal and adding extra pieces. The more you duplicate the original joint the better.

I would take the rip at the bottom over the skimmer opening at the bottom any day, plus it's a lot easier. There is a lot of pressure down there so go big on the patch and you will be fine.

May 18, 2014
Work in progress...
by: Ben

I followed your advice and duplicated the joint as close as possible.
I used 4’ x 10” aluminum facing and had it folded, 1” on each side.
The final piece is 4’ x 8”.
I bought 2 aluminum plates 4’ x 3/4” on which I drilled holes using the pool’s existing joint plates as a pattern.
I bolted everything together and I’m quite pleased with the final result.
I feel pretty confident it will be strong enough.

Flipping the wall upside down would have been quite a challenge now that I know the bottom track was filled with roots and dirt.
Not only that, just re-bolting the wall at the joint was not that easy.
Imagine trying to fit it back together after it has been completely reinstalled in the track…
Also, I worked on this over 2 weeks, leaving the joint un-bolted.
This wasn’t the best idea as it rained and was windy at times.
The wall was very slightly bent/damaged by of the wind…
Nothing dramatic but I recommend un-bolting the joint and re-bolting it in the same day if possible.
Lastly, aluminum is not eternal…
It really gets corroded and thinner over time.
If I press on a corroded spot at the bottom in the wall, tiny pin holes appear…

Anyway, thanks Dennis for the good advices!
See attached pictures of the patch.
I will send more of pictures of the finish job.


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