Oval Pool Wall Ends Out of Bottom Rail

by Dave

Hello and thank you in advance for any help offered!



We noticed the gap at these two inner supports (there are 4 on each end) on the ends of the pool after the first year, assumed it was normal being only 1/4" wide. This year we noticed it was very wide at about 7/8" wall edge to center of rail where it should be in the rail.

Question? Is it possible that during installation the pool sides were too far wide causing the radius ends of the pool to come in as pressure was exerted outward on the straight sides of the pool walls. This can be simulated using a piece of paper shaped into an oval and moved outward on the sides.

Here is the pool info: 15x30 Oval AG, 52" Morada IV, resin top rail and foot plates, Hayward 2Hp w/cartridge filter. Installed 2009 summer by professional pool installer with 6000 plus install exp.

Level: The pool looks level, pool winter cover still on, I think water level was with-in 1/2" last year before close-up measuring around the pool using the top rail to the water surface in inches.

Deck: Yes deck is on one side, set on piers buried 4' deep per code, there is room between deck edge and pool edge to allow for expansion if any.

Location: Chicago, this winter was not as cold as previous years, late freeze in Janurary if any.

Deck footing at install time: Yes pavers were used, and only a 1 year install warranty, 5th year waiting to open the pool YTD.

We do have a lot of water that flows through the yard from heavy rains, I built a french drain to divert this water flow which doesn't happen too often and appears to work.

I have sent pictures to the installer who said he has done 6000 plus installs. I do want to get other opinions as to the cause just in case

it was a result of faulty installation or he offers no help to remedy this.

Not sure how to determine that though, I just want to find the cause (s), fix it and avoid any big problems. Honestly I think they did a nice job during install, they were recommended by The Great Escape where we bought the pool. But I am not a pool installer, so what do I know!

Thanks again for all help. Summer is approaching "Oh No" need to fix.

Dave in Chicago

Hi Dave

Here is one of the photos you provided.

Pool Wall Out of Bottom Rail

If I had to make a guess I would say the damage is caused by the water flow through the yard, not by freezes. A hard freeze will raise the footplates and bottom rails causing the wall the kink.

This type of damage usually occurs when the rail sinks, allowing the wall to come out. There is uneven pressure from somewhere causing the gap, but impossible to say why without seeing more of the pool. The rail just sinking would be directly below the wall and easily lifted up and put into place.

Due to the age of the pool I would have a problem blaming the installers, they probably did a good job, but again, impossible to say without seeing the whole pool. Being within a half inch of level is good. Having straight sides with both ends having identical arcs is another sign of a good install. One corner angling different than the other three is a sign something is not right. Posts that lean in or out is another sign, they should all be straight up and down, in all directions. These are a few things to look for.

The bottom rail does little to support the pool so you are probably fine leaving it as is until your next liner change. At that time you could fix it. That is as long as the coving has not been damaged or compromised. If there are no signs of the liner coming out from under the wall it should be fine.

I would pack dirt around the outside of the pool to give the wall some support. That might be all you need to do for now.

Comments for Oval Pool Wall Ends Out of Bottom Rail

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May 12, 2013
Response to pool wall out of rail.
by: Dave - Chicago

Hi Dennis, and thanks for the detail in your response. It is a relief to have somewhere to get real answers on something like this wall issue. I was unable to get any real info from anywhere else but here after LOTS of google searching.

Thanks Again!

I did hear back from the installer and we did talk about the pictures and I explained it to him. He was professional and here is the summary of that conversation.

He said the pool rails (bottom) need to be moved closer together so the pool wall can be put back into the rail. He said I should dig out behind each support and pull out paver and move rails inward.

He did not have any specific answers as to why it would have moved.

So now what? Well I have to drain the water either now or later, so the cost of the water is a wash. It's just a matter of A. Leave it until liner change or pool close, or B. Drain pool and fix it now.

The comment you posted on the pool wall "not" buckling due to frost. Very good point! I'm glad and the water flooding during rain makes sense too. I will post a picture of the whole pool and the trench for the better yard drainage

Also if I dig out each of the radius supports to move the rail back into position for the wall, I will post pictures of that before, during and after.

I hope afterwards this will give others a valuable resource and "how to" if this happens to anyone else, and I know I'm not the only one to encounter this.

Thanks again and I will keep you posted. I will also give this site info to the 15 other pool owners in my neighborhood for a great resource.

Thanks again Dennis for your insight and response.

Happier pool owner now, Dave - Chicago

Hi Dave

Let me know were I can find more photos and I will add them.

In theory, what the installer said might work. Your biggest problem would be loosing your cove, and with a pool full of water that would not be a good thing. If it's a sand cove I would not disturb the wall in any way with the pool full. I'm guessing that was not suggested as an option.

Draining the pool to make the repairs has risks also. The liner will shrink and may not stretch back out.

The only way it would work would be to leave several inches of water in the pool. You would have someone on the inside holding the liner back out of the way while you worked the outside making the repairs. You would then check over the wall and make sure the cove was in place. This would all have to be done fast. You would drain overnight or early morning so that you were ready to start filling at high noon, or whenever the pool had the most sunlight.

On a warm sunny day, and if the pool is never completely dry, you may be able to reuse the liner.

You do have some options, but keeping your cove intact is top priority. If it starts to go you need to start draining.

May 23, 2014
Same problem here
by: Anonymous

I had this same thing happen to my oval pool.
In my case the ground sunk allowing the bottom rail to loose contact with the side wall in a couple areas. I was able to simply pry the bottom rail back up and wedge some rocks under the bottom rail to hold it up!

This was a few years ago and now the dirt has covered the areas.

I do keep an eye on it though, and it has not been a problem so far.

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