Cove Washout

by Darrell

I installed a 24' x 52" above ground pool last week and as I was swimming in it I noticed I have a hole in my cove! It's about 10" long x 4" wide.

I know it wasn't there when the liner was put in so I don't know what happened. Should I be concerned about this and is there a way to fix it without draining the pool? I doubt there is but thought I would ask.


Hi Darrell.

Yes, this is something to be concerned about. If the liner comes into contact with the bottom rail and tears you could loose all the water in your pool very quickly. It is also possible the cove washout came from a small hole in the liner. If that is the case it could easily get bigger fast and burst open.

I would drain the liner as soon as possible. Leave a few inches in the bottom of the pool to hold the liner in place and to keep it from shrinking. With just a few top rails removed you should be able to pull the liner back enough to make the repairs. One person would hold the liner while another person adds sand and smooths it out.

Hopefully you will find the reason for the cove washout. There has to be a cause and if you can determine it you can work on ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

A bad seam in the liner would cause the cove to wash out. If you had recently vacuumed your pool a vacuum head may have scratched the liner in that area.

Insects and ants have been known to cause such damage.

I would first check for wet spots around the pool, a leak in the cove will cause standing water around the outside of the pool. If there are no wet spots the liner is probably not the cause.

You then need to see if you need to add a dirt cove around the outside of the pool. Packing dirt around the pool will help to hold the sand in place on the inside. Granule ant and bug killer around the pool does wonders for keeping unwanted pests from getting under the pool liner.

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Pool Coving Sink Holes

by Gene
(Hughesville, MD. USA)

I have an above ground 16X24 Kayak pool and it was dug out into a slight hill on one side of the yard. I currently have a few sinkholes in the bottom of pool about 5inches by 10inches but only against the hill side of the pool.

The hill side of the pool on the outside of the pool has been dug out about 5 feet away from the pool and then you have to step up to get on level ground away from the pool. What I believe is happening is rain is washing down toward the base of the pool from the hill and causing the dips and "dents" in the sand cove bottom.

If I were to fill in against the pool with fill dirt so that the hill side is level with the ground area will this prevent more sink holes from appearing do you think? Thank you very much for your help.

Sincerely, Gene

Hi Gene.

I think your idea is the thing to do. You are probably right about the rain water and backfilling this area would take care of that.

You may want to repair the damaged areas before you do the backfill. Any type of sink holes in the cove area is not a good thing. If the liner were to come into contact with the bottom rails or footplates the liner could easily burst.

If you plan to make repairs be sure to leave several inches of water in the pool. Vinyl liners shrink real easy if they are completely drained. Leaving a few inches of water in the bottom should prevent this. A small amount of shrinking is normal and as long as you refill the pool in direct sunlight it should not be a problem.

To make repairs simply remove a few top rails and have a helper hold the liner back out of your way while you rebuild the sand cove. Your helper would be inside the pool holding the liner and you would be on the outside leaning over the wall to work the sand.

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Cove is Mushy and Skimmer Leaks

by Jason
(Dallas, Ga)

I recently installed a 24' above ground pool. After getting the wall up, I placed aluminum flashing all the way around the bottom of the wall for reinforcement since the pool is over 25 years old.

I then moved the sand inside the wall. Then I made my 6" high cove. Now that the pool is up and full, I've noticed that the cove is not hard like pool bottom. Is this normal?

This is my first pool and as I said, it's a 25 year old pool. I think I'm just very paranoid that something is or will go wrong with it. It has been full of water for just over a week now and has had a lot of bathers in it already.

So far, so good except for the skimmer has a small exterior leak that I need to correct. Not a real fan of the wall saver (1 piece) rubber gasket! On my second one already since the first one didn't seal either. I am waiting on the water level to lower before taking the skimmer out again.

Again, I would like to thank the owner of this site for the immense amount of shared knowledge!

Hi Jason.

It does take the cove area longer to pack solid. Unless you are seeing wet spots around the outside of the pool it is probably just fine.

The butterfly gaskets can be a little tricky. I use the gasket directly of the side wall. I found no way to work the liner in under the gasket on the inside of the pool. So I gave that up early on.

There are two common problems with these gaskets. Many times the screws do not go through the holes. I would check this first. Most adjustments can be made without removing the faceplate, only do that if you have to.

Loosen the screws and take a close look at how the gasket is set. Did all the screws go through the holes in the gasket? If not you can remove some of the screw and adjust the gasket.

What happened to me occasionally was the bottom of the gasket not being pushed down far enough. Not hitting the gasket holes could cause this, but not always, sometimes it just happens.

Before you loosen the screws, look on the under side of the skimmer. The gasket should be visible from the outside of the pool. If it is not this is where you need to start. Loosen the top and top side screws and then remove the lower side and bottom screws. You can now work the gasket down and into place, and then start putting the screws back in. As you tighten them make sure the gasket is pushed down and showing under the skimmer.

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Preformed Pool Cove Problem

by Don W.
(Central IL)

Have you ever had a problem with preformed pool cove? I installed our pool last year using these and I used the sticky-backed type, no clip. With the heat, the humidity, increased temperature under the liner and the sweating (from me), I additionally used some duct tape to keep them in place and a piece over the butt-seams.

After the pool had filled and settled into place at the bottom from the displacement of the weight of the water, I noticed in several areas that where the butt seam was, the cove had separated and now between the pieces of cove there might be 1/2 inch of separation in several areas. Is this common? Will the liner hold or be weak at these points?

Hi Don.

Yes, I have seen this happen on a few occasions. The sticky back foam is not my favorite to work with, I much prefer the kind that with the clip on the back. It seems to hold better and uses less tape in the installation. Taping over all the seams is a very important part of using either type of pre-formed pool cove. Because you did that I don't feel you have anything to worry about.

The tape you used acts as an extra layer of reinforcement in these small gaps so it may appear there is nothing under the liner when there actually is. The only caution I would give would be to just watch them and be aware of them. There is little chance of them growing or getting worse and I would not drain the pool just to fix them. Just keep an eye on these little gaps over the course of the summer.

As far as the strength of the liner, I can say this. I have seen gophers come up under a pool and completely remove the dirt in a six inch wide burrow hole. The liner will droop down in these places but will not burst. The liner does become weaker in these holes and any kind of object bumping into the area could cause it to tear. The liners are amazingly strong.

A page related to preformed pool cove.

Above Ground Pool Preformed Pool Cove

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Pool Base Washed Out

by Janine

Due to the slope in my land the installer had to level the ground. After 3 summers of water sloshing out of the skimmer the ground underneath the skimmer has washed out an area about a foot and a half wide (towards the center of the pool) and a couple feet long along the wall.

What's the best way to fix this?

Hi Janine.

That's a tough spot to have the wash out. The pool needs to be drained before you can make any repairs but it is best not to unhook the skimmer.

First of all, check the liner for leaks. It is very common for a wash out of this type to be associated with holes in the liner. If the liner needs replaced your job is easy.

You would drain the pool, remove the liner, make your base repairs, smooth the bottom out and reinstall the liner.

If you want to try to reuse the liner be careful not to drain the pool all the way. You should leave an inch of two of water in the pool. You would then remove a few top rails near the skimmer area.

With a couple of helpers you can make the needed base repairs. One person would hold the liner, and remaining water, back out of your way so you can work. The other helper can hand you buckets of sand or dirt for making the repairs.

With the dirt, or sand, you would go under the liner and repair the pool base. When it is as good as new you just put everything back together.

Even after leaving a little water in the pool you will still have some shrinkage so plan on having the pool empty for only a short period of time and plan on filling it on a warm sunny day.

A liner that has shrunk will need the help of the sun to allow it stretch back out.

In the future I would keep dirt or rocks packed around the outside of the pool. You need the bottom rail well covered to prevent a future washout.

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Pool Cove

I installed foam stick pool cove, after filling I have noticed the cove has separated in some places and the liner is gaping in between. Is this a problem?

Hi It might be a problem, something to keep an eye on. I always tape over the joints of the cove to avoid this situation.

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