Repair Ripped Pool Sidewall
by CJ. Fister
(Moorestown, NJ, USA)
I live in south Jersey. I bought the house in 2004 with a 21 foot, 52" high above ground pool. Went to install a new liner about 1 month ago (May 2011) and noticed an excess amount of rust around the skimmer and especially the return.
I sanded the rust and Sprayed rustoleum on it and drilled a new hole for the return. I covered the rust and other return hole with flashing and taped the edges and installed the new liner.
Last weekend, the wall ripped in half right near the skimmer. Only about 1,000 gallons got out under the deck. I drained the pool and folded up the liner. As far as I could tell there is no damage done to the liner.
My wife and I are still debating whether to just get rid of the whole darn thing or do something else in trying to salvage it. I have a new liner, 2 year filter and pump, etc. I checked Craigslist for anyone selling or giving away a 21 foot pool. No luck.
BTW - Can't believe how flimsy the pool wall actually is.
The idea of repairing the caved in wall, with riveted galvanized steel, just popped into my head this morning. Then I did a search and saw your site.
Q: Do you think that getting a large sheet of galvanized steel and trying to mend the rupture could work? If so, can you give me some pointers and any details? Does anyone sell sheets of metal like this nowadays?
Yes, walls can be repaired. One option you may consider is a stainless steel skimmer panel. It has the skimmer and return openings already cut in it. The reason for this particular panel, that is sold with a lot of popular pools, is because of the rust associated with these openings. It is fairly common to let a skimmer or return leak just long enough to ruin a sidewall. These special panels prevent this.
A simple search for stainless steel skimmer panel will show you a lot of results where finding a place to order one should be easy.
Any similar sheet of metal will work just fine. A section of old pool sidewall is ideal. I prefer using nuts and bolts to splice in wall panels. I make sure the bolts are hid behind uprights and I use two rows. A single row is fine when the wall is hemmed and doubled up at both ends. With just a single layer of wall I use two rows of nuts and bolts and have never had a problem.