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PREPARING A POOL

 

However carefully a pool is constructed and maintained a leak may develop. This can have a devastating effect upon pond life and action has to be taken swiftly. Sometimes a decision should be taken to start again, for in the case of polythene, PVC and LDPE liners repairs are rarely satisfactory and permanent. There are repair kits available that claim to fix tears and punctures, but it is generally more satisfactory to replace the liner.

 

This is the not the case with rubber liners such as the butyl type. These are as easy to repair as a cycle tyre if you can locate the puncture. Repair kits for this kind of liner are freely available. Once the problem has been located, the liner in the immediate vicinity must be allowed to dry out. The surface should then be thoroughly cleaned with a scrubbing brush and if necessary roughed up a little with a piece of sandpaper. This helps to ensure a good union once the adhesive has been applied.

 

Cut a patch at least one and half times the size of the damaged area, apply the adhesive and press down firmly. Leave to dry for at least 12 hours, preferably more, before refilling with water. Some repair kits have self-adhesive patches which once applied are safe to subject to water within half an hour.

Preformed pools which are made from any kind of plastic or PVC material are almost impossible for the home gardener to repair, but those made from fibreglass can be patched if necessary. For the most part fibreglass pools should be free from damage, but sometimes problems occur if an inadequately supported pool is walked in when being cleaned out, or is being moved to another part of the garden and reinstalled.

 

When damage does occur it is not too difficult to repair using a motor repair kit containing fibreglass matting. It is best to repair the damage from beneath the pond and so it is desirable to take the pond out of the ground, invert it and then thoroughly clean the damaged area with a wire brush. Repairs should be carried out under cover in a garage or similar place as it takes some time for the fibreglass to set hard and this is best achieved in a warm dry place.

 

Once the exact nature of the damage is known, rub around the area with either emery paper or sandpaper and then brush thoroughly to remove any dust. It is not a bad idea to swill some water over the area to be patched in order to be sure that it is thoroughly clean. However, it must be completely dry before any patch is applied.

 

Cut a piece of fibreglass matting up to twice the size of the damaged area and carefully following the instructions mix the resin and the hardener and apply with the ridged roller provided. It could take up to two days to set properly before sandpapering to take off any rough edges. Once this has been done it can be reinstalled in its permanent position.

 

Although regarded as permanent, concrete ponds can suffer, especially during the winter. While it is rare for a professionally constructed pool to leak badly, this still can occur when the weather is very severe and if you do not take suitable precautions. The pressure of ice over a long period on a concrete pool structure can cause fracturing. To alleviate this risk, float a large piece of wood or several rubber balls on the pool for the winter months. If severe frost occurs, then the ice has something which will take some pressure to exert itself against rather than the immovable walls of the pool.

 

Sometimes a concrete pool will suffer from surface flaking. The frost gets under the surface layer of the concrete and it bubbles and lifts. Rapid deterioration then sets in. Practically in terms of concrete repairs little can be done. However, it is often possible to successfully reline such a pool using a rubber liner. This is installed and secured in much the same way as if it were being put into the ordinary garden.

 

Fractures can usually be repaired satisfactorily although even a good repair is a potential site of weakness and problems can sometimes recur. Clean the area of the leak with a stiff brush and wash off the dust and debris. Start to cut out the crack using a cold chisel making a V shaped groove along with the fracture line at least 2.5cm (1in) deeper than the obvious crack. Roughen up the surface of the concrete with the chisel to enable fresh concrete to stick to it successfully.

 

Mix by volume one part cement, two parts sand and four parts gravel, add waterproofing compound and once thoroughly mixed together add water. Apply the mixture with a plasterer’s trowel. This is a good strong mixture which should provide a seal, however, some builders will recommend that the gravel content of the mixture is reduced to make it easier to fill the crack and to smooth over. While this will work when expertly laid, for the amateur pond repairer the full concrete mix, even if more difficult to lay and to obtain a smooth finish is most satisfactory.

 

The concrete must be allowed to set and dry out for several days. It is important that it does not dry out too quickly or else hair cracks may appear in the surface. To prevent this cover the repaired area with damp sacking and keep it damp until the concrete has firmly set. Once this has occurred treat with a sealing compound in order to prevent free-lime escaping into the pool when water is added as this can harm the fish and cause a milky cloudiness of the water.




 

 

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