What Can I Do if My Pool Wall Has Collapsed?

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You can't use a pool with a falling wall without risking further damage to the pool structure and possible physical harm to yourself and other swimmers. A collapsed pool wall is caused by various conditions, including shifts in the ground soil below the pool and even weather changes. The first step in minimizing pool damage is discovering what caused the wall to collapse.

Causes

Soil beneath the pool may have expansive properties. If expansive soil absorbs moisture, it swells. The bloated soil forces the handrails and footplates upward, collapsing the pool wall. Soil expands more in cold temperatures and during periods of heavy rain because of the added moisture. Dry soil contracts, shifting the ground beneath the pool.

If a pool is filled to the top with water when frigid temperatures hit, the water sitting inside an attached skimmer may freeze. If the water level drops, the ice still attached to the inside of the skimmer pulls the wall down.

Solutions

If a temporary expansion or contraction of soil is the problem, the ground will level on its own and the wall will straighten up. However, if the ground underneath the pool has a high amount of expansive soil, removal of dirt or the use of a brace underneath the pool is sometimes necessary. Removing dirt by hand from around the handrails and footplates may allow the wall to pop back into place. Watering around the pool frequently during dry weather prevents dry soil contraction.

Changes in pool water pressure during a thaw should fix a wall that collapsed because of a frozen skimmer. Manual straightening from the wall inside of the pool using light pressure may be necessary. If the wall will not go back into place, you may have to drain the water level to around 6 inches and push the wall back into shape from the inside of the pool. A skimmer should be covered with a skimmer plate when the pool is no longer in use because of cold weather. The plate prevents water from getting into the skimmer.

Pool Leveling

A pool that wasn't leveled at the time of installation often has collapsing walls. If a pool is built on uneven ground, walls bow and the pool sinks into the ground, leaving a sloping pool. If the installer built up lower parts of the ground under the pool instead of leveling the ground to its lowest parts, the weight of the pool water may flatten the built-up areas over time, leaving an uneven ground level. A pool that needs leveling is usually completely drained and may have to be removed and reinstalled.

Warning

Force on the exterior of the pool wall, such as a heavy falling object or winds and airborne debris from severe weather, might cause a partial or full collapse. You may typically use light pressure to bend the wall back into place if necessary; the pressure inside the pool may fix the wall automatically. Contact a professional pool repair service if the wall won't go back to its original shape. Repeated or excessive force may damage the wall permanently.

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