Pool Info: Pool Bond Beam Repair
On In-ground gunite pools, the coping is the capstone for the beam, and is used to finish the pools edge and bring it up flush with the pool deck. Pre-cast concrete coping with a bull-nose front edge has been the standard for many years. Modern designs are making use of bull-nose brick coping in many colors and textures. Flagstone is also a popular choice.
Beneath the pool coping, and behind the tile is what is referred to by pool builders as the bond beam, or just the beam. The pool bond beam is subject to many forces acting on it, and for this reason it is usually poured to be thicker and stronger than the lower section of the pool wall.
Beam damage could be defined simply as a crack that runs through the top of the pool wall. It may not be visible, until at an advanced stage, where cracking and crumbling of the tile is noticed.
Long, horizontal cracks in the pool tile are many times the end result of years of expansion and contraction of the concrete in a pool. If the expansion joint between the pool beam and the pool deck is not true, that is, does not extend through to the earth, then the pool and deck push against each other. Guess who wins? Usually the deck, with its lateral size, if pushing up against the beam, or built right on top of the beam (poor practice) will result in the top 6" - 12" of the pool wall cracking and separating.
The repair to a broken bond beam is fairly involved. Remove all the coping, all the tile and chip down to solid beam. Remove all debris. Form and pour hydraulic cement, using steel rebar plugs wired together to create the new beam. Strip the forms, and set new tile and coping and caulking between a true expansion joint.
When the damage is to the coping mud bed (A) and not the beam of the pool (F), the repair is less extensive and less expensive, but still requires a good amount of work.
This can be a major repair, if the entire pool has to be done. Partial repairs can be done; if a matching tile and coping can be found (sometimes this is difficult).
Most importantly, when bond beam repair is done to the pool, the source of the original problem must be corrected. Oftentimes, all that is needed is to chip off the back of the pool wall so that the expansion joint between the pool deck and pool coping is true, straight through to the earth, with about ½” of room for expansion. After the coping is replaced, finish the job by installing a good bead of caulk in the expansion joint, to keep out debris and water.
Bond Beam Repair Prices:
Typical costs for beam repair run an average $75 per linear foot, including tile and coping replacement. A vertical pricing structure is sometimes used, depending on the depth of the crack. If the crack is higher up on the tile the job is cheaper. If the crack goes lower, or even beneath the tile, prices are higher.