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Pool Caulk Damage—Replace or Repair?

Posted by Greg on 5/26/16 8:56 AM

If you have a pool, then you may be due for replacing (or simply repairing) your pool caulk. Pool caulking is the caulk that rests in the joint between your pool coping and your existing deck.  If you live in an area of the country that reaches freezing temperatures, pool caulking can help prevent freezing water cycles (or extreme heat) that can damage the foundation of your pool. Concrete will contract and expand during extreme temperatures.  The caulk joint absorbs this movement in the concrete.  But when and why should you replace it, and how often do you need to repair it? This article answers your most pressing questions.

Why and When Pool Caulking Needs Your Attention 

As a rule of thumb, you should plan on repairing your pool caulk about every five years. Some areas of your pool caulk can wait until about ten years, but you want to keep an eye on it—neglecting fractured pool caulking, (diagram 1) can cause pulling away and cracking of your deck that can become very expensive to fix. If only a small part or section of the pool caulking needs to be fixed, it’s not difficult to do by yourself. Use a sharp razor knife, and cut out the section that needs to be replaced,  then fill it with new, self- leveling caulk. Just keep in mind that the new caulk will have a fresher color than the old, original, weathered caulk (which will appear duller in appearance.)

caulk damage repair for pool patioDiagram 1

Is It Necessary to Hire a Professional If I’ve Never Done This Before?

If you’ve ever caulked something in your home (say, your shower or bathtub), you might want to hold off feeling like an expert just yet. Caulking your pool is a different (and much larger) kind of bathtub! If you’re repairing pool caulk for the first time, stick to a self-leveling pool caulk. This is much easier for amateur do-it-yourselfers than caulk such as gun grade caulking (which is what the professionals use, and must be mixed on site.) On average, expect to pay between $4-6 per linear foot. When repairing or replacing pool caulk, follow these guidelines so it’s as smooth of a process as possible:

  • Measure how much caulk you will actually need, and then purchase extra.
  • Invest in a high quality razor knife. Carefully cut out the section that you want to replace.
  • Make sure that the joint and deck are clean. Before adding new caulk, remove any dirt or debris from the area. If the caulk joint seems to be deeper than 1/2” to 1”, you will need to purchase a backer rod and insert into the joint to fill the majority of the void. (diagram 2)
  • Keep your children and pets away from the pool. The caulk joint does not need to get wet or walked on for 24 hours. Many amateur DIY’s find that the process is going well, only to find little paw prints in their newly applied wet caulking!

caulking damage repair for swimmign poolsDiagram 2

Replacing or repairing pool caulk doesn’t have to be a different process, even if you’re doing it yourself. It does require the right equipment and material, and a smooth hand when replacing the new caulk. Whether you want to replace the pool caulking yourself, or you are interested in hiring a professional, the experienced staff at Royal Swimming Pools can answer all of your questions—and direct you towards the answers.

Filed Under:

General, Maintaining

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