swimming pool repair

Comprehensive Guide to Swimming Pool Repair and Maintenance

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Despite being designed for longevity, swimming pools might encounter unexpected malfunctions that can damage their structure, which in turn may need repairing. Often, it's advisable to enlist the assistance of a professional to avoid causing further harm. The process of repairing a swimming pool can vary in difficulty, depending on the particular issue involved.

Whether it's cracks, leaks, or equipment malfunctions, addressing these problems promptly is crucial to maintaining a functional pool. This article provides a comprehensive guide to swimming pool repair, covering common issues, repair options, preventive maintenance, safety considerations, and the benefits of seeking professional assistance. By understanding the steps to rectify pool problems, you can ensure a seamless and effective repair process.

Let's Dive in!

What Are the Most Common Swimming Pool Issues?

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Swimming pools provide endless enjoyment, but they're not immune to problems. From structural concerns to equipment malfunctions, understanding common issues that can arise is essential for effective maintenance and repair. Here are some of the most prevalent swimming pool problems:

1. Cracks and Structural Damage

Over time, a pool's concrete or plaster shell can develop cracks due to various factors, such as settling soil, temperature fluctuations, and improper construction. These cracks can lead to leaks, compromising the pool's integrity. Identifying the severity of cracks is essential to determine the appropriate repair approach.

2. Leaks

A leaking pool can lead to water wastage and damage the surrounding area. Leaks can occur in various parts, including plumbing lines, fittings, and the pool shell. Detecting the source of leaks requires careful inspection and sometimes involves specialized leak detection equipment.

3. Equipment Malfunctions

Pool equipment, including pumps, filters, heaters, and chlorinators, can experience issues that affect the pool's functionality. Inefficient circulation, inadequate water filtration, and unreliable temperature control are common problems. These malfunctions can impact water quality and overall pool performance.

4. Surface Stains and Discoloration

Stains on the pool's surface can result from various sources, such as minerals, organic debris, or chemical imbalances. These stains affect the pool's appearance, making the surface rough and uncomfortable. Proper diagnosis is necessary to determine the best approach for stain removal.

5. Plumbing and Circulation Problems

Pool plumbing systems can encounter clogs, blockages, or pressure imbalances. Poor circulation can lead to uneven water distribution, ineffective filtration, and compromised water chemistry. Addressing these problems ensures that the pool water remains clean and balanced.

6. Tile and Coping Damage

The tiles and coping around the pool's edges are susceptible to cracking, chipping, and displacement due to exposure to water, weather, and foot traffic. Damaged tiles affect aesthetics and can lead to further structural issues if left unattended.

Understanding these common pool issues is the first step toward effective repair and maintenance.

Step-By-Step Swimming Pool Repair Guide

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Here is an overview of the steps to fix a faulty swimming pool. 

Step 1: Identify the Issue

Conduct a thorough inspection of the pool to identify the problems that require repair. Common pool issues include leaks, cracks, worn-out surfaces, damaged tiles, and malfunctioning equipment. Understanding the nature of the issues is crucial for effective repairs.

Step 2: Determine the Scope of the Problem

Evaluate the severity of the issue and determine if it's a minor issue you can fix on your own or if it requires the expertise of pool repair companies or swimming pool service professionals. Repairs, particularly those related to structural problems, might need specialized tools and skills. For instance, recasting the entire shell of a fiberglass pool should be done under expert supervision.

Step 3: Obtain the Required Tools and Materials

Collect the appropriate tools and materials based on the required repair. This might include pool patching materials, grout, epoxy, waterproof sealants, tile adhesive, and special repair kits. When collecting these materials, prioritize durability and quality.

While investing in high-quality products may cost more upfront, resulting in excellent and durable repairs. Don't forget to read the product descriptions and labels carefully. Ensure they are ideal for your repair needs and compatible with your swimming pool.

Step 4: Tile and Surface Repair

For minor tile damage and surface cracks, you can fix them using proper patching items. Clean the surface, and apply your patching materials per the manufacturer's instructions. You may need to replace the tiles if the damage is extensive.

Step 5: Leak Detection and Repair

If you notice a leak, use a detection kit to determine its source. You might also hire an expert to help you. Note that proper leak detection and repair are important to preserving the integrity of a pool. Once you locate the leak, repair techniques might vary from fixing plumbing elements to patching the leak. If you are uncertain about the repair procedure or dealing with a serious leak, seek the help of experts with vast experience in leak detection and repair.

Step 5: Concrete and Plaster Repair

Repairing cracks in plaster or concrete surfaces involves cleaning the surface, filling the cracks with ideal filler, and smoothing the area. You might need replastering or resurfacing if you are dealing with extensive damage.

Step 7: Equipment Repair and Maintenance

If equipment such as the pool pump, filter, or heater is malfunctioning, consult the manufacturer's manual for troubleshooting steps. Simple issues like clogs can often be resolved through regular maintenance.

Remember, water chemistry is essential for a safe and enjoyable swimming experience. Regularly test pH, chlorine levels, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Adjust chemical levels as needed to maintain a balanced pool environment.

Step 8: Consulting Experts

For serious structural problems, electrical issues, and complex repairs, it's good to consult experts like Magnolia Custom Pools, who specialize in pool renovation and repair. Their expertise ensures accurate diagnosis and efficient repairs, reducing the risk of further damage.

DIY vs. Professional Pool Repairs

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When your swimming pool requires a remodel or repair, you're faced with a decision: should you tackle the repairs yourself or enlist the expertise of professional pool repair services? Both options have merits, and understanding the factors can help you make a well-informed choice. Here, we'll explore the pros and cons of DIY (do-it-yourself) pool repair versus hiring professional experts, helping you determine which approach aligns best with your needs and preferences.

DIY Pool Repair: Pros and Cons


  1. Cost Savings: Undertaking repairs yourself can be cost-effective, as it eliminates labor costs associated with hiring professionals.
  2. Flexibility: You can work on repairs quickly, fitting the project into your schedule.
  3. Learning Opportunity: DIY repairs allow you to learn about your pool's mechanics and gain new skills.
  4. Small Repairs: Minor repairs like patching small cracks or replacing tiles can often be handled with basic tools and materials.


  1. Limited Expertise: Complex issues, especially structural or equipment-related problems, might require specialized knowledge and tools that you lack.
  2. Time-Consuming: DIY repairs can take longer, especially if you learn as you go.
  3. Risk of Mistakes: Incorrect repairs can exacerbate the problem, leading to higher costs in the long run.
  4. Safety Concerns: Certain repairs, like electrical work or major plumbing, can pose safety risks if not done correctly.

Opt for DIY repairs when dealing with minor issues you're comfortable addressing and have the time and patience to learn and execute the repairs correctly. Ensure you have the necessary tools and research the repair process thoroughly.

Professional Pool Repair: Pros and Cons


  1. Expertise: Pool repair companies have the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to address a wide range of issues accurately.
  2. Efficiency: Professionals can complete repairs quickly, minimizing downtime for your pool.
  3. Comprehensive Solutions: They can identify underlying problems that might not be apparent to an untrained eye.
  4. Warranty: Reputable pool repair services often offer warranties on their work, providing peace of mind.


  1. Cost: Hiring professionals comes with labor costs, which can be higher than DIY expenses.
  2. Scheduling: You'll need to coordinate with the repair company's schedule, which might not align with yours.
  3. Loss of Control: Some pool owners prefer being directly involved in the repair process.
  4. Small Repairs: The cost of hiring professionals might not be justified for minor issues.

Choose professional pool repair services when dealing with complex structural problems, equipment malfunctions, or issues beyond your expertise. This is particularly important to maintain your pool's safety and functionality.

Preventive Maintenance to Avoid Future Repairs

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Owning a swimming pool is a source of joy and relaxation for many homeowners. Whether you have an inground pool, vinyl liner pool, or even a hot tub, regular maintenance is essential to keep it pristine and avoid extensive pool repairs. Let's delve into the world of preventive maintenance and the services that can help you maintain the pristine condition of your pool.

1. Regular Pool Services

Regular pool service is the cornerstone of preventive maintenance. Hiring a locally owned pool service team with highly skilled professionals can make a significant difference. They can offer comprehensive services, including pool pump and filter maintenance, skimmer box cleaning, and water quality testing.

2. Keep an Eye on Water Levels

Monitoring your pool's water level is crucial. A pool's water level naturally decreases due to evaporation and splashing. However, if you notice excessive water loss, it might indicate a leak or other pool problem. Take immediate action if you suspect your pool is losing more rapidly than usual.

3. Maintain Proper Chemical Balance

Regularly testing and maintaining the chemical balance of your pool water is vital. Improper chemical levels can lead to algae growth, corrosion, and skin and eye irritation. Invest in a reliable pool testing kit and follow recommended chlorine, pH, and alkalinity levels guidelines.

4. Clean and Inspect the Skimmer Box

The skimmer box is your pool's first line of defence against debris. A clogged skimmer can strain your pool's circulation system and lead to water clarity problems. Regularly empty and clean the skimmer basket, and inspect your pool skimmer for any cracks or damage.

5. Address Small Issues Promptly

Even a few drops of water escaping your pool can signify a larger issue. If you notice a small leak or a minor problem with your pool equipment, don't delay addressing it. Small problems can escalate quickly, leading to costly repairs if left unattended.

6. Proper Pool Cleaning

Regularly cleaning your pool using the best suction pool cleaners is essential to prevent algae growth, staining, and other cosmetic and structural issues. Regularly skim the pool's surface, vacuum the pool floor, and brush the walls. This keeps your pool looking pristine and prevents grime buildup that can cause damage over time.


After completing the repair, formulate a frequent maintenance routine to prevent future problems. Clean the pool regularly, check for leaks, maintain ideal chemical balance, and solve minor problems promptly.

If you opt for the DIY route on swimming pool repair, prioritize safety. Wear proper protective gear, follow the safety guidelines, and ensure the pool is safe to avoid accidents. Even though some minor pool repairs might be perfect for DIY, more complex problems or structural issues are best left to experts with vast experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Swimming Pool Repair

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1. How do you fix a leaking pool without draining it?

Fixing a pool without draining using specialized products like pool leak sealants or epoxy putty is possible. The sealants can be applied directly to the leak area while the pool is still full. Additionally, locating the leak source is crucial. Employing professional leak detection services is advisable if the leak is in the pool's structure.

2. How do you repair plaster underwater pools?

Repairing plaster in an underwater pool requires a unique approach. Drain the water to expose the damaged area. Chip away the loose or damaged plaster carefully. Apply a pool plaster mix designed for underwater use, smoothing it evenly. Allow it to cure before refilling the pool. Hiring experienced professionals for underwater plaster repairs ensures a successful and long-lasting result.

3. How do I fix a hole in my pool?

Repairing a hole in your pool involves several steps. First, drain the pool to access the damaged area. Clean the area around the hole, removing debris and loose material. Depending on the pool type, you can use underwater epoxy putty, vinyl patch kits, or fiberglass repair kits. Apply the chosen material according to the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring a watertight seal. Once the repair is complete, refill the pool and maintain proper chemical balance.

4. What is the best glue for swimming pool repair?

The best glue for swimming pool repair varies based on the material being repaired. A vinyl repair adhesive or patch kit works well for vinyl pool liners. Underwater epoxy putty is effective for quick fixes on various surfaces, including concrete, fiberglass, and plaster. When working with underwater repairs, ensure the adhesive is designed for pool use, offering durability and water resistance.

5. Can you use PVC cement to patch a pool?

PVC cement is not typically suitable for repairing pools, as it may not provide a lasting and waterproof seal on various pool surfaces. Materials specifically designed for pool repairs are essential to ensure proper adhesion and durability.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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