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Swimart’s tips for a mini makeover will leave your pool ready to dive in come summer.

05 May 2018 Soodi Sangari

Is your pool area looking a little lackluster? With year-round exposure to the sun, water, salt and chlorine, it’s not surprising that tiles, paving, decking and fixtures can become faded, damaged and tired looking.

Fortunately, with a little affordable and easy DIY maintenance this winter, you can repair and refresh your pool area, ready to enjoy next spring.

How to fix gaps between the coping and pool surface

The quickest and easiest way to fill these gaps and recreate a water-tight seal is with a sealant such as Selleys Solar Flex. It accommodates slight movement in the pavers while providing protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and other harsh weather elements. And as it can be applied to wet surfaces you don’t have to empty the pool.

How to fix loose waterline tiles

Missing tiles are as ugly and ageing as missing teeth! Replacing tiles that are loose or have come away will instantly improve the look of your pool.

First, lower your pool’s water level to just below the tiles (if the level drops below the filter opening, turn the filter pump off until you refill the pool).

Next, remove loose tiles and scrape away remaining grout on the back of the tiles and the pool surface with a small, flat head screwdriver or chisel to ensure an even base. Any cracks in the pool surface behind the tiles, which may have caused them to lift off, will need to be repaired with cement. If these cracks aren’t filled, the tiles will become loose again in a short time.

There’s a choice of products you can use to bond tiles back onto the pool surface.

One is EZ Patch Pool Tile Repair Thinset Cement, which is used with EZ Patch 4 or EZ Patch 4 Fast Set Pool Tile Group Repair, a waterproof tile grout.

The EZ Patch cement dries quickly, so mix up small amounts, enough for three or four tiles at a time. Perform this task on a cool day or when this section of your pool is in shade will give you more time.

After mixing the cement to a smooth paste, spread a thin coat evenly on the pool surface then press the tile firmly or until some squeezes out the sides. Twenty-four hours later, grout the tiles by spreading the EZ Patch 4 grout between the tiles. When the grout has set, about 15 to 20 minutes later, wash off any excess from the tile surface. The following day, use a brush or scrubbing pad to remove any cloudy film from the tile surface.

Another product that attaches waterline tiles is Selleys Knead It Aqua, which has been formulated to bond tiles to wet surfaces. Start by cleaning the tile surface to remove any grease or dirt then knead the required amount of product like dough until it has a uniform colour. Apply the product to the back of the tile and place the tile on the surface. A hardened bond forms after just 20 to 30 minutes.

How to repair unstable and cracked pavers
Pavers can lift, sink, become unstable and crack when the ground beneath them moves or erodes, often due to pool water seepage, long periods of dry weather or wet weather, and ants which remove the base sand to build their nests. Aside from looking unattractive, lifted and unstable pavers create trip hazards.

Underneath most poolside pavers is a layer of either compacted gravel or reinforced concrete, which is widely recognised as best for stability, topped with a layer of sand. First, remove the unstable or cracked pavers, level the ground beneath with a 2.5cm layer of sand such as BC Sands coarse washed river sand or Bastion River Sand. Before replacing the paver, ensure the surface is level and remember to leave a gap of about 3mm between pavers to accommodate future movement.

How to refill coping paver joints
Coping pavers run around the edge of a pool and are often bullnose in style. Over time, the joins between these pavers become exposed, producing unattractive gaps.

Handyman.net.au recommends filling coping paver gaps with mortar, a mixture of three parts sand and one part cement. Simply work some mortar into the gaps with a sponge while wearing gloves, including the gap underneath that extends over the pool edge, then wash it off with clean water.

How to replace cracked or unstable coping pavers
Handyman.net.au says coping pavers need to be set on top of mortar rather than sand as they are next to the pool and more exposed to pool water and prone to movement.

First, remove any old uneven mortar base then spread a layer of new mortar on the paver bed. Run a notched trowel over the surface then lay the coping pavers so they fall slightly away from the pool (a spirit level can help ensure a uniform angle). Next, grout the joints with mortar. If you’re laying multiple pavers in a row, leave an unfilled expansion joint every two metres and fill it with silicone.

The final step is to fill the gaps with a paver sand such as Brunnings Landscaping Paver Sand or Powerloc Paving Sand, which stabilises pavers with a blend of sand and polymers that create a flexible bond.

Complete your pool mini renovation by creating a garden oasis or illuminating your pool with energy efficient lights.