A swimming pool is a costly addition to any home, and proper maintenance ensures that you don’t end up spending a lot in repairs. One of the items in need of regular assessment is the pool caulking (the concrete slab that sits between the pool and the deck).
The pool caulking is particularly important for pools installed in areas that reach freezing temperatures, because it helps prevent extreme heat and freezing water cycles from damaging the pool’s foundation. Without caulking, water can get between the pool/deck joint and freeze and expand inside, applying pressure on the pool wall and deck, resulting in costly repairs.
So how often should you inspect the caulking?
Pool caulking is expected to last about five years before it needs any repair or replacement, depending on the severity of damage. However, caulking can crack and start to fall out within a year. You can choose to replace the caulking annually as part of your pool’s routine maintenance, ideally with the help of a professional.
If the damage is minimal, you can repair it yourself. The process is not as easy as caulking your bathtub or shower, so it is best that you stick to a self-levelling pool caulk for your first attempt. This should be easier than the gun grade caulking that is used by professionals.
Generally, repairing the damage will cost you between $4 and $6 per linear foot. You will need the right material and equipment, as well as a smooth hand when placing the new caulk. Here are some useful guidelines for repairing pool caulking damage:
- Measure the width of the joint accurately to ensure that you buy enough caulk for the damaged area, and a little extra
- Using a sharp razor knife, cut out the area that you intend to replace and carefully remove the old caulk
- Clean the deck and joint using a pressure washer or powerful blower to remove debris
- Before starting the repair process, make sure that the joint is completely dry and clean
- Put on some work clothes and move around your pool with a large piece of cardboard
- Make sure to keep your kids and pets away from the pool to avoid the disappointment of finding little paw prints on newly applied caulking.
It is important to note that the repaired caulk will seem brighter than other areas of the pool with original caulk, which dulls in appearance over time.