Can a Gunite Pool Pop Out of the Ground

Fact checked by
Reviewed by

When it comes to pools, most homeowners envision a place of relaxation and enjoyment. However, there is a phenomenon known as “pool popping” that can turn this dream into a nightmare. Pool popping occurs when an in-ground pool, particularly those made of gunite, unexpectedly pops out of the ground due to hydrostatic pressure.

This issue can cause extensive damage and pose serious safety risks. In this article, we will dive into the topic of whether a gunite pool can pop out of the ground, explore the causes, potential damage, and most importantly, discuss ways to prevent such a disastrous event from occurring.

While pool popping may sound like an obscure occurrence, it’s important to understand its potential consequences. The costs associated with repairing a popped pool can be astronomical, and the damages caused by pool popping are often not covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. As a pool owner or someone considering pool installation, having knowledge about pool pop-ups and their potential dangers is crucial for protecting your investment.

So, let’s get started by addressing the question on everyone’s mind: Can a gunite pool pop out of the ground?

Key Takeaways

  • “Pool popping” is a phenomenon where an in-ground pool, particularly those made of gunite, unexpectedly pops out of the ground due to hydrostatic pressure.

  • Gunite pools can pop out of the ground under certain circumstances, especially if there is a high water table or excessive groundwater in the surrounding soil.

  • Gunite pools are more susceptible to popping compared to fiberglass or vinyl pools due to their heavier and rigid structure.

  • Causes of pool pop-ups include hydrostatic pressure, floods, high water tables, low-lying areas, and storms.

  • Damages from pool pop-ups can include cracked PVC pipes, damage to the pool shell, coping, and concrete decks.

  • Pool popping can result in electrical hazards, exposing people to electric shock or electrocution if damaged wiring comes into contact with pool water.

  • Preventive measures to avoid pool popping include installing hydrostatic pressure relief valves, using dewatering systems, and maintaining proper pool drainage.

  • Fixing a popped gunite pool involves repairing the pool deck, reconnecting underground lines, and lifting the pool back into its proper alignment.

Can a Gunite Pool Pop Out of the Ground

Yes, gunite pools can pop out of the ground under certain circumstances. The phenomenon of a gunite pool popping out is primarily caused by hydrostatic pressure, which is the pressure exerted by water against the pool walls and floor.

This pressure can increase significantly if there is a high water table or excessive groundwater in the surrounding soil. Despite their heavy weight, gunite pools can float or raise out of the ground due to this pressure, similar to how a boat or ship can float on water.

It’s important to note that pool pop ups are relatively rare occurrences, and not all gunite pools will experience this problem. However, when a gunite pool does pop out of the ground, it can lead to costly damages.

Compared to other pool materials such as fiberglass or vinyl, gunite pools have a higher risk of popping out. This is because gunite pools are built using a mixture of cement, sand, and water, resulting in a solid and heavy structure. On the other hand, fiberglass pools have a lighter weight and flexibility, while vinyl pools are supported by a frame and contained within a vinyl liner. The rigidity and weight of gunite pools make them more susceptible to the forces that can lead to popping.

However, it is important to note that pool popping is a relatively rare occurrence and doesn’t happen to every gunite pool. Several factors contribute to the potential for a gunite pool to pop out of the ground, which we will discuss in the following sections. Understanding these causes can help pool owners take appropriate preventive measures and ensure the long-term stability of their pools.

Causes of Pool Pop Ups

Several factors can contribute to the phenomenon of pool pop-ups, where an in-ground pool, including gunite pools, can unexpectedly lift out of the ground. Understanding these causes is crucial in order to take proactive measures to prevent pool popping. Here are some of the main causes:

Hydrostatic Pressure

One of the primary causes of pool popping is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure exerted by water, especially when it accumulates beneath the pool. When the pressure exceeds the weight of the pool itself, it can cause the pool to lift or even pop out of the ground.

Hydrostatic pressure can build up due to various reasons. One common scenario is when a pool is emptied either intentionally for maintenance or unintentionally due to a drain or pump malfunction. If the pool is empty and the water table in the ground surrounding the pool rises, the pressure from the groundwater can exert force on the pool shell. This can happen even if the pool is not fully drained but has a significant reduction in water level.

Floods and heavy rainstorms can also lead to an increase in hydrostatic pressure. When the ground becomes saturated with water, the pressure from the water table rises, putting additional stress on the pool structure. This is especially true for pools located in low-lying areas, where water can accumulate more easily.

In regions with high water tables, particularly those near bodies of water or in areas with naturally occurring springs, the risk of hydrostatic pressure causing pool popping is heightened. The excessive water pressure from below can push against the bottom of the pool and create upward force, leading to lifting and potential popping.

It’s crucial for pool owners to be aware of the hydrostatic pressure risks and take preventive measures to mitigate the chances of pool popping. Installing hydrostatic pressure relief valves is an effective solution in newer pool construction. These valves allow water to escape from beneath the pool, relieving the pressure and preventing damage. For older pools that don’t have relief valves, dewatering systems can be installed to lower the water table and minimize the risk of pool popping.

Understanding the role of hydrostatic pressure in pool popping is vital for pool owners to recognize the signs and take appropriate action. Regular pool inspections, especially after heavy rainfall or prolonged periods of water accumulation, can help identify potential issues and prevent costly damages.

Other Causes

Pool pop-ups can occur in various other circumstances as well, and understanding the reasons behind them is crucial for prevention and maintenance. Let’s explore the specific scenarios where pool pops are more likely to happen:

  • Pool Emptying: When a pool is intentionally emptied for maintenance or repairs, or unintentionally due to equipment malfunctions, the absence of water can create a void between the pool shell and the groundwater. If the water table rises significantly during this time, the hydrostatic pressure can build up rapidly, pushing the pool out of the ground.

  • Floods: Heavy rainfall or flooding can cause the water level in the ground to rise rapidly. If a pool is located in an area prone to flooding, the excessive groundwater can exert immense pressure on the pool shell. This increased hydrostatic pressure can cause the pool to lift and potentially pop out of the ground.

  • High-Water Table: Areas with naturally high water tables or those near bodies of water are more susceptible to pool popping. The pressure exerted by the high water table underneath the pool can overpower the weight of the pool, leading to upward force and potential popping.

  • Low-Lying Areas: Pools located in low-lying areas are prone to water accumulation, especially during heavy rain or flooding. The pooling water can increase the hydrostatic pressure on the pool shell, increasing the chances of a pop-up. Proper drainage systems and measures to divert water away from the pool can help mitigate this risk.

  • Storms: Severe storms, including hurricanes or tropical storms, bring heavy rain and strong winds. These weather events can significantly impact the water table, causing rapid rises in groundwater levels. The combination of excessive rainfall and high wind speeds can create the ideal conditions for pool popping.

In all of these scenarios, the key factor leading to pool popping is the imbalance between the hydrostatic pressure and the weight of the pool itself. The pressure from below, exerted by the water, can exceed the downward force of the pool, resulting in the pool lifting or popping out of the ground.

Damage from Pool Pop Ups

image 13

When a pool pops out of the ground, it can cause significant damage to various components of the pool and its surrounding area. The force exerted during the pop-up can result in structural damage and other associated issues. Let’s explore some of the damages that can occur as a result of pool popping:

Cracked or Separated PVC Pipes and Pool Shell

When a pool pops out of the ground, it can lead to various forms of damage, including cracked or separated PVC pipes and damage to the pool shell itself. These consequences can significantly impact the functionality and structural integrity of the pool. Let’s take a closer look at these potential damages:

  • Cracked PVC Pipes: The force exerted by hydrostatic pressure during a pool pop-up can cause the PVC pipes that supply water to the pool’s equipment, such as the filter, pump, and heater, to crack or separate. These pipes are typically buried underground and connected to the pool’s plumbing system. When the pool lifts or moves, the stress on the pipes can result in fractures or disconnections. This can lead to water leaks, loss of pressure, and disrupted circulation in the pool, rendering its equipment ineffective.

  • Pool Shell Damage: The very act of a pool popping out of the ground can cause significant damage to the pool shell itself. The pool shell, usually made of gunite or concrete, can crack or even separate from its foundation. The immense force exerted during the pop-up can result in structural damage, compromising the integrity of the pool. Cracks in the shell make the pool vulnerable to water leakage, which can further exacerbate the issue.

Addressing these damages requires professional repair and restoration. Cracked or separated PVC pipes should be repaired or replaced by a qualified pool technician to restore proper functionality. The pool shell may require patching or resurfacing, depending on the extent of the damage. In severe cases where the pool shell has suffered irreparable harm, a new pool installation may be necessary.

It’s essential to note that even if a pool doesn’t fully pop out of the ground, the shifting and movement during hydrostatic pressure events can still cause damage to PVC pipes and the pool shell. Regular inspections of the pool’s plumbing system and thorough assessments of the pool structure can help identify these issues early on, preventing further damage and costly repairs.

Damaged Coping and Concrete Decks

In addition to cracked PVC pipes and damage to the pool shell, pool popping can also cause damage to other components of the pool, such as coping and concrete decks. Understanding these potential damages is essential for comprehensive repair and restoration. Let’s explore these aspects in more detail:

  • Damaged Coping: Coping is the material installed around the edge of the pool to provide a finished look and protect the pool structure. It can be made of various materials, including concrete, stone, or brick. During a pool pop-up, the coping can become detached or crack due to the shifting and movement of the pool. This can result in uneven or loose coping, affecting the aesthetic appeal and safety of the pool. Proper reattachment or replacement of damaged coping is necessary to ensure a secure and visually pleasing pool edge.

  • Concrete Decks: The concrete deck surrounding the pool can also experience damage during a pool popping event. The force exerted on the pool structure can cause the deck to crack, heave, or become uneven. This not only affects the appearance of the pool area but also creates potential trip hazards. Repairing and resurfacing the concrete deck may be required to restore its functionality and safety.

Addressing these damages requires the expertise of professionals specializing in pool repair and restoration. Hiring experienced contractors or technicians who understand the intricacies of pool construction is essential to ensure proper repair and the long-term integrity of the pool.

It’s important to note that pool popping events can have varying degrees of damage, ranging from minor issues that require cosmetic repairs to extensive damage requiring more extensive restoration efforts. Promptly addressing these damages not only ensures the safety of pool users but also prevents further deterioration and more expensive repairs down the line.

Regular maintenance and inspections, both before and after potential pool popping events, can help identify any signs of damage to coping and concrete decks. Taking proactive measures to address these issues ensures a well-maintained and safe pool environment for everyone to enjoy.

Risk of Shock or Electrocution from Damaged Wiring

One of the significant risks associated with pool popping and the subsequent damage to electrical conduits is the potential for electrical hazards, including electric shock or electrocution. It is crucial to understand these risks and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of pool users. Let’s delve into this important aspect:

  • Exposed Wiring: During a pool pop-up event, the force exerted on the pool structure can lead to the disconnection or damage of electrical conduits, causing wiring to become exposed. This exposes people and the surrounding pool area to live electrical wires, increasing the risk of electric shock or electrocution. It is vital not to approach or touch any exposed wiring and to keep a safe distance from the affected area.

  • Water Conductivity: Pools are filled with water, which is a conductive medium for electricity. If damaged wiring comes into contact with the pool water, the risk of electric shock is significantly heightened. Water acts as a pathway for electricity to travel, potentially causing serious harm to anyone in the pool or in contact with the water.

To mitigate the risk of electrical hazards resulting from pool popping, it is crucial to take the following precautions:

  • Safety First: If you suspect any electrical damage or see exposed wiring, immediately turn off the power supply to the pool at the circuit breaker. Limit access to the pool area until the electrical systems have been inspected and repaired by a licensed electrician.

  • Professional Inspection: After a pool popping event, hire a qualified electrician who specializes in pool electrical systems to conduct a thorough inspection. They will assess the damage, ensure proper grounding and bonding of electrical components, and make necessary repairs or replacements.

  • Compliance with Safety Standards: Ensure that the electrical systems in and around the pool comply with local electrical codes and safety standards. This includes proper grounding and bonding of equipment, installation of ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for pool lights and other electrical devices, and regular inspections to ensure ongoing compliance.

  • Regular Maintenance: Implement a routine maintenance plan that includes regular inspection of electrical components, ensuring they are properly sealed, protected, and free from damage. Promptly address any signs of wear and tear or electrical issues to prevent accidents.

Maintaining a safe pool environment requires vigilance and adherence to safety practices. By promptly addressing any electrical damage resulting from pool popping events and engaging professionals for repairs and inspections, you can ensure the safety of pool users and mitigate the risk of electrical hazards.

How to Prevent Pool Pop Ups

Preventing pool pop-ups is crucial for the safety and longevity of your pool. By implementing preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of hydrostatic pressure causing your pool to lift or pop out of the ground. Here are some effective strategies for preventing pool pop-ups:

Installing a Hydrostatic Pressure Relief Valve

The installation of a hydrostatic pressure relief valve is an effective preventive measure to mitigate the risk of pool popping. These relief valves are designed to relieve excess hydrostatic pressure beneath the pool, reducing the likelihood of the pool lifting or popping out of the ground. Let’s take a closer look at the installation process and the benefits of using these valves:

  • Professional Assessment: To determine the suitability and necessity of a hydrostatic pressure relief valve, it is advisable to consult a qualified pool professional or contractor. They will assess factors such as the water table levels, soil conditions, and the design and construction of your pool. Based on their evaluation, they can recommend the appropriate type and placement of the relief valve.

  • Selecting the Relief Valve: Hydrostatic pressure relief valves come in different types and sizes. The most common type is a dome-shaped relief valve that is installed through the pool floor or the sidewalls. The valve allows water to flow out of the pool if the pressure beneath exceeds a certain threshold. Professional guidance is essential in selecting the appropriate valve and ensuring compatibility with your specific pool design.

  • Installation Process: The installation of a hydrostatic pressure relief valve typically involves the following steps:

    • Draining the pool to a level below the installation point of the relief valve.

    • Excavation of the area where the relief valve will be installed.

    • Proper placement and secure installation of the valve through the pool floor or sidewall.

    • Connection of the relief valve to a drainage pipe, which directs water away from the pool.

    • Backfilling the excavation and compacting the soil to ensure stability.

Dewatering Systems to Reduce Water Table Level

In areas with high water tables or regions prone to excessive water accumulation, the use of dewatering systems can be an effective solution to reduce the water level around the pool. These systems help manage groundwater and alleviate hydrostatic pressure, mitigating the risk of pool popping. Let’s explore the concept of dewatering systems and how they can be implemented:

  • Professional Assessment: Engage the expertise of a qualified pool professional or contractor to assess the suitability and necessity of a dewatering system for your pool. They will evaluate factors such as the local water table, soil conditions, and hydrological patterns to determine the most effective approach.

  • Types of Dewatering Systems: There are several types of dewatering systems that can be utilized, depending on the specific needs of your pool and site conditions. Some common options include:

    • French Drains: French drains are trenches filled with gravel or perforated pipes that collect and redirect water away from the pool area. They help to reduce the water table and prevent hydrostatic pressure build-up.

    • Sump Pumps: Sump pumps are installed in a pit or sump located beneath the pool or in strategic areas around the pool. These pumps actively remove excess water from the ground, lowering the water table and preventing it from reaching critical levels.

    • Well Point Systems: Well point systems involve the installation of a series of shallow wells equipped with suction pumps. These wells are strategically placed around the pool area to actively dewater the ground and lower the water table.
  • Installation Process: The installation process of dewatering systems typically involves the following steps:

    • Excavation of trenches or wells around the pool area according to the design of the dewatering system.

    • Installation of the appropriate drainage materials, such as gravel or perforated pipes, within the trenches.

    • Placement and connection of sump pumps or well point suction pumps as required.

    • Proper routing of drainage pipes away from the pool area to direct the water flow to a suitable outlet or stormwater management system.

    • Backfilling the excavated areas and ensuring proper compaction of the soil.

Options for Older Pools Without Relief Valves or Systems

If you own an older pool that does not have a hydrostatic pressure relief valve or a dewatering system installed, there are still measures you can take to mitigate the risk of pool popping and minimize potential damages. Let’s explore some options available for older pools without relief valves or systems:

  • Regular Maintenance and Inspections: Implement a routine maintenance schedule for your pool, including regular inspections to identify any signs of damage or issues. This includes monitoring the water level, checking for cracks or shifting in the pool structure, and assessing the condition of the plumbing system. Promptly address any concerns or signs of hydrostatic pressure buildup to prevent further damage.

  • Maintain Proper Water Level: Keeping the pool filled with water can help counteract the external pressure from hydrostatic forces. Maintaining the recommended water level can distribute the weight and reduce the risk of the pool popping. Avoid draining the pool unless necessary, and monitor the water level during heavy rainfall or flooding to ensure it remains within a safe range.

  • Consider Dry-Well Installation: A dry-well is a type of drainage system that collects and disperses excess groundwater from the pool area. Although it may not be as effective as a dewatering system, it can help relieve hydrostatic pressure to some extent. Consult with a pool professional to determine if a dry-well installation is a viable option for your pool.

  • Implement Proper Pool Drainage: Ensure your pool has proper drainage around the perimeter to redirect water away from the pool area. This can be achieved by grading the land, installing French drains or surface drains, and creating natural slopes away from the pool. Adequate drainage helps prevent water from accumulating, reducing hydrostatic pressure and the risk of pool popping.

  • Consult with a Professional: If you have concerns about the stability of your older pool or are considering implementing preventive measures, it is advisable to consult with a qualified pool professional. They can assess the specific characteristics and conditions of your pool, provide tailored recommendations, and assist with any necessary repairs or modifications.

While retrofitting an older pool with a hydrostatic pressure relief valve or dewatering system may be challenging, implementing other preventive measures and enlisting the expertise of professionals can help minimize the risk of pool popping. Regular maintenance, proper water management, and addressing drainage concerns can go a long way in ensuring the stability and longevity of your pool.

Fixing a Popped Gunite Pool

If a gunite pool has experienced a popping event and has lifted out of the ground, it requires immediate attention and professional repair. Fixing a popped gunite pool involves a comprehensive process to restore the pool’s structural integrity and functionality. Here are the key steps typically involved in repairing a popped gunite pool:

Pool Deck Repair

When a pool pops out of the ground, the pool deck can often suffer damage, including cracks, shifting, or heaving. Pool deck repair is an essential step in restoring the stability, safety, and aesthetic appeal of the pool area. Here’s an overview of the pool deck repair process:

  • Assessment and Preparation: A thorough assessment of the pool deck is conducted to identify the extent of the damage. This involves inspecting for cracks, uneven surfaces, and any signs of structural issues. Once the assessment is complete, the pool deck needs to be properly prepared for repair. This typically involves cleaning the surface, removing any debris, and ensuring that the area is dry and free of moisture.

  • Crack Repair: Cracks in the pool deck are common after a popping event. To address them, a crack repair technique suitable for the specific type of pool deck material is employed. For concrete pool decks, the cracks are typically widened, and a specialized pool-grade epoxy or concrete patching material is injected to fill and seal the cracks. The repaired area is then smoothed and leveled to match the surrounding surface.

  • Concrete Leveling: If the pool deck has shifted or heaved, concrete leveling techniques may be necessary. This process typically involves injecting a flowable grout or polyurethane foam beneath the affected areas to lift and stabilize the deck. The process is carefully executed to ensure even leveling and a seamless surface.

  • Surface Restoration: Depending on the severity of the damage, the pool deck may require resurfacing. Resurfacing involves applying a new layer of pool-grade concrete, textured coatings, or other suitable materials to restore the appearance and functionality of the pool deck. This step helps improve the deck’s durability, slip resistance, and overall aesthetics.

  • Sealing and Finishing: Once the repairs and resurfacing are complete, it is crucial to apply a high-quality sealer to protect the pool deck from water intrusion, staining, and future damage. The sealer helps maintain the integrity of the deck and enhances its longevity. Additionally, finishing touches such as reinstallation of expansion joints or decorative elements may be undertaken to optimize the overall look and functionality of the pool deck.

Reconnecting Underground Lines

When a pool pops out of the ground, there is a high possibility of damage to the underground lines, including water supply lines, plumbing for pool equipment, and electrical conduits. Reconnecting these underground lines is a crucial step in the repair process to restore the functionality of the pool. Here’s an overview of the process involved in reconnecting underground lines:

  • Professional Assessment: A qualified pool professional or contractor will assess the extent of the damage to the underground lines. This assessment helps determine the specific repairs needed and enables the professionals to create a plan for reconnecting the lines effectively.

  • Identifying and Locating Lines: The professionals will carefully locate and identify the existing underground lines that need to be reconnected. This may involve carefully digging around the pool area to expose the lines without causing additional damage. It is crucial to identify and mark the lines accurately to avoid any confusion during the reconnection process.

  • Repair or Replacement: Depending on the level of damage, the underground lines may require repair or replacement. Damaged or broken sections of pipes, fittings, or electrical conduits are repaired or replaced as necessary. It is crucial to use high-quality materials that are compatible with the specific requirements of the pool’s plumbing and electrical systems.

  • Proper Connection: Once the damaged sections have been repaired or replaced, the next step is to reconnect the lines. This involves carefully aligning the pipe or conduit ends, ensuring proper fit and sealing, and securing the connections. Professional pool technicians adhere to industry standards and best practices to guarantee the quality and integrity of the reconnection.

  • Pressure Testing and Inspection: After the underground lines have been reconnected, a thorough pressure test is conducted. This test checks for any leaks or issues with the reconnected lines. A visual inspection is also performed to ensure all connections are secure, and there are no visible signs of damage or potential problems.

  • Backfilling and Site Restoration: Once the reconnection and testing are successfully completed, the excavated areas are backfilled with appropriate materials, such as soil or gravel. Proper compaction of the backfilled areas is crucial to ensure stability. The professionals will restore the site, ensuring it is clean and free from any debris or hazards.

Lifting the Pool

After a pool has experienced a popping event and shifted out of its original position, lifting the pool is a critical step in the repair process. This task requires specialized equipment and expertise to ensure the pool is safely returned to its proper alignment. Here are the key steps involved in lifting a popped pool:

  • Assessment and Planning: Before attempting to lift the pool, a thorough assessment is conducted to evaluate the extent of the damage and determine the appropriate lifting strategy. This assessment involves inspecting the pool shell, surrounding structures, and any potential risks that may affect the lifting process. A detailed plan is then developed to guide the lifting operation.

  • Gathering Equipment: The lifting process requires specialized equipment, such as hydraulic jacks, airbags, or crane systems. The specific type of equipment used depends on factors like the size of the pool and the accessibility of the site. It is crucial to ensure that the equipment is in good working condition and capable of safely lifting and supporting the weight of the pool.

  • Proper Positioning of Equipment: The lifting equipment is strategically positioned around the pool to evenly distribute the lifting force. This involves placing the jacks or airbags in locations that can provide optimal lifting support without causing further damage to the pool structure. The positions are carefully determined based on the pool’s design and structural requirements.

  • Synchronized Lifting: Using the selected lifting equipment, the pool is gradually and carefully lifted. This process requires synchronized lifting to ensure balanced and uniform distribution of the lifting force. Professionals trained in pool repair and restoration coordinate the lifting operation to prevent any tilting or uneven lifting that could potentially damage the pool further.

  • Monitoring and Adjusting: During the lifting process, the pool is continuously monitored to ensure that the lifting force is applied evenly and that the pool remains stable. Any adjustments needed to maintain proper alignment and balance are made as necessary. This may involve fine-tuning the positioning of the lifting equipment or making slight adjustments to achieve the desired results.

  • Securing and Leveling: Once the pool has been lifted back to its original position, it is secured and leveled. This step involves carefully adjusting the supports or repositioning the pool to ensure stability and proper alignment. Attention is paid to maintaining the correct elevation and ensuring that the pool sits evenly on its foundation.

Reinstalling the Pool

After a pool has been lifted back to its original position, the next critical step is to reinstall the pool properly. This process involves securing the pool in its correct location, ensuring stability, and making any necessary adjustments. Here are the key steps typically involved in reinstalling a popped pool:

  • Alignment and Positioning: The lifted pool is carefully aligned and positioned in its original location using the guidance of the pool’s original layout and measurements. Professional pool technicians ensure that the pool is placed correctly, taking into account factors such as the pool’s shape, orientation, and any surrounding structures.

  • Releveling: If the pool’s foundation has shifted during the popping event, releveling is necessary. This process involves adjusting the pool’s supports to ensure that the pool is sitting evenly and in the correct position. Precise measurements and adjustments are made to achieve proper alignment and eliminate any tilting or unevenness.

  • Securing the Pool: Once the pool is correctly positioned and leveled, it needs to be secured to prevent future movement or popping. This involves installing proper anchors or braces to stabilize the pool and secure it to the surrounding structures or foundations. The specific method and materials used for securing the pool depend on the pool’s design and the recommendations of the pool manufacturer or professional installer.

  • Plumbing and Electrical Reconnection: After the pool is properly secured, the plumbing and electrical systems are reconnected. This includes reattaching water supply lines, pool equipment connections, and electrical conduits. Professional pool technicians ensure that all connections are properly sealed, secure, and functional. They also conduct thorough testing to ensure proper water flow and electrical functionality.

  • Inspecting for Damage: Once the pool is reinstalled and the systems are reconnected, a detailed inspection is conducted. This inspection checks for any potential damage that may have occurred during the lifting or reinstallation process. Any issues identified are addressed promptly to ensure the pool’s structural integrity and proper functionality.

  • Finishing Touches: The reinstallation process concludes with the completion of any finishing touches. This may include reinstallation of the pool coping, deck materials, or other aesthetic elements that enhance the overall appearance of the pool area. The area around the pool is properly cleaned and prepared for use.

Assessing Additional Damage

After a pool has experienced a popping event and has been lifted and reinstalled, it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment to determine if any additional damage has occurred. This assessment helps ensure the structural integrity of the pool and allows for timely repairs or further actions if needed. Here’s an overview of the process involved in assessing additional damage:

  • Visual Inspection: A visual inspection of the pool should be conducted to identify any visible signs of damage. This includes examining the pool shell, coping, deck, and surrounding structures for cracks, separation, or other forms of structural damage. Careful observation is important to spot any issues that may have been exacerbated during the popping and lifting process.

  • Water Leak Testing: Conducting water leak testing is crucial to check if the pool’s plumbing system and shell have been compromised. The pool is filled to its normal water level, and the water level is monitored for any abnormal loss. If there are signs of water leakage, further investigation is required to locate and repair the affected areas.

  • Structural Integrity Evaluation: For gunite pools, a structural integrity evaluation is necessary to assess the overall strength and stability of the pool shell. This may involve tapping on the pool shell to listen for hollowness, conducting a detailed examination of the shell, or performing non-destructive testing if required. Professional pool inspectors or structural engineers can provide expert evaluation in this regard.

  • Evaluating Equipment Functionality: The reinstalled pool’s equipment, such as the pump, filter, and heater, should be tested to ensure they are functioning properly. This includes verifying water circulation, pressure levels, and proper operation of electrical components. Any equipment issues should be addressed promptly for optimal pool performance and safety.

  • Non-Destructive Testing (if necessary): In some cases, non-destructive testing methods, such as ground penetrating radar or ultrasonic testing, may be employed to assess potential damage or weaknesses in the pool structure. These methods are used when there are concerns about structural integrity or hidden damage that may not be apparent during a visual inspection.

  • Professional Evaluation: It is advisable to engage professional pool inspectors or structural engineers experienced in pool repair to conduct a comprehensive assessment. Their expertise and knowledge will help identify any potential underlying issues or risks that may require further remediation.

Based on the assessment findings, appropriate repairs or additional actions can be initiated. This may include structural repairs, plumbing system adjustments, equipment replacement, or other necessary measures. Prioritizing safety and structural stability is crucial in ensuring the long-term functionality and enjoyment of the pool.

Preventing a Gunite Pool from Popping

Prevention is key when it comes to ensuring the stability and safety of a gunite pool. By taking proactive measures, pool owners can significantly reduce the risk of pool popping. Here are some important steps and practices to prevent a gunite pool from popping:

  • Avoid Leaving the Pool Unfilled for Too Long: Gunite pools rely on the weight of the water to counteract hydrostatic pressure. If the pool is left unfilled for extended periods, such as during maintenance or renovations, the lack of water can make the pool more susceptible to popping. Avoid prolonged periods of pool emptiness whenever possible.

  • Avoid Draining the Pool after Storms or in Saturated Soil Conditions: After heavy rainfall or during periods of high water accumulation in the ground, it is crucial to avoid draining the pool. Draining the pool while the surrounding soil is saturated can increase the risk of hydrostatic pressure buildup, potentially leading to pool popping. Wait until the soil has dried out and water levels have subsided before considering pool draining.

  • Utilize Hydrostatic Pressure Relief Valves: Installing hydrostatic pressure relief valves during pool construction or retrofitting existing pools with these valves is an effective preventive measure. These valves allow excess groundwater to escape, reducing the buildup of hydrostatic pressure beneath the pool. Consult with a pool professional to determine the most suitable type and location for relief valves in your specific pool.

  • Take Drainage Measures during Pool Draining: When draining the pool for maintenance or repairs, redirect the draining water away from the pool area. This helps prevent excess water accumulation around the pool, reducing the potential for hydrostatic pressure to build up.

  • Keep Up with Routine Pool Maintenance: Regular pool maintenance is essential to ensure proper functionality and identify potential issues before they escalate. This includes inspecting the pool for cracks, leaks, or signs of shifting, monitoring water levels, and addressing any drainage concerns promptly. Regular maintenance helps maintain the stability and integrity of the pool.

  • Drainage Management: Proper drainage management around the pool area is crucial in reducing the risk of hydrostatic pressure buildup. Ensure that the site has adequate grading and drainage systems in place to direct water away from the pool. This includes installing French drains, surface drains, or other appropriate methods to manage excess water and minimize the potential for pooling around the pool area.

By following these preventive measures, pool owners can minimize the risk of pool popping and ensure the long-term stability and safety of their gunite pools. Regular maintenance, adequate water management, and implementing appropriate preventive measures are essential for the overall health and longevity of the pool.

Delve into our detailed guides to gain a comprehensive understanding of common gunite pool issues and how to tackle them effectively.

Can a Gunite Pool Sink: Dive into the world of gunite pool stability and find out if these pools can really sink. Explore the reasons behind sinking pools and how to safeguard against this issue for a worry-free swim.

Does a Gunite Pool Crack: Uncover the facts about gunite pool cracks in this informative article. Gain insights into what causes these cracks and how you can effectively address and prevent them.


While the phenomenon of a gunite pool popping out of the ground is relatively rare, it can cause extensive damage and pose serious safety risks when it does occur. Gunite pools, due to their solid and heavy structure, are more susceptible to popping compared to other pool materials. The primary cause of pool popping is hydrostatic pressure, which occurs when water accumulates beneath the pool and exerts upward force against the pool walls and floor.

Preventing pool pop-ups is crucial for protecting your investment and ensuring the longevity of your pool. Installing a hydrostatic pressure relief valve during pool construction can help alleviate excess pressure beneath the pool. For older pools without relief valves, implementing regular maintenance, maintaining proper water levels, and considering options like dewatering systems or dry-wells can minimize the risk.

If a gunite pool does pop out of the ground, immediate attention and professional repair are necessary. Repairing a popped gunite pool involves steps such as pool deck repair, reconnecting underground lines, lifting the pool back into position, and assessing and addressing additional damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean when a pool pops?

When a pool “pops,” it means that the pool has risen out of the ground. This can occur due to hydrostatic pressure or the pressure of underground water. The heavy weight of the pool is overcome by the upward force exerted by the water table, causing the pool to float or lift out of its original position. Pool popping can be a concerning issue as it can lead to significant damage and costly repairs.

2. Can gunite pools float?

Yes, gunite pools can float under certain circumstances. Despite their weight, the hydrostatic pressure from underground water can cause a gunite pool to float or pop out of the ground. Gunite pools are constructed using a combination of sand, water, and cement, and while they are durable and popular, they are not immune to the effects of hydrostatic pressure. The upward force exerted by the water table can overcome the weight of the gunite pool, leading to its flotation.

3. How common is pool pop?

Pool pop is relatively rare but not unheard of. While it is not a common occurrence, it is still important for pool owners to be aware of this phenomenon and take preventive measures. Factors such as the location, water table levels, and overall pool construction can influence the likelihood of pool popping incidents. By implementing proper preventive measures, such as installing hydrostatic pressure relief valves and monitoring water levels, pool owners can significantly reduce the risk of pool pop.

4. How do I know if my pool is unsafe?

To determine if your pool is unsafe, it is important to be vigilant and regularly inspect the pool for any signs of damage or structural issues. Look for cracks, bulges, or shifting of pool walls, which can indicate potential issues with hydrostatic pressure. These signs may suggest that the pool is at risk of popping or experiencing other forms of structural damage. If you notice any concerning signs, it is essential to consult with pool professionals or engineers to assess the situation and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the pool.

5. How fast can a gunite pool pop out of the ground?

The speed at which a gunite pool can pop out of the ground can vary depending on several factors, such as the water table level, the amount of hydrostatic pressure, and the specific conditions of the pool and its surroundings. Unfortunately, the provided information does not specify a particular timeframe for the occurrence of pool popping incidents. It is important to note that pool popping can happen suddenly or gradually over time, depending on the circumstances and the underlying causes. Prompt action should be taken if there are any signs or concerns related to the pool’s stability and safety.

6. Will my pool pop out of the ground if i drain it?

Draining a pool can increase the risk of it popping out of the ground, especially if the water pressure holding the pool in the ground becomes less than the hydrostatic pressure in the ground. It is generally recommended to avoid draining the pool unless necessary and to take precautions to prevent hydrostatic pressure issues. One effective measure is to install hydrostatic pressure relief valves, which allow water to escape from beneath the pool if the water table rises above the pool water level, thus equalizing the pressure and minimizing the risk of pool popping.

Photo of author

Written By Scott Keller

Scott Keller is an experienced pool industry professional with over 20 years of expertise in gunite pool design, construction, and maintenance.

Leave a Comment