Can a Gunite Pool Sink? – Know About Gunite Pool Maintenance

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When it comes to swimming pools, gunite pools have gained immense popularity due to their durability and flexibility in design. However, homeowners often wonder if these pools can sink over time and what factors might contribute to such a situation.

In this article, we will delve into the topic of gunite pool sinking and explore the various factors that can influence its stability. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing proper maintenance strategies, you can ensure the long-lasting integrity of your gunite pool.

So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of gunite pools and their potential sinking concerns.

Key Takeaways

  • Gunite pools, made from concrete, can sink or shift over time if not constructed properly.

  • Causes of gunite pool sinking include ground shifting and settling, poor soil conditions, water saturation, inadequate drainage, leaks, and improper construction or maintenance.

  • Pool sinking can lead to structural damage, plumbing and equipment issues, aesthetic concerns, and safety risks.

  • Early signs of pool sinking include visible tilting or unevenness, cracks in the pool shell, separation of pool components, changes in water level, difficulty opening or closing pool features, and uneven deck or patio.

  • To prevent gunite pool sinking, proper site selection, professional design and construction, regular inspections, maintaining proper water levels, monitoring and addressing leaks, implementing adequate drainage, routine maintenance, and avoiding excessive groundwater are important.

  • If a gunite pool is sinking, consult a professional pool contractor or structural engineer for a thorough inspection and implement stabilization measures, address plumbing and leakage issues, and follow professional repair recommendations.

  • Gunite pools can be lifted or leveled using specialized techniques like foam injection or mudjacking.

  • Effective methods to enhance gunite pool stability include proper construction techniques, soil analysis and preparation, reinforcement and structural support, optimal water management, effective drainage systems, regular maintenance and inspections, consulting professionals when needed, and educating pool users about proper usage guidelines.

  • The cost of repairing a sinking gunite pool varies depending on factors like the extent of damage, pool size, location, and labor costs. Homeowner’s insurance may not cover sinking pool repairs, so it’s essential to review the specific insurance policy to understand coverage.

  • Regular pool inspections and maintenance play a vital role in identifying and addressing potential issues before they escalate.

Can a Gunite Pool Sink

Yes, a gunite pool can sink. Gunite pools are made from concrete and are built in layers before the pool is completely filled with water. If not constructed properly, the pool can sink or shift over time. 

A sinking or shifting pool is a serious problem that requires excavation to fix. The sinking of a pool is a gradual phenomenon that occurs over an extended period of time. The soil surrounding the pool can become unstable and settle, causing the pool to shift or sink. 

In addition to sinking, a pool deck can also settle and become unlevel, which can create trip hazards and other problems.

What Causes a Gunite Pool to Sink

Gunite pools, renowned for their strength and longevity, are constructed using a mixture of cement, sand, and water, applied pneumatically to a rebar framework. While gunite pools are generally resistant to many common issues faced by other pool types, certain factors can contribute to their potential sinking. Here are some key causes to consider:

  • Ground Shifting and Settling: One of the primary factors that can lead to a gunite pool sinking is ground shifting or settling. Over time, soil movement can occur due to geological factors, such as earthquakes or soil erosion, causing the pool’s foundation to become unstable. This can result in the pool sinking or tilting.

  • Poor Soil Conditions: The quality and stability of the soil on which the pool rests can significantly impact its long-term stability. If the soil is poorly compacted, expansive, or prone to erosion, it may not provide adequate support for the weight of the pool. In such cases, the soil may gradually give way, causing the pool to sink or develop structural issues.

  • Water Saturation and Hydrostatic Pressure: Excessive water saturation in the ground surrounding a gunite pool can exert significant hydrostatic pressure against the pool shell. This increased pressure can compromise the pool’s structural integrity and potentially lead to sinking or displacement of the pool structure.

  • Insufficient Drainage: Proper drainage is essential to ensure that water does not accumulate around the pool. Inadequate drainage systems or poorly designed grading can result in water pooling near the pool, which can lead to soil erosion and subsequent sinking or tilting of the pool.

  • Leaks and Plumbing Issues: A gunite pool relies on a complex network of plumbing and circulation systems to function properly. If there are leaks or plumbing issues within the pool or its surrounding infrastructure, water can infiltrate the ground, causing soil instability and potential sinking of the pool.

  • Improper Construction or Maintenance: In some cases, the sinking of a gunite pool can be attributed to poor construction practices or inadequate maintenance. Flaws in the initial construction, such as improper compaction of soil or insufficient reinforcement, can eventually lead to sinking issues. Additionally, neglecting regular maintenance tasks, such as addressing cracks, leaks, or foundation issues, can exacerbate the problem over time.

Impact of Sinking on Gunite Pools

Pool sinking can have significant consequences for gunite pools, impacting their structural integrity and overall functionality. Here are some key effects of pool sinking on gunite pools:

  • Structural Damage: Sinking can cause the pool to sink unevenly or tilt, leading to structural damage. The pressure exerted by the shifting soil can cause cracks in the pool shell, separating coping, or tile work. These structural issues can compromise the pool’s stability and potentially result in leaks or further damage.

  • Plumbing and Equipment Damage: As the pool sinks or shifts, the associated movement can strain the plumbing lines and equipment. Misaligned pipes or fittings can cause leaks, reduced water circulation, or even equipment failure. Addressing plumbing issues promptly is essential to prevent further damage and maintain the pool’s functionality.

  • Aesthetic Concerns: Pool sinking can result in an uneven waterline, tilting decks, or misaligned features, affecting the pool’s aesthetic appeal. These visible irregularities can diminish the overall appearance and enjoyment of the pool space.

  • Safety Risks: Uneven pool surfaces and tilting decks pose safety hazards for swimmers. Tripping or falling hazards may arise, potentially leading to accidents or injuries. Ensuring a level and stable pool environment is crucial for maintaining a safe swimming experience.

Signs of a Pool Sinking or Shifting

Detecting early signs of a sinking or shifting gunite pool is crucial to prevent further damage and costly repairs. Here are some common indicators that may suggest your pool is experiencing sinking or shifting:

  • Visible Tilting or Unevenness: Observe the pool’s perimeter and waterline for any noticeable tilting or unevenness. If you notice that the pool’s edges are not level or the waterline appears slanted, it could indicate that the pool has sunk or shifted.

  • Cracks in the Pool Shell: Inspect the pool shell for any cracks, especially near the edges or along the walls. Cracks can be an indication of underlying structural issues, including sinking or shifting.

  • Separation of Pool Components: Check for any separation or gaps between the pool deck, coping, or tile work. If these components appear to be pulling away from each other, it may suggest that the pool has moved or settled unevenly.

  • Changes in Water Level: Keep an eye on the pool’s water level. If you notice a persistent decrease in water level despite regular maintenance, it could be a sign that the pool is sinking, allowing water to escape through cracks or gaps.

  • Difficulty Opening or Closing Pool Features: If you encounter difficulties when opening or closing pool features like gates, covers, or slides, it could be due to the pool shifting or settling unevenly. Misalignment or jamming of these features may indicate movement in the pool structure.

  • Uneven Deck or Patio: Walk around the pool deck or patio and assess whether it appears uneven or has developed new bumps or depressions. Uneven surfaces may be an indication of shifting or sinking of the underlying pool structure.

  • Gaps or Separation in Underground Plumbing: Inspect the plumbing lines and equipment connected to the pool. Look for any gaps, separation, or misalignment in the pipes, valves, or fittings. These issues can be an indication of the pool shifting or sinking, causing strain on the plumbing system.

If you observe any of these signs, it is essential to contact a professional pool contractor or structural engineer to assess the situation. They will be able to conduct a thorough inspection, identify the underlying causes, and recommend appropriate measures to address the sinking or shifting issue.

Remember, early detection and timely action can help prevent further damage, ensure the safety of pool users, and minimize the cost of repairs. Regular pool maintenance and inspections play a vital role in identifying and addressing these issues before they escalate.

How to Prevent Gunite Pool Sinking

While some factors contributing to gunite pool sinking may be beyond our control, there are proactive measures you can take to minimize the risk and maintain the stability of your pool. Here are some effective strategies to prevent gunite pool sinking:

  • Proper Site Selection: During the initial planning stages, choose a suitable location for your gunite pool. Consider factors such as soil conditions, drainage patterns, and the proximity of trees or large vegetation. Opt for a stable and well-drained area with compacted soil to provide a solid foundation for your pool.

  • Professional Design and Construction: Work with experienced pool builders who understand the intricacies of gunite pool construction. They will ensure that proper engineering standards, including soil analysis, are followed during the design and construction phases. This includes adequate reinforcement, appropriate excavation, and thorough compaction of the soil.

  • Regular Inspections: Schedule regular inspections of your gunite pool to identify any signs of sinking or shifting at an early stage. Hire a professional pool inspector or structural engineer to assess the pool’s condition, including the foundation, plumbing, and surrounding soil. Prompt identification of potential issues allows for timely intervention and necessary repairs.

  • Maintain Proper Water Levels: Maintain the water level within the recommended range specified by the pool manufacturer. Maintaining a consistent water level helps distribute the weight evenly and minimizes stress on the pool structure.

  • Monitor and Address Leaks: Stay vigilant for any signs of water leakage in and around the pool. Persistent drops in water level or damp areas near the pool can indicate leaks that may lead to soil instability. Promptly address any leaks by contacting a professional pool technician to repair the plumbing system and prevent further damage.

  • Implement Adequate Drainage: Ensure proper drainage around the pool area to divert excess water away from the pool structure. Poor drainage can cause water to accumulate and create hydrostatic pressure against the pool, increasing the risk of sinking. Install appropriate French drains, surface drains, or other drainage systems to manage water effectively.

  • Routine Maintenance: Regularly maintain your gunite pool to prevent issues that could contribute to sinking. This includes inspecting and repairing cracks in the pool shell, maintaining a functioning filtration and circulation system, and addressing any plumbing or equipment issues promptly.

  • Avoid Excessive Groundwater: In areas prone to high groundwater levels, consider implementing measures to prevent water infiltration around the pool. These can include installing a well-designed perimeter drainage system, utilizing a sump pump to remove excess groundwater, or consulting with a professional to explore other effective solutions.

Dealing with a Sinking Gunite Pool

Discovering that your gunite pool is sinking can be a concerning situation, but it’s important to take immediate action to prevent further damage. Here are actionable steps to address a sinking gunite pool:

  • Assess the Extent of Damage: Begin by assessing the severity and extent of the sinking. Observe the pool’s perimeter, waterline, and surrounding area for any visible signs of sinking or shifting. Take note of any cracks, tilting, or unevenness in the pool structure. This initial assessment will help you determine the next course of action.

  • Consult a Professional: Contact a reputable pool contractor or a structural engineer who specializes in pool repairs. They will have the expertise and knowledge to accurately assess the situation, identify the underlying causes, and recommend appropriate repair solutions. Avoid attempting to fix the issue yourself, as improper interventions can worsen the problem.

  • Conduct a Professional Inspection: Schedule a thorough inspection conducted by the pool contractor or structural engineer. They will examine the pool’s foundation, plumbing, and surrounding soil conditions to diagnose the exact cause of the sinking. The inspection may involve soil testing, assessing drainage systems, and evaluating the pool’s structural integrity.

  • Implement Stabilization Measures: Based on the inspection findings, the professional will recommend suitable stabilization measures. These may include underpinning the pool foundation, injecting grout or other stabilization materials, or installing helical piers or steel beams for added support. These measures will help prevent further sinking and restore stability to the pool structure.

  • Address Plumbing and Leakage Issues: If the sinking is associated with plumbing problems or leaks, it’s crucial to address these issues alongside the stabilization efforts. Repair any damaged pipes, valves, or fittings, and ensure proper sealing to prevent water infiltration that can further compromise the pool’s stability.

  • Follow Professional Repair Recommendations: Depending on the extent of the damage, the professional may recommend additional repair work, such as crack repairs, re-leveling the pool deck, or replacing damaged components. Follow their recommendations diligently to restore the pool’s structural integrity.

  • Implement Preventive Measures: Once the repairs are complete, consider implementing preventive measures to minimize the chances of future sinking. This may include improving drainage systems, monitoring water levels, performing regular inspections, and promptly addressing any maintenance issues that may arise.

  • Monitor the Pool’s Condition: Keep a close eye on the pool’s condition following the repairs. Monitor for any signs of further sinking, cracking, or shifting. Promptly report any concerns to the pool contractor or structural engineer to address them before they escalate.

Can Gunite Pools Be Lifted or Leveled

Yes, gunite pools can be lifted or leveled. Gunite is a type of concrete used in the construction of swimming pools, and it allows for flexibility in shaping and customization. When a gunite pool becomes unlevel or settles over time, it is possible to lift or level it to restore its proper alignment and functionality.

The process of lifting or leveling a gunite pool typically involves professional assistance. The exact methods used may vary depending on the specific situation and the extent of the leveling required. One common approach is to use specialized techniques such as foam injection or mudjacking to raise the sunken or unlevel areas of the pool. These methods help to fill voids or gaps beneath the pool, providing support and stability.

It is important to address unlevel or sinking issues in gunite pools promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the pool’s structural integrity. Consulting with a professional pool contractor or repair specialist experienced in gunite pool construction and repair is recommended.

Effective Methods to Enhance Gunite Pool Stability

Ensuring the stability of a gunite pool is essential for its longevity and safety. By implementing effective methods to enhance pool stability, you can minimize the risk of sinking, shifting, or structural issues. Here are some proven strategies to consider:

  • Proper Construction Techniques: Start with a solid foundation during the pool’s construction. Ensure that the soil is appropriately compacted and leveled before the gunite application. Additionally, work with experienced pool builders who follow industry best practices, including proper reinforcement, adequate curing time, and precise application techniques.

  • Soil Analysis and Preparation: Conduct a thorough analysis of the soil conditions at the pool site before construction. Understanding the soil’s composition, compaction, and load-bearing capacity will help determine the appropriate construction methods and any necessary soil stabilization measures. Address any soil-related issues, such as excessive moisture or poor compaction, prior to pool construction.

  • Reinforcement and Structural Support: Proper reinforcement of the gunite pool is crucial for stability. Reinforcing steel, commonly known as rebar, provides strength to the pool structure. Ensure that the rebar framework is accurately installed, covering all critical areas, including the walls, floor, and bond beam. This reinforcement helps distribute the load evenly and prevent potential settling or shifting.

  • Optimal Water Management: Proper water management is vital for maintaining pool stability. Maintain the recommended water level in the pool to prevent unnecessary stress on the structure. Avoid overfilling or draining the pool excessively, as it can impact the weight distribution and increase the risk of settlement or tilting.

  • Effective Drainage Systems: Implement efficient drainage systems to manage water around the pool area. Adequate surface and subsurface drainage help divert excess water away from the pool, preventing water accumulation that can lead to soil erosion or hydrostatic pressure. Install French drains, surface drains, or other appropriate drainage solutions based on the site’s characteristics and local regulations.

  • Regular Maintenance and Inspections: Establish a routine maintenance schedule to monitor the pool’s condition and address any issues promptly. Inspect the pool regularly for signs of cracks, leaks, or structural concerns. Timely repair of minor issues can prevent them from escalating into major stability problems. Additionally, perform routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning, balancing water chemistry, and ensuring proper filtration and circulation.

  • Consult Professionals: When in doubt or when encountering stability-related concerns, consult professionals specializing in pool construction, engineering, or repair. These experts have the knowledge and experience to assess the pool’s stability, identify potential risks, and recommend appropriate measures for enhancing stability.

  • Educate Pool Users: Educate pool users about proper pool usage guidelines, such as avoiding excessive jumping or diving in shallow areas, refraining from placing heavy objects on the pool’s edge, and not modifying or tampering with the pool structure. Ensuring that pool users understand how their actions can impact pool stability promotes long-term pool safety and stability.

What is the Average Cost of Repairing a Sinking Gunite Pool

Repairing a sinking gunite pool involves various factors that contribute to the overall cost. The cost can range from a few hundred dollars for simple crack repairs to several thousand dollars for extensive damage. Factors such as the damage type and extent, pool size and depth, location, and labor costs all play a role in determining the repair cost.

The repair process for a sinking gunite pool typically includes inspection, draining the pool, repair work, refilling the pool, and water balancing. Labor costs depend on the complexity of the repair, the time required, and the local rates. It is important to hire professionals with expertise in gunite pool repairs to ensure proper and safe repairs that can reduce future damage and expenses.

To get the exact cost of pool repair, it is advisable to consult with professional pool contractors or repair specialists. They can assess the specific situation, evaluate the extent of the damage, and provide an accurate cost estimate for repairing the sinking gunite pool.

It’s worth noting that in addition to repairing a sinking gunite pool, other repair costs such as pool resurfacing, leak detection, crack repairs, and equipment replacements may also be necessary over time. These additional repair costs should be taken into account when considering the overall cost of maintaining and repairing a sinking gunite pool.

Can Gunite Pool Sinking Be Covered by Insurance

In general, homeowner’s insurance may not cover the expenses associated with gunite pool sinking. Gunite pool sinking can occur due to various factors such as ground shifting, poor soil conditions, water saturation, insufficient drainage, leaks, and improper construction or maintenance.

Homeowner’s insurance typically excludes coverage for swimming pool collapse, including damage to structures such as swimming pools, fences, awnings, and decks. The weight of snow, rainwater, and ice on the pool’s cover is a common cause of pool collapse.

Although standard homeowner’s insurance covers damage caused by the weight of ice and snow to homes, it usually doesn’t extend to swimming pools. Home insurance won’t cover pool repairs if the collapse is due to improper draining or installation. However, if a covered structure collapses onto the pool or if a covered peril causes the pool to collapse, homeowner’s insurance may cover repairs.

It is important to review your specific insurance policy or contact your insurance provider to understand the coverage provided for gunite pool sinking. Insurance policies can vary, and it is advisable to consult with your insurance provider to determine the extent of coverage and any exclusions that may apply.

Read these comprehensive guides to know everything you need to know about gunite pool problems and ensure your pool remains in top condition.

Can a Gunite Pool Pop Out of the Ground: Discover the truth behind the potential for a Gunite pool to pop out of the ground and what factors may contribute to this phenomenon. Gain valuable insights into pool maintenance and safety.

Can a Gunite Pool Crack: Explore the common issue of Gunite pool cracking and understand the factors that lead to these cracks. Get expert advice on maintaining your pool’s structural integrity.


A gunite pool can sink over time if it is not constructed properly or if certain factors come into play. Ground shifting and settling, poor soil conditions, water saturation and hydrostatic pressure, insufficient drainage, leaks and plumbing issues, as well as improper construction or maintenance, can all contribute to the sinking of a gunite pool.

The sinking of a gunite pool can have various impacts, including structural damage, plumbing and equipment damage, aesthetic concerns, and safety risks. It is important to detect early signs of pool sinking or shifting, such as visible tilting or unevenness, cracks in the pool shell, separation of pool components, changes in water level, difficulty opening or closing pool features, and uneven deck or patio.

To prevent gunite pool sinking, proper site selection, professional design and construction, regular inspections, maintaining proper water levels, monitoring and addressing leaks, implementing adequate drainage, routine maintenance, and avoiding excessive groundwater are effective strategies.

If a gunite pool is sinking, it is crucial to take immediate action. Assess the extent of the damage, consult a professional pool contractor or structural engineer for a thorough inspection, implement stabilization measures, address plumbing and leakage issues, follow professional repair recommendations, and implement preventive measures to minimize future sinking risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a leaking gunite pool lead to sinking?

Yes, a leaking gunite pool can potentially lead to sinking. If there is a significant leak in the pool structure, it can cause the surrounding soil to erode or become saturated with water, compromising the pool’s stability and potentially resulting in sinking.

2. Is it possible to repair a sinking gunite pool?

Yes, it is possible to repair a sinking gunite pool. The repair methods will depend on the specific cause and extent of the sinking. Professional pool contractors experienced in gunite pool repair can assess the situation and recommend appropriate solutions, such as stabilizing the pool foundation, filling voids beneath the pool, or employing other structural reinforcement techniques.

3. How often do gunite pools require maintenance to prevent sinking?

Gunite pools require regular maintenance to prevent sinking and other structural issues. Routine maintenance should include regular inspections, addressing any leaks promptly, maintaining proper water balance, monitoring the pool for signs of sinking or shifting, and ensuring adequate drainage around the pool area.

4. Can improper installation cause a gunite pool to sink?

Yes, improper installation of a gunite pool can be a contributing factor to sinking. If the pool is not properly constructed, compacted, or reinforced during installation, it may be more prone to settling or sinking over time. Hiring a reputable and experienced pool contractor for installation is crucial to ensure proper construction and minimize the risk of sinking.

5. Are there specific ground conditions that make gunite pools more prone to sinking?

Yes, specific ground conditions can make gunite pools more prone to sinking. Unstable or expansive soil, such as clay or poorly compacted soil, can create a higher risk of settling or sinking. Additionally, areas with high groundwater levels or inadequate drainage can contribute to soil erosion and potential pool sinking.

6. Can regular pool inspections help detect early signs of sinking in a gunite pool?

Yes, regular pool inspections can help detect early signs of sinking in a gunite pool. Professional pool inspections can identify any structural issues, such as cracks, shifting, or unevenness, that may indicate potential sinking problems. Detecting these issues early allows for timely repairs and helps prevent further damage to the pool.

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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.

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