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What homeowners should know about swimming pool defects

In Florida, swimming pools aren't just a luxury; they're almost a necessity. Building an in-ground pool can add significant value to your property and provide a refreshing escape.

However, swimming pools aren't without problems. Far too many homeowners spend significant amounts of money to install a swimming pool, only to discover defects that may require substantial repairs or even replacement.

Common problems with pools

If you have a swimming pool or are thinking of building one, it's important to be aware of what can go wrong. Watch out for these common problems:

  • -Cracks in the concrete shell
  • -Tears or snags in the liner
  • -Bulging walls
  • -Gaps in the joints
  • -Leaks in the pool plumbing or structure

What causes these issues?

They're often attributable to errors on the part of the contractor such as:

  • -Poor workmanship
  • -Insufficient structural supports
  • -Subpar materials
  • -Failure to install proper expansion joints
  • -Poor plumbing
  • -Design problems
  • -Negligent repairs

Structural issues such as cracks can be the result of underlying problems with soil conditions and grading. Depending on the situation, it's possible that the contractor should have recommended an expert soil inspection before building the pool. Or the contractor may have overlooked (or failed to disclose) issues with the soil that became apparent during excavation.

Regardless of the type of problem, one thing is certain: It's far better to identify these problems upfront, before construction is completed (and preferably during excavation). Once the pool is finished, the costs involving in fixing the problem can become prohibitive.

Who shoulders the costs?

Homeowners shouldn't have to pay for defects resulting from the contractor's negligence. However, it often takes a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of what caused the problem and who was at fault. If you're dealing with such a nightmare, a knowledgeable attorney can help protect your rights.

Source: Ron Lacher, "When Pools Crack," Structural Strategies (2009).

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