By Steve Comstock
The Riverside condominium complex, located in the historic district of Covington, Ky., is a 10-storey building. It boasts sweeping views of the Ohio River and the Roebling Bridge, and one of the building’s main features is its elevated pool, which is surrounded by outdoor living space. The pool, located in the centre of the structure, is approximately 74.3 m2 (800 sf) and is situated directly above a gated parking garage for residents. After many years of use, it became evident the pool was leaking when water started to appear in the garage.
Having looked into various options to fix the leak, the building’s management team decided on the affordable option of lining the pool with a 60-mil reinforced polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membrane. This would not only make the pool watertight, but it would also give the aging vessel a much-needed facelift.
The pool and deck area are the social heart of the complex, and the condominium association was happy to learn about the option to renovate the resident’s well-loved pool. Another reason the group chose the PVC liner option is that it is relatively quick to install, which meant the pool renovation could be completed prior to the summer.
This project not only involved lining the vessel with the membrane, but also bringing the pool up to state and local codes. As a result, the skimmers, inlets, lights, stairs, ladder, and pool markings were updated to ensure compliance with current pool regulations. The main drains were also replaced to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA). To do this, sections of the pool floor had to be opened to inspect the existing drain system to make the necessary renovations. The pool also had to be equipped with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access lift.
Prepping the pool surface
When installing a PVC membrane, several steps must be taken to prepare the pool surface to ensure its long-term success. Often times, the preparation takes longer than the installation.
The construction of this pool was unusual to say the least. Concrete was used on the bottom portion of the pool, while cinder blocks were used on the top 0.6 m (2 ft) of the wall around the entire perimeter. Due to its unique construction, particularly the use of less solid and more porous cinder blocks, more time was required to prepare and install the PVC liner. In fact, the details of the pool’s unique construction were not discovered until after the old, leaking liner had been removed.
The first step in the process was removing the old deteriorated liner. Cutting tools were used to slice out and remove the old liner in large pieces, while any material that remained behind the fittings, returns, lights, and main drain were handled with more precision later in the renovation process. Once this was complete, it was discovered the pool walls were covered in a thick layer of mould that had grown behind the previous liner. Further, large portions of the old felt material were stuck to the walls and were very difficult to remove. This was due to the use of the cinder blocks, and their composition, in comparison to solid concrete.
Using scraping tools on the floors and walls of the pool, the installation crew spent many hours smoothing the surfaces in preparation for the new PVC liner. The pool’s floor and walls were also treated with a broad-spectrum algaecide to inhibit future growth of algae and mould.