Saturday, April 19, 2014

Oceanside Glass Tile Mosaics Poor Installation Practices

Cracks in glass tile mosaics are sometimes the result of poor installation practices.

The exterior of this spa experienced failure of the glass tile mosaic installation due to poor shotcrete (aka: gunite) installation and the lack of interior waterproofing.

Symptoms

The homeowner complained about cracks through the exterior of the Oceanside Glass Tile Mosaics veneer.  However, a close inspection of the glass tile revealed that there were signs of water migration from behind the tile.  
 (click on image to enlarge it)
Poor installation caused vertical cracks in Oceanside Glass Mosaic Tile.

Efflorescence is visible in cracks between tiles.  In every location of a vertical crack in the field of the tiles, they just so happened to align with the spa jets on the interior of the spa.

It was suspected that the shotcrete process failed to fully encapsulate the myriad of plumbing behind the spa jet, resulting in a void within the wall.  Poor supervision and preparation practices failed to identify these voids.

Once filled with water, the spa began to leak.  Water seeped around the circumference of the pipes, and collected in these voids.  The voids also created weak spots on the exterior of the spa.

Eventually, the water made it to the exterior, highlighting small cracks with efflorescence.

                                                          (click on image to enlarge it)
Hollow pocked in shotcrete cause Oceanside Glass Tile Mosaic failure.

An exploratory hole behind one of the jets confirmed a large pocket of loose shotcrete.

Quality Control

Had the pool builder supervised the shotcrete installation and exercised quality control, these voids would have never occurred.

Additionally, quality control inspections and shell preparations failed to identify or seal these areas. 



Paolo Benedetti, SWD 
Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com 
 All rights reserved.

Cracked Ocenaside Glass Tile Mosaics - Poor Installation

Sometimes recycled content is not to blame for the cracking of glass tile mosaics.  

Sometimes it is an installation that fails to follow the installation procedures set forth by the manufacturer, TCNA and ANSI.

 (click on the image to enlarge it)
A crack in Oceanside glass tile mosaics due to installation errors.
 
This installation on the exterior of a round spa cracked due to the lack of movement joints (expansion joints).  As the glass tile heats up in the sun, they expand.  The rectangular shape of these tiles will cause them to expand more in the longitudinal direction.  This creates a lot of stress.

Glass does not handle stress well.  It cracks.

Had the installer provided vertical joints at regular intervals, and isolation joints at the top and bottom (where the tile abuts the coping and deck), this installation probably would have had only a few cracks limited to individual tiles.

Paolo Benedetti, SWD 
Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com 
All rights reserved.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Belvedere Sausalito Placing concrete into caissons

Segregating the Mix

Dropping concrete into a drilled caisson from the surface will result in a weak caisson, as the aggregates segregate when dropped from excessive heights.

Bottoms UP!

ACI 318-11 says that all concrete shall be placed as close to the final point of placement as possible.

That means filling the drilled hole from the bottom up.
 
Title 24 of the California Building Code.
Section 1905A.10.9 states:
"In depositing concrete in columns, walls or thin sections of considerable height, concrete shall be placed in a manner that will prevent segregation... unless otherwise approved by the enforcement agency, the unconfined vertical drop of concrete... to the placement surface shall not be greater than 6 feet (1829 mm)."

So, in California, the code allows contractors to drop the concrete a maximum of 6 feet.


Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com 
All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Custom Swimming Pool Design Construction Napa Sonoma CA

You are building a custom luxury home.  You've hired the best architect.  You've engaged an award winning landscape architect.  You've retained the best general contractor.  

Yet, you're leaving the design and construction of the largest element on the property to the "pool guy" that the general contractor picks?

Education and Experience

You're hiring the very best for your project, why are you leaving the design and construction of the swimming pool to an uneducated "pool guy?"

Wouldn't you rather have your yard designed and constructed by someone with an education and proven track record of exemplary projects?  

Projects of impeccable quality and caliber, for clients that are so demanding that many are never even published?

An aquatic designer with a background in architecture and design can be invaluable when creating the plans for your dream property.

Design Phase

To insure that the project is seemlessly incorporated into the architecture and that the mechanical systems are laid out in a thoughtful and purposeful manner, it is important to retain the services of an experienced aquatic consultant and designer during the design phase.

Then they can make suggestions that may save you thousands of dollars during the build-out, changes that may be too late to make one the project has been engineered.

Paolo Benedetti, SWD 
Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com 
 All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Landscape Lighting around a swimming pool - prohibited within 10 feet!

When it comes to low voltage landscape lighting around a swimming pool, the National Electric Code has established a clearly defined exclusionary zone.

According to the National Electric Code (2011), Section 411.4, low voltage electrical systems cannot be located within 10 feet of a pool, spa or hot tub, even if the transformer is GFCI protected.

This does not mean that using a "pool rated" low voltage transformer allows you to move the lighting closer.  It is strictly and clearly prohibited under any condition.

Additionally, low voltage illuminares (fixtures) are usually constructed of metal (aluminum, brass, copper or cast metal).  They are not provided with a means to bond them to the swimming pool's bonding grid, since they are over 4 square inches in size.

So, how do you provide landscape lighting within 10 feet of a pool?  

Hire someone who knows the tricks... someone who can still keep your project safe and code compliant.

Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220

Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© 
"Creating water as art."™ ©www.aquatictechnology.com All rights reserved.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Expert Swimming Pool Design Waterproofing

Waterproofing.... to make inpenetrable to the passage of water.  This seems pretty straight forward, so why is it such a problem?

Proper Planning

Proper waterproofing begins with specifications during the planning phase of a project.  Every party who has an interest in the project needs to approve of the systems to be employed: Architect, Engineers, Material Suppliers and the Owner's Representative.

Waiting until the project is in progress is too late to begin researching compatible systems.  Letting a subcontractor show up with a "bucket of stuff" is unacceptable.

Redundancy

Do not rely on a single system to provide protection from water intrusion.  The roof of a house has multiple layers of protection - shingles/tiles, waterproof under layment, metal flashing and sometimes even a layer of adhesive membrane.

The cost of most shotcrete pools exceeds $50,000 and can be over a $1M... so why wouldn't you protect the concrete and reinforcing steel from water intrusion from both sides?

Protect both sides

Water can permeate concrete from both sides - the inside containing the water and from water in the soil.  Basement walls are waterproofed on the outside because ground water weeps through concrete.

Ground water permeating into a concrete swimming pool from the outside, over time can corrode the reinforcing steel.  The steel expands as it corrodes, causing the concrete to crack.  A crack allows an even easier path for water to enter the concrete... causing even more corrosion. This may take decades to occur, depending upon the density of the concrete and level of ground water.  

If you are building an elaborate swimming pool, with living space below or an expensive glass tile mosaic interior, why wouldn't you protect both sides of the concrete from water intrusion?  After all don't you want the pool to last forever?

Corruptible & Non-Corruptible Systems

A corruptible system is one that can be damaged during construction activities.  A non-corruptible system is one that cannot be compromised without intense effort (e.g. jack hammering or drilling holes).

A corruptible system is usually a membrane or topical system that is applied to the surface to be protected.  A non-corruptible system is one that is integral within the concrete, mixed into the cement so that it is through and through.

A combination of both of these formats is the best protection available.  

Redirect the water

Attention must also be paid to directing ground water away from the pool shell, through the use of drainage mats, french drains, a layer of rock under pool and/or de-watering wells.  

Keeping ground water away from the exterior of the pool will also control water migration and external hydrostatic pressures.

Placement of the waterproofing

Waterproofing should always be installed above the highest possible water level in the vessel.  It sound like common sense... but why would you terminate the waterproofing below the water level?

Making the effort to install the waterproofing above and beyond the maximum water level, will also provide some protection from wave action, splashing and efflorescence.  After all, pools don't sit as reflection ponds - people swim in them!


Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com 
All rights reserved.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Glass Tile Mosaic Swimming Pool Expert Wtness

Choosing a glass tile mosaic installation system.

Rule #1

Do it right or don't do it at all.

Beautiful, but Unforgiving

Glass tile mosaics in a swimming pool are the most beautiful glistening finish available.  However, they are also the most unforgiving.  An installer might have been able to get away with cutting corners with ceramic tile. But if they try to cheat with glass tiles they will surely experience installation failures.

Lack of Instructions

Many foreign manufacturers are trying to capture a portion of the US market.  However, they also fail to realize that we have published industry standards that specify how installations are to be performed.

When the instructions accompanying glass tiles lack specific product recommendations, then look to the manufacturers' of setting materials.  Many have developed complete systems for the installation of glass tile mosaics.

Choosing a System

Most high quality setting systems come with an installation warranty that covers labor and materials.  They will not cover inferior glass tiles.  

If you install cheap glass tile mosaics from a warehouse store, do not expect a warranty from the tile manufacturer.

Remember - you get what you pay for!

Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: info@aquatictechnology.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com 
All rights reserved.