Swimming Pool Structural Engineering Information

Here you will find information on some of the critical details of your pools construction

NOTE: These details are not for everyone, but for those who are interested in the deep things of pool construction.

As mentioned in the Construction Section your pool will be built to
Specifications called out in your Structural Engineering Plans.


So before we know how to apply the information contained in the Structural Engineering sheets we have to know what type of soil we are building in.

In order to know your type of soil we obtain a soils report for your property address and apply those conditions found in the report to the rebar and gunite schedule on the structural plans .

Below is a sample of the type of soil report we obtain for each project :


This is the Legend to Interprete the Map with.



Below is the old Phx Shrink Swell Map

This one should never be referred to but you may see it come out in a presentation by others.

This map is obsolete. According to its own publishers it was created with obsolete and misinterpreted data.

This map is shown here only to make you aware of its existence as it is still commonly refferred to in the pool industry in this region.

Some pool companies use it to determine deck construction specifications such as thickness of concrete, extra rebar etc.

Some pool salesman use it to sell you "upgraded decking" or Premium 5" Thick Decking.

According to its publishers the map should not be referred to for any use.

The 202 and 101 freeways are not yet completed on this map it is so out of date.


Since we are on the topic of deck construction let's discuss some more deck details.

A common practice in the area is to tie the pool deck down to the pool shell with a rebar connection. There is a trade term for it but I will use the generic term "deck dowels".

If you look at the structural detail below done by the structural engineer you can clearly see that positive separation is required between the top of the pool shell wall and the bottom of the decking and certainly no rebar deck dowels tying the decks to the pool bond beam.

Below that it shows "no bond breaker" installed and the damage that can cause.


Below are some more Structural Engineering Sheets that show the Bond Breaker
but I also wanted you to just get a feel for the other stuff that is on the plans.



The Bottom Line

Simply Natural Pools simply will not do concrete pool decking.

Even when concrete is done absolutely correct problems can arise. Problems in the wonderful world of concrete means "cracks".

All concrete cracks. When it has just been poured and then it is finished it goes from wet to dry over a period of time and during that drying or curing process it shrinks because the water is leaving the slab. A 10 ft section of concrete will shrink about 1/16th of an inch. And because concrete doesn't stretch, it cracks. In a perfect world it will crack in the "control joints". the deep joints that you see in your driveway or sidewalk. The intent is that the concrete will crack at those weakened joints. But in reality you can get the random stray crack at any location on a slab. And you many times will. Then you are going to expect the cracked section to be jack hammered out and replaced. That's a bad thing.

The Remedy?

Paver Decking

Travertine Pavers, Belgard Pavers

We construct our Pool Decks using only Pavers for a couple of reasons.

All concrete cracks.

And cool deck is just plain hard to look at.

Pavers look great, will never crack, can be easily extended in the future without trying to match concrete and bring the deck crews back.