Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Proper Compaction of pool deck sub-base

Base materials are not "self-compacting" merely by dumping them on the ground.  To ensure longevity of the concrete pool decks proper compaction procedures must be followed.

Soils Report

A thorough soils report will make minimum recommendations for the preparation of the pool deck sub-base.  This may include over excavation, removal and recompaction, or the importation of materials.

The most common method is the over excavation of the pool decks when the pool is being dug.  After back filling the plumbing and utility trenches, a base material is imported to build the site back up to the proper elevation.

The soils engineer will specify the materials to be used.  It may be sand, road base or crushed rock.  The thickness of this material is specified by the soils engineer.

Proper Compaction

The thickness of this material will determine the compaction equipment that is to be used.  The confinement of the site will also dictate is larger, more efficient equipment can be used.

Jumping jack tampers are reserved for compacting trenches and open pits.  Vibratory plates are used for thin layer of materials or final compacting.  Walk behind or ride on compactors are sued when the material is to be compacted in 4-6" lifts.

Rolling compactors are the most efficient, as the size of the roller quickly compacts a lot of terra firma.  

Using the improper equipment is not only a waste of time and money, it will not result in a stable base.  Spreading a foot or more of material, and expecting to compact it with a vibratory plate is a fool hardy endeavor.  

While the top may become compacted, the bottom will remain loose.  Over time that material will settle, resulting in deck movement and cracking.

Contact the author, Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa at: or 408-776-8220. Visit his website at: All Contents © Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, 2013. All rights reserved.

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To contact the author, Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology pool and Spa, email him at: or call 408-776-8220.
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