One of the major keys to successful elevated pool and water feature design is effective waterproofing. It is Counsilman-Hunsaker’s recommendation that two layers of waterproofing be considered, one at the structural level and the other at the finish level.


The structural or primary waterproofing system should include the entire natatorium or pool/water feature area, including the well within which the pool or water feature shell is to be constructed, the surrounding deck as well as all ancillary areas anticipated to be wet, such as shower and rest room areas. It should be of any reasonable quality waterproofing material consistent with the application, coordinated with and if possible compatible with the secondary waterproofing material under the pool finishes.


The Architect is typically responsible for the base waterproofing system. Please note that a drain or drains should be provided at the lowest point at the structural or primary level of waterproofing to carry away leakage and relieve hydrostatic pressure, if any.  This drain should daylight at some point, or be provided with a sight-glass, in order to monitor leakage.


Pool and water features waterproofing:


With a stainless solution, this second level of waterproofing is the stainless steel shell itself. No other waterproofing should be required.


With a concrete solution, a waterproofing system will be specified that will maximize the compatibility between substrate and finishes. Laticrete HydroBan, which is a liquid applied modified rubber waterproofing system, along with their entire family of epoxy mortars, tile setting materials, grouts, and waterproofing accessories, have been used successfully for this purpose.


Other systems are available, such as AquaFin 1K or 2K/M. In the case of incompatibility issues with primary waterproofing systems, the use of a suitable render or mortar between and separating the systems has been found to be successful in the past.


Leaks, although rare, remain a possibility. Pipe or conduit leakage, if it’s going to occur, usually manifests with the first filling of the feature.  Once repaired, the occurrences of such leaks are rare, but can happen.  It is recommended, therefore, that if possible, allowances be made for their containment.  Locating utility, filter or mechanical spaces below the pool or water feature, with perimeter curbs and ample drainage, are good examples.  If the pools are located over sensitive occupied space, and the incorporation of drained containment areas is not possible, the use of drip pans under the pool and piping may be considered.


Ample overflow and/or deck drainage capacity at least equal to the makeup water flow should be provided. On high rise applications, the potential for sway should be considered and appropriate measures taken to contain any consequent slosh.  This should be discussed during design.

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