Mark's Pools Plus

Swimming Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs
Whitby ON L1R 1V2
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Mike in Toronto
Mike in Toronto
1 review Whitby, ON

Mark's Pools D minus

First of all, let me start by saying that I wanted to like Mark. Guy's a firefighter and a gas tech, is highly reviewed on homestars and generally comes across as competent and capable.

We retained Mark for a pool reno at the end of last summer. The liner needed to be replaced, and underneath it, the steel panelling along the walls had begun to rot and needed to be refinished. As well, we needed new coping and the interlock surrounding the pool was sunken and uneven, so we decided to pull it up and have a concrete deck poured in its place. We chose a stamped pattern for the concrete, and since Mark couldn't do it himself, he subcontracted the work to a concrete finisher. Mark built the form, and to his credit, the lines were straight and the structural supports put in place. So far so good. Well I guess he must have lowballed the concrete guy because it was clearly a rush job. The lawn was covered in concrete debris; stones and sand absolutely everywhere. A small section of coping that was held together by clips had shifted during the pour and the edge was misaligned. I'd later notice that sloping was somewhat ignored, as while water flows away from the house, certain areas bias toward the pool, meaning any dirt or debris on the deck gets washed into the pool. Another thing I failed to catch was the skimmer. Due to the height of the coping, and the concrete needing to be flush with it, the skimmer needed to be extended up as the new deck height was several inches above where the interlock had been. I really don't know what Mark's plan was here. He raised the skimmer with some makeshift sonotube involving foam sheets and duct tape. Needless to say it didn't hold up during the pour and now sits on a 30 degree angle. It's separated into upper and lower halves, divided by a section of bare concrete and some foam sheets. It functions, but it looks like a child built it. When I brought up the misaligned coping, Mark's response was to beat on the protruding section with a hammer. When he failed to mention it again, I asked if he was planning to leave it like that, and he replied that he could cover the now damaged section with clips. I told him he could just give me the clips and I'd do it myself, as at this point I was confident I'd do a nicer job. I wasn't happy about it but I got over it, paid up and moved on. When I went to open up at the start of swim season is when I saw the skimmer. Beyond what I mentioned above there was about 2 inches of solid concrete on the bottom, covering the ports. I had to chip it out with a hammer and chisel. Beyond that, I found that the faceplates for the return jets and skimmer mouth hadn't been installed and the openings were not cut out. I called Mark to have him come out and install them, and in between incoherent replies, promising to be there and not showing up and then showing up "first thing in the morning" at 5pm on a Sunday with the wrong parts, almost 2 weeks later the plates were installed and the pool was finally ready to be opened. I mentioned the skimmer and asked what he planned to do about it and he responded that I should lower my water level first(any self respecting pool guy should have a sump pump handy) so he could then parge (put a surface layer of concrete around) the inside of the skimmer. First of all that's silly, and secondly, I knew it would probably be another month before he'd show up again, so I decided to let it go. I wish it ended there. Several weeks after opening, I realized I was losing a lot more water than normal and I decided I'd better have a leak test performed. I went with a local pool store as, A. I knew they'd be unbiased about anything they found, and B. I really didn't want anything further to do with Mark. They performed the test and determined that an improperly installed skimmer faceplate, with a missing screw and epoxy used in its place, was the source of the leak. I contacted Mark and asked what he planned to do about it. His response was to blame the integrity of the steel for the fact that he couldn't get all the screws to hold. He then said that he would fix the faceplate (somehow? I thought the steel was too rotten?) but that he would not pay for the leak test. Once again I kicked rocks, swallowed my pride and asked when he would be here. After a couple of days without a reply, I opted to have another party perform the repair. Turns out Mark never checked the steel around the skimmer before he installed the liner, and even a cursory look online shows that any halfway professional pool guy checks that the skimmer screws have something to thread into before the liner goes in. If need be, a patch panel (steel bracket with machined threads) gets installed and everything goes according to plan. Easy peasy for anyone but Mark who acts like he took over the job halfway through, and blames anyone and anything for his own poor planning. I'm out of pocket an additional ~$600 for the leak test and the repair, not to mention water bills. Don't hire this guy, he's a banana

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