As a swimming pool leak detection and repair expert, I wrote this website to educate the reader with all there is to know about the swimming pool skimmer. If you have any questions or comments Email me at LEAKY2@HOTMAIL.COM

My leak detection website is

Some folks call the skimmer a leaf catcher because its main purpose is to pull the top layer of water off the pool and gather the leaves in a basket.

Exposed under the cement is a the plastic skimmer buried deep behind metal rebar. It has a number of plastic ribs to strengthen the structure so its kind of a different looking beast than one would think. Its strong structural features makes it a movie prop in the evil villains hideout: GET SMART "The Nude Bomb" 1980



Often a skimmer will have 2 pipes in the bottom- everyone knows one must go to the pump- but what about the other?


That second pipe can go a few different places:

1)down to the bottom drain for safety.

2)Dead pipe thats plugged off.

3)Overflow drain in the yard.

Flushing unknown pipes with a garden hose at full blast can often identify the other end of the pipe with some suprising results.



The top and the front of the skimmer are set firmly in concrete. But as time goes by the dirt around the pipes and the base of the skimmer settles and stresses the bottom of the skimmer and the joints in the pipes. This is what causes most skimmers to crack: the weight and settling of the soil around it.

With so many types of skimmers out there,There is a skill in determining what can be fixed where it sits and what needs to be replaced. Most of the time someone has tried to putty up the crack with epoxy which is OK, but with a little thought the skimmer can be made stronger then before.
A poor practice of dumping chlorine tablets into the skimmer basket can accelerate the problem. It can take years but chlorine oxidizes some plastics and makes them brittle. Many pool service people dont understand this. I recomend the blue floater on the right. Tie it off to the stair rail if it keeps getting sucked into the skimmer opening.
Some skimmers are plumbed in with Flexpipe or spa pipe that can really be effected by chlorine tablets left in the skimmer. 1 out of 10 concrete pools have it- all fiberglass pools have it. It swells so bad that you cant glue a fitting too it. To replace it you have to find the other end that is glued to a hard PVC pipe.
So why not just replace the skimmer and get it over with? Because you don't want all that vibration from the jackhammer near your pool. The skimmer sits in the weakest part of the pool wall; a notch has been cut out of a uniform wall and the wall tends to crack right in the corner of the notch- Engineers call this a "stress razor" and the failure "notch sensitivity" Once a crack like this starts its nearly impossible to fix. Its best to tread lightly.

Now not all pools are built the same: the skimmer on the left was installed as the pool is being built- its ready to have the gunnite cement sprayed for the pool; notice this skimmer is built inside of a box structure that is used to support the skimmer and reinforce the wall at the same time- A very solid design.

The pool on the right has been built with a thin wall and they just cut out a notch for a skimmer. This wall will probably crack within 5 years. There is also a nitch for the light made out of plastic, If you want to learn more about how those break you can search Youtube for "CRACKED PLASTIC LIGHT HOUSINGS"




So after 20 years of inspecting skimmers I've developed my special ways of repairing them where they sit: All the repairs are custom designed depending on your installation. Whether its fiberglassing the walls or adding a false bottom; my repairs really are a much better alternitive to digging it out.

The blue fiberglass repair is for illustration, most fiberglass repairs I do are colored white and blend in nicely. We are experminting with Kevlar fibers which would truely make our skimmers bullet proof.

The white cement finish in the bottom of the skimmer to the right is a high strength cement topping chosen for its resistance to the harsh pool chemicals. Some of these repairs have lasted over 10 years without signs of failing.

In the end, all the baskets and vacuum hoses fit and work as normal.

Looking down to where the basket sits in this old skimmer, it was repaired 2 previous times. I spent a long time preping the sides with air sanders and grinders and covered the crack with a carbon fiber/Kevlar composite weave. Its still expermintal but I had fun doing it.