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Repairing Your Pond

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 26 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Leaks Alternative Causes Pvc Butyl Epdm

There are few things guaranteed to make the pond-keeper feel sick quite so quickly as the sight of the water level suddenly starting to drop for no good reason. Any one of a number of other causes may be to blame but the automatic fear is a leaky liner – and the necessity of making a repair, which is never a job to be undertaken lightly. Fortunately, however, in many cases fixing a holed liner can often end up being far less difficult than you might think, particularly since modern glues, patches and repair kits are much improved over earlier versions.

Having eliminated losses from leaking pipes, natural evaporation, splashing fountains and waterfalls and other possible causes of the diminishing water level – and facing the inevitability of a repair – the first thing to do is to find the leak. While this is not always a straightforward job, the good news is that it is often not necessary to be thinking in terms of finding emergency quarters for your precious fish and then draining the whole pond. The simplest and certainly least traumatic way of tracking down the hole is to do nothing and let the water settle to its own level – which will, of course, be just below the leak – making the area which needs to be to be painstakingly examined for punctures much smaller.

Fixing the Leak

For the two most common types of garden pond construction – those using either flexible or pre-formed liners – repair kits are readily available. Repairing PVC, butyl or EPDM flexible liners generally involves either applying a length of flexible, high-adhesive tape to the split or hole, or using specialised glues to fix a watertight patch. Locating the hole is usually fairly easy given the smooth appearance of the liner material, but it can be complicated by the creases which occurred when it was first laid; a split under a fold can take some finding! Leaks from pre-formed pools fortunately seem to be quite rare. However, accidents can happen and resin-based repair kits are available from a variety of manufacturers to make good the damage in the case of a fibreglass pond, while polyester or polyethylene versions are available for those made of HDPE and other plastics. These kits contain all the materials needed to make the necessary repairs quickly and easily.

Unfortunately holes in ponds made from the less commonly used materials such as concrete and resin coated block-work are less easily found and appropriate quick repair kits are not to be had. Often the only practical solution with either type of material is to remove the pond-life to alternative accommodation, drain the pond and then recoat with sealant or resin to make the structure watertight again. Alternatively, if this is shaping up to be too big or costly a job, a new flexible liner can be fitted, over a suitable protective layer of sand, newspaper or purpose made underlay.

As with so many aspects of pond keeping, a little bit of prevention at the outset is better than being faced with having to fix a problem later and many of the common causes of leaks can be avoided if the pond is installed properly in the first place. If the liner is fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, in a properly excavated hole, free of stones and roots and protected by a sufficiently deep layer of cushioning material, there should be no reason why it should not last way beyond the lifespan of its guarantee. However, it is easy to be wise after the event and all of this is scant consolation if your pride-and-joy pond has, for whatever reason, sprung a leak. While this is never good news, there are ways to fix it and – with luck – without too much disturbance and upheaval into the bargain.

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AllotmentPond - Your Question:
Hi. you say "while polyester or polyethylene versions are available for those made of HDPE and other plastics. These kits contain all the materials needed to make the necessary repairs quickly and easily". However, after some Googling, I can't seem to find anything that is specifically suitable for a hard plastic pond that I have inherited on my allotment (plenty of products come up, but nothing seems to mention HDPE).The pond recently gained 4 small holes (5mm x 5mm) due to an accident with a garden fork. :(Can you either recommend some suppliers and/or products, or suggest the Google search terms that I should use (I am based in UK) so I can find these products myself? Thanks!

Our Response:
A search for "underwater sealant" will bring up something suitable, you don't need to include the HDPE part.
PondExpert - 21-Jun-17 @ 2:45 PM
Kab - Your Question:
I have inherited a brick built fish pond in my front garden, complete with fish. It is about 20ft long x 9ft at the widest point (it is a triangle) and about 2ft tall. The pond liner has come away from the bricks at the top (on one side) and is slipping into the water. Is there a product that I can use to stick the liner back onto the bricks without disturbing the bricks. I do not know what the liner is made of. The pond is about ten years old.

Our Response:
There are various adhesives available but we can't mention specific brand names here. A trip to a garden centre/aquatics specialist will probably be the most useful thing to do.
PondExpert - 21-Jun-17 @ 10:50 AM
Hi ... you say "while polyester or polyethylene versions are available for those made of HDPE and other plastics. These kits contain all the materials needed to make the necessary repairs quickly and easily".However, after some Googling, I can't seem to find anything that is specifically suitable for a hard plastic pond that I have inherited on my allotment (plenty of products come up, but nothing seems to mention HDPE). The pond recently gained 4 small holes (5mm x 5mm) due to an accident with a garden fork ... :( Can you either recommend some suppliers and/or products, or suggest the Google search terms that I should use (I am based in UK) so I can find these products myself?Thanks!
AllotmentPond - 19-Jun-17 @ 10:00 PM
I have inherited a brick built fish pond in my front garden, complete with fish.It is about 20ft long x 9ft at the widest point (it is a triangle) and about 2ft tall.The pond liner has come away from the bricks at the top (on one side) and is slipping into the water.Is there a product that I can use to stick the liner back onto the bricks without disturbing the bricks.I do not know what the liner is made of.The pond is about ten years old.
Kab - 19-Jun-17 @ 11:52 AM
I have small very slow leak in pool liner near top but can't locate precisely rather than dismantle the rock surroundingis there any floating material, weed, ultra fine polyethylene balls, or the like which might be drawn in and clog the hole? perhaps human hair, works in bathroom sinks and tubs. Yours Doug A
doug - 22-May-17 @ 5:01 AM
@Gregg - as you will see above: "resin-based repair kits are available from a variety of manufacturers to make good the damage in the case of a fibreglass pond, while polyester or polyethylene versions are available for those made of HDPE and other plastics. These kits contain all the materials needed to make the necessary repairs quickly and easily." Let us know how you get on.
PondExpert - 16-Jun-14 @ 11:36 AM
I have a pond from Lowes (Hard plastic) and it has a leak, how can I repair the leak, any ideas would be appreciated Thanks Gregg
gregg - 13-Jun-14 @ 2:07 PM
@Ayla - as above, you'll really need to drain the pond competely. You could just fill the holes with concrete and then apply a suitable waterproof coat. However if you want something that will last a glass fibre laminate might be your answer. Fill the holes then apply a couple of layers of matting with a resin and gel coat. You're effectively creating another pond on top of the old one - any ground movement that mighthave caused cracks before, should now not affect your hard (glass fibre laminate) pond.
fixit fred - 4-Jun-14 @ 12:30 PM
My 20 year old concrete pond has several holes, one about 6" across. It was originally built with concrete and pebles.Roots are the probable cause of the holes. A rep-air ten years ago was done with a new coat of thin set. How can I repair the holes and reseal the pond. Thank you for your help.
Ayla - 3-Jun-14 @ 8:11 PM
need advise on how to repair a fibreglass rock pond. it is leaking, must be cracked, but I cannot see the crack please advise how i can repair it myself? what materials and where can I purchase them? Johannesburg based .... thanks
dee - 24-May-14 @ 10:05 AM
We have a fiberglass pond that has leaked. can you tell me where I get the repair kits from?
tam - 24-May-14 @ 7:55 AM
would you please advise as to the best material to use to repair cracks in my old concrete pond. thanks
al - 1-May-14 @ 1:19 PM
hi ihavealarge pond that has a leak is there anyway of sealing the leak without removing the fish as 1 is approx 2ft
harley - 4-Apr-14 @ 12:15 PM
Awesome information you have shared in this post about repair pond and also great tips.Thanks for sharing it.
Brian McCallister - 5-Aug-13 @ 6:46 AM
What was your answer to question from "fisherman" 28-May-12 @ 3:07 please?
berly - 15-Jul-13 @ 9:27 AM
Hi, after scouring the net for advice the tips on this page are most helpful as we have unearthed an original pond in our garden. It has been filled in with building waste and gravel and made into a sort of 'feature' by previous owners. We really want a pond in our garden so on discovering this we are very excited, we are currently still digging out all the waste material but the pond has been originally made of concrete/resin etc. Once cleaned out etc what would you recommend the next step? Re-sealing the pond as it is with a resin/sealant or would you for extra security also line it with pond liner? Thank you for any help and advice! :)
Pondnovice - 14-Jun-13 @ 11:36 AM
Hi, I have been living away from home for five years and returned to discover that the temporary tenant has managed to puncture the butyl pond liner in a number of places (looks suspiciously like rake holes) and water level has dropped by about half.I am in process of emptying and draining pond to check for further punctures and wondering where I can access repair tape or glue.I live in Ayrshire, Scotland. Thank you.Patricia
Patricia - 15-Jul-12 @ 3:00 PM
Hi, Please can you help, I have a small leak in my pond which I have located.I have aquired the repair kit needed but I am unsure what to do with the perhaps 15 small fish (type unknown as the pond was inherited) which are in the pond. It will take me about three days to drain clean repair and refill, how do I look after the fish please? Ric
Rickety - 31-May-12 @ 8:04 AM
I have a two piece water fall from a top pond to a main The top piece ia moulded fiberglass,the lower end is stone and rock,the pond is loosing ater when the fall is in use only,we can nt seea leak but the ground is wet below the stone concrete.can you please recomend a product that we can seal the area with that is fish safe and easy to applyBest wishes phillip 01792 462141
fisherman - 28-May-12 @ 3:07 PM
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