Every summer when temperatures start to soar, many property owners enjoy a dip in their in-ground pools for a refreshing cool-off. Pools aren't without their share of maintenance issues, one of which is when the steps leading down into the pool leak, evident by a trickle of water running to the outside of the pool's perimeter. This issue is common in much older pools; luckily, with a little know-how, it's a fairly simple DIY fix.
Drain the pool down to the level of the suspected leak site. If you don't know the exact location of the leak, pour about 1/4 cup of dark-colored food coloring directly into the pool filter and watch the steps carefully. After a few minutes, the coloring will leak through and reveal the leak's location.
Dry the area around the crack and visually inspect the crack site. Chances are the leak is in the grout between the pool tiles, but take a look at the tiles surrounding the crack to check to make sure they're properly aligned. In older pools, the tiles may shift and pull away from the grout as the grout ages. Note if this is the case with your pool.
Insert the tip of a chisel into the lip above any cracked or misaligned tile that is around the crack. Tap gently on the end of the chisel with a hammer to pry the tile out from the pool. Insert a replacement tile into the space. Stir the pool grout and use your index finger, which is about the same width as the grout line between the tiles, to apply a bead of grout around the tile.
Apply the bead of grout generously around the existing tile if none need replacing. Smooth the bead with your finger and use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away excess grout from the tile for a cleaner look. Allow ample time to dry, which depends on how much grout was used, but at least two hours is recommended.
Fill the pool water and pour more food coloring into the filter to check your work. You'll need to repeat the steps if signs of leaking are present.