Trevi in ​​troubled waters with its wooden swimming pools

Spread the love

Tr&eacute ;vi in ​​troubled waters with its wooden swimming pools

Trévi admits that its wooden swimming pools have been wearing out prematurely since 2012.

A Trevi wood pool with rotting problems.

Wooden pools manufactured and sold by Trevi are rotten, crumbled and sometimes have holes after only a few years. Yet these semi-inground and above-ground pools made of western Canadian red cedar had to offer superior durability and peace of mind to its owners.

Martin Lépine's swimming pool was only five years old when he discovered not only traces of rot, but a hole in its wooden structure.

Martin Lépine and his spouse Marie- Claude Marchand live in Greenfield Park on the South Shore near Montreal. In 2017, they purchased a semi-inground pool for $19,000. The couple trust Trévi, which manufactures, sells and installs its own pools. Me, it's a crush! It wasn't an in-ground pool I wanted, it was this one, says Ms. Marchand.

Martin and Marie-Claude are nevertheless worried about the design of these semi-inground pools which implies that part of the wooden panels are buried in the ground. They question their seller who reassures them and tells them not to worry about that, that their pool will not move.

Martin Lépine owns a Trevi wood swimming pool.

“He says: &quot ;No, listen, don't worry! It's Canadian Western Red Cedar, it's a wood that won't rot, and it can last 30 years in the ground with no problem.” »

— Martin Lépine, owner of a Trevi wooden swimming pool

Martin Lépine and Marie-Claude Marchand have problems with their wooden pool rotting .

Other owners confirm that their sellers quoted a lifespan of at least 20, 25 years and sometimes more.

However, Benoît Hudon, president of Trévi Fabrication, told La invoicehaving estimated the lifespan of its wooden pools at around 15 years, the same duration as the warranty offered.

In the spring of 2022, five years after the installation of the pool, Martin clears the stones around the structure in order to apply protection to its wooden panels. This is where he discovers a hole big enough to see his pool liner through. Several other panels are also damaged by rot. There is no wall inside, it is really the wood that holds the pool. It is the structure that is attacked after five years, laments Martin Lépine.

A hole caused by rot in the wooden structure of a Trevi pool.

The technician sent by Trévi does a water test to determine the pH level. According to Benoît Hudon, president of Trévi Fabrication, the pH level can be one of the causes of rot.

According to Martin Lépine, Trévi is thus trying to blame the customer by saying: You have not maintained your water well or Your water is not well balanced.

And he is not the only one to have been served this argument, if we are to believe the many testimonials reported by the Facebook group My cedar pool is rotten! which includes more than 80 owners of Trevi wooden pools.

It is impossible to know how many of these pools have been sold nor the number of complaints concerning rot, since Trevi has not did not want to provide us with this data. However, Trevi estimates that a very small percentage of pools sold have had problems.

And in a brochure dating from 2014, it is mentioned that to date, Trevi has manufactured over 7,000 cedar pools.

Benoît Hudon, president of Trévi Fabrication

Benoit Hudon refuses to say it is a design flaw, but admits its wooden pools have premature wear, mostly since 2012.

“For several years it worked really well, it worked well. Then, in 2012, there were changes to environmental laws, in terms of raw material components, wood treatment. We realized that the treatment of the wood was less efficient than before 2012. This is part of the explanation. It's not all, because it's really case by case. Is this the treatment? Is this the interview? Is this water treatment? Is it the land drip? Each case is unique. »

— Benoît Hudon, president of Trévi Fabrication

In 2018, Trévi ended the production of its cedar pools to focus instead on composite products.

When it is in contact with the ground, the cedar, it is not very good, says Marc Oudjene, full professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Water Engineering at Laval University and holder of the Chair leadership in teaching about sustainable wood structures. According to the professor, no wood has infinite natural durability and there is no indestructible wood.

He points out that using a membrane to prevent the wood from being in direct contact with the ground is a good option, because it is certain that the number one enemy is the wood. humidity that comes from the ground, argues Mr. Oudjene.

Then there is the chemical treatment of the wood which affects its durability. Even though western red cedar is a species that is known to have good durability, if left untreated and in contact with the ground, it is very difficult to go beyond. more than ten years with that, explains Mr. Oudjene.

And the treatment must be a minimum of class four, which means pressure factory treatment, for example, as other wood pool companies do. However, the treatment recommended by Trévi had to be applied by the owner before installation, then every two to three years on the part outside the ground, the other part being buried. What Martin Lépine did.

“The preservative, if it's applied by brush or spray, it's definitely not worth anything, because in fact it does not treat in depth, it just treats in depth. surface. »

— Marc Oudjene, Full Professor in the Department of Civil and Water Engineering at Laval University

The Trévi technician recommends that Marie-Claude Marchand and Martin Lépine plug the hole and wait for the replacement of their liner, in a few years, before evaluating the possibility of changing a few boards or installing panels. of steel screwed into the wood.

A solution that is far from satisfying the couple. However, its pool is covered by a 15-year warranty. Especially since waiting means that the more the years pass, the smaller the portion covered by the guarantee, which is decreasing. Thus, the portion assumed by Trévi decreases each year. For example, after 10 years, the customer is only entitled to a 35% rebate on the cost of replacement materials, but nothing for labor, delivery, or landscaping repairs .

Marie-Claude Marchand and Martin Lépine have finally accepted a confidential offer from Trévi with which they say they are satisfied. Moreover, several owners have reached an agreement with Trévi in ​​recent weeks. We made proposals, we honored the guarantees and even more, confirms Mr. Hudon.

Marie Annik Grégoire, professor of law at the University of Montreal, estimates that the percentage of this guarantee decreases a lot, from year to year, and that the average consumer who has been told your swimming pool is guaranteed fifteen years, was not necessarily able to understand that it is a guarantee or, ultimately, his pool will not really be guaranteed, regrets Me Grégoire.

According to her, owners are better protected by the Consumer Protection Act (LPC), which contains provisions, including section 42. When a merchant makes representations as to the quality, as to the duration, although he is bound by these representations, explains Marie Annik Grégoire.

“And so, if the swimming pool becomes completely rotten after five years, it& #x27;is clear that consumers have recourse under the law. »

— Marie Annik Grégoire, professor of law at the University of Montreal

Another advantage of the LPC over the warranty, according to Mr. Grégoire, is that the consumer can claim damages, including labor, to carry out the repairs. The consumer is entitled to this despite what may have been written in the contract, since the guarantee can in no way take precedence over the Consumer Protection Act, she specifies.

I believe a lot in the strength of the union and, yes, perhaps they would benefit from taking collective action, believes Marie Annik Grégoire. Each person will not have to prosecute individually, which brings a certain peace of mind, because we do not have to manage the stress of their file. On the other hand, the delays can be longer than an appeal to the small claims court, since the class action is a slightly more complex procedure which requires prior authorization. And there are also attorneys' fees to factor into the calculation.

“Maybe we won't find the #x27;all of the damage that has been suffered. But, sometimes, against peace of mind, people prefer that and unity is strength! »

— Marie Annik Grégoire, professor of law at the University of Montreal

The full report by journalist Katherine Tremblay and director Jean-François Vézina will be broadcast on Tuesday October 11 at 7:30 p.m. on the show La invoice.

Previous Article
Next Article