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Thread: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

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    Matchless1's Avatar
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    Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    I've gone back and forth about 6 times over the last year on salt vs. chlorine for my future pool with natural stone. I've read lots of posts and articles regarding the potential degradation of natural stone used in salt pools. I've also read a lot about the best sealers out there and the need to possibly apply the sealer every 6 months, which, for right now at least, I'm prepared to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of low maintenance designs, but it seems that every time we go swimming in a chlorine pool, my daughter and I suffer from burning eyes for at least the rest of the day and night. I've also read lots of posts and articles on this phenomenon, including ones that have perfect levels and also ones that suggest adding salt to help with the problem. I know that the cause for burning eyes includes a multitude of variables (including sunscreen, urine, and other CC-contributing products), but I also know that when we swim in salt pools (even public ones), the problem (in general) does not exist. And if I'm gonna add salt to a chlorine pool, I know I'll need to seal the stone anyway. So, if I'm going to do that, why not just go with a SWG instead of chlorine from the get go?

    Like I said, I'm really torn on this issue. I want me and my daughter (and anyone else that swims in our pool for that matter) to be comfortable during and after swimming. I also don't want to have to bust up my coping, waterfall and slide steps in a few years because of salt degradation. My current plan is to go with creek rock and moss rock (very porous, I know) for the waterfall and quartzite for the coping, slide steps and waterfall ledges. I understand the quartzite is much less susceptible to salt attack, however, I still plan to seal it like all the other rock with either the Prosoco Sure Klean Weather Seal Natural Stone Treatment Sealer (~$60/gal) or the Dupont Stonetech Salt Water Resistant Sealer (~$150/gal).

    Many builders I talk to, of course, stronlgy discourage me from using salt with all the stone. They say even if I seal it twice a year it's just a matter of time before the stone will start to see the attack. I really don't want to believe them, but should I? Part of me wants to seal the stone as planned, then "try" chlorine (pucks to start, then bleach tank and stenner pump after CYA is where I need it) just to see if the burning eyes is really a problem in MY pool vs. others' pools that I have no idea what their chemistry is like or if they're really being as anal about keeping the levels in check as I will be.

    What would really help me is to hear from those that have had salt pools with natural stone (especially quartzite, moss rock and creek rock) for at least 3-5 years AND who happen to leave in the south (i.e. Texas or Louisiana) where this problem seems to be more prevalent. Did you seal your stone? If so, what are the details (sealer used, frequency, application method), results and lessons learned? Would you do it again?

    By the way, yes, I've considered the faux stone alternatives like Rico Rock, etc., but I just can't get over the fabricated look of these products...just not real enough looking for me. But if anyone has any other natural stone suggestions, mainly for the small waterfall boulders (in lieu of moss rock or creek rock), I'm all ears.
    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    First, a saltwater pool IS a chlorine pool. The SWG just generates the chlorine from the salt instead of you having to add chlorine daily.

    You can properly maintain the pool using either method following what we teach and not have the stinging eyes issues you encounter in other people's pools who may not have it well balanced.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    I went through the same decision process.
    I have a BIG moss rock waterfall and I didn't want it to be degraded.
    Then we upscaled to travertine coping/deck so I conservatively went for a bleach pool rather than Salt.

    Since I am in control of my water, I keep it tightly in raneg and have not had any 'itchy eye' issues.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    First, a saltwater pool IS a chlorine pool. The SWG just generates the chlorine from the salt instead of you having to add chlorine daily.

    You can properly maintain the pool using either method following what we teach and not have the stinging eyes issues you encounter in other people's pools who may not have it well balanced.
    Thank you jbizzle. I had planned to follow the methods recommended on this site no matter which way I go. Also, I understand that the SWG produces chlorine...I just wasn't sure what to call a pool that does not use a SWG. Is there a more commonly used term for a chlorinated pool not using a SWG?

    Quote Originally Posted by ozdiver View Post
    I went through the same decision process.
    I have a BIG moss rock waterfall and I didn't want it to be degraded.
    Then we upscaled to travertine coping/deck so I conservatively went for a bleach pool rather than Salt.

    Since I am in control of my water, I keep it tightly in raneg and have not had any 'itchy eye' issues.
    Thanks for that input ozdiver. Did/do you have itchy eye issues in other chlorine (i.e. non-SWG) pools? Just asking to establish a baseline.
    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    You could call it a bleach pool or regular chlorine pool. It was just not clear that you know the SWG was "making" chlorine ... many people do not since some market them as chemical free
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    My daughter's pool started out life as a regular chlorine pool with concrete coping. The pool was old when she bought the house, so she had the pool refurbished with new plaster, new tile and new Flagstone coping. Almost immediately you could tell the "good" flagstone, from the "bad, flagstone. The good flagstone was solid in nature and the bad flagstone seemed to be made of very thin layers. As time went on, these layers, not much thicker than a couple of sheets of paper, seemed to dry up and defoliate like chucks of dandruff. The good flagstones never seemed to be affected. Keep in mind that at this time the pool was still a normal chlorine pool. About a year ago, we added a SWG and converted the pool over to a saltwater pool. In the past year we have not seen any change due to the saltwater, the good flagstone is still good and the bad flagstone does not appear to be eroding at a faster rate than it was before.

    I guess my point is, based only on my very limited experience, that the type and quality of the stone has a lot more to do with the problem, than whether the pool is saltwater or not.

    Jim R.
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    Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimrahbe View Post

    I guess my point is, based only on my very limited experience, that the type and quality of the stone has a lot more to do with the problem, than whether the pool is saltwater or not.

    Jim R.
    ^^^^ ^^^^

    Our pool is a salt pool (4000ppm). We've owned the house three years now. The flagstone coping and acid-washed concrete deck look exactly the same as the day we moved in. The flagstone is 3" thick. high quality, buckskin-colored Arizona FS (I've been light tan colors seem to be more durable than the redder colors). There is some flaking on some of the stones but I have been told by several different stone masons that sealing won't really prevent that. I was told by the same masons that the stone sealers need to be reapplied at a maximum of every 2-yrs but that would be stretching it. Most said annual touch-ups are necessary.

    That's my take on the subject.



    Matt
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    I'm going back and forth on this same issue. My husband owns a stone restoration company and he has seen plenty of damaged salt pool stone copings. But we also have a son that gets terrible eczema whenever we swim in a regular chlorine pool. He really wants stone, and I really want SWCG, and I still don't know what we'll end up with. EVERY pool builder we've talked to has said its a bad idea, but I feel more like they're just covering their own butts in case something happens. He has access to pretty much any stone product we could imagine and I know he'll be good about taking care of it, so I think I can probably end up talking him into a SWCG

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, here's a thread about a guy's pool here in Austin, skylar18, who has had great results with salt and stone combo
    Resealed my stone today, still looking good.
    Just getting started! Inground freeform gunite pool, 17x32, 3.5-5ft depth, SWCG, French Grey mini pebble Stonescapes, NPT Arctic Lagoon glass tile, raised wall with 3 sheers, Polaris robotic cleaner, Cartridge filter, 550 sqft concrete/Kool-dek; Dig to begin 10/2017!

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimrahbe View Post
    I guess my point is, based only on my very limited experience, that the type and quality of the stone has a lot more to do with the problem, than whether the pool is saltwater or not.

    Jim R.
    Thanks Jim. That is interesting. I've never really heard of any people having issues with flagstone and bleach/non-SWG pools, but I guess this further solidifies my decision to go with quartzite (with sealer) for the coping instead of Oklahoma flagstone. I guess my real concern is the moss rock and creek rock (even with sealer) on the waterfall, especially since it will be continuously exposed to the water.
    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    This is our 4th swim season with salt and flags. I think the whole flagstone salt thing is totally overblown. I know quite a few people with flagstone and salt and none are unhappy with it. In fact, I don't actually recall ever hearing from anyone directly that they have had major issues and/or had to replace their coping due to saltwater erosion. Only just a lot of warnings from PBs. Flagstone is a natural material and some holds up better than others. We have at least three different types here. One that looks exactly the same as day one. Two different kinds that flake off a little, one with very paper thin flakes and one with slightly thicker flakes. And one that sort of pits a little bit. All of them are cool, natural and add their own value. None of them are even close to needing to be replaced and based on where we are right now may never need to be. A few of the worst pieces of flagstone that we have are on paths away from the pool and never get saltwater on them. As for sealing, I do not seal anything. The only type of flagstone that might benefit from it is the one with pitting. The ones that flake would flake no matter what and take the sealer with it.

    Bottom line, I have no regrets. I would do it again. I would not seal. If you like the look of flagstone and natural stone then I think you will appreciate the naturalness of it. It seems that the people who don't like their flagstone really wanted a more uniform material and probably should choose something more uniform or man made.

    Our PB who has been building pools in DFW for almost 30 years also has salt and flagstone and he recommended that we use flagstone because of our setting. He said it is all about getting good stone.

    There are pics in my build thread in sig, including some from this year, season 4.
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    Quote Originally Posted by alliecat View Post
    Also, here's a thread about a guy's pool here in Austin, skylar18, who has had great results with salt and stone combo
    Resealed my stone today, still looking good.
    Thanks alliecat. I remember reading that post a few months ago. Looks promising. It's posts like these that have me so torn. Sure would be nice to find one from someone using moss rock in a waterfall and Dupont sealer (or other) that have had good results for the past 3 years or more!

    When are you planning to break ground? Definitely let me know which way you decide go. I'll do the same. We're looking to start in February/March of 2016.
    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    There are pics in my build thread in sig, including some from this year, season 4.
    Thanks for the words of encouragement pooldv. I see you have a waterfall. Are any of those stones moss rock or creek rock, or is all flagstone? How is that area holding up compared to the coping or areas that are not in constant contact with the salt water?
    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine with New Stone Pool in Louisiana

    Quote Originally Posted by Matchless1 View Post
    Thanks for the words of encouragement pooldv. I see you have a waterfall. Are any of those stones moss rock or creek rock, or is all flagstone? How is that area holding up compared to the coping or areas that are not in constant contact with the salt water?
    Not sure what those rocks are. They are softer than what I would call moss rock. I built 20 tons of retaining walls from moss rock and it isn't the same as that. Moss rocks come in different forms, some more sandstone and some much harder, like ledge stone or iron stone. You can feel the difference in density when you pick them up. The big one on the right is more sandstone-y than the others are and it definitely is eroding a little sand on its surface and some in the pool. Which ends up in the filter. But, no issues at all with the rest of the rocks on the waterfall. And I think moss rock would definitely hold up better than what is in my waterfall.
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