Hello all, this is my first post. I found TFP early this year after getting fed up with LPS and their constant pool drain/refills, add chems, etc. While it hasn't been a perfect season (I suffered an algae bloom once due to my failure to monitor FC), this has definitely been the most trouble free season I have had with my pool since I purchased the home in 2000. I must say that it has felt great to walk into the LPS store and buy only what I need, ignoring whatever chemical they are pushing this week and their pleading for me to let them test my water. My TF-100 test kit tells me everything I need to know.
With that said, my pool could use a makeover. I think it was built in the very early 1980's and appears to have been replastered at least once before I bought the property. Since I have owned it, there have been no major changes, just upkeep. I am the only one who has to maintain the pool and get almost no enjoyment from it (used it once all year), so I would be be just fine with a jackhammer and backfill remodel. However I am married, would prefer to stay that way, and my wife wants to keep it so I am calling builders to get quotes.
My decking, which is pea gravel, has some cracks. Additionally, the outer edge of the decking on one end of the pool furthest from the house dropped approximately an inch several years back when our area was suffering from a major drought. This shift in in the decking caused it to pull away from the flagstone coping (1/4" gap) and puncture the back of the skimmer. I patched the skimmer with silicone caulk but it needs to be replaced. At the other end of the pool the pea gravel abuts and is level with some plain concrete that was part of the original walkway between my back door and garage. My wife doesn't like the pea gravel and would like something different, but she doesn't know what.
My plaster which was a dark blue with some faded spots when I purchased the home in 2000 is now covered in spots from light blue to white. I do not think it is calcium, but I could be wrong. There are areas of the plaster which have chipped off and there even appears to be a five foot long hairline crack across the bottom of the shallow end. I am hoping that the crack is just the plaster and not the gunite. I have no noticeable water loss.
I have had one builder give me an estimate and am trying to get more, but I am having trouble getting anyone to come out. This one builder wants to remove/re-pour the decking which dropped, replacing the skimmer and plumbing for it while the concrete is gone. For the rest of the existing pea gravel decking and plain concrete, he wants to apply spray deck over the top. For the replaster, he has provided several options: White Plaster, White Plaster with Altima, Luna Quartz or Primera Stone. He talked about and provided links to videos about Pearl Matrix and Satin Matrix, but didn't provide a quote for either. I have several questions and am hoping some of you have experience with one or more areas.
Regarding the decking, I am concerned with the spray deck for several reasons. First, if the underlying concrete or pea gravel has a crack, won't the spray deck quickly crack in the same place? Second, I've seen situations where someone has attempted to apply a thin (~1") layer of concrete on top of existing concrete and it always seems to flake off. Won't this occur with the spray deck as well? Third, I am concerned that the addition of the spray deck will raise the deck level above the brick ledge on my foundation and cause water to flow towards the house.
Regarding the plaster, I can't decide which way to go. I've never set foot in nor had to clean/maintain anything other than a plain old plaster pool. Are pools with exposed aggregate uncomfortable to walk on or difficult to clean? Are these higher priced options really more durable or do they just have a bling look with the same basic lifespan?
Aside from those questions, I welcome any advice you can provide. Thank you in advance.