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Thread: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

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    StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Hey TFP, this may be a long post so I apologize in advance. There will be questions at the end

    We had our pool resurfaced about 45 days ago with StoneScapes pebble/glass. Also did waterline tile at the same time with 1" glass tiles. It looks amazing and the contractor did a pretty good job, best I can tell. The main observation I had about the surface we selected (Aqua White 3 - light blue with blue glass) is that it is MUCH darker under water than it is in the showroom. Drastically so. Take that into consideration if you select a tint.

    The contractor we used did not offer chemistry services beyond the initial fill and acidification, I was on my own to do this. Since it was Feb and the pool wasn't swimmable, the main concern we had was just to allow the plaster to cure so we added only acid and brushed daily with a combo brush. I did keep the pH low but was surprised at how much acid the pool eats. The problem with my Taylor test kit is that it doesn't read below 7.0 so you can't tell the difference between 6.0 and 6.9. And let me tell you ... pH swings FAST when plaster cures. We had a couple days where I read the pH in the morning and the solution was yellow (well below 7.0) and that afternoon it was bright pink (8+). This likely led to some discoloration which had to be fixed with a no-drain acid wash. Contractor sent a guy out to dump 8gal (!!!) of acid into our 8000gal pool. The marks definitely went away and the finish looks awesome.

    So here we are now ready to bring the water back to normal and begin balancing the chemistry. We've been getting a bit more sediment in the last week and that's causing me to brush more and hose my filter cart out every day or so.

    Now I go to the local pool store yesterday to pick up what I need to make the pool swimmable. At this point I'm around FC=0, TA=0, CH=450, pH=??low?? and so they give me pH+, TA+ and a sequesterant. Instructions are to add the seq and wait 2 hours, then add 2lbs of the pH+ an hour apart, followed by 2lb of the TA+ an hour apart, staggering it all out. Seq, then pH, then TA. Figure I'll test again after all that and see where I am. Only then will I add stabilizer and bleach.

    Well, after the first 2+ lbs of pH+, we have sediment. HUGE amounts of sediment. Filter goes from clean to clogged in like an hour. Overnight the pool looks as if it was snowed in, and we dumped a gallon of milk. Really awful. So I clean the filter, brush some more, and start the motor. pH is still ??low?? (solution is yellow) ... and I'm slowly filtering and replacing water. I've only added about 2.5lb of pH+ and the quart of sequesterant (yesterday).

    So, the questions:

    1. Should we have left the pH that low for more than the time it took to remove the calcium staining?
    2. How bad is this pH for my piping and pump?
    3. Is it normal to have INSANE amounts of sediment when you raise pH?
    4. Should I just drain half my water and replace?
    5. I'm freaking out a little ... should I be?

    Thanks TFP ... I trust you guys way more than my LPS or the pool contractor....
    Last edited by cbredesen; 03-23-2016 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Typo in title
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    I see you talk about your "Taylor" test kit. Which one do you have? That will get us off to a good start knowing that info.

    When you do your test what is the full range of numbers?

    FC
    CC
    PH
    TA
    CH
    CYA

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    From the original message, sorry it was buried in my big wall o text:

    At this point I'm around FC=0, TA=0, CH=450, pH=??low??

    CYA would be 0 as well since I"ve added none, CC would be 0 too.
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    If your TA is truly 0, then your pH is around 4.5 and you probably don't have an exchanger in your heater anymore. Are you certain the test is correct?

    How much acid have you added? There is no reason to go below a pH of 7 and even that is very low. Are you adding baking soda or washing soda?
    -Brian-
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    1. Should we have left the pH that low for more than the time it took to remove the calcium staining?
    -No. Low pH is very hard on plaster. While the appearance of yours did improve, I'm certain the lifespan will be reduced as a result. You likely did not have calcium staining but leftover plaster slurry from the original acid wash.
    2. How bad is this pH for my piping and pump?
    -Little harm is done to PVC but copper is especially susceptible to low pH; especially very low pH for a very long time as in your situation.
    3. Is it normal to have INSANE amounts of sediment when you raise pH?
    -That is a common side effect depending on what and how it was added. How much is insane?
    4. Should I just drain half my water and replace?
    -This would depend on what your numbers truly are. How much washing soda was added? Was there any change in pH?
    5. I'm freaking out a little ... should I be?
    -Its been 45 days, why the concern now? This can be corrected, but I am fearful that damage was done to the plaster and the heater.
    -Brian-
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Thanks, I don't have a heater so that's not a worry. I do have solar but that has been off all this time. Responding to other questions...

    3. INSANE sediment is -- I can barely see the second step. Can't see main drain at all. Very murky.

    4. I added about 2.5lb of PHplus ... Testing the pH with my taylor kit (45ml sample + 5 drops) it shows up yellow still.

    5. The pH was "normal" for most of the 30 days, we only added the crazy acid to get rid of the marks caused by (allegedly) the pH going above 8ish a couple times during curing. I have no idea what the true pH is, my kit only has the narrow range. I use a Taylor K2005 kit. So the reason for the concern now, is that the sediment is new and the low pH was only recent.

    So, in the event of a no-drain acid wash - how long should the pH be left low and what should the procedure be to return the pH to normal?
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Depending on the severity of the plaster discolorations, 2-3 days should be plenty for the acid bath. Do you have a way to aerate the pool Waterfall, jets, etc.)?

    Can you test the TA again? Have you added any baking soda?

    8 gallons of acid in your 8,000 gallon pool, starting with a pH of 8, would lower the pH to <4 and drop the TA to 0, which is likely what you are experiencing. How yellow is the pH test?

    Is your chlorine 0 for a reason?
    -Brian-
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    Depending on the severity of the plaster discolorations, 2-3 days should be plenty for the acid bath. Do you have a way to aerate the pool Waterfall, jets, etc.)?

    Can you test the TA again? Have you added any baking soda?

    8 gallons of acid in your 8,000 gallon pool, starting with a pH of 8, would lower the pH to <4 and drop the TA to 0, which is likely what you are experiencing. How yellow is the pH test?

    Is your chlorine 0 for a reason?
    I am adding TA increaser now, slowly. I'll test TA again tomorrow.

    As of right now, my pH has come up to around 7.3; I added a small amount of acid because at high CH levels I want to keep the pH lowish and it still seems to be raising on its own due to plaster curing.

    Yesterday the pH test was bright yellow, absolutely no pink. I would have believed pH of 4.

    Chlorine is 0 because the strategy early on, with the low acidity was basically (or so the contractor told me) keeping it sterile and since we weren't swimming anyway, it didn't matter.

    Chlorine is 0 now because I want to get the TA and pH in line before adding stabilizer or chlorine. Is that a bad idea? As soon as TA/pH are good, I'm going to add sanitizer.

    Thanks for your ongoing help here... really appreciated.
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    TA increaser is Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda). PH up is Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash or Washing Soda). If you are buying these products from a pool store, you are likely paying more for the same products sold at a grocery store (minus the fancy label).

    A pH of 7.3 is still far too low, even for your CH level which is not that high.

    In your situation I'd suggest:

    pH 7.6-7.8
    FC 3-6
    TA 60-80
    CH 450+
    CYA 40

    Please be cautious with your additions now. Do not add anymore pH up (Washing Soda) and be sure not to over shoot the target TA. The higher the TA, the higher and faster your pH will rise. TA can be somewhat troubling to lower.

    Get some chlorine and CYA in the water. Trichlor pucks would actually be a good option for you right now.

    Do not use any form of chlorine bound to calcium (CalHypo) and make sure you are diluting the baking soda in a bucket of water before adding and brushing/stirring very well afterward.
    -Brian-
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Thank you, bdavis. I read this after adding a little more TA, I am now at:

    FC 0
    pH 7.6 (but it climbs pretty fast)
    TA 95 (didn't go full blue until the 10th drop)
    CH ~400
    CYA 0, presumably since I have added none.

    Will pucks get my CYA up fast enough? I gave away all mine last summer after reading TFP and discovering my CYA level of ~300+ was caused by them and they are generally evil

    Water is still very murky but clearing up - I guess just keep brushing and cleaning my filter cartridge?

    Thank you all so very much for this ... best pool resource on the web, by a long shot. Y'all have saved my bacon multiple times.

    EDIT: I can aerate using my spa bubbles and lower pH ... should I do so? Or just replace a little water to knock down TA? Happy to do either...
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    No need to replace water. Your TA will come down with time. For now, target a pH of 7.7-7.8 and lower it to 7.6 when it rises above that value. Continue brushing, vacuuming and cleaning the filter as much as possible. A little effort right now will add huge gains down the road.

    Do not add any baking soda, TA up, pH up, etc. Really the only thing you need to add is chlorine, acid, and enough CYA to get you to your target. You can use pucks all you want so long as you frequently test your CYA level and discontinue their use when the CYA rises to the recommended level for your situation. Another option is to add granular CYA and liquid chlorine for maintenance if you'd rather go the more TFP traditional route...either is fine.
    -Brian-
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    OK an update after somewhat of a fiasco. Raising my pH (soda ash) and TA (sodium hydrogen carbonate) as per the local pool store was disastrous. Caused the murkiness as well as tons of sediment and, ultimately, a bunch of calcification on my new pebble. Why do I listen to my local pool store!?

    So I've now done another acid job, the pebble looks great again and this time I will use bicarb to slowly raise TA and keep my eye on pH. My CH is nearly 500 so I'm replacing a little water to knock that down. Plaster guy wants it closer to 300 but above, bdavis466 calls for 450+ ... love to hear thoughts on this. I haven't looked into how these values affect CSI but I will keep my eye on that longer term.
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    I'm not recommending raising the CH level above 450, it was stated that way because your CH will continuously be rising as time passes. Your current level is fine where it is so long as you compensate by paying attention to the CSI and adjusting accordingly.

    Calcium levels can be easily managed all the way up to about 1000 ppm.
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Nice, thanks.
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    You can manage CH above 1000 ppm without scaling by managing your CSI number. Plenty of TFPers do. To prevent scale in your pool keep your CSI on the negative side, -0.1 to -0.2.

    More here, Pool School - Calcium Scaling
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    So the drama continues. We had scaling due to my mishandling of TA and pH the first time. So we did another no-drain acid wash. 6gal of acid and it cleared up overnight. Ran the pump all night. This time we are using bicarb only. About 7lb of bicarb in, the water gets murky and doesn't clear up. No scaling and now my numbers are... TA=30 pH=6.4 (a guess) FC=0, CH=360. But the murkiness is very hard to clean up. I hosed out my filter 5x on Sunday. Replaced the cartridge monday and now after the second hosing, it's covered in slime and not filtering that well.

    Plaster guy has asked me to hose out the filter and add 1cup of DE to the skimmer and let it run overnight. Thoughts?
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Glad things are looking better. Adding DE to the filter doesn't sound like a good idea if it is already getting clogged up quickly. DE will just make it clog up even quicker due to finer filtering capacity.
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Glad things are looking better. Adding DE to the filter doesn't sound like a good idea if it is already getting clogged up quickly. DE will just make it clog up even quicker due to finer filtering capacity.
    OK, so what is the source of my murkiness and how should I clear it up?
    8,000gal IG w/pebble, screened in, solar heated, including spa. Hayward cartridge filter.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    I don't know. Let's see if we can get some more help. brb
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    Re: StoneScapes pebble refinish 45 days in - observations and questions

    I really do not know for sure BUT think filter and lots of it will help...........see about skimmer socks. They kind of act like a Pre-filter to the filter.

    That is all I have........oh wait what about the poly filled bucket that has been used to clear metals? Does anyone think that might help him filter even more? I am just throwing ideas out there to see what sticks.

    Kim
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