My pool renovation is almost complete but I'm very concerned about the final stages given my contractors response to some issues. I've basically built a new pool aside from the existing concrete shell. The contractor installed the coping, a pre-cast made by Pacific Stone and then the tile. I chose a brick pattern ceramic tile made by Fujiwa that looks like a glass tile but supposedly without the issues and cost to install. The tile is uniform and well made. I realize that half the tile will always be under water. However, if I look down the tile line on almost every wall, the tile is nowhere near straight compared to the coping above. In fact, some spots are 1/2" more proud than others. The skimmer tile is pretty bad as well, tile doesn't line up with rest of perimeter tile and slanted. During college, I installed tile and have enough experience to understand that prep is crucial with any job. They appeared to float the wall but apparently didn't run a line to make sure they were floating consistently.
My contractor said that the tile in a pool is not like the tile in a house and that imperfection are common/not seen once the water is in the pool. I find it very hard to believe given the pebble finish will have to be finished up to the tile there will not be noticeable waves. When I reinforced my opinion, he said they would fix it but did not have the reaction "this is definitely wrong and we will make it right". The fact that he didn't immediately recognize the poor installation is concerning me and I am considering having someone else fix it and handle the pebble. He didn't fight me to fix it, but I don't see how the same installers will improve their first attempt unless they just didn't care and now will do it properly.
Additionally, realizing that I'm not ok with "imperfections", he recommended we shoot a thin coat of shotcrete over the entire pool to ensure the pebble finish is not wavy in spots. We already used shotcrete to build a new wall and new spa in the pool. I'm not sure why they didn't do this at that stage. The new pebble is approximately $10,400 and the shotcrete would be another $3,000-$4,000. I have a very large rectangular pool, perimeter is 170 feet and 50,000 gallons given 11' deep end. I appreciate him bringing this up ahead of time but don't understand why this isn't part of the normal process to ensure a quality finished product.
This contractor came highly recommended and he has very positive feedback on all review sites. I've yet to find someone who was unsatisfied with his work.
1. Should pool tile ever be more than 1/8" or even 1/4" proud or shallow when looking down a wall?
2. Do re-plaster/pebble finishes always have imperfections given the rough surface prior to new coat? I understand it's hand troweled and a art.
3. Is it necessary to shotcrete the entire surface of the pool to achieve a smoother pebble finish (mainly when pool lights are on at night)?
4. Do new pools have better pebble finishes given the shotcrete shell and no "divets" created from demo with a re-pebble?
I'm not a perfectionist, nor do I have OCD, but I'm paying him over $60,000 for my remodel and expect quality. I appreciate any insight the experts may have.
Update: a few pictures to give you a general idea of project.
Pool Remodel by socalplr | Photobucket