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Thread: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

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    Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    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.

    Questions:

    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
    52k gal, Pebbleteck, Pentiar Intelliflo VS, Hayward Pro-Guard D.E. Filter, Raypack 407A Heater, AquaLink RS by Jandy, Aqua Rite Chlorinator x2, Hayward Turbo Cell x2, The Pool Cleaner robot

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    Wow for paying him 60k for a remodel I would expect everything to be perfect. I am currently doing a remodel and ran into the same situation as you but except with my stone veneer. My stone veneer was wavy and not straight but my installers said it was normal and once everything was done it would go unnoticed. Well the stone was finished and guess what I noticed the waves, i immediately told them I wanted everything torn down and redone or I wouldn't be paying them a cent. They went ahead and fixed it but I still lost out on the money I spent for the cement and some broken stones that broke off when taking it off. If I were you, I would have them tear it down and fix if it if your not happy. Your paying good money for your remodel and shouldn't settle like you we're paying someone you found cheap off craigslist. As for your pebble situation, I too am curious about what's needed for the smooth finish because I also will be doing pebble on my remodel. I also think your pebble quote is high for being in Southern California, I got around 5 estimates for my pool and they averaged $42-$47.00 a foot for mini pebble.
    Remodel Completion 8/22/16. Pool-16x32', Raised Stacked Stone Spa with Waterfall - 9x9', Pool Depth 4-6', Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump, Intelliflo VF Pump, WhisperFlow 2HP Pump, Pentair 320 Clean and Clear filter, Easytouch 8, Screenlogic 2, (3) Pentair Globrites, Pentair Intellibrite 5G, 1.5HP Blower, 4 Sheer Descent Waterfalls, Rico Rock Waterfall.

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    to clarify, here is what I've done:

    Demo 2500 sq ft of existing concrete decking
    Demo old pool coping, tile, and pebble
    Demo old spa and 300 sq ft section of pool
    Build new spa
    Build new pool wall, 20 ft
    Replumb entire pool
    New coping, tile, and pebble
    Reusing existing equipment and upgrading some items.
    52k gal, Pebbleteck, Pentiar Intelliflo VS, Hayward Pro-Guard D.E. Filter, Raypack 407A Heater, AquaLink RS by Jandy, Aqua Rite Chlorinator x2, Hayward Turbo Cell x2, The Pool Cleaner robot

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    SoCal, try to post some pictures of your remodel, would love to see how it's coming along.
    Remodel Completion 8/22/16. Pool-16x32', Raised Stacked Stone Spa with Waterfall - 9x9', Pool Depth 4-6', Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump, Intelliflo VF Pump, WhisperFlow 2HP Pump, Pentair 320 Clean and Clear filter, Easytouch 8, Screenlogic 2, (3) Pentair Globrites, Pentair Intellibrite 5G, 1.5HP Blower, 4 Sheer Descent Waterfalls, Rico Rock Waterfall.

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    I find it curious that whenever these contractors agree to fix their mistakes or shoddy workmanship, they come up with addition work for additional money.
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    Pictures added to my first post. He isn't asking for more money and is willing to make it right. However, it's just sloppy work the first time around and I feel like he should definitely acknowledge it. If i didn't bring it up, I'm sure nothing would have been done. I don't want to babysit the workers and inspect every sheet of tile upon install, but at this point he isn't there and ensuring the work is done right. Just very frustrating.
    52k gal, Pebbleteck, Pentiar Intelliflo VS, Hayward Pro-Guard D.E. Filter, Raypack 407A Heater, AquaLink RS by Jandy, Aqua Rite Chlorinator x2, Hayward Turbo Cell x2, The Pool Cleaner robot

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    For a new pool in California the standard is 1/4 all around for a normal sized pool. The tile installers usually do the final level of the bond beam before the coping or deck is poured so its all level.

    THE WATER IS ALWAYS LEVEL. So any imperfections in the tile line will generally be noticeable.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    Unless they either didn't use a laser level on the tile or it was defective, there's no reason for it to be that unlevel. And if they didn't use one they should have. I'd try to have some frank conversations about how they will redo the tile and how they will ensure its done correctly. Certainly the most straightforward approach will be to continue with the same contractor.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    Here is yet another problem. The new wall they built with shotcrete has a hairline crack from top to bottom, approx 5ft. The opposite exposed side of wall shows a crack at the exact same point. The pool contractor and shotcrete company both agreed to fix it. I went back and reviewed my pictures of the shotcrete day. The pool floor bottom had rocks, dust, dirt all over it where they shot the new wall. I do not remember them pressure washing nor even blowing the dust off. I'm no expert and my brief online research tells me that is not good.

    Isn't any cold joint supposed to be pressure washed or at the very least dusted with an air compressor prior to shotcrete application? Could that cause an issue down the road? Im thinking that the crack may be due to lack of surface preparation. Any experts out there?
    52k gal, Pebbleteck, Pentiar Intelliflo VS, Hayward Pro-Guard D.E. Filter, Raypack 407A Heater, AquaLink RS by Jandy, Aqua Rite Chlorinator x2, Hayward Turbo Cell x2, The Pool Cleaner robot

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    So we don't have pictures so we have anything we can actually evaluate. The pictures you do provide are to wide to see this problem. But we can't tell where your cold joint is or where your crack is located. So we can't evaluate whether they are related.

    Generally a cold joint is cleaned of lose material and often treated with one of many products to enhance the bonding.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    Quite the remodel!! Too clarify , it sound like when you say proud or shallow your referring to waves in the tile down the length of the wall? In and out.... Not up and down .. Correct?
    Kris
    14x26 rectangle vinyl liner pool . 1.5 hp 2 speed tri star pump, 2 aqua genie skimmers , no main drain. 175 sq ft star clear cartridge filter. 200,000 btu hayward heater Tf-100

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    Re: Pool Renovation - Contractor Problems

    @SoCalOwner, what color Pebbletec are you going with? We are just starting construction and have picked out the same waterline tile (Glasstel - 13 in Captain Blue). We tentatively chose Stonescapes Aqua Blue mini Pebble.

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