I'm new member but have been reading for about 5 years. When I bought my house, pool had been closed for 2 years. It's an old pool - probably 30 years old gunite with a brick deck in sand, concrete coping and blue tile. After having a pool guy come out since I knew nothing about pools, he suggested an acid wash and paint for $2K (it had been previously painted with a chlorinated rubber) or marble dusting for $9K. We went with painting. As he was painting it started to mist with rain. I asked him was that ok, and he said yeah its water proof paint (okay...). Two hours later I saw them puting on a second coat and I asked doesn't it need time to cure? He said it's quick drying (okay...). When they were done, I asked how soon before we can fill it up and he said next day (you sure...). Needless to say after filling the pool and paying the pool guy, we had big blisters form within a week.
I decided to call the paint company. Sau-Sea out of NJ. They said pool paint can be good except you need to make sure it is absolutely dry before you paint - 7 10 days of dry. You need to wait at least 24 hours between coats. And you need to wait another 7-10 days of dry to fill pool.
So, this same pool genius hooked up our new Hayward salt water chlorinator incorrectly. Seems that little magic jumper inside that sets the voltage to 115V or 230V actually needs to be set correctly and he had it on the wrong setting. So now I had a pool with bubbling paint that was rapidly turning green. On his second week out to take care of it, I said the pool looks green is that normal. He said but look how clear it is! He then poured in a bottle of blue liquid and tried to charge me $25 extra for it! I also told him the green lights on the SWG generator that should be on were not. He said you might have a bad board and should call Hayward. I then showed him the door. With a little research, I realized he had hooked up the generator incorrectly and I re-wired it. I had to trouble shoot this several ways and even replaced the thyristor on the board until I realized the very obvious problem. In the interim, based on info here, I used bleach and magically had a clear, crystal pool.
The following year I drained the pool, power washed it and scraped, TSP it, rinsed and TSP again. Sau-Sea recommended this. I then re-coated the pool allowing for the proper dry time and cure time. The paint has held up well. Aside from a few bubbles that I believe were the result of the original paint job that I didn't fully clear, the coating looks good and is now just chipping in a few spots. The paint cost me about $500 all in and lots of time to do the work. Staining is still minimal even after 3 years. You really do need to prep correctly though and, if you do, I feel paint is an option. The rubberized paint is also soft to touch and doesn't scratch like many plaster pools I've been in.
I may paint one more time after this year or find the money to re-plaster. I've since added a heater - did the plumbing and had an electrician friend wire the heater after I dug the trench. That's been great and has made the pool more livable. Still have problems with the neighbors trees. During Hurricane Irene, the neighbors tree fell and pulled the power line off my house and deposited it in the pool. I have since moved the line completely to the other side of the house even though the orginal was to code it didn't seem too safe. That same neighbors tree continues to rain down leaves but lots of work keeps the pool clean. I'm thinking of erecting a giant net on one side of the yard near that tree to catch the leaves - really - it'll go with our batting cage and shouldn't look too bad...It's a pool cover net that I could string between poles and run up 34 feet high.
It's been an interesting journey... but kids have enjoyed the pool.