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Thread: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

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    New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    This one may get long winded...my apologies.

    Had a new pool constructed in the fall. Completion/fill date was November 12, 2015.

    The pool is 12,000 Gallons with Quartz Aggregate plaster in Caspian Sea.

    Since the time our startup was completed; within 3 days of fill, I've never been happy with the look of the plaster. During those 3 days, I brushed all of the plaster 3 times per day and continued to do so for the following 10 days; 14 days in all. At that time we went to 2 days per week and still brush the entire surface 2 days per week.

    The PB used a third party company for startup and I called them back several times in late November and December to express my displeasure with the look of the plaster. I was told it was mottling several times and that it was normal.

    I mentioned several times to the PB themselves. The site super came by in January and said it looked normal for a new pool and that the white streaks and spots were remaining dust and would eventually go away.

    Fast forward to now...they have not gone away. The marks that were there on day 3 are still there today. The haven't gotten worse, but they also certainly haven't gotten better.

    Add to this that a neighbor/friend just finished a pool last week with the same builder using the same plaster. His startup process was night and day different to mine. PB still used a third party, but a different one. From my research, and from my neighbor point blank asking, they did an "Acid Startup" on his pool to properly dissipate the plaster dust. This process took 4 or 5 days and during that time, many, many gallons of acid were added. End result, his plaster (again, same as mine) looks fantastic!!

    I've filed warranty with the PB and they are coming by this morning to take a look. They've also agreed to go over to my neighbors place with me to compare and contrast.

    At this point, I am now convinced that my pool startup was not done correctly. From my research (thanks Google) it appears that they did a traditional startup on my pool, thus not adequately exposing the quartz, leaving dust behind.

    My question is, can they do a proper startup now that it has been 8 months by doing a 4 or 5 day acid bath? If not, is the only other solution to re-plaster the pool?

    Any advice or comments are appreciated.
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Update...

    PB warranty guy came by Friday and was surprised at how it looked. He asked what I remember from the startup (remember, it was their third party guy that did it). I told him some light chemicals on the first day, a quick vacuum, etc.

    He asked if they poured in around 6 gallons of acid day 1 followed by another 2 or so on the third or forth day; I told him know.

    He immediately said he'd like to to an acid bath and he feels a lot of our issues are a result of the quartz not properly being "exposed".

    Does this sound right? From what I'm reading, it does, but wouldn't mind a more experienced opinion.

    Thanks!!
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    I had issues with my original Quartzscapes in midnight blue and they had to replaster. Can you post some pics? Mine wasn't due to startup, but either improper plastering or more likely, a bad plaster mix. The latter is what the plaster company thinks.
    16,500 gallon in-ground pool and spa with Quartzscapes Midnight-blue and pretty sparkles
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Yes, a no drain acid wash seems like a good step.
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    So PB came yesterday and advised he'd be taking a hybrid approach. He dumped 16 gallons of acid in the pool around 4PM yesterday and almost immediately, you could see a lot of the plaster dust that had been caked on due to the bad startup started to disolve.

    He said he'd be back in the morning (today) to take a look at which time if he was satisfied (and this is where the hybrid approach comes in), he'd drain the pool and leave it for the day. He'd come back the next day (tomorrow) to do an acid wash, then refill.

    When I went out to look at it this morning, the difference is night and day. The pool looks how I expected it should have from day 1. I couldn't be happier with it.

    So now my new question...why would he have to drain it, acid wash it, then refill? If it looks fantastic now, why not just raise the alkalinity and Ph and be done? I'd hate for his next step to screw up how it looks now.

    Thoughts??

    Before:



    After:

    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Night and day for sure! I don't know the answer to your question BUT my gut says let him do what he wants to do for your warranty! You do NOT want to mess that up.

    Make sure HE is paying for the water and chemicals to get it balanced again.

    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    If you are happy with how it looks you should skip the drain and acid wash. Discuss it with him and see how he feels about it. But, I would skip it.
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    So, PB's guy got hear yesterday morning. I expressed that I was pleased with how it was and thought we should skip the drain and acid wash and just neutralize the water. He adamantly disagreed, but did agree to drain and power wash, skipping the acid wash.

    It was a blessing and curse all at the same time. It drained fairly quickly and he fired up the power washer. Almost immediately the sand and grit coming out of plaster was astronomical! My wife and I were horrified.

    He tried assuring us it was normal and not to panic, but the look on his face said otherwise. Halfway through, he said "don't worry, I have really good insurance"...What the?!?!

    He called the warranty rep and talked about having to re-plaster the pool. He has us stand in the pool and on the steps and wow, is it rough. I grabbed my phone and turned on the voice recorded and kept in in my pocket...future (hopefully unnecessary proof). The warranty rep called him back and while I could only here one side of the conversation, the gist of it was that 16 gallons of acid in a 12,000 gallon pool was too much to leave in there for 3 full days.

    I spoke directly to the warranty rep and we decided I would continue to refill the pool. It was almost full late last night. I ran the pump all night with only the main drain on suction (skimmers off). This morning the pool was full of sandy textured fallout from the plaster. I've been brushing and running the Kreepy Krauly on and off all day and so far have removed over 3 pounds of this sand from the bag (I'm keeping it). This is only what was in the Kreepy Krauly. Far more was brushed into the main drain back to the filter.

    The warranty guy hinted at polishing the plaster to smooth it out, but I figure if his guy (the one that screwed it up) says it needs to be re-plastered, then so be it.

    So, looking for honest thoughts an opinions on this. It is rough and the sand collection is starting to wind down (last hour I only removed 3 or 4 ounces). I'm concerned 3 days in 16 gallons of acid has deteriorated the integrity of the plaster. Am I correct in this thinking? Do I allow them to polish, or push them to stay the course on re-plastering?

    If this can be successfully polished or smoothed I may consider leaving it IF the integrity of the plaster is still considered good AND they extend the plaster warranty in writing. I just don't know how to evaluate the plaster integrity; is it salvageable or is it too far gone?

    Thanks in advance for help and insight. I have some YouTube videos on the leftover mess:

    Brushing 3 - YouTube

    Brushing 4 - YouTube

    This on is very telling:

    Brushing 5 - YouTube

    More coming showing the 3 pounds of sandy stuff.

    **EDIT**

    If there are any PB's or plaster pros in the North Dallas area that can provide a live opinion, I have lots of cold beer in the fridge!

    One more video of the sandy stuff:

    Plaster Sand - YouTube
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    How long has the company been in business?

    Get everything in writing.

    when they go to replaster make them chip out the whole thing........they will try to only chip around the lights and returns and such......but for down the road it will be much better to chip it all out. This will give you wiggle room down the road (many years) to have it replastered.

    Look of Onbalance here on TFP. He is our plaster go to guy.

    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: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Ridiculous, and very disappointing!
    First off, the original water balancing start-up program was not necessarily what caused the problem. Since this pool was originally plastered in November when it was probably cold, they probably added a lot of calcium chloride (hardening accelerator) to the plaster mix which contributes to a lot of plaster dust forming. Another possible issue is the tap water. It would be helpful to know what the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness of your tap water is. That may have also contributed to the formation of plaster dust if the water is somewhat soft, meaning low in alkalinity and calcium.

    And then the start-up person probably didn't get a good handle on balancing the water, but we would have to know what the pool water tests results were at the beginning to know for sure. So what went wrong? Probably several things as mentioned above contributed to the outcome.

    Now, adding 16 gallons of acid (31%?) to 12,000 gallons of water? Crazy. Yes, that is far too much. (What were they thinking?) So now the plaster has been seriously etched and is rough. I would love to know what the calcium level was just prior to draining of the pool (and after the acid was added).

    Buffing or sanding the plaster surface can be done effectively, but it is a very hard job, and most times, employees don't get it done adequately. But if the etching of the plaster surface went as deep as I think it did, then in my opinion, too much damage has been done to accept a buffing job as the remedy.

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Thanks for your honest thoughts and input. Confirming that yes, it was 31% acid.

    The 16 gallons was added on Tuesday morning. The readings on Sunday afternoon prior were:

    FC: 2
    TC: 2
    CH: 200
    CYA: 60
    TA: 90
    pH: 7.6
    Copper: 0
    Iron: 0

    I didn't take a reading once the acid was added (I was told to keep my skin out of the water).

    I do have readings after the initial startup. On the morning after the initial fill and balance, it was:

    FC: 1.5
    TA: 80
    pH: 7.4
    CYA: 50

    There was no calcium reading as it was brand new and not settled.

    10 days after startup, it was:

    FC: 3
    TC: 3
    CH: 200
    CYA: 50
    TA: 80
    pH: 7.2
    Copper: 0
    Iron: 0

    On the week of plastering and filling, the outside temperatures were in the low 70's and the water coming out of the tap during filling was around 62.

    Thank you again so much for you insight and input.
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    There is a reason that the pool needed to be drained after 16 gallons of acid was added. The acid removed calcium from the plaster and it probably increased the calcium level of the pool water upwards of 600 ppm or higher. It is difficult to re-balance the water once that happens, because it is likely that the calcium would precipitate out and cause a white calcium residue to form again all over.

    If you don't get some cooperation that you feel you deserve, PM me and I will refer someone in your area that may be able to perform an inspection and consultation. It is really unfortunate that this has happened.

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Trust onBalance. I am so sorry.

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    So, Monday morning update.

    I spoke with the PB this morning to find out when they are coming out to look at the pool and make a determination. Turns out, there is no need for a visit. They met internally and decided they're not even going to mess with repairing and will re-plaster the pool.

    Apparently the plasterers are booked out 3 weeks; they will send a confirmation email today confirming they are re-plastering and another email later today or tomorrow giving us the date.

    I'm very pleased with their resolution.

    Thanks to all for your advice and input!
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Dad! That is AWESOME!!!!!!!

    When will they chip out? Will they chip out ALL of it or just part of it? That is VERY important to know. I would not trust just putting new plaster over the old stuff. I worry it will not "stick".

    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: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    So they are going to chip out ~8" down from the tile and around the drains, returns and lights. They will apply a bond coat to the remaining plaster, then plaster over it.

    I've spoken with 2 other plaster companies not related to my PB and both tell me that this is a normal process that they too would use, so I feel comfortable with the solution.
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Good info to have and good job on the double check!

    Make sure to update us when you get any news or work done!

    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: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Quick update...

    Spoke to PB yesterday and we are confirmed for August 1 chip out/bond coat and August 2 replaster.

    Their comment on the phone "Any pool company can build you a pool, but not every pool company will stand behind it like we do".

    I plan to "tent" the pool; north Texas in August is hot! Figure this gives the workers some shade, but more importantly, keeps the direct sun from baking the bond coat or plaster too quickly.
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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    Re: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    That is a sweet thing to do for your workers and Pool. Just make sure it can breath and vent the hot out very well. I am sure you are talking more like a shade sail than a tent but just in case LOL

    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: New-ish Pool - Incorrect Startup

    Well folks, fast forward a few weeks to today, and I'm back in startup mode...well technically, the PB is in startup mode.

    They chipped out and did the bond coat late last week and replastered on Monday. Plaster guys added 2 bottles of Jack's Magic Purple.

    The PB's startup guy (the same guy that destroyed my plaster the first time!!) came yesterday to get started. He and the PB were adamant they were doing an acid startup. It's them on the hook for warranty, so I reluctantly agreed. At the same time, I showed them documentation and websites indicating that they should be putting no more than 3.5 - 4 gallons of acid per 10,000 of water; I'm 11,952 (according to the town's meter) so I was firm in that no more than 4.2 gallons were to be used.

    He tried to pressure me into 8, but I held my ground on the 4.2. He would up putting in 4 around 1:00 PM yesterday. Had an opportunity to brush twice yesterday and once already this morning.

    This morning the pool looks SO much better than day 3 after the original plaster...in fact it looks better than it did right up until the PB's tech destroyed the old plaster. There are some white-ish marks, but fewer this morning than there were last night.

    A few questions:

    - when I'm brushing, noting moves or happens...no clouding, no darkening of the light spots...is this normal?
    - I'm using a nylon brush...would SS help with the light spots?
    - PB's tech is coming by today to take a look. He mentioned yesterday that if he's not happy with the effect, he's like to add 4 more gallons of acid. I said no, only 1 at most...thoughts on this?

    I did a quick test with my K2005 last night. Readings are way out of whack, but pH and TA don't register. I did do a base demand test...52 drops! Did some quick backwards math and this would suggest my pH is under 5.

    Any other thoughts, comments, advice or otherwise?
    12,000 Gallon, 81' perimeter, Caspian Sea quartz plaster, Pentair VS+SVRS, UltraPure system, completed November 2015

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