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Thread: Dark Plaster Issue

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    Dark Plaster Issue

    Hello all I'm new to the forum and a first time pool owner. Our pool was built and completed late September of last year. We decided on a dark blue quartz plaster to have a lagoon type look. Overall please with the outcome of construction however I have from the get go thought there was an issue with the plaster. It projects the dark blue water color we were after but the plaster to me just looks pretty bad. It has and has always had what I would refer to as a grey film or coating on it. Some may even call it a haze of sorts. When the plaster was completed the plaster company immediately started filling the pool as they left our house. They put the hose in with white cotton rag over the end of the hose which I know is standard and believe is a recommended practice. The pool took approximately 36 hours to fill. After full the pool sat for about 12 hours before the pool builder showed up to do the start up. The builder started the equipment and we added 12 gallons of muratic acid to perform the acid start up. His instructions were to leave the pumps running and brush it at least twice daily and more if possible. We brushed pretty consistently before we left for work, when we returned from work, and before bed for several weeks. We had a some plaster dust but I did not think it was a huge amount. I always thought it just had this grey film from the get go. I mentioned it to the builder after a few weeks and his was response was it looks great! It's custom so there will be some imperfections and will continue to change over time. So I listened and nothing really ever changed that I can see.

    Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was really able to get in the pool with some goggles and take a good look at the plaster without glares from the sun or other factors. Still think it just looks really dull. The beatuiful colors of the dark blue quartz are really just covered with the grey matter. Also noticed in several areas where the are huge spots that a slick to the touch but are just solid grey. I again mentioned to the builder my concerns and he sends out his tech and warranty person (his son) to take a look. He looks and agrees there looks like there are some problem areas and says let me talk with the plaster guys and I'll come up with a plan. So a week later he calls and says he's stopping by to take a water sample which he does and takes it to Leslie's for analysis. He text me later that evening and states that my calcium hardness is too low and that he is consulting with the plaster company and will be back in touch with a plan. Two days later he says that he has figured out the problem and has a plan to proceed. So he again tells me that I have low calcium hardness and says the water is pulling calcium from the plaster and its being redeposited onto the surface as this grey haze / film. I agree cause I have read that this is and can be an issue so we go with that plan. He did not provide me any test results other than telling me the calcium hardness was less than 100ppm. His recommendation was to add 20lbs of calcium hardness increaser and run the pumps for 24 hours. The following day he says to add 8 gallons of muratic acid and brush as much as possible after the addition of the acid while running the pump for an additional 24 hours. So I followed instructions as he told me too but before I added the acid yesterday I got in with my GoPro camera to document a before and after so to speak. I'm really just wanted to confirm what I'm being told. Of course they are not treating this as a warranty issue but a water chemistry issue on my end. My argument is that it has been like this from the get go and they have failed to address it until now unwillingly. I don't disagree that it may be calcium scaling but I believe its something that was done in initial start up that may have caused it. I'm have convinced myself that its plaster dust which I believe is still calcium? that adhered to the walls and floor. Any advice anyone can offer is much appreciated. I have added a few pictures I took with my GoPro yesterday. I read though a lot of post yesterday but never really read though one that fit my problem that I could find so I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed in the forum. Lastly my pool is a free form sport pool with deminsions of 35'x25' at the widest point. Depths are 3.5' to 5.5' to 4.5' and I live in south Texas in a suburb north of Houston.
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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    Welcome

    The explanation they are giving you is not correct. If your water is aggressive, calcium would be leached from the plaster and be dissolved in the water. It would not redeposit itself on the surface with an appearance of smooth grey plaster. The spots you are seeing are areas where the plaster cream was not removed and it is hiding the aggregate from showing. If your water is aggressive, it would be helping the issue, not contributing to it.

    Did you use a combo (stainless/nylon) brush when you were brushing during the startup?

    Do you have your own test kit? A full set of numbers would be very helpful.
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    Brian, thank you for your reply. I did not have a combo brush initially I just used the nylon brush they provided. After about 2 weeks I was in the store and bought a combo brush and have used that off and on since. I'm really glad to hear you say that it looks as though the cream was not removed because that's what I really thought it my be but was not sure. The only testing supplies I have are test strips. I can easily take a sample for analysis but I would imagine things will be severely out of whack based on what I have done the last 48 hours. I have had the water tested a few times before and nothing was ever really an issue. The last analysis I had done it was recommended to add a half gallon of acid to lower Ph and add and chlorine was low. I added both and took a sample back a few days later and all checked out fine. Never any mention of low calcium hardness. Should I wait for the water to tantalize before testing? Is the cream not being removed repairable?

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    Is this the midnight blue quartzscapes. That's what I had put in and that looks very much like what mine looked like after they plastered the first time. When they finally drained it to try an acid wash, it was completely gray. They cut out a square and the top of 1/8 inch or so was gray, not blue. They tried to claim bad fill water, but I don't think that was it. They replastered it this year and it it is looking much better, but not quite as blue yet as I want and I still have some white areas on the steps I'm working on. If it looks the same after you put in all the acid, my guess, just based on my experience is that it won't change. Mine never did after a year and a half. Looked the same from day 1. Do you know who your plaster company was, I'm curious if it is the same as mine.
    16,500 gallon in-ground pool and spa with Quartzscapes Midnight-blue and pretty sparkles
    Aqualink RS with PDA
    Jandy Pro Series Plus HP 2 HP 2 Speed Pump
    Jandy CV460 Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    downtdish, not sure of the name of the company who did the plaster nor was I ever told. When they were there I snapped a pic of the sign on the door of the truck and it says Texas & Sunswim. Also I don't think they were using quartzscapes from what little I saw before I left they were hand mixing everything. I saw bags of portland cement, black sand, and blue quartz on the truck with a guy mixing it bay hand in a mixing hopper. The builder I used is based in the Woodlands I can PM you the name if it might be the same one. I don't want to put them on blast quite yet I want to give them a chance to make things right. Did your builder do the replaster for your pool under a warranty or was it out of pocket cost for you? I took a picture of one of the benches this morning where the jet runs across the top of it and you can see where the blue really stands out. To me that is what the whole pool should look like??? Thoughts?

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    A pool is a significant investment and to leave water chemistry to strips (worthless) and store testing(potentially worse) can be detrimental. In the scheme of things, a test kit should be viewed as an investment and will easily pay for itself in no time at all - especially if you also follow the methods taught here.

    Blue plaster is notorious for bleaching out typically because the blue pigments are derived from organic materials. They're is no way around this unless non organic pigments are used but rarely are due to the very high price.

    What are you doing to the pool now? You mentioned the water being "severely out of whack?"
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    As instructed by the builder I added 20lbs of calcium carbonate and 8 gallons of muratic acid to bring the calcium levels up and try to remove they grey haze, so I would assume based on that things would be severely out of balance but just an assumption on lack of knowledge. I will invest in a test kit I'll just need to research see what kit I need.

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    TF-100 from TFtestkits.net with speed stir

    With your pH low brush the pool aggressively in the troubled areas with the combo or stainless steel brush. Adding calcium will not help this issue on its own...it has nothing to do with it.
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    Thank you Brian, I will get a test kit ordered and do better testing. I brushed it real good this morning and again when I got home. Seems to be stirring up some stuff as it seems be be getting darker. Also when I was brushing the hot tub the water clouded up pretty good so some of the material is coming off it seems. I'll hit it again before I go to sleep and continue for a few days. Hoping this works!



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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    Pdubs - after a lot of time and trying, the builder did finally get the plaster company out and they replastered for free. It's only Been a month and it looks a lot better than before, but I'm still not convinced it will be perfect.

    No need to blast the builder. It sounds like he is trying to help and really it's the plaster company if something is truly wrong. You wouldn't have the same as mine as he works south in the Katy area not up in the woodlands.

    Sounds like the plaster company was different as well. For Quartzscapes, they mix it onsite. I went and checked the bags this last time and watched a little closer as they did it. It's possible that is what you have. Your builder should at least know that.

    Hopefully yours turns out better and doesn't need a replaster. I was just letting you know my experience so if something is wrong you don't spend as much time figuring it out as I did. There are a couple of really good posts on how plastering should be done and descriptions of defects. I used those to convince my builder there was truly an issue to begin with.
    16,500 gallon in-ground pool and spa with Quartzscapes Midnight-blue and pretty sparkles
    Aqualink RS with PDA
    Jandy Pro Series Plus HP 2 HP 2 Speed Pump
    Jandy CV460 Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    Brian, I ordered the TF-100 test kit as recommended and did my first round of test. Below are the results from yesterdays testing. Also the pH is up and no real significant changes were noted in the plaster. So I guess the battle with the builder continues. See below test results.

    pH - 8.0
    CH - 675 ppm
    Alkalinity - 40 ppm
    CYA - 10ppm
    Free Chlorine 1.5 ppm

    I did add a little acid yesterday to lower the pH and will test again today but assume it will swing until I get the alkalinity in range.

    Thanks again for everything!!

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    Re: Dark Plaster Issue

    You can see why there was no need to add calcium, yours was already very high.

    If you are still unhappy with the discolorations, perhaps a zero alkalinity acid bath is in order.

    Keep an eye on the TA. While it is very low, I wouldn't recommend raising it just yet. Lower the pH to 7.8 and see how long that holds... You can always readjust later.
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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