Folks, here is my review of Carlton Pools who designed and built my 28K gallon, 802 Sq Ft., free form, in-ground, gunnite with plaster pool with Exposed Aggregate Decking. They completed Construction: May 2008. What follows is a description of the events, and my opinion, where they went wrong, and the things they could have done better. I read the posting rules, and it indicates they'll have an opportunity to read and respond to this. I sent very nearly this exact same text that follows to thier owner Joe Salano, and got no response. I would be very interested in reading a response from them. So I'm posting it here, if for no other reason then to let others learn from my experience, and possibly even to have them respond.

The pool was left after initial construction in May 2008 with foot prints, streaks and polishing lines that were obvious to anyone who looked at the pool. The Carlton man who came to officially open my pool looked at this, and acknowledged this was unacceptable. ...Side point: I will happily acknowledge that they provided me with approximately $230.00 [less than 1/2 of 1% of the money I paid thier company for the pool] of free tile markers, after I complained about being nickle and dimed.

After several calls and emails to their construction department, their plaster sub-contractor came out to inspect the makings. He too acknowledged that it was not right, and stated that it was caused by his polishing crew “not keeping the Hydrazzo wet enough during polishing” and offered to do what I gather is called an acid start-up to homogenize the color of the pool. The procedure was performed and the color did indeed look more homogeneous, but the plaster felt rougher to my hand –not at all as smooth as it had before the procedure. The pool was closed, by Carlton shortly after the procedure was complete. The pool was opened the spring of '09 to a real mess. There was a massive amount of lime scale that took a lot of time and energy to clean. Further, the plaster was still very rough, and down by the drain, it was the most rough. It took dozens of phone calls and emails and several visits from Carlton and the plaster sub-contractor folks to finally come to the conclusion that yes, we need to do something about the rough plaster and it requires re-polishing. This was only after I literally sent them dozens of follow-up emails and or phone calls asking for an update. This was unacceptable.

I learned, 11 hours before re-polishing work was to begin, weeks since I had heard a peep from anyone on thier side that;

a) The work would be done the following day, leaving me to scramble to schedule water and take the following day off work.
b) That I needed to re-purchase my own water, salt and cyanuric acid again [totaling $1100.00].
c) That I had spent 18+ months chasing an issue with emails, phone calls, taking time off work etc. for a job that represents a mere $400.00 in exposure to Carlton [$800 total split between Carlton and the plaster sub-contractor.]
d) **** This last piece is the most egregious**** they wasted many, many hours of my time, forced me to pay an $1100.00 that I already paid once, and now needed to pay again through no fault of my own, for a lousy $400.00 exposure on their part. I even offered to split the cost of the water, and I was refused.

The gentlemen that came to do the re-polishing, through broken English, indicated to me that I should never have done the acid start-up, it’s “very bad for the plaster”. Now I’m left with mostly smooth plaster, although the deep end is still significantly rougher than it was, that has been polished twice, and had a “very bad” acid start up done to it.

How many years of plaster longevity do you think were taken off of the plaster with all of this? What did that "very bad" acid start-up do to my filter,and heater as it circulated through them for several days? And I’m out an $1100.00 that I should not have had to pay for a second time, the use of my pool while this work was being done -both times, plus the cost of re-heating that new water back up it's previous temp. This was all because the original polishers "did not keep the plaster wet enough while [performing the original] polishing", in the plaster sub-contractor's own words.

In my opinion, good customer service on their part, would have been to jump on this the summer the pool was built, make it right, after one phone call or email, not dozens, and to have paid for the lot of it, including water, salt and CYA. I felt like I was constantly chasing them on this issue. Good customer service would have been to do this with a helpful, even apologetic attitude, not one that seemed to indicate that I was just a pain in thier back side.

As it stands now, I will not buy supplies at Carlton retail stores; I will not contract Carlton services department for anything other than warranty issues.

I’m not an unreasonable person. I would have [still am really] been/ be willing to reconsider my position if they could have pointed out to me where anything I have said above is factually incorrect. I sent this list of events to their president, Joe Salono asking him to correct or respond to any or all of it. That was 8/18/2009. I got no response. I do not want to think of my pool company as cheap and difficult to deal with, it is unfortunately where I am at this time.

The funny thing is, if they would have done just a few things different: this review would be dramtically more positive; respond more quickly to my calls and emails -hours or a day or two, (not weeks!), cover the cost of the water, salt and CYA the second time around, extend my warrentes on the heater, pump, filter and plaster.

In case it is not obvious, I would not recomend Carlton Pools to others considering them.