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Thread: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

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    What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    Over here there is a lively discussion about various types of pool surfaces with particular focus on durability. I was struck by one remark:
    Quote Originally Posted by simicrintz
    I will stand by the claim that plaster should give 10 years service if properly maintained, and aggregates double or better, again if properly maintained.
    As a plaster pool owner with, my goodness, a whole year's ownership under my belt, I have to wonder:

    What the heck is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    I would say that it's mostly saturating the water with calcium carbonate and maintaining reasonable water chemistry (i.e. not letting the pH get very low and not dumping acid in one place, etc.). Regular brushing is nice, but probably not as important as the water chemistry.

    I'm going on 7 years with our plaster pool and see no reason why it can't go 20. It doesn't look exactly the same as it did after the first year, but it doesn't look like plaster has dissolved or become rougher -- at least not yet.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    What is the correct way to add acid? I have been pouring small amounts into my eight foot deep deep end with the ray-vac cruising that end of the pool. I add one cup at the most at a time.
    30K gal in ground shotcrete pool with Sunstone Select finish
    Attached raised spa with spillway
    DE filter, 400K btu heater
    Ray-Vac cleaner - replaced with Letro Legend 2
    Use BBB methods

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    Beachnut,

    Adding just one cup at a time is likely harmless regardless where you add it. However, the most often practiced way here on the forum is to add your dosage slowly in front of a return line. That way, the incoming water quickly dilutes and disperses the acid.

    The goal is to get it diluted and distributed as quickly as possible. Don't use the skimmer for this purpose because it will reach the pump, etc, in too much concentration.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    Dave,

    Thanks for your response. I have a spill over spa and I add bleach by pouring it into the waterfall. I find my returns weak because of the spill over. Would you recommend that I use the waterfall for the acid as well?

    Doug
    30K gal in ground shotcrete pool with Sunstone Select finish
    Attached raised spa with spillway
    DE filter, 400K btu heater
    Ray-Vac cleaner - replaced with Letro Legend 2
    Use BBB methods

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    I would say that it's mostly saturating the water with calcium carbonate and maintaining reasonable water chemistry (i.e. not letting the pH get very low and not dumping acid in one place, etc.). Regular brushing is nice, but probably not as important as the water chemistry.
    Also, not letting the pH get high for any length of time especially if water is going to sit uncirculated with or without debris sitting on and staining the bottom. Avoid anything that will make stains in the pool that will necessitate acid cleanings. That includes unbalanced water over a period of time, metals in the water without using sequestrates to reduce or eliminate the staining, letting the pool become a "frog pond". I'm pretty convinced the iron staining in my pool, that I have to keep on top of, comes from our sand and silt (loads of it year round) as our fill water doesn't register any iron. Avoid any additions of any pool product that contains any amount of copper. For instance, there are several algaecides that contain copper. The HTH 3" dual action chlorinating tablets (sold at Walmart and other places) contain copper. And many other products. Copper staining is just about the hardest metal stain to remove.

    Organic staining from leaves, etc, will usually fade, over time if the chlorine levels are constantly adequate so you usually don't have to use drastic measures to remove them. Best policy is to never let anything organic sit for very long on the bottom.

    Anyone correct me on this but I think some algae will etch into the plaster surface.

    Use a light hand when brushing with stainless steel brushes.

    Don't let your cleaner drag objects around the pool that it cannot pick up.

    Make sure that any cleaning tools, rakes, skimmers, brushes, etc., have adequate protection of metal parts, like plastic or rubber coatings, that can scratch and gouge your plaster.

    Any metal that stays in the water for any length of time needs to be good stainless steel, like ss screws. Be aware of hair ties with little metal joiners, bobbie pins, clips and other hair helpers, that may be sitting on bottom causing little annoying metal stains.

    Muratic Acid is very much heavier than water. Even small amounts will sink down the sides and straight to the bottom like lead.

    I'll add more as they come to me.

    I've been and expert pool plaster abuser for 23 years. That is prior to finding TFP.
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    Additional hints:

    Dilute the acid prior to adding it to the pool. I usually do a 4 or 5 to 1 water/acid mix.

    Predisolve calcium, pH Up and Down, and Cal-Hypo shock.

    Keep the pH and Alk levels close to 7.3 to 7.6 and 100ppm

    Brush the pool with a regular pool brush at least every 2 weeks.

    Vacuum weekly if you don't have a sweep.

    Keep the sanitizer levels where they will be effective.

    Empty the skimmer baskets as needed.

    Backwash as needed or after vacuuming.

    1st timers moving into a house with an existing pool should hire a service to give them a pool school lesson or two.

    Scott
    PoolGuyNJ
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    So far this all sounds like normal water chemistry management, except for the bit about brushes and sweeps. (Why would you use a brush made out of stainless steel... sounds like it would probably damage any surface.) Makes me feel better, that I didn't miss some kind of treatment I'm supposed to do to the plaster periodically.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: What is "proper maintenance" of a plaster pool surface?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    So far this all sounds like normal water chemistry management, except for the bit about brushes and sweeps. (Why would you use a brush made out of stainless steel... sounds like it would probably damage any surface.) Makes me feel better, that I didn't miss some kind of treatment I'm supposed to do to the plaster periodically.
    --paulr
    Stainless steel brushes or combination of SS and nylon brush are used for brushing during curing of plaster pools. At least that's the way it used to be. Maybe some surfaces today also. I'll let the experts chime in on that.

    Typically, after a pool is cured a SS brush is used for easier removal of algae. The black algae actually embeds in the plaster and may be the one that has a really resistant outer layer. Possibly only SS would help to break up its protective coating.

    As pools age they will begin to roughen. Depending on the amount of silt and mud that is deposited in pool and some other stains, sometimes the SS just removes those better. Light SS brushing on my old finish is helping to remove calcium buildup (scaling) (along with chemicals that help to slowly release the scaling and sequestrates to hold the mineral/metal stains in suspension so it doesn't redeposit back on surfaces). Scaling that has been on the surface for a long period of time stains more readily than the plaster and holds the stains harder. When my dogs step into the pool with muddy feet on the top two steps, that are heavily scaled, (but slowly releasing) the SS brush is the only one that will immediately remove the footprints that will leave stains if not removed quickly.

    I did the AA treatment a couple of months ago to remove stains and it did loosen up the scaling. The sequestrate I'm currently using is also continuing to loosen the scaling. Light brushing with SS brush does help it to release more.

    I use the nylon brush when I'm in a hurry as I don't have to be so careful with it. It is the Whale Wall. Over the years I didn't brush my pool much and didn't keep the water in good balance. If one follows TPF procedures, all the issues that are helped by using SS brush, on cured plaster, shouldn't occur. Using proper procedures and keeping water balanced at all times will insure that the plaster will perform the best without leaching calcium out or having it deposit on the plaster.

    A couple of months ago I was at the Pool Store picking up some cellulose for DE filter and a few Taylor reagents, the reagents used in the most excellent Test Kits recommended here on TFP. I asked the manager if he knew about the Brush Booster, a wing that attaches to any brush giving assistance like the Whale Wall (nylon bristles). He said, "Why don't you use a Whale Wall?" I told him I wanted the Brush Booster for my SS brush. He became alarmed and suggested that I shouldn't use a SS brush at all. I understand his reasoning as he was in the field for a long time and probably saw lots of abuse by people over doing it with SS brushes. Just to get him off my back I promised to stop using the SS brush. He then advised me to use the WW wing in the middle position to keep from putting too much pressure on the brush even though it is nylon.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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