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Thread: New pool owner with pebble problems.

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    New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Hello everyone, I recently had a 22,000 saltwater pool/spa built. The builder owns a company that he swears is identical to Pebble Tec. He says it comes from the same quarry, same supplier and his installer told me he used to work for Pebble Tec. The installer also told me it is the exact same product. I wasn't told squat, nor did I know squat about the importance of balancing the water after first filling the pool. My builder got his last check and was MIA afterwards. After a couple of weeks I had my water tested PH was 8.0, TA was 180, CH was 150, CA was 0. The builder did pour some liquid chlorine (don't know amount or type) and the level was .5. Finally after two weeks of reading and reading my PH is 7.5, TA is 110, CH is 230, CA is 90 and Chlorine is 3.
    My question regards the pebble plaster he put in. It looks bad and after finally tracking the builder down and getting him to come over, he is telling me this is completely normal. He calls it "fat". He says it's plaster that wasn't removed during the acid wash and will eventually come off. He says since it's saltwater it will take "a little longer", but assures me it will eventually look even and uniform. Some of the areas are just darker than others and it's easy to see that there is just more plaster that's hiding the pebble. These are very large streaks running the length of the pool. Other areas are "spots" that are not as dark, they look very light and look like something dripped and "splattered".
    I've put some pics for the pros to look over and evaluate. I'm requesting him to rewash with acid. He says it shortens the life of the plaster and says just wait it out. Any thoughts/advice/recommendations are welcome and appreciated. Thanks
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Guest

    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Typical %$#^, *&^%, !*^$#, &*^*%, "just like PebbleTec" deal; I hear it all the time This stuff really gets me going (does the guy on the Kia lot say it's "just like a BMW. In fact, they get their paint and tires from the same place, and I used to work there", or do they admit it is not the same?).

    It is really hard to tell how good or bad of a job they did troweling, but it is obvious that they did not expose it properly. The good news is that you can expose it more evenly, but you will need to drain it and acid wash it to really make it look right. You (I am assuming they will not come back ) may be able to dive it and try to get it to release if there is not too much that looks like the picture. An acid wash on plaster is something I never suggest, but you are fine doing it on "pebble". He is trying to get out of doing it by telling you the life shortening story (again, acid washing plaster is not recommended, but "pebble" is a different story).

    Did you already introduce the salt? I would not put any in for at least 30 days, and I prefer 60. It's probably not quite as critical as plaster, but I like to wait nonetheless.

    I hate to hear this (did I use this already: ?). That is poor exposure, plain and simple. He needs to step up and make it right. I'd ask him to pay for the water also. It probably isn't much, but there is no reason that you should have to pay for it twice!

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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    So there's no way that this is the same stuff? I'm not even really worried about that, it's just another thing he lied to me about. What do you mean when you say I might be able to dive it? Also, what are the chances I have of making this stuff look really good? I appreciate all you help, it gives me some hope.

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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Many pool service companies have a way to apply muriatic acid where needed without draining the pool.

    Scott
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    The materials used might be the same, or they might not. I suspect not, but it is always possible they actually used the same materials. What they clearly didn't do is have the level of professionalism that PebbleTec requires of their installers. They should be fixing this to your satisfaction period.

    Some plaster will come away, exposing more store, over time, but after the first couple of days to a week most of what is going to happen has happened. It is difficult to be sure from the photo, but I see too much plaster and not enough pebble and I also see a spot where there aren't any pebbles exposed at all. The too much plaster, too little pebble, issue is easy to fix with a no drain acid wash, but uneven exposure usually requires a drain and manual acid wash. Either way, the installer should be taking care of it.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    hawkeyes's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Hi there,

    I am a newbie just learning about pool ownership but can tell you that, just like you, I was not informed about the importance of balancing my water immediately after the fill. My fill water has a pH of 8 (didn't know this until it was too late) and we filled our pool in about 2 weeks before the weather turned bitter cold and 11" of snow fell(yes, in Dallas). Since we obviously weren't using the pool, it was FREEZING outside, and no one told me about balancing my water or brushing my pebble pool...well...let's just say things went from bad to worse. I ended up with horrible scaling & lots of discoloration. We ended up doing a drain and acid wash about 3 weeks ago.

    I still have a few tiny areas that are a bit darker blue, but, for the most part, I'm very happy with the color of my pebble now. The areas on your pic that I see really poor exposure of the pebble will be helped greatly by the acid wash. My concern would be that whoever does the wash for you knows what they are doing! They literally take full strength muriatic acid and pour it all over your pool and then hose it off. Areas of discoloration will be a bazillion times better if not completely gone b/c the acid will eat it away and new pebble will be exposed underneath. I'm not sure what the brown looking streaks are that I see in your photo---is that what the PB is saying is "fat" (never heard it called that and I did tons of research on pebble discoloration)?

    Good luck to you. I think the acid wash will help a lot.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    The bleeding from the tile is likely to be iron.

    The "fat" is the plaster over the unexposed pebble. A muriatic acid spot treater will dissolve it. Many pool services have the tool or make a tool for this.

    Scott
    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: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Ok. You've all given me some great info. Does anyone here know of a real good company near the Conroe, Tx. or Woodlands/North Houston area that can do this acid wash?

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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Anyone???

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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    The crew that put in my pebble used stone scapes brand. It is too early to tell if it is a quality product. The company that installed it did not seem to know what they were doing.

    After the initial fill, there were splotches all over the bottom. They came back, drained the pool and acid washed again and it is a lot better but not perfect.

    During the day it is beautiful. At night with the light on and calm water the bottom has divots and part is wavy. Poor trowel job. Not sure what options I have at this point.
    Phoenix, AZ
    Unknown pool size -Diving pool

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    Guest

    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffJeff
    The crew that put in my pebble used stone scapes brand. It is too early to tell if it is a quality product. The company that installed it did not seem to know what they were doing.

    After the initial fill, there were splotches all over the bottom. They came back, drained the pool and acid washed again and it is a lot better but not perfect.

    During the day it is beautiful. At night with the light on and calm water the bottom has divots and part is wavy. Poor trowel job. Not sure what options I have at this point.
    StoneScapes is very hard to work with; even experienced trowelers complain about it. It doesn't want to "flow" for some reason. Any pool guy can buy it, which means anybody "can" trowel it, which is another problem.

    No plaster company will allow a job to be judged at night, under the lights. Chances are if you take a light and shine it across your decking, drywall in the house, roof, etc. you will see how "bad" a job they did also Pools are the only thing that people shine a light across and expect to be perfectly flat! You have cement and rock, which you just can't make perfectly flat.

    Enjoy the finish during the day and try not to let it bother you at night. Sounds like you actually have a pretty good job, and that they stepped up to take care of the areas that you were unhappy with, which is nice to hear!

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    Re: New pool owner with pebble problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by jltmaxx
    Anyone???
    Try calling the pool companies that use PebbleTec in your area and ask them for a recommendation. They should be able to put you in touch with a few good folks!

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