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Thread: Just plain plaster?

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    Just plain plaster?

    So I get one quote today from a pretty well known builder in my area to rehab my pool. He quoted the resurfacing as just plaster only. Unfortunately I wasn't home when he came to measure so I didn't get to tell him that I wanted Pebble Tech. So I asked him while he was on the phone how much extra Pebble Tech would be and his comment was, "why do you want that, you don't need it." I replied with my reasoning that it was more durable and would last longer. He told me that was nonsense. He said he knows of plaster pools that have been around 30+ years and still going. Granted, this made his quote cheaper than the others but I don't know how true that is. I have always been under the impression plaster didn't last as long and you would need it redone every 10 years.

    I am really going nuts over this rehab! Please help!

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    JMHO...the PB is likley not experienced in working with Ptec and likely would yeild a higher margin/profit working with plain plaster. He is right that there are many plaster pools that last beyond 10 years, if properly maintained, but bottom line is that ptec offers a warranty that plain plaster does not.

    Plain plaster is certainly an option, but I think first you have to decide if you are more concerned around the appearance you want vs. price. Obviously there is a price difference, but if you want a ptec look, than thats what you want, but at the end of the day plain plaster will do just fine. Kind of like buying an economy car vs a premium brand...again JMHO from a consumer standpoint and unfortunately I can't say either way from a professional aspect. Bruce (aka Simicritz) should be along soon to offer his professional view
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    I think it is possible that plaster can last a very long time. My pool was built in the late 1970s, it has the original plaster, and it is still going strong.

    However, the opinion of the experts here is that the formulation of today's plaster is very different and won't last nearly that long, but I would like to hear your builder's opinion on that. I'm sure the prep and application will influence the durability as well.

    I'm with you, this is a very confusing topic. Let us know what you decide, I will be faced with the same decision in the next few years I'm sure...
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    My guess is that he's bashing Pebble Tec because he's not licensed to install it, and wants your business. If you want Pebble Tec, find a certified installer, and don't believe anyone who says "it's not Pebble Tec, but it's the exact same thing just not with the brand name/comes from the same quarries/etc ." Pebble Tec can only be purchased and applied by contractors who go through special training to ensure that they know how to do it well. Any schmuck can buy and apply the off-brand stuff, but they may do a lousy job of it.
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    DingDingDing; we have a winner!! MITS nailed it; the probability is that he does not have access to, or a good relationship with the licensed P-Tec installer.

    Here's my thought: you are the customer, and you should get the finish you want, not what someone "sells" you. P-Tec is a great product (disclaimer-I am not a P-Tec rep or employee!), and it is hard to beat for quality, durability or application quality. There are a total of 50 licensed P-Tec applicators in the US, and they are screened and trained to do the job to P-Tec's standards.

    dmanb2b has some excellent points as well, and some good analogies! Although it does not apply to everything, often times you do get what you pay for. PebbleTec is one of those areas where this holds true (another is Samuel Adams beer, but that's another story ).

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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    Thanks everyone for your input! I value every point.
    The PB I was referring to does have P-Tec as one of their options, but maybe the whole relationship/profit thing is the cause of the recomendation for plaster only.

    We had another PB by yesterday and he was also a builder who used P-Tec. After an hour and a half (the longest any of the PB's have ever spent with the wife and I explaining everything), I asked him the same question. He was floored that the other PB said that. He said the usual, I would love to make more off of every job, but he said from what I told him I wanted, he would only recomend P-Tec.

    And that is some of my contention with the other guy. We have had 4 PB's come out. Each I told each that I wanted something that will last and wouldn't have to think about refinishing for 20-30 years. So they all knew I wanted good stuff. You know I am a Chemical Engineer and I balance practicallity to cost every day for work. So, to a fault, I do the same at home (My wife hate's that about me). So my thing is, if I have to pay (estimating) $6k for plaster or $9k for P-Tec, I would rather the P-Tec. Yes the "look" is nice, but an extra $3k now instead of $6k every 10 years or so... it would be cheaper in the long run.

    Oh and I have to say publically... Thank you to BobinBaltimore!

    The PB that spent over 1.5hrs with us was Elite Pools (Bob's recomendation and his PB)... The wife and I were so impressed that if They're in the ballpark as some of the others or a little higher, we are probably going to go with them! Just because of how the PB was with us... heck, he even put up with my overly inquisitive 4 year old that kept asking him questions and calling him "Pool Guy". LOL!


    Jason

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    .. probably going to go with them! Just because of how the PB was with us...
    this is good strategy as you will find things do go wrong and having a PB that you feel comfortable talking to, calm and assertive (channeling Cesar Milan..), will go a long way to final happy result.

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    BobinBaltimore's Avatar
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    Cyclrcr, glad to hear Elite did well for you. The time spent with us was one of the reasons we went with them, too. The just closed our pool and installed our Merlin Dura-Mesh cover (since it's our first closing, I wanted them to do it). Did a great job all around.

    Interestingly, when talking about finish options, we asked about PebbleTech, DiamondBrite, a now unavailable 3M product and just plain plaster. The nice thing is that they provided pricing on all of them and I was able to hit the ol' internet and compare. Ultimately, we settled on plain marcite with gray dye added. For us, that mottled, natural look was perfect, and the cost was about $500...materials plus a little time/trouble. I really wanted DiamondBrite, but was also looking to save a bit since we ended up getting more deck than we originally planned. I'm honestly glad I didn't pay the extra money. With proper bushing during the first 2 - 3 weeks while the plaster cured, the finish is smooth as a baby's bottom and has a nice natural blue-gray color, which makes it look custom and much higher-end than it is. Admittedly, we likely won't have the longevity of a PT or DiamondBrite, but it was a good compromise.
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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by susa
    ...having a PB that you feel comfortable talking to...
    And the guy who was there with us is going to be the project manager during the build so it will be definitely easy and comfortable to talk to.

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Just plain plaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobinBaltimore
    Interestingly, when talking about finish options, we asked about PebbleTech, DiamondBrite, a now unavailable 3M product and just plain plaster. The nice thing is that they provided pricing on all of them and I was able to hit the ol' internet and compare. Ultimately, we settled on plain marcite with gray dye added. For us, that mottled, natural look was perfect, and the cost was about $500...materials plus a little time/trouble. I really wanted DiamondBrite, but was also looking to save a bit since we ended up getting more deck than we originally planned. I'm honestly glad I didn't pay the extra money. With proper bushing during the first 2 - 3 weeks while the plaster cured, the finish is smooth as a baby's bottom and has a nice natural blue-gray color, which makes it look custom and much higher-end than it is. Admittedly, we likely won't have the longevity of a PT or DiamondBrite, but it was a good compromise.
    You know Bob, I asked for quotes in all the finishes as well so I could get a range for pricing. We figured on the PTec, but I have been thinking of maybe plaster because they brought up issues with our deck. Plus on top of adding the deck in, we have been talking about possibly moving again in approx 5 years. If we do move, I thought... why dump the extra into the PTec when I could leave that for the next owner. This way we can have the whole pool area updated and looking good. So many possibilities now! Arrrggg! LOL!

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