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Thread: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

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    Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Hi y'all!
    I am new to the TFP forum so I hope I do this right! We are about to pull the trigger and build a pool here in Austin. I have been all through the website and forum on this issue and still don't have a clear idea of what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This website has already been so helpful to me in understanding all of the ins and outs of a pool!

    Here's the deal...We have a Texas limestone house and an existing limestone patio. We are going to need about 350 square feet of new decking around the pool which will connect to our current limestone patio via a couple of new steps. We would really like to do a saltwater pool and we really want stone decking. I have been to several stone yards and met with about 5 different builders, all whom have differing opinions on what type of stone will go well with our limestone and work with a SWG. Everyone says limestone is out because it's so porous and soft. Our dilemma is what kind of stone to use for this decking? We want a light colored stone to match or come close to the limestone, cool under foot, and won't corrode because of the salt. I know the SWG corrosion issue is a huge topic on this forum.

    We have seen a stone called Mexican Creme sandstone that is a good color, but we were told by someone else it will fall apart in the areas exposed to splashing. Does anyone have advice on what type of stone would work well with this scenario?

    Thanks so much!
    BlueBell
    Austin, TX
    19K gallons, 500 approx sq. ft. pool, 33' x 16', outdoor, inground, med. grey plaster interior, gunite, hayward tristar 1 speed pump, perimeter 95

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    You could seal the stoen which will add longevity. You have to keep sealing it every few years there after. You could go with a Peacock Paver or Travertine which will get you the colors you seems to be looking for. Salt is corosive to Stone but with some care you can prolong the effects.

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Thanks for the advice! I think I have "paralysis by analysis" that you mention on your website regarding this stone decision. ha! Anyone else have any good ideas?
    BlueBell
    Austin, TX
    19K gallons, 500 approx sq. ft. pool, 33' x 16', outdoor, inground, med. grey plaster interior, gunite, hayward tristar 1 speed pump, perimeter 95

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Why are you stuck on a SWCG? Perhaps if you decided to dose with another form of "automation" you could have the stone you like and not have to worry!

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    I think that too much stock is put into salt corosion. However, with some preventative maintainence and some care you can still have the look you want with some longevity.

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Quote Originally Posted by SCEADU
    I think that too much stock is put into salt corosion. .
    +1 on that
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    I'd have to disagree with you, SCEADU, as I see it every day. I have Arizona flagstone (very soft) on my pool, and I never had any problems with it until I started using a SWCG. I use Porous Plus 511 on the flagstone, but even it does not stop the flaking. I visit 2-3 pools every day on average, and I can often tell if someone has a SWCG by looking at their coping.

    I think SWCG have their place, and I know lots of people like them, but one of the things that I do not like about them is some of the affects that are caused by them. In areas where "soft" water is common, they work great. Where hard water is common, they calcify and stop producing chlorine. Where hard coping (concrete, for example) is used, the impact of the salt is minimized.

    Soft coping material in general has its "problems" around pools. SWCG just add to those "problems".

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Thanks for the replies everyone. We've heard so many great things about salt and the feel on your skin and hair, that is what has led us so strongly down the salt road. I think our first hurdle is finding a stone we even like. So I'd thought I'd just put it out there in case someone has a good suggestion for some stone we haven't seen yet or something they've used that they like. We have strongly considered forgoing salt and using limestone for our decking if we just can't find a stone that will work for us. It's always an option.
    Thanks again!
    BlueBell
    Austin, TX
    19K gallons, 500 approx sq. ft. pool, 33' x 16', outdoor, inground, med. grey plaster interior, gunite, hayward tristar 1 speed pump, perimeter 95

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    I'm glad I read this thread. I was asking about decking in another thread and most seemed to point me toward Pavers. I too have a SWG. Should I not use Pavers or are there some that would be compatible with a SW pool?
    14,700 gal. 14 x 28 rectangle with 2R IG by Hydra Pools, 1 hp Hayward Maxflow ll, Hayward 24" Sand Filter, Aquarite Electronic SWG, one Aqua Genie Complete Skimmer, two main drains, four returns, 2 spa jets in steps, 30ml Tidewater liner. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Ok this is one of the things that bug me about TFP sometimes, lol. A lot of times there are multiple threads going with just enough info to confuse the heck outa people!

    No malibu, pavers are fine. What's being discussed here is natural stone like limestone or flagstone, not pavers made out of concrete. Pavers like you were talking about on the other thread are just fine.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Thanks bk406 for the clarification. I am always learning something new on this site.
    14,700 gal. 14 x 28 rectangle with 2R IG by Hydra Pools, 1 hp Hayward Maxflow ll, Hayward 24" Sand Filter, Aquarite Electronic SWG, one Aqua Genie Complete Skimmer, two main drains, four returns, 2 spa jets in steps, 30ml Tidewater liner. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    We talked to our PB today and have decided to go with the Mexican creme sandstone for our decking and coping. I'm probably going to seal it so I know I'll be searching this site for recommendations for a good sealer. Thanks for your ideas everyone!
    BlueBell
    Austin, TX
    19K gallons, 500 approx sq. ft. pool, 33' x 16', outdoor, inground, med. grey plaster interior, gunite, hayward tristar 1 speed pump, perimeter 95

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    I'm in your general area.
    Ask to see some "Blanco Stone".
    I think you will like it and it's local and should not cost too much.

    SWG is the only way to go. Those who warn of corrosion make their living selling chlorine.

    I was at the ocean once and I definitely recall seeing rocks near the water that seemed to have been there about a million years so ... I'm not too worried.


    Oh, here is the "Blanco Stone":

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/whate...ool-t9301.html
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Those who warn of corrosion make their living selling chlorine.
    Well, not quite everyone.

    I have seen a few pool owners post on this forum that seem to have legitimate damage issues from combining an SWG and soft stonework.

    I would certainly agree that there are not that many instances but I don't believe the issue is completely bogus.

    If I were building a pool, I would certainly have an SWG but I would choose any stonework with the SWG in mind.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Weather, at least in my geo, plays a larger role on soft or porous coping degradation. I have also seen it play merry **** with areas that don't normally experience freezing temps but have been as of late.

    I have customer that didn't believe me at first. When I opened his pool, quite a bit of chip debris was present, He said "See" and I said the system has been off for months. I walked him to the back of the shed where his spare stone was. Guess what we found. Chipped stones.

    I have not seen any increase in coping erosion or corrosion due to salt systems. I have seen broken bonds eat the metal cups used for rails and ladders, cause rusted light fixtures and niches, etc... both with and without salt cells in place.

    Salt is not corrosive. Look at your salt shaker top. Chlorine and stray currents can be. Add salt to water and it becomes a conductor. Chlorine is pretty potent too. Salt cells? It's potentially possible but an anode or two will take care of most potential stray currents.

    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: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    I don't sell chlorine, I do have Arizona flagstone that is "damaged" from salt, SWCG do not work well in our area and I will never have one again.

    Every one is different, and different areas have different conditions. In areas where high CH is present, SWCG calcify and stop creating chlorine. I've had three different brands, and they all did it. Our water here is just too hard to make these a viable option. I am asked to sell them almost daily, and I sell very few once I explain exactly what they can do and how much attention they will take to keep working here. If the customer has AZ flagstone or another soft stone coping, I will explain to him what can happen to that stone. I am not in business to not sell something, but I am also not in business to lie (or withhold information) just to make a sale.

    I believe that a SWCG in an area where soft water is present and a durable coping product (quartz or another dense stone, concrete coping, to an extent, etc.) is used makes for a consideration. But I also feel that people have to understand the limitations of SWCG and the attention is needs to keep working (too many times I see these sold as "set it and forget it", because that is what the pool owner wants to think also). Coping damage from salt is real (the rocks at the ocean are typically quartz or granite, which is why they hold up. Sandstone bluffs, by the ocean erode, partially from the salt. Flagstone, at least in this area, is sandstone).

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    WRT business ethics, I'm right there beside you.

    As to how to deal with harder water, some cell can have their polarity reversal frequency increased to help with the calcium build up that they are susceptible to. They will still need an acid bath periodically and the reversals may shorten a cell's life.

    A sacrificial anode or two is used to prevent electrolysis in the pool from corroding any stainless or exposed metals, be they a stainless ladder or some ore in the stone.

    I heard salt may penetrate any pores but salt is a very fragile mineral that fractures far more easily than calcium deposits and if water got in once, it can get in again and put the salt back into solution, unlike calcium.

    As I have said in the past, I have not noticed any increased damages caused by cells that the anodes didn't control. I don't have your stone used in my area either but there is travertine here, which is relatively soft and porous.

    YMMV.


    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: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    Not to take sides or anything

    Two separate issues discussed here that I can see.

    1) Hard water areas may not b ethe best for a SWCG

    2) Salt water pools can lead to corrosion of soft coping.

    The discussion on the thread started by the OP discusses coping, so thats the most relevent.
    I can say from my experience that soft coping will flake, but in my case It's not the salt, it's the weather. I have limestone and it has a few flakes/chips on the edge that butts the pavers. Happened the after the first winter. When I covered the pool, nary a flake. When I opened 6 months later, I had some chips. It didnt chip again the entire time the pool was open. The following winter I had a couple places, but not many more. Seems it chipped the most the first winter. I do not believe salt had one thing to do with it; it is the cold weather and snow. Now Bruce doesnt get any snow, so what he sees is not due to extreme weather. There are three options here. One, the sodium chloride is the issue with a salt pool, or two, it's the calcium in the hard water, or three, a combination of the two. My bet it's the combination, with a heavy lean toward the calcium.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    In my case, I had nary a flake on the flagstone until I started using the SWCG. It was sealed with Porous Plus 511 yearly, and held up well. Once I installed the first SWCG I started noticing the flaking. The guy that ran the tile and coping department where I worked at the time (40 years in the business) came into the office one day "complaining" about all of the coping stone warranty work he was getting recently. He started to look for a common denominator and saw that the occurrence was only on SWCG pools.

    I think the salt penetrates the soft stone easier than just regular pool water. Once it gets in to the stone, and the stone gets wet again, the salt "expands" and creates the issue. I'm not 100% convinced that the salt level is high enough to be real corrosive, but I do think that it can build up in the soft stone and expand.

    Interesting thread. Lots of opinions and no real "facts" as to if it does damage or not!

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    Re: Stone vs. SWG dilemma in Texas?

    There has been a lot written on this topic in very heated and controversial threads (this one and this one as two examples). The main conclusions were that salt recrystallization pressure is very real (there are scientific papers on it) and can crack/chip softer stones that can absorb splash-out, but that it required a specific sequence of such splash-out with fairly rapid evaporation without any rains to wash out and dilute the salt. This explains why places with summer rains don't see as many problems since any salt splash-out gets diluted. The bigger problems have been seen in hotter drier more desert-like climates which is why Texas and Arizona has seen more damage.

    Another factor is that the usual stone that is installed is often that obtained from local quarries and this seems to be another reason why Texas is particularly harder hit with this problem since apparently some of their stone is marginal in the first place so when combined with the hot dry weather conditions, it's more of an issue. Softer stone is more affected. Any hardscape can be sealed which will reduce this problem, though regular resealing would likely be required.

    Also note that a non-salt pool will also have the same problem since it also has salt, but that it takes longer since those salt levels are usually far lower.
    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
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