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Thread: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

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    Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Hello all.
    It has been a long time since I've posted on the forum.

    I have recently drained my pool to clean it up after a long period of being inactive, and found what seems to be paint coming off.
    All I had to do was rub it with a piece of wet cloth. Dipping the cloth in a bucket of water painted the water white with a blue tinge.
    I repeated this on one section several times and the result was the same. I should be clear though - although the paint seems to be coming off as indicated by the cloth and water, the surface does not show any difference. I am guessing that this is simply a matter of the paint being quite thick whereas whatever is coming off is in the form of dust and is relatively of very small amounts compared with the paint in the coat.

    Some history:
    Last season, due to its age, cracks and chips, I had it resurfaced; unfortunately, the result was not good.
    The resurfacing company patched up several locations (which was good), but they did an awful job with the painting and it bubbled and cracked in several places just a day after the work was done.
    I decided to leave it as it was, but demanded he provide the MSDS and data for the paint he used since he was putting my family's health at risk.
    He claimed to use a Devoe paint called Bar Rust 233. The sheet for the paint showed it was suitable for potable water so I decided I can use the pool.

    Something tells me that this is NOT the right way to do this but I am not sure.
    I would appreciate it if someone could help me with the following questions:

    1. Is this paint used for resurfacing a fiberglass pool? something tells me it is very different from what was previously on the surface of my pool.
    2. Is it still OK to use the pool assuming the paint job was performed properly?
    3. What could be the reason for such an epoxy paint to come off when rubbed with a cloth?
    4. Does this mean my pool should remain closed and I should get it resurfaced again? (hopefully using someone who knows how to do it properly)

    Thanks,
    Yoav.
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    You can still use the pool, as the problem is mostly cosmetic for now. Eventually the paint will fail completely and by then you will need to have it resurfaced. No kind of paint will last all that long in a swimming pool. Fiberglass should be treated with gel coat, which will last much longer.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    You can still use the pool, as the problem is mostly cosmetic for now. Eventually the paint will fail completely and by then you will need to have it resurfaced. No kind of paint will last all that long in a swimming pool. Fiberglass should be treated with gel coat, which will last much longer.
    Hi Jason.
    I was not troubled about the cosmetics of the problem, but rather the health aspects.
    When I said paint was coming off I did not mean that it chips off.
    To be precise it is as if there is a fine coat of paint dust that keeps coming off when the pool surface is rubbed. The net effect is not of chips in the water but of cloudy water, i.e the paint dust enters the water. In a bucket of water I could see the clouding clearly. In the volume of water in the pool it may not be visible, but will still be there.

    That I believe is a serious health hazard is it not?
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Proper chlorine levels will break down the paint debris and the filter will catch anything solid left over. There will be a little paint residual in the water at any given time, but it should not pose a health hazard. You said the paint was rated for use with potable water. This is the standard thing that happens to paint over time, so that rating has taken this into account.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Proper chlorine levels will break down the paint debris and the filter will catch anything solid left over. There will be a little paint residual in the water at any given time, but it should not pose a health hazard. You said the paint was rated for use with potable water. This is the standard thing that happens to paint over time, so that rating has taken this into account.
    Seems reasonable; thing is it happens everywhere, even on the rims where water rarely comes in contact with the paint...

    Something new came up today:
    The contractor was surprised to hear that this is the case and has instructed me to perform a test - to rub a section with acetone and then try a wet cloth again on that section. If that clears up the problem, he suggests I do that over the entire pool surface.

    I just tried it and AFAICT it worked.
    What do you think of that? Should I go ahead with it?
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Thanks for your help Jason, but I guess this issue is no longer relevant.

    I just found bubbles under the paint coat that ooze some kind of resin with a very strong smell.
    Whatever that contractor did to my pool, it was a lousy job to put it mildly, without mentioning any health risks involved.

    Assuming he will not refund me for this "paint job", this probably means a lawsuit.
    Yoav.

    p.s Any thoughts on Vinyl vs Paint? It seems to cost twice as much....
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    The resin you speak of is a process called Cobalting. The inner layers of F/G are separating. The only way to stop the resin from penetrating that I know of is to grind it out and fill it using an epoxy based filler. It may recur in a different location. The pool is breaking down. It may be coming from the outer shell and working it's way in.

    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: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    The resin you speak of is a process called Cobalting. The inner layers of F/G are separating. The only way to stop the resin from penetrating that I know of is to grind it out and fill it using an epoxy based filler. It may recur in a different location. The pool is breaking down. It may be coming from the outer shell and working it's way in.

    Scott
    Hi Scott, thanks for responding.
    After reading your post I am not sure how to proceed.
    I am quite certain that everything going on is the result of the resurfacing job - nothing of the sort was present before it was done.

    BEGIN
    I have many reasons to believe that the contractor that did the resurfacing for me was not professional, several of which are:

    - the workers did not wear masks when sanding
    - the fiberglass fibers and paint dust that covered my entire backyard after sanding
    - they used brushes instead of spraying the paint, leaving bristles lodged in the dry paint
    - they put on a single uneven coat of paint instead of 2 or 3 thin layers
    - the paint is not smooth in many locations, some of which are actually minute sharp bumps.
    - a day after the job was done, I spotted several locations with bubbles which as I've described previously were oozing that resin as well as smelly liquid and a foam-like substance.
    - a bit later on, cracks in the paint started showing up in certain areas

    At the time I was so keen on getting the pool working, I decided I am not going to get into an argument over "cosmetic" issues -
    I burst open the bubbles which were still closed, cleaned it all, and used the pool.
    That's why I was so surprised to find the resin again after having cleaned it and the pool being full of water for almost a year.
    END

    Despite all of that, since I don't have professional knowledge of fiberglass nor paint obviously, I need to make sure I am not accusing my contractor for something that is not his fault.
    Let me make sure I understand you correctly - do you mean this could be the result of the fiberglass body breaking down and not of the new coat of paint or of improperly preparing the surface?
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Random thoughts:

    1) When resurfacing a F/G shell, you can't expect to see a factory finish. Your yard is not a factory environment.
    2) Not wearing masks while sanding was dumb. They should have used tarps too.
    3) What paint did they use? Most pool paints are rolled on. Epoxy based paint is the only suitable paint for a shell that I know of. Some only require a primer and finish coat.
    4) Was the pool blistered prior to the refinishing attempt?
    5) What did they sand the pool with?
    6) Did you go with the low bidder? Did you do any checking?
    7) If the ooze is a dark and sticky goo, this is the breakdown of the F/G and it would have come through the existing surface soon enough anyway.
    8) What did your contract specify in terms of the number of coats?

    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: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Random thoughts:

    1) When resurfacing a F/G shell, you can't expect to see a factory finish. Your yard is not a factory environment.
    2) Not wearing masks while sanding was dumb. They should have used tarps too.
    3) What paint did they use? Most pool paints are rolled on. Epoxy based paint is the only suitable paint for a shell that I know of. Some only require a primer and finish coat.
    He claimed to use Devoe Bar-Rust 233. The spec says its suitable for potable water. I also contacted Devoe who said its OK for pools.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    4) Was the pool blistered prior to the refinishing attempt?
    No. Its color was faded and uneven, and some small scale cracking and peeling.
    The contractor said he found several places that had holes which he patched with fiberglass.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    5) What did they sand the pool with?
    Sanding discs

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    6) Did you go with the low bidder? Did you do any checking?
    Things here are not as they are in the US. Fiberglass pools are not common, and there are no serious companies who deal with them. I was referred to this contractor as the best person for the job by one of the biggest local pool companies. Apparently he is the only one who has the "blueprint" for making the kind of pool that I have, and he manufactured a section of rim to fix a problem I had in mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    7) If the ooze is a dark and sticky goo, this is the breakdown of the F/G and it would have come through the existing surface soon enough anyway.
    It is dark brown and sticky.
    Seems like this is either unbelievable timing, or possibly the sanding sped up an already ongoing process if I understand you correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    8) What did your contract specify in terms of the number of coats?

    Scott
    Well, as I've said, things here are a bit more "wild west" than they are in the US especially when you don't have much to choose from. There was no written contract.
    It was something I did not think could be done otherwise. Especially not by a professional.... Naive I guess.

    The reason I decided to ask for my money back is simply the premise that I cannot use the pool in this condition without putting my health on the line, and that my contractor is responsible.
    Since I cannot be sure at this point that he is responsible (more accurately, it seems he is not to blame for the oozing), I will have to look into where this ooze is coming from.

    Ignoring the fact that the paint is coming off (the pool can be repainted after all),
    if the oozing is the result of the body breaking down, is it even worth the effort to fix it?
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Hi Scott, Jason,
    I don't know if you are still following this thread...

    A picture is worth a thousand words, so I uploaded a short video that shows:
    1. What the ooze looks like
    2. What happens when I wipe the surface with a wet cloth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k89JHmtTcQo

    I was determined to get the oozing spots fixed by myself and use the pool, but when I tried using acetone (per my contractor's suggestion) to fix the paint-coming-off problem, it did not work.
    I am pretty sure that epoxy based paint should _not_ behave this way, and that it is not safe to use the pool.
    Hope you - or anyone who sees this - can provide feedback on what can be done (if anything at all), or whether I am mistaken about the paint altogether.

    Yoav.
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Hi again.
    Has anyone seen the video and can comment on it?

    Jason,
    I went over the thread and realized that I may have misunderstood you - when you wrote "the chlorine levels will break down the paint debris" I thought you meant that the chlorine is responsible for the paint coming off. I think you meant that as the paint "dust" comes off, the chlorine in the water will "neutralize" it, right?

    As for the contractor, the plot thickens.
    It seems he has sold his pool manufacturing "rights" to another company. I spoke to them, and they confirmed that the paint is of a high quality (Devoe Bar Rust 233). They were nice and said they will consult with their paint provider and get back to me.
    When I asked if they can provide me with Gel Coat so I can apply it myself, they said that its a bad idea; that I have a top coat on (the paint that is coming off) which needs to be fixed or redone.
    Still waiting, and hoping their paint supplier will provide some answers.

    What a blow to morale - I came back from the US recently with a long-awaited-for Liquidator - only to have this mess hold me back.

    A thought occurs though - maybe my frustration about being unable to "properly balance" my water for longer than a 3-4 week period, after which the water would get cloudy, is not the result of bad pool chemistry but rather that of the paint (my filter is not a very good one...)
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Water, over the years, has penetrated between the layers of the fiberglass. The tar like substance is broken down resin. The process is called cobalting. Why, I don't know but the only way to stop it is to grind and fill the blister it formed in. It is often a multi layer blister, getting the just first layer is not enough.

    It is often not a homogeneous condition, not does it always start from the exposed side, it may be coming from behind too. If you have to go nearly all the way through, adding new fiberglass layers may be required.

    Without the benefit of seeing the contract to get the pool serviced, I have no idea of whether the repairs needed were what was contracted for or out of scope. You cant bid on what you can't see. Some form of written addendum or an e-mail trail is needed typically.

    Welcome to the world of painted pools. They chalk up. They need to be brushed weekly. Eventually, you will wear the paint thin. I have no experience with the paint you used but here in my area, the epoxy paints do this also.

    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: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Hi Scott.
    I really appreciate your help with this. Aside from this forum, I have not found a single source of info which can tell me what it is I am seeing.
    After you've explained what the resin and cobalting is, I decided I would fix it myself with the aid of my neighbour who volunteered to help me out.

    My real problem is the paint.
    Every instinct I have says that the paint - any paint - should not come off like that.
    This is not natural "wear and tear". I've seen my share of epoxy. It is a very rough substance and I should be able to rub it with a cloth till I'm sore and not see a thing come off.

    I need to make sure I understand you correctly -
    You wrote that in your area epoxy paints do this also. Do you mean that painted pools in your area exhibit the same problem I show in my video? (I'm referring to the color of the water in the bucket, not the resin)
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    An update:

    I managed to get in touch with an Akzonobel representative (the manufacturer of the paint) who basically said the following:
    1. Epoxy paints are not normally used for outdoor pools (as opposed to rubber based paints). The "Bar Rust 233" used in my pool is designed for internal surfaces in water storage tanks.
    2. The paint that's coming off is due to "chalking" and is normal considering the paint is exposed to considerably more UV than what it was designed for.
    3. It is still safe to use the pool in this condition

    Well, I guess its time to fill the pool and install The Liquidator
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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    Re: Fiberglass pool resurfacing issue

    Another update:

    I keep posting on this thread as it might be valuable to other people in a similar situation.
    My pool has been operational for 1-2 weeks now, and is doing fine.

    Dealing with the chalking is not too hard although it is definitely an aesthetic issue.
    First, I do believe the problem is not so acute now that the pool has been used for a while, and there is a shading net over the pool as well (which should reduce the chalking in theory).
    The problem becomes evident when the pool is in use - when the kids splash around, move the water, and rub the surface, the water slowly becomes cloudy - once it got so cloudy that we could not see the bottom at a meager 1.2 meters.
    After a couple of hours of filtering and a night's rest, its back to its good old self.

    This probably increases my power bill as I am filtering the pool more than I would if it were not for the chalking, but all in all its doing OK.

    Yoav.
    15 KL (3300 imperial / 4000 US gallons) IG fiberglass pool, 61cm (24") Lacron sand filter, 3/4 HP Hayward pump

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