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Thread: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

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    Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    I drained my pool a few months ago in preparation for whatever I might need to do to make it better this summer than it was last summer. I don't have tons of money and plan on doing whatever I can myself. Any improvements will help I'm sure.

    Last year my main problems stemmed from inconsistencies in the pool texture on the bottom. There are small divots, holes, ridges, and raised areas where algae likes to hide. I never had the pool take a huge turn on me, but there were always little spots on the pool that couldn't be fully brushed out. Now that the water is out I'll be able to REALLY get down in there to clean them. But I want to fill them with something. Is there a DIY product for that? Example:






    This is one of the small RAISED areas:


    Also at the deep end down near the drain (which isn't really a drain BTW, no suction down there) you can see that the bottom is not level by the way the water pools up on one side of the drain but not evenly on the other. Under this small puddle of water what you CAN'T see until it dries up is VERY UNDULATING plaster ripples. Hills you might as well call them. A very uneven and ripply texture there. Algae also likes this area. You can also see that the drain isn't level, it angles to one side. Not sure if all pools are this way or just mine.





    The light doesn't work


    The tile is old, horrible color, stained, small cracks, and easily gets algae in the grout areas (I know it's not really grout...)





    Underneath the cantilevered edge some parts of the under sealing material (caulk???) is rotting and flaking away



    There is an open port on the side of the pool which is run to an empty/non functioning pipe that exits NEXT to the pump station but is not connected. Previous home owner was a family friend who said that the port could eventually be plumbed for a permanent vacuum port, but was not currently used.



    Previous owner also swears the pool was re-plastered in 2005 but I'm not sure if that's true. There are color striations of blue that you can see bleeding through the white over coat. I'm assuming the white is the so called "new" plaster but it's so worn off the old "bluer" color underneath is showing through. This is throughout the WHOLE pool





    Whoever did the supposed re-plaster job in 2005 left definitive trowel marks/streaks. Not sure if this is typical or if its a sign of shoddy work.





    Obviously this pool needs huge work. I simply cannot afford to have other people do my repairs for me. I have tons of experience working with interior wall plaster so I understand concepts of mixtures and trowel work. I am extremely mechanical and have fixed tons of things myself throughout my life including major car repairs (head gaskets, clutch/flywheels, water pumps, rear axle seals etc. I have worked with tools all my life. I am capable of a lot, but I also sometimes don't know my limits. I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

    In your guys experience, what would you do first? What would you do second? Which of those fixes will be the cheapest so I can start right away? Aside from having the pool completely resurfaced, what can I do to improve the texture/small holes etc.?

    Sorry for the huge post and tons of pics but I know you guys like details. I hope that this post can serve as a dumping ground of knowledge for future users to draw from.
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    1. You have too many threads dealing with somewhat similar problems. Stay with this thread from now on and we'll help work on the problems one at a time. It is difficult to go back and find your "history" when it's on multiple threads but if you'll stay with this one, it'll be a lot easier for everyone to keep up.

    2. I am not positive what the pool surface problems are but that LOOKS like calcium deposits.......put down over years of running the pH, TA and CH too high. That is certainly the case on the scum line tiles. (yes, that's really grout between the tiles)

    Since you are gonna' need acid to clean the scum line tiles, I would suggest you mix about a 3:1 ratio of water/muriatic and apply to the bumps on your pool surface. If it's calcium deposits, it will foam up and you will have identified your problem.

    That's still not going to resolve your "old plaster showing through" problem but it may help you get a better surface until you can afford to re-plaster. Re-plastering yourself is a job I personally would not attempt. You seem interested but perhaps you should watch a pool being done first and it will probably discourage you. That said, it may ENCOURAGE you instead and you'll be ready to give it a go.

    3. What is the CH of your fill water?

    4. I know you have some other issues but you asked what to do first.....I would not undertake anything else until I got the plaster resolved and the pool filled back up.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    Thanks dude. Bought one of your test kits. Awesome.

    When I first got your kit I tested the water back in May. The CH reading I have from that chart is 190. I'm not sure if it would have fluctuated up or down from there throughout the summer but I never tested it again. I didn't do anything different to the pool over the summer except add the occasional water and keep the chemicals up.

    When I got the pool it had been neglected for a awhile. The previous owner had whipped it into selling shape (filter running, water in the pool) but that was it. I'm not sure if the white/blue you see is indeed surface wear or deposits like you say. I was going to acid wash the pool as previously instructed by some other folks but heard that you cannot acid wash too many times because you'll ruin the pool surface and HAVE to get it redone. I didn't want this to be the final straw so I was going to ask again if I should even do it based on the current condition.

    My DESIRED priority would be

    1. Light fixed (could be a simple thing)
    2. Acid wash if recommended
    3. Holes/divots/inconsistencies patched and repaired
    4. Clean tile
    5. Caulking repaired

    If I can put off re-plaster for another few years I want to. I hear about the pebble tech and its relatives all the time but just don't know if it'll ever be worth it to me. I don't want to be in this house forever, but would like the pool decent for the years I am here.
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    Well, the light should be pretty easy. There is a single screw at the top of the outside ornamental ring and loosening that screw will allow the entire fixture to be lifted out and set on the deck. Get a new bulb and gasket for your model......the instructions on how to take apart the fixture and reseal should be in with the bulb.


    2, 3and 4 are essentially all related. removing those calcium nodules (if that's what they turn out to be) and acid washing go together and cleaning the tile will be done with acid as well.

    I would caulk after you get all the acid work finished.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    As Duraleigh said, the light fix should be easy. From the lens, it appears to be an American Products light fixture. They were bought out by Pentair several years ago, and thus any Pentair light parts will be compatible. The best thing to do is remove the screw on the top of the frame and pull the light fixture out of the niche up onto the deck. Carefully open the fixture by unscrewing the ring clamp that holds the frame, lens, gasket and fixture together. Carefully remove the lens and check for any water inside. Most likely, the bulb has died. So, if the bulb is still intact, you can check its rating and purchase a new one. Alternatively, if it has a standard Edison (screw in) base, you could get yourself one of those nice screw in replacement bulbs. Also, you can test the fixture with an ohmmeter to make sure that there are no problems with the wiring. BTW, don't test using a new bulb, as these will blow rather quickly without the heat being extracted when the fixture is underwater. In addition to a new bulb, make sure you get a new gasket as well, otherwise the fixture will leak. When you reassemble it, make sure to really crank down with the ring clamp so that the "loops" at either end of the wire clamp are touching.

    You can either polish or buy a new stainless steel frame to make the light look like new. We just installed new Intellibrites and it's amazing how nice the new stainless frames look in the pool.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    I think that the pool is due for a full renovation. However, if that's not feasible right now, I think that there are some things you can do to improve the appearance and texture.

    I think that if you sanded the surface with a diamond grit sander, it would make a big difference. You can patch with a mixture of white cement and marble mix. 1 pound of white cement to 1.75 pounds of marble aggregate. You can use the same mix to regrout the tiles and fill in other missing grout as needed. Screen the marble aggregate to remove the larger particles. Cut out or scrape out loose grout and dirt before regrouting.

    You might be able to have the tiles reglazed instead of replaced.

    The empty/non functioning pipe can be plugged, made into a return, used for a pressure cleaner etc. If it is going to be used, it should be flushed out and pressure tested to make sure it does not leak.

    The light might only need a bulb and gasket. That's an American Products light, which has been replaced with the Pentair Amerlite. Check the bulb for specifications.


    The blue color is most likely copper from a gas heater's heat exchanger.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    So first snag. That ****ed cover ring over the light won't come off. The screw is corroded in there. I've used WD-40 and PB blaster to try and loosen it up, but the slot for the flat head screw driver is brittle and shallow. It won't allow for a screw driver to be used. I'm thinking of drilling it out. Any contra-indication to doint that? I'd like to avoid damaging the inner ring that would recieve a new screw.

    I think I might acid wash it this weekend or the next depending on my schedule. I've been watching videos of people doing it and I think I can handle it. Pump sprayer, acid, brush, water, and a neutralizer.
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    If you've got a Dremel or something similar, try cutting a new slot for the screwdriver before you resort to drilling.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    Jack, you've got problems a-plenty

    The light is IMO, a small issue. You can drill the bad screw out and then test the bub and line. Getting it back in will either require a tap and new screw or a 'light wedge' (made by PoolTools) - either way, small change$

    For the acid wash - mix up a 4:1 (water to acid) mix in a plastic flower watering can and pour it on the surface and then use a hard bristled nylon brush to work the acid into the plaster. Rinse the area within a minute to stop the acid from eating too much of the plaster. (*watch out for the fumes! muriatic acid is nasty stuff!) If you have to, rent a sump pump and keep the acid/water from collecting in the hopper. Wear the appropriate protective gear

    Use the mixture of white cement to marble dust (that James gave) to patch any holes in the grout and the pool surface. (if you need tips on mixing or applying the marbleite/ grout - ask)

    The acid wash is your first step for getting the pool ready for whatever you do to it, keep us informed, as to your progress and results, and we'll help you get your pool ready for the 2012 pool season.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackslap
    So first snag. That **** cover ring over the light won't come off. The screw is corroded in there. I've used WD-40 and PB blaster to try and loosen it up, but the slot for the flat head screw driver is brittle and shallow. It won't allow for a screw driver to be used. I'm thinking of drilling it out. Any contra-indication to doint that? I'd like to avoid damaging the inner ring that would recieve a new screw.

    I think I might acid wash it this weekend or the next depending on my schedule. I've been watching videos of people doing it and I think I can handle it. Pump sprayer, acid, brush, water, and a neutralizer.
    Try a screw extractor and a bit of WD40 first. These drill backwards into the screw and help to remove them. You can find one at your local hardware store or HD/Lowes. This will save you the trouble of having to rethread the light bezel.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    Alright, update:

    I scrubbed the basin out with just plain water and a scrub brush today, got it looking pretty ok. I decided to fool with the acid a bit, I didn't have a lot of light left so I knew I couldn't do the whole thing at once.

    My pump sprayer is broken, just found that out today after wasting 30 minutes farting around with it. So I resorted to just pouring the acid down the walls. Ghetto I know.

    I was in a panic because I've never done this before I didn't let the acid sit very long. Scrubbed it in a bit and rinsed. No change that I could tell. I got braver and moved over to the shallow end steps and decided I would let the acid sit longer this time. As a side note the walls were still damp from the earlier scrub brushing and so I think this may have contributed to the lack of acid efficiency.

    Upon the second attempt with letting the acid sit longer and not being so afraid it would burn a hole to China, it worked. All those blue streaks you guys see in my pictures above were going away. The acid was running down into the deep end and where it was running down it was cutting a nice white streak through the blue bottom into the puddle down there. Looks great. So I still need to spot treat a few areas over there by the stairs since I believe the acid wasn't very effective due to the walls being wet.

    The bummer thing is that the acid DID NOT TOUCH the gray build up on the tiles. Not a bit. Even my steel brush WITH the acid couldn't scrub it off so I don't know what that stuff was.

    That was my afternoon. Questions:

    1. What is the blue stuff that is getting destroyed by the acid. It is all over the whole pool. Old paint or some kind of hard water staining?

    2. What is the gray grime on the tiles that won't come off with a steel brush and acid?
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    The grey on the tiles is not a buildup; it's where the blue glazing has flaked off of the tile. The blue stuff on the walls is most likely copper stains.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    Hi Jack,

    I had similar problems with my pool as well and am in the middle of a demo and rebuild that I'm doing myself. Here's what I've done:

    1. I have solid rock in concrete along the tile line, so I tore/chiseled out all the old brittle/cracked concrete, back filled with marine caulking and then put fresh concrete in place. For what it's worth, my neighbor was able to sand the gunk off his tiles without scratching them.

    2. Acid washed the plaster at full concentration. I had lots of turquoise staining from copper that's all gone now.

    3. Once I'm done rebuilding all of my natural rock features I'm going to seal the concrete and pool with Sanitred. Check out their website, lots of pictures and testimonials. Then finally apply a 2-part epoxy over that in the pool itself.

    I call this the "nuclear hardened" fix-it approach because I won't ever need to worry about replastering the pool, just re-epoxy in 10 years according to the warranty on the manufacturers website. Anyway, this approach will fill-in any imperfections and give you a smooth surface that algae will have a hard time clinging to.

    Good luck!

    Nick in LA, CA

    P.S. I used muratic acid on my light fixture and it cleaned the surface to its original shiny surface without doing any damage.
    18,000 IGP, Pentair VS+SVRS, Pentair 4000 DE, 4x12 Fafco solar panels w/GL-235 controller, Hayward Aqua Rite Pro w/T-Cell 15, Hayward Tiger Shark QC, Guardian pool fence.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    So the winter was not kind to me time wise. I was not able to get as much done as I had wanted on this pool. The light was not replaced because the wiring for the light was never pulled through nor hooked up to the electrical system when the previous owner moved the pool filter set up from one side of the pool to the other many years ago. I still have contact with the previous owner (family friend) and he filled me in on that information. So no light this summer, oh well.

    I was able to acid wash it though which turned out really nicely, all that blue is VERY faded now, almost not noticeable. When the pool was empty and the sun hit the plaster it was blinding! Now that the water is in it gleams pretty good.

    I did use the concrete mix suggested to fill in some of the small pock marked holes and to patch up some thin spots in the plaster. I know that is not exactly how it should have been done but it seems to be holding for now. I simply did not have time nor the money to cut out plaster and patch it up etc.

    I got quoted about 5500 for a re-plaster job and simply cannot afford that either. That would not include new tile which it needs, and so that would send the cost upward. Sheesh I never knew how expensive pools were. I never had one growing up and I'm the first in my immediate family to own one.

    At the risk of starting too many more threads I'll post my fresh water fill results here so you guys can hopefully help me out. I added some shock and of course it was eaten up pretty quick so my chlorine levels when I measured were low. I added more now and they are up.

    TC 4-5
    PH 7.5 initially, but now 7.2 after adding CYA
    TA 70- Needs to go up according to pool school right? Best way to do this?
    CH 90- Also needs to go up right?
    CYA 0 initially, now about 30
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    How does your water look? Your test results are not bad at all.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    The water looks great. I was just mainly worried about the CH levels. At this low the water will leech calcium from the plaster right? And the TA being that low will cause the PH to bounce correct?
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    TC 4-5
    PH 7.5 initially, but now 7.2 after adding CYA
    TA 70- Needs to go up according to pool school right? Best way to do this?
    CH 90- Also needs to go up right?
    CYA 0 initially, now about 30

    The water looks great. I was just mainly worried about the CH levels.
    At this low the water will leech calcium from the plaster right? And the TA being that low will cause the PH to bounce correct?
    Generally correct on both counts but that effect is very s-l-o-o-w so there is no sense of urgency.

    1. Focus on figuring out how much FC you are burning. You should have to replenish 3ppm or so but it may vary a little

    2. Manage your FC for a day or two and then I would do the OCLT (Pool School) to see if you have any invisible organics in the pool

    3. If your FC burn is more than 3ppm daily, raise the CYA to 50ppm.

    4. That resolved, I would put in some baking soda to bring TA up around 100

    5. Then adjust your CH so you end up around 250-300.

    As you can see, you are pretty darn close on everything and will be swimming very soon (or have you already been in?)

    BTW, for all the forum newbies out there, keeping this all under one thread was VERY helpful. It was easy to look back at your story and get a picture. Often, those of us that respond a lot get the pools mixed up and need to have the info readily available.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Help me fix my pool please (pictures)

    OCLT was essentially nill. Measured last night after sundown and FC was in the 4-5 range. 12 hours later this morning I just measured 4-5 again. So that is good news.

    Tonight before adding anything I will measure again to check the daily burn. I have a sinking feeling because this pool is in full sun all day. Last summer I was surprised at how much chlorine I was using if memory serves. I will report back this evening.
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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