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Thread: Acid wash vs. remodel

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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Acid wash vs. remodel

    Hello,
    My pool is well over 20 years old. I inherited it about 10 years ago and the water was never balanced properly. In fact, until I found this forum, the water was always out of whack. Being that it is a plaster pool, what looks like scaling and/or etching has occurred over time. I'd like to get an acid wash done if it will get rid of the ugliness, but I'm not sure how good a job it will do. I'd hate to pay $250+ to have it acid washed with little results. I'd rather save $ and have the pool remodeled in a few years when we a)have the cash to do it and b)can't stand the ugliness any more.

    Here's a couple of photos, one looks kinda blue and the other kinda green, i have no idea why, the water is crystal clear thanks to TFP and BBB.

    [attachment=1:7brdrogr]pool3.jpg[/attachment:7brdrogr]


    [attachment=0:7brdrogr]pool4.jpg[/attachment:7brdrogr]

    So a couple of questions:

    1. Is this scaling, etching, calcium build-up, or something else??
    2. Is it worth it to get an acid wash? - In your opinion, how much of this will clean up??

    Thanks to anyone for their advice - if it is not worth it, it will save me alot of $ and I really like that!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    That looks to me like metal stains, though it could easily be metal staining along with either scaling or etching.

    Depending on exactly what is going on, which is difficult to determine from photos, an acid wash may or may not be the best treatment. In particular, calcium scaling is best dealt with by acid washing. If you have etching, you need to know if there is enough plaster left to allow an acid wash. Copper stains can be dealt with by acid washing, but iron stains are easier to deal with using an AA treatment.

    The quality of results you will get with acid washing is highly dependent on the skill of the person/people doing the work. Experienced workers can get really good results.

    Have you tried the vitamin C tablet test to rule out iron stains? Hold a vitamin C tablet against a stained area for 30 seconds and see if the stain changes color. If you do get a dramatic improvement you will want to do an AA treatment. It seems unlikely that this is iron staining, but the test is so easy it is worth checking first.

    Also, can you describe how the surface feels? Is it rough or smooth? Does it vary from place to place?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    Thanks for the response Jason!

    It wasn't iron staining - i tried a couple of spots and there was no effect with the tablets.
    In some spots, it is rougher than others, but for the most part, the entire plaster surface is a bit rough.
    The color of the stuff is really a gray, kind of a milky gray. It is not brown or orange in any way.
    Does this mean it is calcium?
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    I decided to go with an acid wash. I had a guy come out who has about 7 years of acid washing under his belt and he did a great job.

    The pool is very old, so it isn't perfect of course, but it should give us many more years before a total remodel especially now that i know the bbb method.

    Anyways, after the acid wash, i noticed how bad the tile scaling was and decided to bead blast. I got about 25% done and ran out of time this weekend. I really want to get the rest done, but I won't have time this week or the weekend, so it will have to wait until the following weekend. This is where I need some sound advice.

    Temps here are now running between about 40 and a high of almost 80 this coming weekend. http://www.weather.com/weather/tenda...+USAZ0280:1:US

    Is it safe to leave my pool empty for the next two weeks?

    No worries about the water table floating my pool, but I do worry alot about plaster cracking.

    Thanks for any advice!!!
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    Anyone have any advice for me concerning leaving my pool empty for the next couple of weeks?
    The warm weekend is coming up quick.

    Thanks!
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    OK. Turns out everything was fine with the temps as far as I can tell. No major cracks, no delamination, no other issues i've heard about in horror stories.
    My pool sat empty for about 3 weeks while I blasted away. Probably a total of 14 hours blasting and maybe 4 hours of multiple clean-ups (we had alot of storms during this job).

    I pretty much followed the same M.O. as in this thread: http://tinyurl.com/beadblast.

    Couple things learned in case anyone else is going to try beadblasting scale:
    • • Borrow or rent a giant compressor if you don't have one - I used a piston-driven 30 gallon compressor and it kept up well.

    • • Chew gum - It will capture a lot of the grit that you WILL get in your mouth (even with a blasting hood).

    • • Get a dryer - If it is humid, the handle will collect the moisture from the compressor and it will drip into the feed line, getting the media wet. Wet media does not work.

    • • Scoop your media into a bucket to filter and reuse - I used this filter from HD for under a buck: http://tinyurl.com/foamfilter It worked GREAT.

    • • Wear ear muffs - I didn't think it was too loud at first, but it gets old. Wound up with ear buds under shooting muffs so i had tunes too.

    • • Keep the hopper full - You wouldn't think it would matter, but the more full I kept it, the better it fed.

    • • Sweep often - I felt like a cartoon character sometimes with my hood, gloves, and my feet sliding out from under me. Those beads are like oil sometimes!


    I had to use about 95 psi before the blasting would even make a dent, but I had BAD scale on my tiles.
    There was a little damage to the tiles, but I think the end result is worth it. When I find the photos, I'll post a couple.

    If you're gonna do this - good luck to you. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I think with the knowledge of water chemistry I have learned from this site, the great acid wash I got, and my newly cleaned tiles, I shouldn't have to remodel for a really long time.

    Thanks gang at TFP!!
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    I have gladly begun to forget just how bad it was...

    [attachment=0:36gkjulw]Before.and.jpg[/attachment:36gkjulw]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    Glad it all worked out for you. I know it seemed like you were all alone but we were watching.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Acid wash vs. remodel

    Hey Spiccolli , any update on your pool 2 years later? im in the same process as I type... lol. How is the plaster holding up a few years after acid wash.

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