Houston TX: Oct 2012 had my pool plastered (brought down to the cement, due to three layers), turned out perfect, beautiful, then a leak 1-2" a week, did the normal troubleshooting and then hired a pro cause I could not find it, neither could they. Then in January damaged an return eyeball re-adjusting, so called someone to install a new one (I know I could have done self, but it was cold outside). I am so glad I did hire a pro for this simple trick, cause when he took the plate off to reinstall a new one, he noticed that there was a gap between the return valve and the pipe it was suppose to be connected to (this is why no one could test the leak 2" deep in the neck and the vacuum hose goes down 4-6"). The installer asked if he could check the other returns, since he knew it was a new plaster job. Low and behold all of them had gaps from 1/4" to 1/2". He asked if he could put come grout in the gaps to test if that was in fact the issue - but very temporary. Well no leaks, until the grout started to degrade, now I am leaking again. The installer that troubleshot this told me that it is a common problem with plaster jobs, plasterers get tired, lazy, or just don't know or pay attention, but most of the time there is little to no detection. The only way to fix it is plaster the whole pool and install correctly; chip around the return valves and reinstall correctly (ahg, my new plaster); or if you convince the contractor to just plaster the gap and warrant that job that would be the most cost effective for the contractor and less mess for me.
Here is my problem the original contractor, is telling me the plasterer will fix - but will not give me any details and this will be covered under the plasterers limited warranty. I explained to the contractor I signed a contract with you not the plaster that he needed to explain to me what the process would be and extend warranty to cover this one specific issue as it will leak again, maybe sooner than later, but it will.
Have any of you all heard of or had an issue like this? if so, what advice would you give me, specifically - can I trust they will fix correctly for me; is this a problem I will be plagued with for years to come; and is this an industry ugly secret?
UPDATE: 2013-0620: Plasterer (no contractor) showed up late in the afternoon - took a look at the inlet valves from pool side and said there was no problem - stated that my contractor called to stop leaks around the inlet valves. I had to explained to him the original issue (all of it) and sat outside with him and took out every inlet valve, plate and all, told him to stick in figures down about 2-3" and tell me what you felt. His eye went wide and he stated saying it was because my pool was old that this is normal after plastering and that I will need to replace the piping inside the side of the pool that hooks up to the inlet valve, not his fault, nothing he can do. I asked him about the other options I was given by the other plasterers that did all the troubleshooting for me (i.e. replaster, chip around the inlet valves and set correctly, or fill gaps) and if he was sure there was nothing he could do for me given that I know what the problem is and that the other plasterers would not do the work required due to my warranty. The plasterer proceeded to tell me that he could seal the gaps on all the inlet valves with a puddy/plaster mixture, but not covered under warranty, cause not his problem - don't use the pump for the remainder of the night and should work fine, no leaks after it hardens. He also popped out all the value directional inserts, he stated that the pipes and valves need to be flowing freely, so the pressure will not harm the valves and pipes anymore than already done. Well here I am, 2013-0625, no leaks - but not the outcome I would have expected - wanting it fixed differently - considering I have been trying to fix this since last October.
QUESTION: he did a good job (from what I see and feel, I could not have done better for what was done) - is this an acceptable process to rectify this issue? temporarily or permanently?