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Thread: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

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    Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Had our pool totally revnovated.

    Pebble tec finish went on yesterday.

    They then filled the pool and started my equipment --- and then added chlorine.

    This morning, I went to check chemistry (since it is new fill water) and looked up start up sheet for pebble tec.

    Very adamant (on all sites I looked at) about not adding chlorine. FC today is 14, pH way off charts > 8.2. AND the black finish is whitened on the low walls and the bottom.

    Did they destroy my brand new finish or am I missing something? I sure hope I am not sunk at step one!
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Welcome to TFP!

    The builder pretty much owns any problems at this point. You haven't made a final payment have you?

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    I assume that means it was a major error.

    No final payment not made - but I assume it needs to be drained, acid washed?

    Does that damage the finish to wash it? Am I looking at insisting on a total redo of the surfacing?

    I'm feeling ill ...
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Certainly they made a mistake, but it isn't all that serious if they fix it soon. Not adding chlorine on the first day is to avoid a rare condition, chances are that won't be an issue. The high PH and whitening is more serious be can be fixed (though it may mean draining the pool).

    Make sure you talk to the builder about this right away (if you haven't already).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Thanks Jason

    They are closed today and no option for getting in touch with them. I am trying to bring down the ph to hopefully slow down the rate if precipitation. They will be on site in the morning and will face a very unhappy homeowner.

    What is the rare complication you mentioned? I assume the chlorine promoted calcium precipitation but I guess that's not the reason for such adamance against early chlorination.

    The fix you mentioned is acid washing, presumably. If so, does that damage the surface or reduce lifespan? If so- the builder and I will have bigger problems as I will demand they do it over.
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Pebble Tec normally gets acid washed regardless, which helps expose the pebbles properly. Sometimes that is a no drain acid wash, sometimes a full drain acid wash. If the whitening is in fact scaling (likely), they will have to do a full drain acid wash and manually apply more acid to the scaled area, but the end result will be the same. Builders frequently do a full drain acid wash with Pebble Tec regardless, so this might not be a big deal for them.

    Adding chlorine early can cause staining of the plaster which becomes embedded into the surface as the plaster cures and thus can't be easily removed. The staining doesn't usually happen, just now and then when there are certain contaminates already in the fill water, and even if it did happen it wouldn't be all that obvious as it would not affect the pebbles, only the plaster between the pebbles.
    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: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Thank you again, Jason

    They washed it after install, before fill, as you said.

    Of all the things that can go wrong - refilling after an acid wash is far from the worst - and it sounds likeit won't harm the surface. As a kid I recall getting our pool acid washed and you would cut your feet on the end result. My dad had to get it marble dusted each time. That was a long time ago - assume things have changed !
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    What's the latest on this?
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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    The builder came. He said it was not the shock that did it. He thought the scale was related to the cure - weather? He didn't know exactly. I still think it's the Cl somehow.

    Anyway, he put scale tec in it, asked me to keep pH in range - and will see what happens. He didn't think he would need to drain it and acid wash - but will if needed. He said he prefers not to drain a new finish if at all possible, so wants to let it cure before having to drain it.

    I hope this makes sense.
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    I wanted to update the thread, in case someone in the future has a similar issue.

    I had a long, pleasant conversation with a representative of Pebble Tec today who could not have been more helpful. He told me that I am not the first person to call him and tell him his pool is white. He assured me that of all the mistakes a builder can make, shocking the pool is the best one to make. The key to the new surface care - he said - is to get your water in balance - and FC has nothing to do with it.

    He said there are 3 steps of increasing aggressiveness in getting the job done. He said I should start with step one and try it for 30 days. Ultimately for the pebble tec surface, he said 80-120 is the maintenance goal going forward, and never over 120.

    1. Forget the crazy swings in pH. Get the TA to 80-90 and keep it there for 30 days. That should help get the scale into solution and it may very well clear completely. Get CH to 200-300.

    2. If needed after a month: Be more aggressive with acid. He didn't want to go into specifics yet, as he said I should wait and see if it is even necessary.

    3. Drain and acid wash. He doesn't think it will get that far.

    I will post pictures and updates, but wanted to document what was a very positive interaction with the Pebble Tec customer service. He asked me to text him pics now and as the month progresses.
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Thank you for sharing this roller coaster of an ordeal....you have my sympathy. Such a big project and with emotional attachment it must have been tough on you.

    Sounds like the voice of reason from PebbleTec and that your PB is not running away from the potential problem.

    Keep us posted.
    19' x 37' Freeform IG; 25,500 gallons; max depth 8'6" with diving board; sun bench and swim out shelf. PebbleSheen Blue Granite Finish; Noble Tile--NVSA616 Peacock; Sandstone Retaining Wall; Oklahoma Flagstone Coping, Aggregate Deck; Small Water Feature w/ Moss Rock (70% flats and 30% boulders) Jandy Stealth 2HP Pump and CV460 Filter; AquaCal SQ156 Heat Pump/Chiller; Polaris 380 pressure cleaner w/ Halcyon boost pump.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Thanks for the update!
    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: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    It is nice to hear that the chlorine shocking wasn't blamed for the white calcium scaling.

    I believe one reason for the scaling was probably due to the water filling the pool had a low alkalinity. Low alkalinity water will dissolve some of the plaster material (calcium hydroxide) off the surface and then the pH of the water rises significantly. Then the calcium in the water precipitates out (due to the high pH) and becomes scale (insoluble calcium carbonate) and is often called "plaster dust." The plaster dust begins to harden on the surface as scale.

    Once that happens, then the instructions you were given to lower the pH and keep the water in balance may eventually eliminate the scaling. If not, then as was suggested, an acid wash may be needed. I hope that won't be needed.

    Had the fill water been treated with sodium bicarbonate before filling, then perhaps no whitening scale would have developed.

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    It's pretty cloudy today so I took the liberty of taking pictures. Almost a week and no change that I can see, but I will reassess at 1 month.

    Figured I might as well post them, to put the images to the thread. You can see how most of the steps, and the upper walls are spared. That brown is the real color. The scale really took hold of the rest. pebbletec said that because it happened so fast, overnight, it might be effervescence not scale - but the treatment is still the same.

    [attachment=0:1b0wlske]image.jpg[/attachment:1b0wlske]

    [attachment=1:1b0wlske]image.jpg[/attachment:1b0wlske]

    [attachment=2:1b0wlske]image.jpg[/attachment:1b0wlske]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    That does not look like a typical plaster dust or scaling problem. The white stains (deposits) look like paint brush marks. And most of the white marks in the pictures don't look like they belong in the pictures. Perhaps reflections?. And the pictures look like they are upside down.

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Yes they are upside down - and don't know how to fix that

    There are many bright reflections, from light between the trees above, which are impossible to avoid in the shots.

    The third picture shows the contrast of the bluish bottom and the brown walls (adjacent to the mosaic tiles). The second picture shows the unaffected steps with the less severely affected bluish floor.

    The first picture shows some small linear areas along the left side of the turbo cleaner head that are relatively unaffected, in contrast to the surrounding floor.

    Whatever the problem is, it shouldn't be there. It was homogeneously dark and beautiful upon filling .... and blue the next morning!
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Thanks, your descriptions helped me focus on what has happened to your plaster surface.
    It is unfortunate what happened. Hopefully, the instructions given you works.

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    Update: The coloring is improving, but I had the chance to dive in and take a good luck at the most heterogeneously 'off' looking areas. Those particularly 'blue' streaks are areas of incomplete exposure of the pebble aggregate. Not something I wanted to see. The plaster is black (but looks very blue from the top of the water) and the pebbles are underneath and not showing through.

    The PB told me they will 'deal with it '- and I hope that means without draining the pool. I hopeful of a non-drain solution - it that's possible with a brush ... or something?
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    I wanted to provide closure to this thread.

    It turns out that the issue was incomplete exposure of the aggregate before filling the pool. A no drain acid wash was attempted but it did not solve the problem.

    Finally, the PB drained the pool,acid washed, refilled and balanced the water .. all at their expense.

    It is now perfect. If the finish installer had been more deliberate and careful, it would have never been a problem.
    19000 gal in ground, pebble tec. Sta-rite system 3 DE filter, Aquarite SWG, raypak 406A heater

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    Re: Pebble Tec - uh oh please tell me I am ok.....

    I'm glad it's been resolved for you, even if it has added unnecessary stress. Hope you can enjoy your beautiful pool now.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
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