Thanks to everyone here who has held my hand with all my questions on a pool re-do. I bought a house with a late '80/early '90s cantilever deck Blue Haven built pool in DFW. When I put a bid on the house about a year ago the pool area looked like this (don't be jealous - lol!)
When we got to closing the seller was to have replastered the pool. Instead he painted it and it looked like this:
No look - he used pros for this job:
So I spent a season living with an ugly pool. I ripped out dead trees, cleared a stand of bamboo, picked up roughly 9 million ugly sharp rocks that are thrown all over the property for no reason that I can understand, pulled out overspent plants, laid 2 pallets of sod and learned to keep the chemicals on the ugly pool before I got around to getting it prettied up - and trust me - not one person that came over said "well I would LOVE to swim today, but you see, your pool is ugly, and I couldn't possibly get in it."
And then the debates started in earnest. What to do to the pool. After much hemming and hawing and even a false start (interrupted thanks to a kid spending all my money at the hospital rather than the pool contractors) I decided what was important to me and mine was a gentle surface in a more natural color. A light that truly lights the pool (it is Texas - sometimes swimming at night is the only way to go) and to save the cool deck that really is cool enough to lay on in August. I truly appreciate those of you that do major remodels of your pools but I decided that the extra $$$ wasn't going to make that pool any more fun for us. Hopefully what I saved in doing a facelift rather than a remodel will give me a boost on either a kitchen remodel or an outdoor kitchen build.... decisions decisions decisions. I ended up choosing a medium grey plaster, traditional light over LED (just had too many pros tell me that the LED wouldn't be bright enough), and planned on glazing the cool deck. Also replaced all the returns with grey plastic and had work done on the equipment. And here we go:
First the deck guys came out and power washed, repaired cool deck, and cut in expansion joints that were not put in when the deck was poured all those years ago. It had cracked in several places. We had planned for most of the brown paint to wash off the deck revealing a lighter colored original deck color.... best laid plans and I am still working out with the cement folks how we are going to handle the deck. I am adamant that we are not retexturing the deck because this cool deck is actually cool. Keeping a cool area is so important to me - I decided to put in St. Augustine all around the pool rather than adding more deck just too help keep the area cooler. It was a good decision and this cool deck is going to have to get worked out.
After a reasonable amount of debate, I decided to keep my "antique" tiles. The tile guys came and acid washed them and gave them a fresh coat of grout - WOW what a difference.
Next came the guys to chisel out the tile and sand blast the paint off the pool. If you can only be home to be amazed by 1 part of your pool redo - this is the part to watch. These guys made this look so easy! See the guy sitting on the deck with the hand held jack hammer? That guy is jack hammering between his legs. They did amazing work.
See those tiles on the steps? That was ultimately the reason that I decided to keep the original tile. I LOVE the tiles on the step. It looks like a wedding cake. Very. Favorite. Part. And the guys were so great that they hand chipped that area because the tiles had a curve to the top and bottom.
And then the sand blasting. If you ever have to do this try to schedule it for when all of your neighbors are gone. The noise and the mess is incredible (and seriously, don't do a half way job painting a pool to try to sell it - this mess cost me an extra $1000 on the remodel and it didn't even last a full season).
Sweeping up the part of the mess that stayed in the pool.
This is where my story takes a "here is a lesson for you" turn. I was supposed to have had plaster guys here on a Wed morning. I cleared my schedule for them. I got a text the night before that they would be coming in the afternoon instead. My daughter had a doc appointment and the doc was going to charge me cancelled it. First thing the next morning I got on the phone, managed to get her appointment changed, and she skipped school to go to the doc. I was driving back into town about 45 minutes before the plaster guys were supposed to come when I got a call from the pool sales guy. He was at my house with the plaster guys. They were there early but the wind was just too bad for them to plaster. They would be back the next morning. OK, not a big deal. I drop the kid off at school and come home to find the sales guy still sitting in the driveway making phone calls. He and I start chatting and I mentioned what an AMAZING job the guys did chiseling out the tile. I told him that they even hand chiseled the tile on the step for me since it was wavy. He looked strange and said "there is no tile on the step." I argued, telling him that they babied it for me since it was my favorite part of the pool. He insisted that there was no tile on the step. I laughed and pulled up a picture on my phone.... see - tile. By this point we were strolling to the back yard where he said "I am really sorry, but the tile is gone." Ever see a grown woman brought to tears over some tile that was removed via sledge hammer? Apparently neither had he because the poor dear obviously wanted to join me in some tears. Of course the tile is not available after all these years. So it is a loss. I put off having the plasterers come the next morning because I was in mourning over my tile and trying to decide if I should tear out the rest of it since the part that I loved was gone.
I ended up deciding to keep the old tile despite the missing 'wedding cake tile'. And the plasterers came:
And a cool note - these are plaster boots! They are like mini stilts!
See those pieces of foam? I thought those were for them to kneel on.
The foam was for their shoes! They put their regular boots on, then stepped on the foam, and then they tied the foam onto their feet with fabric. Low tech solution!
And the water goes in green from the beginning!
My much less decorative steps.
That white circle really scared me for a while!
And the concern about the green water got REALLY intense when I turned on the pool light. O M G ectoplasm!
And it was still green the next morning....
But it turned a beautiful shade of blue!