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Thread: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    I spoke with a representative of a pool company today regarding replastering my pool with Diamond
    Brite. I went out and viewed a pool they had just replastered, and you could barely see any aggregate at all (looked nothing like the sample I have). I was told that they don't expose the aggregate, because it makes the pool "too rough". Instead, they just do an acid bath. Is this normal? The pool I saw was done three weeks ago and you could literally see only a few little pieces of quartz here and there. I don't want to pay for Diamond Brite if it is going to look like plain plaster. Will the acid wash eventually expose more quartz? If it matters I am in the sacramento area and our water is super hard.

    ETA: two companies so far have told me that this is how they do it.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    NO!! I do not agree with him

    The purpose of the aggregate being colored is for the beauty of the finish!!!

    Some people get pretty good exposure without acid wash, but the most exposure comes by doing it usually. Very skilled applicators can get a whole lot of exposure without it, but its mostly common for them to use an acid wash/pressure spray for the maximum.

    You are 100% correct in your gut feeling. Why would you just want the base cream color on your finish?

    Check out this video, it will be of great interest to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqBlnD4OJ1g

    PS: The sample you have is the goal, and what the mfgr intends for it to look like when it's done.
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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    Thanks for the link, I will check it out. To clarify, they said they do an acid BATH, not wash (I will edit the original post). Like basically they just apply it like plaster, fill it up, and then add acid to the water.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferJuniper2 View Post
    Thanks for the link, I will check it out. To clarify, they said they do an acid BATH, not wash (I will edit the original post). Like basically they just apply it like plaster, fill it up, and then add acid to the water.
    Yep, that's very common, and in my very strong opinion the absolute poorest way. It's the lazy approach, and its even harder on your finish.

    Results are very often marginal. At best. See what they do in that video...
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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    Another company mentioned that you can end up with poorly exposed aggregate if a "hot start" is not done properly. What is a hot start? I googled it but couldn't find anything.

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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    That is absolutely true. You can get poor exposure that way, but it takes skill, and time to get good exposure, with, or without acid in a "hot start" or with acid exposure and pressure washing as in the video.

    In a full pool, "hot start" is adding acid in copious amounts, and letting it dissolve the top layer of fat/cream to expose the aggregate. The majority of which should be done by hard troweling, ragging, and controlled acid washing if they also choose to do that. If you watched the video, the guys you are talking too are trying to avoid all the hard work, particarly the acid, and pressure washing you see the ones in the video performing.

    What I don't like about a hot start is exposing the plaster to that low pH for all that time. Often for a few days. And the fact that they have no set pH parameter they control. They best guess the amount of acid based on experience. They wind up with a very acidic solution in the pool, but the majority of them don't know if the ph is 2.0 or 4.0 and this is a so called hot start/acid startup.

    You'll find many of them have no idea that a pH of 3.0 is ten times more acidic than pH 4.0. I don't like that either. People doing this shuold have a good grasp of the chemistry they are applying to a multi X 10 thousand dollar invesment someone has just made, but many have no clue at all.

    Acid/hot starts are acceptable to many people, but the above listed reasons are why I disagree with it. I truly believe it shortens the plaster life a great deal, and makes it suceptible to many more problems down the road, long before it should have any.
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    I'll just chime in to say that while an acid wash or acid bath or hot start (all very similar) may well not be ideal, collectively they are by far the most common approach and all three of them are perfectly capable of producing good results.

    The most important factor in getting good results is the experience of the team applying the finish. Ask for references, and check them. How they expose the quartz does make a difference, it is just completely secondary to getting a skilled team.
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    My point is that although it's accepted and able to expose aggregate, it is a very poor substitute for a skilled application.

    I wouldn't allow it to be done in any pool I owned.
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    I have Diamond Brite (Blue/Black) and they only did an acid startup. I have a ton of exposure on mine. Water went into the pool as soon as they were done troweling. Acid a few days later if I remember?
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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    Interesting. In the past week I have viewed three pools done with this "acid bath only" method. One looked good (a white color with some blue flecks done about 6 months ago), a darkish gray blue pool (done about a month ago), and another french gray (done about a year ago). The first one looked pretty nice, the second one had literally almost no exposure, and the third was just meh. You could see the quartz, but it was pretty uneven. It seems like all the "affordable" providers of DB around here do it that way. We are going to either do colored plaster (and save about 2 grand) or upgrade to pebble tec for about a grand more than DB.

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    Re: exposing the aggregate in Diamond Brite

    Just so you know, there are better alternatives than DB.

    CLI and WetEdge Quartz finishes are two of the best money can buy. WetEdge only allows certified (by them) installers to put it in, and you won't find many if at all doing them with hot starts. Either of those are smoother and less expensive than pebbles, and extremely durable.
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