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Thread: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
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    New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Hello!

    New to this site and pool ownership. Really excited that we may be able to get some good advice.

    Just moved and finished recoping, replumbing (new auto-fill, vacuum, & skimmer), and resurfacing our pool because the previous owner had left the pool empty for over 5 years. Tsk! Tsk!

    We went with pour in place coping to help with the perspective since the pool was so large and choose an Amber Beige color to add to the aggregate. I understand that the added color mixes with the aggregate color so the final color will not match the sample.

    ?s: How long should the pour in place cure? Is there anything that can be done to enhance the color? What type of sealer should be used to protect the coping from either chlorine or salt water?

    We were originally only having the main lines replumbed, but our contractor surprised us and added a split drain. Now it looks like we have an option of keeping the pool chlorinated or changing it to salt water since there are no more copper lines.

    ?s: Which system is easiest to care for? Are there any added benefits between one or the other? How about issues? What filters/pumps work best with each system?

    I really wanted a black bottom pool but was dissuaded from it because of mottling and algae growth. However, our contractor introduced me to pebble & quartz finishes stating that because the aggregate contains the color instead of just the plaster, the mottling issues do not occur.

    The pool was completed with an Onyx Quartz finish which contains a medium gray plaster with black and blue quartz pieces. The acid was just added to the pool yesterday so we are now in the process of brushing for the next 7 days helping remove the top layer of the plaster to get the aggregate to appear.

    I was not super worried about the color of the plaster when it was filled because the dust made it look a light grey, but now that we are brushing... the plaster looks pretty black and we can't quite see the aggregate yet. Great for the color design I was looking for, but now worried about the upkeep.

    ?s: Is brushing 2-3 times a day sufficient to get the best results from the acid bath? Are either cholrine or salt water systems safe to use with the darker finish? Which water system will help prevent algae growth best? Will mottling still occur with the darker quartz aggregate finish?

    Any suggestions/comments will be much appreciated! We started getting concerned when the contractor's acid guy who I guess also cleans pools started making side comments about our choices. Not sure if we need to be concerned or just be diligent with our upkeep.

    THANKS!!!!!
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Flower Mound, TX
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    5,062

    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Welcome to TFP! Your pool sounds awesome! Would love to see pics.

    I'll let somebody else answer the curing specifics for you. That's not really my area. But I will address the salt water versus non for you.

    First off, "salt water pools" are chlorine pools. The only difference between the salt and non-salt chlorine pools is that salt pools use a device called a salt water chlorine generator to produce your chlorine for you. In a non-salt pool, you add the chlorine yourself.

    Either one controls algae and disinfects well and either type will work well with whatever surface you choose for your pool.

    Each type requires manitenance and testing of the water to keep things in check. Some will say that they like the SWCG because they enjoy not having to add chlorine by hand. Others, like myself, appreciate the control that they have by directly handling the precise amount of chlorine that goes into the water.

    Adding a SWCG to your pool requires an initial expense to purchase the equipment. If you don't have one already, a SWCG can easily be installed in your existing plumbing. Then you simply add salt and turn it on. Many folks realize that there are times when you still have to manually add chlorine to the pool, even with an SWCG. Shocking the pool would be one of those instances where some would choose to simply add bleach manually and save the wear and tear on their SWCG cells. Having a SWCG is also nice since you don't have to lug jugs of bleach or buckets of tablets around.

    So anyway, both methods have advantages.

    Take a peek at the Pool School articles. I think that you will find that many of your questions can be answered within that section as well.

    Lastly, be sure to get yourself a good test kit. This is very important when it comes to keeping things in check and problems at bay.
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
    TF Test Kits - Pool Math - Pool School
    "It depends."- JohnT

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Thanks WbyMag!! Very helpful. Stayed up way too late reading some of the Pool
    School info. Great resource! Sounds like as long as we do our job, we won't have the algae issues. Will probably go with the salt water just to help us with a bit of the chores. Looking forward to hearing from other posters regarding the plaster/coping questions above.
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Hello,

    Just wanted to provide an update.

    The pool surface is actually called Curacao Night which is exactly like Onyx except it contains some blue quartz as well.

    So, my husband and I diligently brushed our pool 3 times a day for 7 days with not much change. The plaster dust was finally eaten away by the acid that was dumped in the pool, but after about the 3rd day, the water became murky and the agregate still didn't really show through. Plus, the whiter "stains" were still not coming up.

    The pool contractor finally came out to check on the progress and agreed that the pool surface was not turning out like it should. After checking the water, he found that the alkeline level of the pool was still at 60 ppm causing calcium deposits (the white areas) and not allowing the acid bath to remove the top layer of plaster like it should. I guess for the acid to work correctly, the alkeline level should be down to 0 ppm. When he tested the water coming out of the tap it was at 170 ppm (normal levels 80 - 100 ppm). Even though they had added tons of acid, it wasn't enough. Probably a good learning for anyone reading this... make sure they check the chemistry before and after adding the acid to ensure the acid bath will to its job the first time.

    They ended up draining the pool and doing a hand acid wash. That is a more aggressive application and it's difficult to ensure a uniform finish. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The pool surface looks amazing. And the pool surface guy mentioned that it will continue to improve as time goes on.

    For the calcium deposits, they had us dump in something called The Magenta Stuff. Looks like it's doing the job and sounds like that may be something we will continue to need to use from the instrux on the bottle? Still have to ask about that.

    There are a couple large bands of lighter streaks... from the hand application. They weren't noticeable when the pool wasn't filled. I'll touch base with the contractor on those within the next day or two. But overall the quartz looks amazing and the color of the water is this deep deep blue.

    I'm off to print the pool school info. Need to get up to speed on how to keep our chemistry on point so no issues come up.

    Still living out of boxes 2 months after our move in. Hopefully soon there will be an opportunity to post some of the pool picts so people can learn from the process.
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  5. Back To Top    #5
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    SWSuburban Chicago, IL
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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Great update! Keep us posted...
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Get your reading glasses on... wanted to provide an update since sooooo much has happened since the last post.

    Already tried to provide one a few weeks back, but my long winded post never loaded to the site and I have been waiting for another "don't want to work right now" day so I could repost.

    Although I was optimistic when the drain and hand acid wash was completed, the streaking continued to worsen. The contractor ended up having to do a second acid bath.

    People, tip of the day: even though your contractor may sound like they know what they are talking about, ALWAYS question their explanations and research them on your own!

    We were told we had hard water and we were told the streaking was due to calcium deposits. During the first attempt, the water had not been tested before or continuously after adding the acid. During the second attempt, the same tap water was used. During both attempts, the pool was simply filled by hoses and we were instructed to not turn anything on or add any chemistry, just brush multiple times a day.

    On the third attempt, the contractor loaded up the pool with acid. They then suspended 2 pumps on either end of the pool (not touching sides or floor) and ran them continuously for over a week and a half. Attached to the pumps were vacuum hoses which snaked around the pool in a totally random pattern. This kept the acid circulating and did not allow the pool plaster to settle on the surface while it was getting eaten away. During this process, the contractor came out several times to test the acid level of the pool and brush. We were also brushing the surface twice a day.

    Tip number two of the day: Make sure your contractor is using the steps listed above initially! Why they wouldn't save themselves the expense on the off chance that a half *ss job may work makes no sense to me. Also, ensure that the water hoses are not touching the surface and are suspended into the pool when refilling. This will prevent the dust from accumulating along the hose and re-adhering to the plaster.

    It appears what may have been the issue all along was the plaster dust re-adhering to the surface while it was curing not the calcium deposits! In both instances when the pool was being refilled (3 day process) the water simply sat and the dust from the plaster install and acid hand wash collected at the bottom of the pool and adhered to the sides. Even though we were brushing as soon as the pool was filled, the plaster dust had already started to re-adhere.

    We came to this conclusion on our own after noting our observations of each of the failed attempts and what actually worked, plus researching the product online. By the ways, NPT has absolutely no detailed product info online for their QuartzScapes and supposedly offers no install assistance to their contractors. Not sure if that last statement is just a load that the contractor was throwing at us. I was able to locate a complete manual for SGM's Quartz Series which provided a great deal of insight. (see attachment)

    Tip number three: DO NOT expect the brushes found at Lowes or Home Depot to do the job. They are not sufficient for the "cream" and plaster dust to be removed well. Purchase a combination brush from your local pool store and remember to get the little round one too so you can get into the corners without rubbing the hard edge of the brush frame against the surface. This was never communicated to us even though the contractor had no issues using and eventually destroying the two brush heads we had at home during the first two attempts. We only realized the difference when we decided to look at the pool store brands. The bristles were much stiffer!

    Once the acid bath treatment was complete, the acid was neutralized and chemistry balanced. We were instructed to run the pool filter for 8 hours and vacuum after the filter session, followed with brushing on a daily basis. We ran the pump overnight the first day and on its regular schedule thereafter. Twice daily for the first week, we vacuumed with an attachment that had brush bristles surrounding it, followed with a regular brush down, and then switched it to once a day for the next two weeks.

    We were originally told not to worry about checking the chemistry for a while, but started on our own just after a week and have been checking it at the very least every other day. Although Leslie's mentioned that was overkill, it has definitely been necessary to learn how our pool chemistry reacts to the environment and become familiar with the amounts of chlorine and acid that need to be added on a regular basis.

    We have also had to clean our filter twice. Luckily we had added DE to assist with the filtration. The amount of plaster dust collected in it was INSANE! Don't even want to think about what could have happened if it was being re-circulated into the pool.

    The pool looks ten times better now and we are finally happy with the results. There are a few areas that are slightly uneven in color, but those are inherent with a dark bottom pool.

    As a new pool owner, I was originally overwhelmed with all the info located on this sight and the technical lingo. However, now that I am a little more seasoned, I was able to revisit the Pool School documents. They are all right on target!!! The info located on this site is invaluable and will save you a lot of frustration if you read and follow it. It was a little hard for me to review all the info online, so I transferred all of the info to a Word doc so I could print and keep it on hand at home. (see attachment)

    Hope my experience helps someone else out there!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Dear ontherocs -

    I am thinking of using Curacao Night. Can you quickly post a pic of your pool? Sprry it took you the better part of a month to get this all worked out.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Mar 2010
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    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
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    40

    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Hello! Please forgive the delay in responding to your request!!! The house remodel had been kicking our a**!

    Finish after first refill:
    [attachment=2:162f5gfz]Pool Finish - 1.jpg[/attachment:162f5gfz]

    Finish after drain:
    [attachment=1:162f5gfz]Pool Finish - 2.jpg[/attachment:162f5gfz]

    Finish after acid wash prior to 2nd refill:
    [attachment=0:162f5gfz]Pool Finish - 3.jpg[/attachment:162f5gfz]

    See next post for additional picts...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Finish after 2nd refill:

    Finish after last acid bath:

    Color of finish in sun:

    The finish is GORGEOUS now and is only supposed to get better as time goes on.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by ontherocs; 08-03-2014 at 10:36 PM. Reason: REMOVED ATTACHMENTS DUE TO NEW SITE LIMITS.
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    How is your finish holding up? NERVOUS right now about installing quartz
    Pearland, TX build ongoing. Freeform pool with Spa. Estimate finish 1st week March, 2014
    Dimensions 37 x 24 x 17 feet. Spa is 8ft round. Approx. 20,000 gallons.
    Variable speed Jandy pump, Jandy Cartridge filter. Aqua pure salt water system. Polaris 280 (black) 3 LED Lights: 2 pool, one Spa.
    Pebblesheen. Blue Granite. Travertine decking and coping.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Posts
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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    Hello!!! So sorry it's taken a while to respond!

    The finish is holding up pretty good. We continue to get compliments on how the pool looks in the sun which is my favorite feature!!! (not the compliments... how it looks in the sun >.<)

    A few of things to keep in mind with a darker bottom pool...

    Imperfections show up more than if it was a white bottom. Although 99.8% of the surface is a consistent "speckle", there are handful of small areas (majority no larger than a 1/4" diameter) that are inconsistent: plaster without granite, granite without plaster. I'm sure if it were white, it would seem perfect. We hear that an eventual acid bath is supposed to be part of regular pool upkeep and that it should reveal more of the granite specks; however, I haven't done much research on that yet, so am not sure if it's factual.

    You need to be on top of your chemistry or else algae will bloom quickly in warmer climates. Living in So Cal and not having a heater in the pool, we typically see that occurring when temps start becoming warm/hot throughout multiple 24+ hour spans. We've easily jumped on it using the BBB method without the need to shock. By the ways, polarized sunglasses help you see the algae easier/sooner against the grey bottom.

    Although we try our best to keep the pool balanced, the water in our area is pretty hard which causes some calcium deposits. Being white, the deposits are pretty obvious when they attach to the darker plaster/granite. Luckily, they aren't excessive plus are actually really easy to remove with a kitchen scrub brush and using the plastic scraper on the back for the slightly tougher deposits. I jump in once the pool is warm enough in my dive gear and scrape away. Since we don't get the opportunity to "winterize" our pool, I consider that my annual opening chore.

    All that said... would I pick the same bottom again? YES!!!
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Posts
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    Re: New Onyx Quartz Pool Care Suggestions Please

    some add'l helpful discussions around pool setup and issues that aren't hidden with dark bottom pools:

    A Bicarb Start-up guide for TFP members
    Calcium Nodules in Pools
    PH Will Not Lower - Existing Plaster/Scale
    Tustin, CA (Orange County)
    Curacao Quartz Finish (grey plaster with grey, black, blue & white quartz)
    29k gallon IG
    Pentair WhisperFlo Pump
    Pentair FNS Filter
    Hayward SwimPure T15 SWG

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