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Thread: Pool Plaster Discolorations

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    hawkeyes's Avatar
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    Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Hello. This is my first post and I have spent that last 2 hours reading Pool School and searching the forums in hopes of finding out what is going on with my 2-month old, Salt, 20K gal pool & spa. Here are today's numbers from Leslies:
    FAC 5
    TAC 5
    Salt 3300 (they told me I need to decrease my salt cell setting)
    CH 100 (yes I know this is super low but they said with my high chlorine levels, I should hold off on treating for this until we test again next week and see if that number is still this low)
    CYA 100
    pH 8 (high...have added 20 oz of muriatic acid). This tested at 8 last month as well.
    Copper: 0
    Iron: .15
    Phosphates 150

    Ok....so the issue is the discoloration of my antigua blue wet-edge. There are areas that are blue (like the should be) & areas that are a light brown (large areas...not just spots). The steps look very mottled with brown-ish colors most apparent at the edges and corners. The color is almost like sand. I've researched calcium scaling and don't' know if that's what is going on or not--isn't that usually a white stain? PB has recommended a no-drain acid wash--which they said they would handle. I have brushed with a combo nylon/ss brush every day for a week and have not seen any improvement in the discolorations. Oh...and the pH of the fill water is 8---so obviously I was facing an uphill battle from the minute I started filling this pool.

    Any help you guys can give would be so appreciated. I am feeling frustrated b/c it's nearing time when we can finally enjoy the pool here in TX but yet the bottom and sides look ugly (especially apparent on cloudy days).
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Can you post some pics? You could use a free account with PhotoBucket.com

    Also, it would be helpful to add your pool and equipment specs in your signature.
    Instructions are in the first article in Pool School.

    Welcome to the forum

    p.s. Another Texan with a pool
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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Hi and welcome to TFP!

    Leslie's didn't happen to give you a total alkalinity (TA) reading in your test did they? That's one thing that we are missing from your values.

    Is there any way that you can post a picture of what you are describing?

    How does your water look?

    What does the discolored area that you are describing feel like? Does anything brush off of it when you brush?

    ----

    Sorry Butterfly, I think we were typing simultaneously.
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyes
    Hello. This is my first post and I have spent that last 2 hours reading Pool School and searching the forums in hopes of finding out what is going on with my 2-month old, Salt, 20K gal pool & spa. Here are today's numbers from Leslies:
    FAC 5
    TAC 5
    Salt 3300 (they told me I need to decrease my salt cell setting)
    CH 100 (yes I know this is super low but they said with my high chlorine levels, I should hold off on treating for this until we test again next week and see if that number is still this low)
    CYA 100
    pH 8 (high...have added 20 oz of muriatic acid). This tested at 8 last month as well.
    Copper: 0
    Iron: .15
    Phosphates 150

    Ok....so the issue is the discoloration of my antigua blue wet-edge. There are areas that are blue (like the should be) & areas that are a light brown (large areas...not just spots). The steps look very mottled with brown-ish colors most apparent at the edges and corners. The color is almost like sand. I've researched calcium scaling and don't' know if that's what is going on or not--isn't that usually a white stain? PB has recommended a no-drain acid wash--which they said they would handle. I have brushed with a combo nylon/ss brush every day for a week and have not seen any improvement in the discolorations. Oh...and the pH of the fill water is 8---so obviously I was facing an uphill battle from the minute I started filling this pool.

    Any help you guys can give would be so appreciated. I am feeling frustrated b/c it's nearing time when we can finally enjoy the pool here in TX but yet the bottom and sides look ugly (especially apparent on cloudy days).
    Hi and welcome. I'm have an assumptions on the stains but I need ask you some questions.

    Did the PB add sequesterant when he filled the pool?

    How long have the stains been present?

    How and when did the CYA get to 100?

    Your CYA is too high, even for an SWG. Because of that, you should not "decrease your salt cell setting" as the pool store advised. That is incorrect. Look at the SWG section of the CYA chlorine chart. You will see, the SWG only goes up to 80 (because that's the highest recommended amount) and the min FC level is 4. You don't want to go lower than 5 if your CYA is already 100. Now, they are likely testing with a DPD kit. You (and frankly they ) should be testing with an FAS-DPD kit, that can test FC up to 50ppm. This is especially important with high CYA levels present, and the need to maintain higher FC levels, which their kit can't read . Sometime in the very near future I would recommend you replace some of the water with fresh to get the CYA down to 80. You may want to do this before you adjust the PH again... see below.

    What is the TA level? Assuming it's over 100, lower the PH down to 7.2 asap with Muratic Acid. See if this gives any sort of improvement to the appearance of the stains. Sometimes when metals are present, high PH can allow metal staining to occur.

    The CH is low, but actually you are not supposed to adjust CH at the start up of a new pool, because often that can go up on it's own. I would recommend you increase the level to 150 for now, since it's been two months its prob okay. You can make more adjustments later but it's better to do that in stages when you have a new pool.

    Often while new plaster pools cure, the PH, TA and CH can all go up on there own, requiring daily testing and adjusting as needed. Thus the need for your own kit.

    Now to diagnose the stains - use a Vitamin C tablet - if the stains are metal like iron - the stains should fade where the tablet touches. To see if the stain is organic, hold a trichlor tablet on the stain in the same manner. If the stain fades it's organic.

    If the PB is willing to treat the stain as part of his warranty and at no charge to you, that's good cuz it's possible he did one or two things wrong.

    You should order one of the recommended test kits- read about them in Pool School, so you are not subjected to that pool store's bad advice.

    Hope this helps. Holler away if I have only managed to confuse you!
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    I am trying to get some pics taken that show what I am describing. Will post them asap. I will also order a test kit. To answer the questions asked:

    Yes, I have a TA. It is 90

    I noticed some discoloration within a couple of weeks of filling the pool. This may sound crazy but I honestly didn't know if what I was seeing was possibly a shadow or reflection from the coping or my fence (both of which are brown). I mentioned it to the PB and they suggested I try a stainless steel brush and see if it improved. It may have helped a little but not much. On bright sunny days I can barely see it---have to look VERY hard. On cloudy days, like today, the brown is very apparent.

    I am not sure when the CYA first got to 100. I had it tested at Leslie's on Feb 1, March 1, and again today and all 3 showed 100 on my printout.

    I do not know if sequesterant added. I have a call into the PB to find out. UPDATE: No...not added per PB.

    They are not doing the acid wash for free. They said they will do it at THEIR cost---which is $125. (said normal fee is $250).

    The areas that I can feel (which are just the steps b/c it's way too cold to get to the other spots) are not slimey or slick. They feel normal.

    I added 20 oz of muriatic acide about 5 hours ago. Not sure when I would see a difference in the stains but, as of now, I see no difference.

    The wet-edge rep was in the area so the PB sent him over. Unfortunately I was not here to speak with him but the email I just received said he feels it is a water chemistry issue that has caused "scaling" and recommended either the no drain acid wash or to drain and acid wash it. He said he used some sort of Magic Jack (?) on the top step and felt it improved the appearance which led him to the conclusion it was a scale issue and not an issue with the wet-edge product itself.

    Trichlor and vitamin C tablets....where would I get those? Sorry to sound like a moron but I am soooo new to this and, right now, feel like I'm in so far over my head. Thank you all for taking the time to read and offer advice. I'm off to try and get some pics.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Here are a few pics that show the brown areas I am referring to. Also is one close-up of the steps in addition to an "overall shot" of the entire pool (that doesn't really show any of the issues, just posted so you can see the entire thing).

    http://pbckt.com/sx.d3gC
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    I think this may be metals - the PB probably should have used sequesterant (Jack's Magic is sequesterant) when the pool was filled. If you did not add the CYA then the PB probably did and he added too much. It appears with preliminary (and circumstantial) evidence that the PB made some possible chemistry mistakes, IMHO, which may have led to this problem. If that's the case he shouldn't be charging you anything.

    Get Vitamin C from a pharmacy/drug store - the tablet kind. Just rub it on the stain areas and see if you notice improvement. Since it's new, it shouldn't be hard to remove.

    Try the vit C tab first, if it doesn't do anything then report back and we'll tackle the trichlor tablet angle. But I have a hunch this is a metal stain.

    Now, the Muratic Acid. To lower the PH from 8.0 to 7.2, requires 51 oz of 31% Muratic Acid. So if you only added 20 oz that's not enough. Verify your % on the ingredient label, and then go ahead and add another 30oz if you have the 31% strength.

    Have you tried out the pool calculator yet?
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Well, the pool is beautiful! REALLY hard to see the stains via pics. It can be hard to capture stains in their essence. Try the above advice and let us know how it goes...
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Nope...I didn't add it. The only thing I have added is Muriatic Acid (2 gallons were added in Feb and now 50 oz---20 +30) and Chlro-Brite/Ultra Brite (which I'm sure now that I probably didn't need). Ordered the test kit and just now added another 30 oz muriatic acid to the pool. I'm off to Wal-Greens for Vitamin C. At this point if you told me to add bananas, I'd do that, too. LOL. I'll be back with results...
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Chlor Brite is Dichlor - it contains CYA. Did the builder tell you to add that?
    I do think this is fixable, so no worries!
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Quote Originally Posted by 257WbyMag
    Sorry Butterfly, I think we were typing simultaneously.
    No problem! GMTA

    OP, when you get some time, would you please list your SWCG info in your sig? And add some banannas - No! Wait! That's for my banana pudding
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Chlor Brite is Dichlor - it contains CYA. Did the builder tell you to add that?
    I do think this is fixable, so no worries!
    No...Leslie's told me to add that the first time I took my water sample in--along with 2 gal of muriatic acid. This time they told me to add Fresh N Clear and 20 oz of muriatic acid.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    K...i see now - no more listening to Leslie's.
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Can't tell for sure from the pics, but looks like it could be bad exposure to me. Is it hard to see the rocks in those areas (like there is still plaster covering them)? That is an easy fix if that is the case.

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Bruce, do you mean the whiter areas along the steps?
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Quote Originally Posted by simicrintz
    Can't tell for sure from the pics, but looks like it could be bad exposure to me. Is it hard to see the rocks in those areas (like there is still plaster covering them)? That is an easy fix if that is the case.
    The steps appears "white-ish" in the center but the corners, which are hard to see in the pics, are teh same color of brown (at least I think they are) as the areas in the deeper parts of the pool. The brown almost looks like a shadow or reflection in the 2nd and 3rd photos but it is not...that tan color is the areas I concerned about. I don't think the areas I am looking at with the discoloration are bad exposure--there actually looks to be almost like a "film" over the blue pebbletec and I know it wasn't like that from the very beginning (at least not this bad).

    I bought the non-chewable Vitamin C tablets and they are taking forever to dissolve and now it's getting dark and I can't really see. Will report back tomorrow on the results.

    Thanks again, Everyone.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    You shouldn't have to wait for them to disolve, just rub it back and forth, the stain should vanish rather quickly...if it's iron.
    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

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    You shouldn't have to wait for them to disolve, just rub it back and forth, the stain should vanish rather quickly...if it's iron.
    I rubbed it and didn't see any difference. When I let it sit and dissolve about 1/2 way (which was about 15 min) I do think the brown areas were lessened. It is so hard to tell b/c the areas of brown are so large. It's not like I saw a huge difference but I do think it was more blue (i.e. able to see the pebble tec better than before).

    Now what? Bananas? Tequila?
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Bruce, do you mean the whiter areas along the steps?
    I don't know if I would call it whiter (screen resolution may be different!), but it looks to me like areas where the "cream" is still over the rocks. Sometimes that makes the finish look "dirty" or unfinished. They are trying to expose the rock as evenly as possible, but it is not an exact science (and each crew does a better/worse job than the next). Rock should be pretty easy to expose, and it is very durable (God hasn't made anymore since the beginning, as far as I know!), so it should not be a big problem. It may need a partial drain and another acid treatment, or maybe an in pool acid wash would expose it better. I just think (from the pictures) that it is a pretty easy fix.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Plaster Discolorations

    Tequila.

    Do you have any dry acid on hand?

    Bruce is the expert here on surfaces. I'm just throwing out potential ideas. But to you, the appearance has changed, it didn't look this way at the beginning, correct? The brown staining is worsening?

    How's your PH today?
    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

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