Hi - new to the forum, and after reading a lot of good info here, I've decided to test the waters with a question I still can't answer to my satisfaction... hopefully someone can help.
I have a 35 year old concrete/plaster IG pool, 18x36x8.5. I've spent a couple of months looking at my options for restoration. It's been lying up green for a few years now. The original plaster was painted once, about 10 years ago, with either an acrylic or a chlorinated rubber paint - can't tell which yet. That held up fairly well for about 4 years before blistering and chalking.
Here's where I am now: whatever I do, I'm going to need to drain, pressure wash, acid clean, etc. to remove the remainder of the old paint, and do a few plaster repairs. After a lot of research, the only 3 options I'd consider are: replastering, Ultraguard Epoxy/Polymer, or Poly One Coat Epoxy. I'm going to throw out some thoughts and hopefully get some from the pool brains here!
Plaster: I don't want to spend $10K for a replastering. From what I've found locally, this is what it would cost to have the surface prepped properly before replaster and have the job done right. I also am not crazy about having a somewhat rough surface that is porous and susceptible to leaf/acorn stains. If I could DIY the job, I probably would, but I wouldn't trust that I could do it well. Plaster obviously holds up very well - but from what I'm reading, a replaster not quite as well, especially not a DIY job, absent jackhammer style surface prep.
Ultraguard: To be honest, I'm leaning heavily toward this product. I've read what I think is every darn comment ever written about the stuff, but the only thing I CAN'T find is anyone who can say "I've had it on for 5+ years and it looks like the day I put it on." Most reviews are from folks who have put it on less than 2 years ago - and a lot of products will hold up for that long. I'm willing to put the time into a really good surface prep, but I don't want to spend $3K on materials unless I'm feeling pretty certain that it's going to be "good to go" for 10 years or more. Lots of stuff on their website, but there are few non-testimonial reviews that I can find. A lot seems to hinge on the surface prep - I'll do the job to the absolute best of my ability, but I don't know how finicky or forgiving it really is.
Poly One Coat: A little cheaper than Ultraguard, but it looks like there's no bonding undercoat that will help with preventing delamination down the road, so I'm wary of it. Nevertheless, it looks a whole lot better than acrylic, chlorinated rubber, or any of the other paints as far as how it will hold up.
So, with that background, any thoughts? Pool companies all recommend replastering (seems to be the only resurfacing they do). As opposed to painting, I'd agree - no comparison - but Ultraguard claims to be not only equal to, but superior to, replastering. They make a distinciton that Ultraguard is not a paint, but a 100% solids structural polymer coating. I've found only one example of an Ultraguard coating failure, and that was in Hawaii when it was applied in very high humidity (contrary to directions) - and even then, looks like Ultraguard replaced with new product.
For logistical reasons (small well, slow filling, not easy to get rid of drain water), I really, really, REALLY don't want to drain this pool EVER again (well, at least not for several years, anyway.) If anyone either has any first-hand experience or can point me to any links, (including any negative reviews) I'd love to see it to help me make my choice.