A little help from the experts/contractors, please

kri5tian

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2016
62
Palm Harbor, Florida
I'm trying to decide whether or not to resurface my pool, paint it with epoxy, or simply drain it, clean it, and fill it back up; and I'd appreciate some answers from the pros out there.

I have to fix a leak in the niche (long story short: I need to replace a broken light, but the electrical cord was epoxied in place, so I had to chip that out - which resulted in the leak), so I let the pool sit over the winter, and it stopped leaking when the water reached niche-level.


View attachment 58255View attachment 58253View attachment 58254View attachment 58256View attachment 58257

1) Looking at these pics, do you think I should resurface the pool? If so, I'd like to perform as much manual labor myself as possible. With that said, I'm prepared to chip out whatever plaster that needs to be chipped out, pressure/acid wash, and haul all necessary quart mix to the pool and then let a professional do the mixing/troweling of the bond and final coats. I figure that all the work prior to the application of the plaster is manual labor that I should be able to perform myself within a couple of weeks; however, plastering seems like an art, and I don't want to screw that up.

2) If I need to resurface the pool, would you do a complete chip out or just under the tiles/around fixtures/around plaster spots that might be popping up?

3) I have read that one should only chip out prior plaster if there have been multiple coats of plaster applied. How can I determine whether or not my pool has been replastered in the past?

4) Where can I drain the pool water? I live in Palm Harbor, Florida, and we are not supposed to drain to the sewer.

5) How long can a pool in Florida sit empty without fear of it 'popping up?' I've seen posts online where people have worked on their empty pools and taken as much as ONE YEAR. Is that safe?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,170
FL panhandle
Definitely don't paint it, that only lasts a couple of years.
You can fix the crack with pool putty, mix black and white to sort of match the gray. It cures underwater.

There has only been one diy plaster job that I recall and it was a doozy, Lotta work! It is here, DIY Pool restoration project

Get three quotes breaking out the work to see if you really save enough money to make it worth the effort.

Any loose or unstable plaster has to be chipped out in addition to things you mentioned. The rest is debatable and different regions and companies do it differently.

Drain it to the yard, street, storm drain.

Pool popping depends entirely upon the water table under your pool. If the water table is high then the pool could float at any time. Or if it is close it could float in the next rain. Steps taken to avoid pool popping are hydrostatic valves installed in the main drain when the pool was built. Dig well points around the pool deeper than the pool and add pumps to dewater the area. Core drill a few holes in the pool shell while the work is happening and plaster over it.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,522
Sebring, Florida
The groundwater in my yard is 3 feet down. I think most of Southern Florida is similar. Be careful before you drain.

I would stop the leaks and clean up the pool.......that's a big job. Once you get it in good condition, use it for a while and see how much the plaster bugs you. You may find it acceptable and that most of your problem is the fact the pool is very dirty.

You may also find that the plaster issues are really bugging you and it's time to re-plaster but clean it up first so you can assess it.
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
727
When we had our pool replastered the contractor recommended a full sandblast down to gunite. I don't regret doing that at all. We were able to get a full visual inspection of the 40 year old gunite (it was perfect) and it provided the best substrate for the new plaster. Overall, it was easier than chipping out the loose plaster and there was no chance of missing anything. The sandblaster charged about $1,000 and took a few hours (up to you whether you want to spend the time and save the money). You also don't need to haul the plaster mix, the vendor will drop it off, likely at no added charge.
 

kri5tian

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2016
62
Palm Harbor, Florida
Thank you all for the replies. Digging holes around the pool and drilling through the pool to provide water pressure relief sounds pretty intense. I will have to read up on that approach. So, you are telling me that this is what a contractor would do before draining my pool? [As it stands right now, the pool is probably half empty (the water line is at the light niche.] The pool looked decent last summer, but I think it would look so much better with new plaster. So, I guess my first problem to solve is how to safely drain it so I can perform the cleaning (pressure/acid washing). Cleaning will probably take at least a week; after all, I have a full time job and will be limted to weekend work.
 

kri5tian

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2016
62
Palm Harbor, Florida
So, after doing some reading, my plan of attack is to drain the pool and immediately unscrew the hydrostatic valve, because this valve might not be one of the automatic/spring-loaded ones; and even if it was, it might be broke, considering the house was made in 1986. Does anyone think the pool would pop up immediately if the water table is high? I don't think I'll be able to remove the main drain cover and access the valve until I drain more water. The pool is too dirty for me to really see through, and it's just not practical for me to use the filtration system right now. When I have the pump valves switched to the main drain only, the skimmer still sucks [and the water line is WELL below the skimmer line at this point]; so those valves probably need to be replaced as well. After I get it drained and remove the hydrostatic valve, I should then be able to take my sweet time cleaning the pool, regardless of the water table, right? I got myself into this mess by chiseling out the electrical cord for the light so I could replace the light. That caused the pool to leak to the niche. Folks have told me I should replace the niche, others have told me to simply get a rubber stopper that surrounds the electrical cord instead of using epoxy to block the leak. I'm torn on this. If I use epoxy, it will be a PITA for the next homeowner (or me, if I ever need to run a new cord); if I use a rubber stopper, it might leak. Anyway, I will provide an update when I can. Right now, I'm looking for an expert's blessing that the pool won't pop up right away if it takes me a few hours to remove the hydrostatic valve once the pool is drained. I think I should be ok, considering that the pool as probably been less than 1/2 empty now for at least 5-6 months.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,522
Sebring, Florida
Your Florida soil should be easy digging. If so, you might dig a hole close to the pool and see if you hit water. A post hole digger can get you down 5' and that should be enough.....how deep is the deepest part of your pool?
 

kri5tian

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2016
62
Palm Harbor, Florida
Deepest part is probably 8ft. I can measure it tonight. I just read on waterdata.usgs.gov that my county's water level is 8.14ft NGVD. I'll have to look up what NGVD means. Maybe I can wade in there with some boots and pop off the hydrostatic valve after I drain the water to knee-lever.
 

kri5tian

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2016
62
Palm Harbor, Florida
Guys, please give a little more advice. I found out that I apparently have a well point next to my pool. It is a hole with a screw-on cap. I removed it and was able to get the bottom of my brush handle down into it around 3ft. It looks like it curves at the bottom.

View attachment 58324View attachment 58325

So, I got out my plumber's snake and was able to fish it down the hole to 14 feet 2 inches before it bottomed out!!! Also, when I shook the snake around, it sounded like it was wet down there. When I pulled the snake back out, sure enough, the end was wet. This is the ONLY hole around the pool. I now doubt that it is an umbrella pole.

So, before I drain my pool, should I try to hook up my sump pump that is arriving today (
"Superior Pump 91330 1/3 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump") and suck whatever water is down there into into the side yard? Next, I plan on draining the pool so that it is knee-deep, and then removing the hydrostatic valve that should be next to the main drain. Then, I should be safe in working on an empty pool for as long as necessary without risk of it popping up, right? After I've cleaned it, I should then install a brand new hydrostatic valve and either fill it back up or get it replastered, right?

Thanks for all of your help so far!!!
 

Other Threads of Interest