Bad plaster job?

Racer

Active member
Mar 29, 2019
25
Lubbock, TX
Our pool is less than a year old, and the plaster has never been “right”. the color wasn’t right, and had white spots on the bottom. PB said they would go away with brushing, but never did. Then we found a crack.

So yesterday we drain it, and he comes over with acid to fix white spots. Spends a few hours with acid, and then starts adding water back in.
Said he would come back this morning to put some other chemicals in to keep plaster dust out, and fix the crack.
Now that it’s drained I can see we have cracks on all sides of the pool. PB says they are only noticeable when there is no water, and they seal when they are under water?
My question is did I get a bad plaster job, and should I be concerned and ask for it to be redone, or is it normal settling and everything is fine.
Any advice here is greatly appreciated.

A4390EE3-1F15-48DE-9CDE-80701BAADB78.jpegCE30D96E-C2EB-4165-B03E-33EA3002865B.jpegCAB6AD73-3A83-4F94-B94C-A533A59D6233.jpeg
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,148
Northern NJ
Somehow your pics cannot be enlarged to get a better look at your problems. It would be helpful to see higher resolution pics.

It sounds like you have shrinkage cracks. Read...


7. Plastering in extreme weather conditions can lead to quality and durability problems. Industry groups specifically warn against using cement-based products in temperatures considered too hot or cold. The plastering process should take at least 4 hours to complete for typical residential pools.

One solution is "tenting" the pool, which protects the plaster surface (and the plasterers!) from the elements. In extreme dry heat, tenting the pool, and perhaps even directing air from an evaporative cooler beneath the tent, will help the plaster retain its moisture, and properly cure and harden without cracking.



White Spotting and Streaking – New Plaster (white or dark colored) may develop smooth white (lighter color) porous (soft) spots and streaks (sometimes incorrectly termed as “spot etching”) resulting from the addition of water to the hardened surface during late hard troweling in plaster containing excessive calcium chloride. This late hard troweling disturbs surface aggregate, and added water penetrates around that aggregate and spreads laterally through the porous paste caused by accelerated shrinkage. Beginning as excess porosity around the disturbed aggregate, soft spots expand and sometimes coalesce into larger affected areas as cement components are dissolved away over time. Disturbed zones along accent or surface tile, around fittings, etc. may also display this non-removable deterioration. This type of problem usually takes several months to show up.

See this thread: White Spotting of New Plaster Pools

You will find more at...

 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,767
Central California
Allen is pointing you to much better info than I can give you, but plaster (new or old) is not supposed to have cracks in it. And I've never heard of plaster cracks somehow healing themselves under water. It's the plaster that makes your pool waterproof, the gunite behind it is not. And as one that has had his pool destroyed by a contractor trying to "fix it" with acid, that is always a red flag for me. My gut: your plaster was not installed correctly, and the PB is trying everything he can (including, IMO, mis-information) to get out of redoing it correctly.

There's only so much we can do for you with pictures on a forum. There are industry experts that you can hire that can come to your pool to access its condition. That might be a step to consider.

Plaster, installed correctly or not, does not like to be out of water for very long. If your pool is still empty, that'll only serve to make matters worse. (Though if you're going to have it redone, it may not matter.) The other thing to be aware of, is your surrounding area's water table. Empty pools, even massive concrete ones, can float right out of the ground. It's a matter of displacement, which can float the heaviest of ships. If your water table is high enough, you could be fooling with Mother Nature, and she will win...
 
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Racer

Active member
Mar 29, 2019
25
Lubbock, TX
Thank you both. I had not seen the white spotting post. Didn’t search very good apparently. It seems that the info points to an incorrect application of the plaster. Causing the multiple shrinking cracks. Looks like I have quite a bit more reading to do before my PB comes back this afternoon.

Hopefully we didn’t mess with Mother Nature too long. Water is being put back in, with a scale prevention chemical. Which tells me they may have used Calcium chloride (although my CH numbers have been between 275-325.)

I have attached, what I hope are, higher resolution pics.
 

Attachments

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,148
Northern NJ
Now that I see them I think those are significant cracks. Those pics don;t show where the end of the crack is and how long the crack is.

Usually shrinkage cracks look more like hairlines and are shorter. These look like sharp long vertical cracks from the movement of the gunite shell. These cracks don;t "seal" with water in them. The cracks are not normal.

How many cracks are there in the pool?

Are the cracks all on one area of the pool or spread around?
 

Racer

Active member
Mar 29, 2019
25
Lubbock, TX
There are 7 total cracks (now visible with no water). They are on 4 of the 6 walls. Most of them extend from tile line vertically down and stop before the floor (2 cracks reach the floor, but don't extend through the floor).

I agree the cracks are not normal. My real concern is do I have a problem with the shell, or just the plaster, and what I need to do to make sure the structural integrity is intact.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,767
Central California
There are 7 total cracks (now visible with no water). They are on 4 of the 6 walls. Most of them extend from tile line vertically down and stop before the floor (2 cracks reach the floor, but don't extend through the floor).

I agree the cracks are not normal. My real concern is do I have a problem with the shell, or just the plaster, and what I need to do to make sure the structural integrity is intact.
Again, not the expert here, but based on those pic's and your tale of your PB's attitude to date, I would not be looking to him alone to assess the problem. If he doesn't even want to fix the plaster, how's he going to react to news that the shell might be in trouble? I would first begin by researching how to gather some info from third party experts. Sorry, I don't know who to send you to, but others here will. We've got some people in the industry that can advise on that. I'll put up the bat signal for ya.
 

Cavmedic

Gold Supporter
Jun 10, 2019
90
Seminole, Florida
is the waterline tile flat? It looks uneven where there are cracks (black staining of the grout). I would assume the shell has issues as there is no plaster under the waterline tile.

This pic is showing a crack in the grout along the black-stained path on the left diagonal.

1578604821781.png
 

Racer

Active member
Mar 29, 2019
25
Lubbock, TX
Thank you. I didn't even notice the crack in the tile, but after inspection that seems to be the only one. The rest seem to stop at the edge of the tile.
The tile is pretty flat in most spots, but there is a definite "wave" in the area of several of the cracks.

I'm going demand that the pool be re-plastered under warranty, and also have the shell looked at before the plaster is put back on on.

please send any responses to the "bat signal", as I am sure I will need as much info as I can get.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
45,536
Tallahassee, FL
I have a BIG sad for you :( That does not look good. I am going to call in a couple of people to see if they can point you to a good person to call in for an independent look see @ajw22 @onBalance @Pool Clown @bdavis466 and anyone else that has any ideas for this poor pool. Just ideas on how to find someone to help this pool out would be wonderful!

Now lets talk about what the PB may try to do..............he MIGHT try to do a new plaster job with ONLY chipping out around the returns, lights, skimmer, main drain, etc. What they need to do is a FULL chip out so the shell can be examined.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
45,536
Tallahassee, FL
I wanted pop back in to tell you to get EVERYthing in writing with the PB. NO phone calls without a follow up email "what I heard you say was XXXXX" with a read receipt!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,148
Northern NJ
Cracks on 4 of the 6 walls running into the tile says something is not stable with the pool. The only way you can find out what is going on behind the plaster is to have a complete chipout so the gunite can be examined. It also looks like you need tile repair.

Problems in the pool shell can be repaired using concrete staples.