Brand New Quartzscapes Super Blue Blotchy

Parale

Member
Feb 3, 2021
6
CA
Surface
Plaster
Hello all,

I read a ton on this forum as we were trying to decide on the material for our replastering, and we decided to go with Quartzscapes Super Blue (in case you're not familiar -- this is a white base with blue and grey specs).

We went with a reputable contractor, listed on the NPT website, and they finished the job a few days ago.

As they were finishing plastering, I noticed that the entire pool looked blotchy. The blue/grey specs of the quartz were showing very little and there were areas where it looked plain white. I brought it up and was told that the specs will show up a lot more after the acid wash, which they were planning to do a couple of hours after wrapping up.

They acid washed and more specs definitely showed, but the blotchyness still looked the same. Almost as if someone was using a spatula to do the pool and missed some spots.

I brought it up again, and was told that it's because of a white powdery substance that comes up when doing Quartzscapes -- and that it will go away when the pool fills up and everything will look consistent. It didn't.

The last thing they said is that they're sending someone to brush and balance the pool every day for the next week or so, and that will do the trick. They said that all of this is perfectly normal. I cannot imagine that this is true. However, even within this forum I see people talking about this. And I looked at NPT's Facebook where they show off "great installations" and I'm seeing that they are also somewhat blotchy.

Blotchyness is hard to see due to lights/reflections or angles of photos, but I think I did a pretty good job in taking photos that show it.

A few notes:

1) When it's sunny, it shows much less.
2) In the main pool it's less visible. Not because it was done better, but just because the main pool is deeper. The bench of the main pool looks bad too. But the part that looks the worst is the jacuzzi.. because it's all a bench and shallow, so there is no water to hide the imperfections.
3) They are now claiming that it will all match at the end but it takes about a month.. I somehow doubt that.

I took several pictures in hopes of hearing your opinions (some drained - others filled). As far as I'm concerned the jacuzzi looks like a mess. I would never look at that and think that it looks brand new. The main pool is a mess too (if you are paying attention to the floor) but I can live with that because if you don't pay much attention then it looks good.

What do you think?

Thank you all in advance!!!
 

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ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Northern NJ
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Plaster is a natural material that is hand applied. The actual look varies job to job with the weather and crew. There is nothing unusual about the way yours looks.
 

Parale

Member
Feb 3, 2021
6
CA
Surface
Plaster
Plaster is a natural material that is hand applied. The actual look varies job to job with the weather and crew. There is nothing unusual about the way yours looks.
Hi ajw22,

The thing about this is that my neighbor across the street has actual plaster that's 5 years old, and it still looks like new. My friend is nearby too - they have something like mini pebbles (not sure the brand) done 2yrs ago, and that looks fine too.

So why would this look so different? See attached. This reminds me of a really bad pencil eraser -- not sure if you used them at school, but they would spread everything out making it smudgy, and then you'd be able to see lighter lines in some spots. Just like the jacuzzi.

Mind you -- this is a white base. I had heard that this can happen with darker shades, so that's why we consciously avoided that.

If it is what it is then it is what it is. I'm just struggling to understand how my brand new plaster looks like a horrible paint job. Wall paint can be applied by hand too, but I would never accept anything like this for my walls.

If this is just what Quartzscapes looks like then that's on us I guess... But then I'd wonder why the sample looks consistent.

Thank you in advance for your input -- whether I like it or not, I'm here to learn, so that I can figure out how to deal with my PB as we're wrapping this up.
 

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ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
26,347
Northern NJ
Pool Size
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Like I said the plaster is hand applied and varies with the weather and the crew.

You don't know how your friends materials differs from yours. There are natural variations in every plaster job. You got one end of the spectrum and your friend got the other.

Did you have the conversation with your builder saying you want your pool to look like your friends or it will be unacceptable to you? Was it put in your contract?

You had expectations that were not met. Were your expectations discussed before you hired the contractor?
 

kellyfair

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I understand your pain. A couple of things... they are coming out for several days this week to brush, etc., correct? Let’s see how it looks afterward.

I’ve done a little reading about the difference between an acid wash and acid bath. I’m wondering if the bath might help even out the blotchiness.
 

Parale

Member
Feb 3, 2021
6
CA
Surface
Plaster
Hi all. I appreciate your responses!

Yes, they are coming out to brush every day - I was told that this was not part of the job, but they are trying to help set up the pool for success. They have been coming for a few days already, and will continue until the end of the week.

I have another update -- now it looks like a big dark line has formed leading to one of the drains. See attached.

The person cleaning the pool acknowledges the blotchyness -- he originally thought he would be able to fix it by brushing, adding some acid to balance chemicals, and even some sanding, but he sees that there is no improvement and candidly told me that it may stay like that.

The company rep that I've been talking to is being a little cryptic -- he's saying that regardless of what "he thinks", if the main bossman and the head plasterer say that it will look fine and the job was done right then it will look fine and the job was done right.

The bossman/company owner was here when the job was done (before we filled up the pool) and he said that the blotchyness will go away after the acid wash that they would do. It didn't. Then he came in 2 days later and talked to my wife (I wasn't there) and said that some color variations are normal due to the way the process goes (that's not what he told me 2 days prior).

Later that day the head plasterer came over and I pointed out how the steps of the pool look "better" but the jacuzzi looks like a mess. He said that if we give it a couple of weeks the chemicals will do their job and all will be consistent. And that different applicators work in different ways so that's why the steps look a little more consistent -- but that it will not matter because at the end it will all look the same.

To me - the result thus far is absolutely not what I expected. The pool does not look brand new at all. If this is what new Quartzscapes looks like then it should show in the samples too. Instead, on the NPT website they even show you the sample alongside a pool surface to show you how it's supposed to match.

If this is what it actually looks like then

a) A professional company should give you a heads up. I paid extra for Quartzscapes -- had I known that I'll have blotchyness then I would have gone with basic plaster (which the neighbor across the street has and looks perfect after 7 years!!) or at least stonescapes mini pebbles like my friend's which also looks great. No variations on either.

b) They need to work on expectations and communication. If all of them told me that X will happen in 10 days then I'd wait 10 days like a big boy. But I have the bossman saying that it will be fine after acid wash. Then that these variations that were supposedly going away are "normal" and that's what it's supposed to look like. Then the pool builder saying that it's "normal" for right now and that it will not stay like that -- that after a couple of weeks it will look consistent. Then the pool cleaner (of the same company) seeing the issue, agreeing that it looks bad, and saying that he'll do his best to fix it.. but then saying that it looks like it will stay like that. And finally the company rep saying he doesn't want to say anything because the boss and builder know better... That's a lot of different opinions.

Sorry for the long posts all. I just try to be very careful with our spending and I paid about a 30% premium to go with a reputable company and so far I've been regretting it.
 

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ajw22

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Chemicals in a few weeks will not change the look. What you have is the way it will be.
 

Parale

Member
Feb 3, 2021
6
CA
Surface
Plaster
Chemicals in a few weeks will not change the look. What you have is the way it will be.
That's my big concern. Yesterday they emailed me saying that the chems were now balanced and asked for the final payment. They sent someone to brush and balance the water every day for about 10 days. The result looks the same. Please see attached.

Tell me if I'm crazy, but after doing a ton of research I'm coming up with 3 reasons for the current final result.

1) The mixing was not very well done. Either it wasn't mixed enough, or I'm reading that sometimes if you put too much calcium it can create these inconsistencies. I don't know if it's poor mixing or too much calcium (i know they added calcium), but it must be one of the two.

2) Poor installation. I'm not saying that we're seeing any extremes here.. but I am saying that I could see those issues on Day 1 WHILE they were plastering. I pointed them out and was told that a) they'll take care of it, b) it's because it hasn't dried completely everywhere, and c) there is some powder residue that is more on some less on others and thus the inconsistencies (they said this will go away after acid wash and brushing). Then the plastering crew left and I had the same conversation with the owner of the company (who came before the filling and said acid wash will make it all look consistent) and the owner of the plastering company that they had outsourced to (who came after it was filled and said that the chems will make it more consistent after a couple of weeks). At no point did anyone involved say "this is normal", but now they've started saying that.

3) When they did the acid wash, they didn't wash it away! It looks like they used a watering pot to drop acid on the walls of the pool and all over. When they were done and as the pool was filling up, I could see stains from all over where the acid was poured. I believe you're supposed to a) apply it everywhere and b) wash it away, correct? I could totally be wrong about this, but as you can see in my picture there is basically a lighter ring across the edges -- both on the inner side (like the one I'm pointing to in this picture) and on the outer side. To me, it seems like acid was not washed off and so it concentrated on these areas while the pool was filling up. It essentially lightened the color.

I hate arguing and I'm understanding that in this case it probably won't help much, but the more I look at it the more aggravated I get. This does not look like a gorgeous pool that you want to show off to your friends.

There was nothing wrong with our old plaster - the issue was purely cosmetic - and we decided to spend all this money to make our new house pool look amazing.. spent a month looking at pools and materials to make a decision.. we finally decide on Super Blue Quartzscapes due to durability, more smoothness than pebbles, and beauty, and we get this? I even read that lighter colors are typically more consistent and so we went with this one that has a white base.

The good thing is that the main pool looks fine, because while the issues are everywhere, the pool is deeper and so the issues are less visible (outside of the steps and bench). But the jacuzzi is all bench/shallow, so the whole thing looks like one my toddlers paintings.. messy.

If this is "normal" then had I known about it I would have never chosen Quartzscapes. Furthermore, I would have to argue that the marketing is deceiving. Every picture I see shows spotless pools, drenched in the sun. It is much harder to see these spots when the sun hits the water directly. If all those pools look like that when the sun goes down then they should show that or at the very least warn people..
 

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kellyfair

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Did you read up on acid bath vs. acid wash?
 

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kellyfair

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I did.. a little.. after the fact. But it sounds like an acid bath could shorten the life of the plaster and still not produce the results I was hoping for, right?
I don’t know, not an expert by any means. But you aren’t happy now, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
 
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