EcoFinish Pool wall questions

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I need help on identifying fixes for my recently renovated pool. I have a 30,000 gal pool built in the mid-80’s. It has 3 foot fiberglass wall panels with a gunite floor. The gunite finish was starting to show its age so we decided to get it refinished and looked for a pool contractor. Based on favorable reviews nationally, we decided on a contractor that recommended the ecoFinish / aquaBright finish. We also switched to a salt system for our pool. Since the install earlier this summer we are experiencing the following and would like to know if anyone else has experienced any of these problems and could tell me how they addressed them. Our local pool contractor is at a loss on what to do with these issues. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

1) We had solid bumps on our fiberglass wall panels that were sanded down and then epoxied over before the ecoFinish was applied. Some of the bumps have reappeared in the same spots and in some of the other bump areas that were epoxied over stains are appearing through the ecoFinish. What are these bumps and why do they reappear? Also, why is there a stain coming through the ecoFinish in these spots?

2) The first time the contractor sprayed the finish on they tried to cover the seams on the fiberglass panels. The result was cracks at the seams and in a few days rust started to appear through the cracks. The pool was drained again and the fiberglass seams were cleaned out and an approved caulk was applied. A second spray of ecoFinish was applied over the new seam. Within days a dark stain appeared on most of the seams about 3 inches below the water line and on down to the bottom of the fiberglass panel. To the touch it feels like the caulk material through the ecoFinish. Has anyone had a fiberglass panel wall finished with ecoFinish and had the seams covered completely? Or has anyone had the fiberglass seams still showing but with this staining? How did you fix it?

3) Another problem on the fiberglass walls are a few soft bubble bumps. When I push on them they push in and sometimes they push out a little air. They are about 1-2 inches round and I have about 6-8 of them on the fiberglass wall. It seems like the ecoFinish is not sticking to the actual wall. Any ideas on what is causing that and how to address it? I am afraid they will pop at some point and the pool finish will come off.

4) Between the coping and the top of the fiberglass wall there is about 2 inches where the mortar is. Before the renovation we had a 2-3 inch plastic band going horizontally around the pool with tile glued on it for a transition into the pool. That was removed and some caulking was applied before the ecoFinish was applied. Now I have some cracks and an uneven lip at the top of the fiberglass panel on some parts of the pool. The finish was sprayed and we are trying to figure out how to get that smoothed out better or cover that mortar transition. Any suggestions?:confused:

I have other smaller problems but these are the biggest that I really need some help with? Thank you for this website and I hope the pool owners here can offer some suggestions.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
Welcome :wave:

I have no experience with coating fiberglass so I can be of no help there.

The bubbles you are referring to are from the AquaBright material not adhering to the epoxy bond coat. It will not take long for those bubbles to lose their integrity and delaminate. While I'm not completely certain, I have a suspicion these are caused by shooting into epoxy that is no longer tacky.

I'm sorry I can't be more help but you situation is very far outside of anything that I've experienced and may warrant a call to the manufacturer.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
Thank you for your input. I did call the manufacturer and spoke with the General Manager for over an hour and he talked about the material not adhering to the wall as a possibility but was not more help than that. Its been very frustrating in trying to get better answers and solutions to these issues.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,592
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Have you contacted the AquaBright applicator about these problems? Seems like they should at least warranty their work on the coating.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
They have never seen this before and the contractor I signed a contract with was not the authorized factory trained company. I found out later that they sub-contract the work to an out of state pool contractor to actually do the work. I am having trouble in getting any of them to step up to the plate and with that type of finish I can't just go to any pool contractor. It seems that once you put this ecoFinish on you are stuck with it. That's great if it works perfectly and is installed perfectly but if not it seems you could end of with bigger problems that you can't easily undo if you can even do that.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,592
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
They have never seen this before and the contractor I signed a contract with was not the authorized factory trained company. I found out later that they sub-contract the work to an out of state pool contractor to actually do the work. I am having trouble in getting any of them to step up to the plate and with that type of finish I can't just go to any pool contractor. It seems that once you put this ecoFinish on you are stuck with it. That's great if it works perfectly and is installed perfectly but if not it seems you could end of with bigger problems that you can't easily undo if you can even do that.

Yeah, that's not a good arrangement. AquaBright is supposed to be backed by a 10 year warranty. What has ecoFinish said about this? Can they help twist some arms? Seems like they should be interested in making sure the end user is happy.

The experience here on TFP with AB on plaster (either new installations or remodels) has been positive BUT it's only been done on plaster pools. The AB is definitely a tough material and if it needed to be removed then you have to chip out the plaster to do it. My understanding is that it makes a standard plaster chip out process difficult because of the epoxy bond coating.

Not sure what could be done to fiberglass except a complete removal which I'm sure is not at all what you want.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I don't have a good picture of the # 3 - "soft" bubbles on the wall but I do have a good picture of how the finish looks between the coping and the top of the fiberglass walls. They are very uneven with caulking and in some areas there is a lip or a ledge above the fiberglass wall. How do I get this smoothed out?
20170610_141832.jpg
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I have talked with the General Manager of the manufacturer and they said they would pass along my concerns to the authorized installer (the one that was the sub-contractor that I do not have a contract with) but that was over a month ago and nothing has changed. I have asked my pool contractor for details plans on what they intend to do about my list of issues (you are only see the top 4) and he has talked with the sub-contractor but they believe all my problems are coming from behind the pool walls and do not believe that they would be covered under warranty for bubbles, rust, etc, etc. I don't know how the ecoFinish coating is not sealing the walls but somehow letting these epoxy stains and rust come through the finish and they say its not their problem???
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,321
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
When I go to the Ecofinish website, it shows specifically that there is a coating type for plaster, AquaBright, and one for fiberglass, polyFibro.

Was that investigated?

Take care.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I only recall the pool contractor talk about AquaBright but I would hope that the authorized manufacturer trained sub-contractor would have used the correct coating material for the part of the wall. However, I did watch them spray on the material the first time they did it (that's when I found out that my pool contractor was not doing it but had a sub-contractor come in and do it) and I didn't see them use different material for the plaster part of the pool than what they used for the fiberglass part. I will have to go to the Ecofinish website to read up on that. Even when I talked to the EconFinish General Manager at the factory he didn't tell me that.......thanks for the heads up.
 
Last edited:

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
AquaBright and PolyFibro are the exact same material and they can be used interchangeably. It's just an obscure marketing strategy the company uses for reasons well beyond my knowledge base to grasp. That is a non issue at least...
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I hear what you are saying but when I go onto the ecoFinish website and look at the two different webpages for aquaBRIGHT and polyFIBRO it seems to imply that they are different.

aquaBRIGHT webpage - Plaster has its own set of issues, in the form of a long and complicated start-up process (Hot-Start), as well as staining, shrinking, and cracking problems. aquaBRIGHT™ was scientifically developed to present a solution to these aquatic finish problems. The long-lasting thermo-polymer finish, aquaBRIGHT™ is the wave of the future. For fiberglass coatings, inquire about our polyFIBRO® swimming pool finishes.

polyFIBRO webpage - polyFIBRO® is a scientifically formulated aquatic coating devised to tackle the issues of traditional gel-coat finishes. The thermo-polymer coating is long lasting and does not chip, peel or crack like traditional gel-coat and paint finishes. Also the variety of colors and custom colors is more high-end in appearance and easier to apply than gel-coating. polyFIBRO® is the line of aquatic fiberglass coating swimming pools that will transform your pool or spa into a high end super low maintenance focal point. polyFIBRO® thermo-polymer coating will not blister like traditional gel coatings and paints.

Do we have any ecoFinish installers that can tell me if there these finishes use a different process to apply the product and/or is the material different in any way for aquaBRIGHT and polyFIBRO. 90% of my problems are on the fiberglass wall panels and when they put the finish on the pool (both the plaster bottom and the fiberglass walls) it was done all at the same time with the same color choice material that I believe was picked from an aquaBRIGHT brochure.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
Here is what the pool looked like while they were putting the pink epoxy material on both the fiberglass walls and the plaster floor in the morning. They sprayed the finish right after that. You can see where they sanded off the bumps on the fiberglass walls and had used epoxy over the spots. The fiberglass seams can be seen too. You can also see plaster areas where they had chiseled out old loose plaster and applied new plaster. It was a lot of work but the pool contractor told us at the beginning that they had done this before and would be no problem. Does anyone see anything in this picture that doesn't look right in what was done?

The plaster areas are holding but the fiberglass walls are having all kinds of issues as I described in my first post. I also have other little open blister spots near the coping on the fiberglass walls that I haven't mentioned yet.
20170324_104359.jpg
 

rlefig

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2013
253
Reading, MA
Sorry to here about your troubles. Unfortunately, my Aquabrite finish had troubles as well with darker "striping" in the finish that the contractor (or maybe sub as he subbed everything) applied a second coat after some discussion which looks much better. Too bad our decorative tile and coping are still not up to expectations. My contractor was going to have an EcoFinish rep out here to look at it if I wanted, but in talking to BDavis I believed that a second coat would be fine and that there was no reason to delay the project further waiting for the rep.

Fortunately, I held back final payment until project was completed to my satisfaction. Unfortunately, he basically said it would be too costly still billed my the total amount of last payment, $2500, with a 3% discount ($500). Still have not paid him and told him I wouldn't as $500 would not come close to the cost of redoing some sections of tile and coping.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Theycallmesunny

Silver_2000

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 29, 2015
580
Carrollton tx
I don't have a good picture of the # 3 - "soft" bubbles on the wall but I do have a good picture of how the finish looks between the coping and the top of the fiberglass walls. They are very uneven with caulking and in some areas there is a lip or a ledge above the fiberglass wall. How do I get this smoothed out?
View attachment 68298

That looks like the caulk material between the coping and the pool has some waves in it ... Was that redone in this refurb ? If not then the Aquabright is just showing you the texture of the surface below

Ive never seen Aquabright above the water line before ... Usually it goes up to the waterline tile ...
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
I hear what you are saying but when I go onto the ecoFinish website and look at the two different webpages for aquaBRIGHT and polyFIBRO it seems to imply that they are different.

aquaBRIGHT webpage - Plaster has its own set of issues, in the form of a long and complicated start-up process (Hot-Start), as well as staining, shrinking, and cracking problems. aquaBRIGHT™ was scientifically developed to present a solution to these aquatic finish problems. The long-lasting thermo-polymer finish, aquaBRIGHT™ is the wave of the future. For fiberglass coatings, inquire about our polyFIBRO® swimming pool finishes.

polyFIBRO webpage - polyFIBRO® is a scientifically formulated aquatic coating devised to tackle the issues of traditional gel-coat finishes. The thermo-polymer coating is long lasting and does not chip, peel or crack like traditional gel-coat and paint finishes. Also the variety of colors and custom colors is more high-end in appearance and easier to apply than gel-coating. polyFIBRO® is the line of aquatic fiberglass coating swimming pools that will transform your pool or spa into a high end super low maintenance focal point. polyFIBRO® thermo-polymer coating will not blister like traditional gel coatings and paints.

Do we have any ecoFinish installers that can tell me if there these finishes use a different process to apply the product and/or is the material different in any way for aquaBRIGHT and polyFIBRO. 90% of my problems are on the fiberglass wall panels and when they put the finish on the pool (both the plaster bottom and the fiberglass walls) it was done all at the same time with the same color choice material that I believe was picked from an aquaBRIGHT brochure.

I am an installer. The materials are the same and I've used both interchangeably. Again, it's just an odd marketing strategy.

The epoxy is the same for both plaster and fiberglass as well
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
That looks like the caulk material between the coping and the pool has some waves in it ... Was that redone in this refurb ? If not then the Aquabright is just showing you the texture of the surface below

Ive never seen Aquabright above the water line before ... Usually it goes up to the waterline tile ...

The material isn't thick enough to hide surface imperfections. You are correct that the wavy pattern is just the substrate showing thorough.

You don't need waterline tile with this finish and it is suitable to go all the way up to the coping.
 

kekin

Member
Aug 11, 2015
23
cumming, ga
I hope everything works out for your pool. I imagine this is frustrating to deal with.
In the meantime, you are making me very nervous about getting an Aquabright installation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BMK

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread