EcoFinish Pool wall questions

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
Great advice to stay with a solid vinyl liner. I do worry about fading.

As to overall take-aways to this entire ordeal:

1) When looking to renovate your pool ALWAYS ask the Pool renovator if they are doing the work themselves and not using a 3rd party sub-contractor. ONLY deal directly with the company that does the actual work. In my case, the main pool contractor talked about what they were going to do to our pool and marketed the ecoFinish process on their website but only later did I find out that they were NOT the authorized franchise dealer/installer for ecoFinish. They were in a partnership with the actual installer from out of state that had the rights for our area. Later when I had problems the main pool contractor blamed the sub-contractor and I was told that the sub-contractor blamed the prep work that the main contractor did. Of course, the ecoFinish manufacturer said their product was not at fault and that it was an installation issue. The 10 year warranty doesn't mean much when things go wrong, its always someone else fault.

2) With ecoFinish (or the other name for it - aquaBRIGHT ) , once you go with that process you have destroyed your pool for anything else other than maybe refitting it with a plastic vinyl liner. The stuff can't come off the fiberglass or the concrete. Think real hard about putting it on. I would say that goes for anything finish you are looking at doing for your renovation. Can the process be reversed if it fails? Now I need to further destroy my pool for the conversion to putting a pool liner in it. The water fittings, skimmers, drain and underwater lights all have to be modified.

3) ecoFinish / aquaBRIGHT seems to have been developed for concrete pools initially. It seems to work for those pools only with concrete. Everything I have read and now experienced would say that it does not do well with fiberglass and HAS NOT been recommended for fiberglass by numerous sources including allegedly from the manufacturer. There have been some success stories with fiberglass but you don't know if it will work for your application until its done. Something I didn't know at the time I signed the contract to have it done. One of the biggest issues is during the installation of the product holding the blow torch too close to the fiberglass with its 800 degree heat. Nothing good comes from that as you can see from my pictures in this tread of the blisters on the fiberglass.

The next phase I have to do with the pool is to try to learn everything about in-ground vinyl pool liners installed on concrete/fiberglass pools. It seems that there are issues with putting the liners on hard surface concrete floors, concrete steps in the pool, retro fitting the water fittings, skimmers, drain and underwater lights. Also, maybe drilling holes in the floor of the pool for drainage of water that could get behind the vinyl liner. This is a process that doe not seem to be a common install and I need to find someone that has lots of experience with this type of install. I welcome any lists of what needs to be done for this process from any of you......
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,803
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I hate to say/ask this but - have you considered any legal recourse to try to recover some of your money?

I think any reasonable person would see that both the pool builder AND the installer are at fault (50/50) regardless of whatever their business relationship is. The pool builder should have been much more circumspect about dealing with your style of pool (older vintage FG/plaster combo) and the ecoFinish installer should have much more honest about the products limitations. You have been left with an utterly useless pool that will now require a second round of even more costly renovation work. I can’t conceive of any court that would consider that an appropriate outcome.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
That certainly is one of the options I have. The main pool contractor is one that is purposing the vinyl liner as a solution however I am having other pool renovators come over to provide bids since I will not put my entire trust in what the main pool contractor tells me as to process and cost of installing the vinyl liner which I believe is a lower value solution. Court action and media coverage of what they have done is always a possibility if they don't satisfy me with their alt-solution and or refund of the money given to date. I will keep everyone update but first I wanted to let others know of what I have gone through and be wary when dealing with any pool renovations.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,803
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Given the nature of the epoxy bonding layer used between the wall and AquaBright material, grinding would be the only option. However, how you would grind off the EcoFinish layer and stop at the fiberglass would be impossible to judge. I’m pretty sure you’d damage the fiberglass panels or, at the very least, the fiberglass would need to be repaired after grinding off the finish.

Is the custom vinyl liner solution off the table?
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
Given the nature of the epoxy bonding layer used between the wall and AquaBright material, grinding would be the only option. However, how you would grind off the EcoFinish layer and stop at the fiberglass would be impossible to judge. I’m pretty sure you’d damage the fiberglass panels or, at the very least, the fiberglass would need to be repaired after grinding off the finish.

Is the custom vinyl liner solution off the table?

From my research, the custom vinyl liner solution "done right" would be twice as expensive and they would have to undo most if not all of the work done. I have had another pool renovator tell me that to do it for a solid wall/floor pool you have to 1) open up around all the pipes coming into the pool (tearing out 7 concrete sections around the pool) to get the piping inserted right for the vinyl liner. Not to mention the floor drain connection problem. 2) tear out all the new coping around the pool to put the proper vinyl channel on top that holds the pool vinyl and 3) hope and pray that water never get in between your solid fiberglass/concrete pool and the new pool vinyl liner because it will bubble and will have to be taken out again.

It is my understanding that the bottom of a normal vinyl liner in-ground pool allows water to pass through and should never be an impervious barrier like a solid pool. You also have to be VERY careful on all the corners of a vinyl liner so that you don't poke through the vinyl and with a custom vinyl liner that is double the trouble because it will never be a perfect fit against these solid surfaces. My current pool contractor didn't mention these issues and won't provide a detail work plan/estimate of his solution of sticking a vinyl liner in the pool. The owner may have a big pool company and has done a lot of straight forward pool renovations but in looking back at the whole process he has been way out of his ability with this pool even with what I would call the simple stuff like re-piping (yes, they took out my old piping and put new piping in and didn't connect it back correctly).

I have had a lot of patience with this whole process and this company (as you can see from all of my comments on this thread) but that is about to change....
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
Have you tried reaching out to EcoFinish and if so what are they saying? I can't imagine they would want you in this position

Yes I did last year. And as I have read on other posts on this website, their material is "perfect" so it must have been installed incorrectly or it's a "bad" pool. In any event , when I did talk with the general manger from ecoFinish, he said it was not their problem and when I tried to call back later in the process armed with more information I never got a return call back.

The hard lesson that I have learned is that once you put ecoFinish on your pool its almost impossible to get off and nothing else can go over it without tearing your pool up completely. That's the kind of discussions I am having with other pool renovators.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
14,080
Houston, Texas
It is my understanding that the bottom of a normal vinyl liner in-ground pool allows water to pass through and should never be an impervious barrier like a solid pool. You also have to be VERY careful on all the corners of a vinyl liner so that you don't poke through the vinyl and with a custom vinyl liner that is double the trouble because it will never be a perfect fit against these solid surfaces.

Is this what your research led you to or is this what the pool guy told you? Vinyl liners have to be water tight, or else they would never hold water! Also a liner that is correctly measured, constructed, and installed will fit tight against all walls and floor without hollow corners or gaps. It almost sounds like he is saying "we can do this but we won't do it very well".
 

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PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,072
Connecticut
He is referring to the substrate not the liner & he is correct. The floor must be permeable if a liner were to be placed.

& to your point, inside radius, corners & diagonals above the water line and abrupt changes of plane will not sit flush or flat- there is no embellished risk, and that applies with perfect measure, fabrication & placement.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
191
Houston, TX
What a nightmare. Recently had my gunite pool redone with ecofinish, so reading things like this obviously doesn't promote optimism for long term reliability of the product. You've obviously been extremely patient with this installer/sub but at this point I'd definitely be seeking legal recourse. Good luck!
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I am currently getting some other pool contractor bids on Pool liners and on removing the EcoFinish material from the fiberglass walls and gunite floor.

The thoughts on removing the EcoFinish material are:
1) Sandblast the entire pool. Should remove the EcoFinish from the gunite floor ok but may have concerns about the heat from sandblasting on the plastic EcoFinish on the fiberglass walls. I haven't tested this method yet.
2) Soda Blasting - This may keep the heat down on removing the plastic EcoFinish material but I haven't tested this method yet.
3) Grinding the fiberglass walls with a disc grinder - Tried a little test area and the EcoFinish material heats up and balls up as plastic and loads up the disc grinder. Need to find a better disc wheel material and try again.
4) Using an Oscillating Tool to cut off the EcoFinish on the fiberglass walls. It works to some degree as you can see from the picture below. It would take some effort and lots of time but it does the job. Need to keep trying to find the best solution. NOTHING is going to be easy........

Pool Grinding.jpg
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
I have had other local pool contractors tell me that a pool liner would not be the best choice and VERY expensive if done right ( and with a solid pool wall & floor there may not be a"right" way to put a pool liner in this type of pool). If I can get the pool back to the way it was BEFORE EcoFinish it still would be very expensive but at least I have more options.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,072
Connecticut
I have had other local pool contractors tell me that a pool liner would not be the best choice and VERY expensive if done right ( and with a solid pool wall & floor there may not be a"right" way to put a pool liner in this type of pool). If I can get the pool back to the way it was BEFORE EcoFinish it still would be very expensive but at least I have more options.

The watertight floor definitely needs to be cut & drainage provisions made.
 

STLPool2017

Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
71
Saint Louis, Missouri
Still looking for the BEST solution whether its a vinyl liner or something else that i am still investigating. I will provide an update when I finish my research but in the meantime my pool sits empty.

For those that sent me a private message, I have replied to them with more details.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
2,248
Chapel Hill, NC
Wow, sorry to hear of your dilemma. I had the same type of pool (concrete base, "Acrylic "- ie fiberglass - walls). The seal between the wall panels started to leak after about 5 years and the gelcoat on the fiberglass walls started blistering around the same time. I researched this for a couple of years, basically arriving at 3 solutions:

1. Fiberglass over the whole thing (walls and floor, as the concrete needed replastering anyway)
2. Install a vinyl liner
3. Gunite over the walls and replaster the whole thing.

I couldn't get anyone to do 1. or 2. (1. was my preferred choice at the time).

I ended up going with 3. And boy am I glad I did. I lost about 8" around the entire pool so its a little smaller now but it looks like a real pool. Here, in reverse order, are some pics on the before, process and after results:

Pool1.jpg

Let me know if you want more pictures.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,803
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Wow, sorry to hear of your dilemma. I had the same type of pool (concrete base, "Acrylic "- ie fiberglass - walls). The seal between the wall panels started to leak after about 5 years and the gelcoat on the fiberglass walls started blistering around the same time. I researched this for a couple of years, basically arriving at 3 solutions:

1. Fiberglass over the whole thing (walls and floor, as the concrete needed replastering anyway)
2. Install a vinyl liner
3. Gunite over the walls and replaster the whole thing.

I couldn't get anyone to do 1. or 2. (1. was my preferred choice at the time).

I ended up going with 3. And boy am I glad I did. I lost about 8" around the entire pool so its a little smaller now but it looks like a real pool. Here, in reverse order, are some pics on the before, process and after results:

View attachment 85053

Let me know if you want more pictures.

What a GREAT transformation. The end result looks fabulous and you’ll have a pool that’s going to last a real long time.
 

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