If the PT wore out, it would be the first I've heard of. That stuff is as durable as it gets. I have never heard of a PT finish delaminating without cause.
The hollowness concerns me. That is usually indicative of the gunite breaking down which usually means they used insufficiently compressed or dried trimmings when they were formed, prior to plastering.
While it was a number of years ago, were you there when the pool was shot?
I agree with Scott. Sounds like the gunite guys used rebound to form your step and bench areas. Completely against code (rebound can be thrown in the skimmer only), although it happens way too often. I probably see at least a couple of these a month.
P-Tec is most likely not failing; especially after only 15 years. The good news is that it can be repaired (patched) and there is a good chance that it will be almost impossible to see, as it is much easier to blend P-Tec than plaster. They may even need to do the entire top(s) of the steps/benches, in which case you will probably never even know a patch was done.
Do you guys mean that Pebbletec finish should last a lot longer? Oh this is sad. The pool came with the house when we bought it 2 years ago. I noticed this hollow sound while I was sitting on one of the benches last year and I thought I was imaging things. We don't know that much about pools. This morning I was inspeccting one of the benches because its wall still seem greenish/yellow color. I stood on it and knocked on its wall and it felt like the finish was going to crumble. It did not but it sure felt that way. I did the same test on another bench and it felt the same. Some of the steps also felt that way. For all I know, they may never crumble but I could feel the movement when I did the knocking while standing on it. I have the original paperwork when the pool was built even thought I am not the original owner. Maybe I can call the company and ask them about it.
How long should pebbletec finish last? The pool is in really good condition. There were no signs of wear when we got it. They probably did not use it much and neither did we.
PebbleTec came to California in 1983 (from Australia). I have been involved with them (indirectly and directly at times) since 1995, and I have seen many P-Tec pools that are older than I have been in the business, and they still look great. I run leads occasionally for remodel and new pool work for the man who had the first application rights (Kirk Chapman) in California (he gave the line back and created the Gemstone line), and see pools that have had P-Tec on them for 20+ years often. In the years that I have been doing this, I have never seen a P-Tec pool that needed to be redone.
I would say that you could easily get 20+ years out of a P-Tec pool, and maybe much more. Proper water chemistry plays a significant part though, so you do want to maintain proper levels. I still agree with Scott though that it sounds like you have a rebound issue, and not a P-Tec failure.
How far north are you? Is Adams Pool Plastering up by you? You could call Tony Adams and tell him that I told you to call (PM me if you want more info) and have him take a look. If he services your area you should be able to have a repair done and be back in business!
I forgot to ask you guys. Will it crumble in time if the problem is not fixed soon? Will water leak eventually? As far as signs of cracks, I thought I saw something like a part of the finish broke off at one location but when I reached down there, it did not feel like it was cracked or broken. I really have to get in the pool to get a close look. I cannot do it today because the FC is still too high. I had been shocking it with FC at 24 since Monday night. Today is the last day and I am letting FC come down. Maybe tomorrow I can get in there and get a closer look. I thought I saw a crack line at the bottom of one of the steps but I cannot be sure. I will report back after I find out. Thanks.
Hi Bruce, I googled Adams Pool Plastering. They are in Pleasanton. I live by Elk Grove. I think I will contact the builder of the pool first and see what they have to say. If there was a warranty involved, it probably expired a long time ago. If my situation is in fact a workmanship issue, I think they should take care of it, don't you?
Most plasterers will give a 5 year bonding warranty, which states that the material will stay attached to the shell. If the gunite is failing, then the P-Tec is not at fault. If the surface (gunite) was not properly prepped, or was/is too smooth, then the P-Tec will not stick. Unfortunately, the warranty (unless different than down here) sounds like it has expired.
Some pool builders will offer lifetime structural warranties to the original pool owner. While this may not technically fall under structural, I have seen builders step up to the plate and cover stuff like this. It is only to the original pool owner, and it does not happen often, I'm afraid.
Trying to stay with the silver lining (!), the good news is that you have a very durable finish, and it can be patched, as opposed to having to have it completely redone, which would be the case if you had a plaster pool (which also probably wouldn't have lasted this long either!). That is a fraction of the cost of a re-plaster.
This is getting really hard to keep answering and eat Popsicles at the same time :lol: I'm starting to drip on my keyboard!
You may have high CH levels (do you have hard water up by you? How long has it been since the pool has been drained? Do you know what your CH level is?), or you may have some scale from high pH (Pebble pools tend to require more acid than plaster pools), if you allowed that to get too high for too long.
If it is a white line that looks like it is following a crack, I'd say you are delaminating (and the hollow sound would tend to back that up as well). Otherwise it may be water chemistry.
I will call them on Monday and see what happens. They are still in business after all these years is a good sign. I understand that they had taken pictures of this pool and used them in their promotions.
I have a question regarding the first picture that you posted. Looks like the pebbletec finish was cut out, was it? If it wasn't, how much longer would it have lasted? Were you involved in that situation? How did those homeowners find out the problem?
That piece fell out, and there were many additional areas that I could have pulled the material off of. The original builder of this project went out of business a couple of years ago, so the homeowner cannot go back to them.
Most of the spa bench areas are loose on this job, and the owner does not want to patch the spa, so I am going to completely remove all of the old finish and redo it completely. They are fortunate to be able to afford to do the whole spa over, even though I told them that I could just do the top of the steps/benches if they wanted, and that it would be difficult to see where we started and where we ended. Since it is the spa though, they decided to do Sheen instead of Tec for a smoother end product.
One thing I can say is that this stuff is tough to remove! The guys would much rather prep plaster than Pebble! It really is that hard and durable.
I don't know how the previous owners maintained the pool but it came with a white line above the water line. We were told that it is from calcium build up. I hired a pool service to take care of the chemicals for almost 2 years. I let them go because the owner was rude to me and I kept getting algae every year. When I had my water tested in June, I was told the calcium was low. So calcium was added as instructed. I had algae again in early July. I went to Leslie's and got Phosfree and Power Powder shock. Then I found this forum, ordered the TF100 test kit and tested the water on my own. Ch tested very high at first but it has been coming down to 350 before I started the shock. Are you saying that water chemistry may have something to do with this situation?
We have never drained the pool and I don't intend to. I won't do it unless I absolutely have to. Water costs too much up here.
Your CH shouldn't be going down unless you are draining the water, which it sounds like you are definitely not (sounds like you guys need a R/O company up there ). The shock process will have no impact on that.
The white line is also indicative of high calcium, or perhaps high pH scaling. I have seen pools where the material has become "mushy" and the pebbles start to release from improper water chemistry. IIRC, the one pool that I am thinking about (it is in Vegas) has very low pH and he is losing rocks daily. The sad part is that he is a plasterer and knows better! Water chemistry, especially aggressive water (extremely low Ch or pH) can cause real damage. We don't see it too often, but occasionally.
I will run a complete test tomorrow afternoon after FC comes down to the normal level. Eversince I ran my own tests, the pH has been high at 7.8. I had to adjust it down before shocking. I don't know if it was ever real low. I assume not. I assume the pool service company that I hired for chemicals tested for at least pH and FC. I am also assuming that the previous homeowners did their own testing since they left behind a test kit and a few other pool chemistry supplies including liquid chlorine and muriactic acid.
The CH has been going down and remained at 350. Is it possible that there is a leak somewhere? Another problem. That's all we need. Maybe we should just fill the pool in and be done with it. We are not really pool people and this is too much work for something we are not crazy about. Do you know anything about filling in pools?
There could be a leak (you can do a bucket test, or a dye test first. A pressure test would come after both of these to pinpoint the leak, if you do have one.) That would be a way of lowering CH, unfortunately.
Filling a pool in can be really expensive (and I hope you are kidding. Pools are great and create many family memories; much more than a garden does, for example! Both are a bit of work, but pools do get a lot easier, especially if you stick around here!). Here we have to get a permit (we have to get a permit to sneeze, actually, but that's another story ), then demo out the floor and check for soil stability. Sometimes we have to remove some soil below the pool to find a solid foundation, and then we have to fold the top 18" into the pool itself. Gravel must be used to fill the majority of the remainder, and then soil can be placed on top. If you decide to move, you also have to disclose that there is a pool buried in the yard, in case someone decides they want to build a pool one day and discovers that little secret. Complete removal is somewhat similar, except you can use all soil, but it needs to be compacted and certified if you go that route.
In the end, a repair should be the least expensive, and you will have a pool that will last you many, many years. it is too bad that someone "cheated" along the way and that you are now paying for that poor workmanship. I don't like to hear stories like this, but I see it way too often and it is too familiar. Once again, the good news is that you have PebbleTec and it can be repaired, easily and almost invisibly. There is a lot of value to that.
Thanks, Bruce, you are kind and honest and I really appreciate that. The idea of filling in the pool had crossed our minds several times. Someone suggested that it can be done with sand. Is that true? That will make digging out easier. I read somewhere in the Los Angeles area someone had her pool filled and it cost around $8,000.00. So far, this pool has been a lot of work and there is more to come and replastering had not even been considered until now. Sometime soon, it will need a new filter unit and maybe a new pump. Maybe there is light at the end of this tunnel but I don't see it right now.
So what can people do with the space available from filled in pools? Can it be used for gardening or put a structure over it?
I do feel lucky to have found this forum. You guys have been a lot of help. Actually, someone referred me from a different forum. If I remember correctly, it was PoolGuyNJ. Hopefully, I will feel better about it after I talk to the builder tomorrow.
Thank you for the nice words, kal2002. I really do like helping people, and I hate to see shoddy workmanship. If people would just do things right the first time then others wouldn't have to go through stuff like this.
Down here, it usually runs around $15,000.00 to remove a pool. Dump fees play a big part, and excavators charge quite a bit also. We don't take out too many, but it does happen. As for sand, I have not seen/used it, but it is self leveling, like gravel/rock, so it may be acceptable. I would think that there might be some settling associated with it perhaps, so you might want to check with the city and see what they say. "Back in the day", you used to be able to just fill these in without permits or anything (I saw a "garden" the other day in a yard that looked like a kidney bean, and had coping around it! I wonder what it was before?!), but that is no longer the case. I have probably been involved in a half dozen projects where the homeowner was going to build a pool and we hit an old one in or near the area they had chosen. needless to say, none of them were too happy about it!
A PebbleTec pool only down here would go for about $40K, and if it had a spa it would go for $55K or better. I'm not sure what they go for up by you, but there is value in having a pool. A pump ($700-ish installed) and a filter ($1,000-ish installed) is not a whole lot of money, especially compared to the cost of the entire pool. Based on your description of the Pebble, I would say that for a couple thousand bucks you could have the repairs done (I just did another spa delamination-the entire top of the seat-for $550.00 for a guy. We supplied the material and had one of the guys go do it after hours, to help save the H/O some money. The installer made a couple bucks, the homeowner saved a couple bucks, and everyone was happy!), if that much. It is not profitable work, but it can be done.
Thanks for the information, Bruce. The kidney bean shape garden sounds like the shape of my pool. I think the previous homeowners spent about that much for this pool 15 years ago. It has a spa area but the water is the same as the pool water. This is a very nice pool. It just requires a lot of maintenance partically due to age.
I do have a leak at the filtration unit. When we used to clean our own filters, it never leaked. Then we turned the task over to the pool company, it started to leak. They sold us a new O-ring but still could not fix the leak. It does not leak consistently, just intermittenly, usually right after the unit had to be opened for some reason. Right now it is not leaking but the filters also need cleaning soon. So I am sure it will leak again. Maybe that is why the CH level stayed at 350 recently (it was 550 at the end of July)- it hasn't been leaking. Is it a bad thing to let it continue to leak intermittenly until we decide on a new filter unit?