How screwed am I? Stopped filling pool mid way after a replaster job: Ring on walls

Mike Hawk

Well-known member
Oct 28, 2014
61
Tulsa OK
So, my PC is awful. They have been horrible for communication even though I stressed that communication is a key factor for me. They wanted to charge $1k+ to startup the pool. Told them nah, I'm good and I know how to check/balance chemicals, just give me the 411 and I should be good to go unless this would affect any warranty. PC said no problem, they'll give me the tips once it gets to that point in the build.

11-19 We leave for an out of state week long road trip over Thanks Giving break.
11-20 I'm without cell service until the evening. Find out PC sent us an email that morning about startup tips. In-laws had checked on our house randomly and saw that they were filling up the pool. I'm livid being hit out of the blue with this news. I tell in-laws to turn off water because I don't want to return home to a flood and somewhat knew that bad mojo happens with new plaster if it's not balanced out of the gate. Send off nasty gram to pool company asking them to call me back and if our pool is damaged?
11-25 get back in town
11-26 get a call from PC that someone had swung by our house, again thanks for the heads up, and that the pool looked fine, they didn't see any cracks (the reason we had a re-plaster job. PC says to start filling pool. So from noon 11-26 to noon 11-27 pool is filled up.

Yup, you guessed it, there's a nice ring where the water level was stationary mid-fill for ~6 days.

Anyone dealt with this before? Will the ring go away? Can the PC correct it? Will it need to be drained and re-plastered again? I'm asking here instead of straight up asking the PC cause so far I've only been dealing with their receptionist who is just parroting what their workers and subs have been telling her. Gonna blow if this has to go to litigation. Right now this is a $15k job. NOT. HAPPY!

TLDR: PC finished plastering and started filling my pool with zero communication with me while I was out of state. I had water turned off mid fill for several days resulting in ring around pool in the plaster.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,063
Tallahassee, FL
The ring is there and will remain there. You MIGHT be able to acid wash the whole pool and soften the look some BUT a acid wash that aggressive will shorten the life of the plaster long term :(

Two things to "fix" it:

-chip out and replaster-IF the PC agrees to this then make sure they do a FULL chip out instead of just chipping out around the lights and returns.
-live with it but ask for some cash to help soften the blow.

I wish I had better news.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,963
Damascus, MD
Wow bad news indeed! A recurring theme with a lot of people (myself included) is not only a total lack of communication between the PB and us but between the PB and their own people/subs. This is going to be a tough one I wish you well! Did they ever call and say they went back to turn off the water and someone had already turned it off 1/2 way? Or were they not planning on coming back to turn off the water?
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
24,168
SouthWest Alabama
I tell in-laws to turn off water
Unfortunately since you had the fill stopped, the damage is on you. I know you don't want to hear that, and I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm afraid that the PB isn't going to offer any remedy.

The proper thing to have done would have been to have someone (maybe the inlaws) let it fill up and then add about 3ppm FC each day until you got back home. But hindsight is 20/20.

At this point you should probably just try to live with it. It will fade a little over time, but will probably never go completely away.
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
875
Sunny SoCal
I was under the impression that new instsllation of plaster required that the pool be filled to help with curing , so the sun wouldnt crack it. Adding the water just being part of the installation. If you signed off on the plaster, then filling it shortly after was part of the process. Good luck, I think an acid wash could fix the issue.
 

Mike Hawk

Well-known member
Oct 28, 2014
61
Tulsa OK
Did they ever call and say they went back to turn off the water and someone had already turned it off 1/2 way? Or were they not planning on coming back to turn off the water?
No clue! I'm in the dark here on this one.

Unfortunately since you had the fill stopped, the damage is on you. I know you don't want to hear that, and I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm afraid that the PB isn't going to offer any remedy.
Looks like this'll have to go to litigation in front of a judge them. Unfortunately I'm ocd and that two tone look will drive me batty unless it's corrected the proper way.

I called PC today and the plaster guy is out till next Tuesday but she'll let him know to come out and look at the pool. She had never dealt with this situation before so she had no input at time of the call.

1stworldproblems, 1stworldproblems, 1stworldproblems. Wooooosaaaahhhhhhhhhh
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,843
Evans, Georgia
Yes, it needed the water in there to buffer the new finish from the elements. Water is always started soon after finishing.

Did the pool company *know* you were out of town? They may or may not have assumed you would be there, or they'd send someone back to monitor it as it filled.

If they did come back and found the water off they may have left again not knowing what the status was....?

I too am sorry but I'd say this is on you. :(

Maddie :flower:
 

aham23

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2018
100
AZ
Litigation in front of judge...well that will take years. Plus they are just going to say; who turned the water off and why? I dont see this 100% on them or you. So the remedy will likely reflect that.
 

Mike Hawk

Well-known member
Oct 28, 2014
61
Tulsa OK
Did the pool company *know* you were out of town? They may or may not have assumed you would be there, or they'd send someone back to monitor it as it filled.

If they did come back and found the water off they may have left again not knowing what the status was....?
I did not inform the PC that I would be out on a week long vacation. However they did not inform me when their plaster timeline would be and when I would need to be available to start refilling the pool and take over on the startup procedure.

Hindsight I should have left the pool filling and then call the pool company immediately to tell them of my current out of pocket situation and that they the pool company would have to be in charge of the startup process.

Under no circumstance would I have tried to lean on my in-laws to figure out pool chemistry out of the blue or be in charge of adding acid, soda, calcium etc and brushing.

- - - Updated - - -

Silver lining I have yet to cut them a single check??? Makes me wonder how this plays out when home owner and pool company don't see eye to eye and big $ is involved. TBH I'd rather just fire my current pool company because they've proven to be incompetent and go with another company to make things right. But I'll hold off on that for now and hope for the best with their findings and suggested resolutions next week.
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
875
Sunny SoCal
Simple.... they take you to court for the amount of the remodel and easily put a mechanics lean on your residence. Working it out without going to court is in both of your best intrests.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,474
Northern NJ
They will offer you an acid wash to get rid of the ring. Take it and maybe reduce the life of your plaster a bit or live with the ring.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,731
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Sorry to say it would be the same down here. They would have plastered, started the fill, and sent someone back a couple times to monitor and turn it off. They know the importance of continuous fill and that damages might occur if it over-flowed. There's a good chance they add a metal sequestrant routinely either way.

Once they realised you weren't around, they might have added some calcium and/or baking soda, but otherwise a few days (especially near winter with cold water) without chlorine (or balancing) is unlikely to make much difference. There's 'ideal plaster startup' and 'common plaster startup', and the difference is hard to detect for several to many years.

Sorry to offer bad news, but it would be also be a bummer to enrich a lawyer without payback for you. If it were mine, I'd accept the acid wash if offered free, and hope for the best. If not free, I'd just live with it. If I had lots of money, and it bothered me a lot, I'd suck it up and pay them to re-do it.
 

Mike Hawk

Well-known member
Oct 28, 2014
61
Tulsa OK
PC got back with me. No surprise here but they determined a replaster is in order. They've quoted me the original replaster price again but this time with a 10% discount. For me to be happy the discount needs to be closer to 50% or more for me to pull the trigger.

FWIW the prep/replaster with Diamond Brite is $12,189 on a 15k gal pool. I had another quote for just replaster and it was ~$7k IIRC w/o a nice finish so I dunno how much wiggle room they have. In my perfect world they make no profit or have to eat costs to get me to where I need to be.

Anyone know the profit margins in replastering? Gotta be pretty high cause it's mainly labor.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,474
Northern NJ
I am not sure I would want a third layer of plaster. Usually after two layers of plaster the next time should be a chip out before new plaster. Let’s see what others have to say about that.

Did your PC use a subcontractor to do the plaster work? The ring problem was not the fault of the subcontractor and you cant reasonably ask them to eat the labor cost of a new job. 10% may be what the PC would make on the plaster cost. Maybe you can push the PC towards 15%-20%.

If it was a screw up by the plaster crew then they should do the rework for materials cost only and eat the labor and profit.
 

Mike Hawk

Well-known member
Oct 28, 2014
61
Tulsa OK
The proposal says:
"Prep and replaster pool with Diamond Brite Aquamarine"
I'd have to ask technically what all they're doing in detail. Another "I assumed" they'd be doing it the right way kinda things. I did notice the first time around there were a lot of chisel marks and all my returns were elevated off the side of the walls, so I'm assuming they removed all the original plaster down to gunite.

IIRC the Pool Construction company lays on the base white and then subs out the Diamond Brite to a regional sub cause there are only a handful in the area that are authorized to put it on? Does that sound correct, two layers of plaster?
 

scdaren

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
May 20, 2018
397
Clovis, CA
Hate to be another bearer of bad news -- but you do not want to take this one to litigation. It's pretty well known to never turn off water during the fill, as it will cause a ring, and you were the direct and sole cause of that water being turned off. I know they failed to follow your instructions, but once that water started filling, turning it off was the worst case scenario -- you could have allowed them to finish the fill, and then dealt with the water chemistry later, and without any permanent damage. The law generally says that if someone fails to perform a duty or breaches a contract, the other party has a responsibility to mitigate any resulting damage (i.e. not make the situation worse). If you take them in front of a judge, they are going to win. Not only that, I would imagine your contract has an attorneys fees clause, so you'll be paying them the thousands of dollars they spent on lawyers to defend your suit. And you'll probably lose the 10% goodwill discount they offered you on the do over.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
Hate to be another bearer of bad news -- but you do not want to take this one to litigation. It's pretty well known to never turn off water during the fill, as it will cause a ring, and you were the direct and sole cause of that water being turned off. I know they failed to follow your instructions, but once that water started filling, turning it off was the worst case scenario -- you could have allowed them to finish the fill, and then dealt with the water chemistry later, and without any permanent damage. The law generally says that if someone fails to perform a duty or breaches a contract, the other party has a responsibility to mitigate any resulting damage (i.e. not make the situation worse). If you take them in front of a judge, they are going to win. Not only that, I would imagine your contract has an attorneys fees clause, so you'll be paying them the thousands of dollars they spent on lawyers to defend your suit. And you'll probably lose the 10% goodwill discount they offered you on the do over.
Shutting the water was a willful act. The 10% discount is generous.

As mentioned above damages & fees with a real ding to buyers credit score if contract terms are not satisfied, ie paid in full.