In need of replastering advice

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
I moved in last year and thanks to TFP, actually have a good handle on my pool chemistry and most importantly, my chlorine levels and the use of bleach to attain those. When we moved in, the inspection report showed scaling and recommended a polish. Having never owned a pool, I had no idea what that really meant and just rolled with what I had. Midway through last summer, my Polaris started picking up sand and I started seeing some wearing of my plaster. I have a handful of spots in my very large pool where I can see the gunite now, but it's isolated. I have not observed any leaking. I had a couple of people out to look to see if they could just fix the spots or redo the whole thing. Of course, the first one said 10k for replaster and the other said that while I needed it, I could get by with another year or so, as long as I didn't observe substantial water loss. At this point, I'm going to see about making it through the year or do some A/B putty in the interim.

Some questions...

All of my tiles are good. I have them on the floor of the pool and at the waterline. None are cracked and I don't want to replace them. How does that factor into the cost of the replaster? Can they be left in place and reused?

What should I expect to pay per square foot or linear foot for a replaster job?

It seems like Diamond Brite or equivalent is the standard these days. What about River Rok or something along those lines?

TFP is great for education and that's what I need now. I appreciate any feedback you can give me!
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
I was just reading about Aqua Bright! I think that my few spots could be chipped out and replastered, rather than the whole thing. I reached out to an installer listed on their website that is about 80 miles away. Hopefully, they will respond.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,162
FL panhandle
All of my tiles are good. I have them on the floor of the pool and at the waterline. None are cracked and I don't want to replace them. How does that factor into the cost of the replaster? Can they be left in place and reused?
Yes, the pool can be replastered while leaving the tiles in place.

What should I expect to pay per square foot or linear foot for a replaster job?
Get two or three quotes, prices vary widely by location.

It seems like Diamond Brite or equivalent is the standard these days. What about River Rok or something along those lines?
There are 4 basic pool finishes.
Plaster, can easily last 20 years with proper water management
Quartz, can easily last 25+ years with proper water management
Pebble, can easily last 30+ years with proper water management
Thermo-polymers, we don't know how long it can last but lifespan seems very promising, it has been on the market less than 10 years.

More here, Pool School - Pool Surfaces

Also, the advice you have received is correct that as long as the pool isn't leaking you can put off replastering. But, waiting will cause further deterioration and will likely add to the cost of the surface preparation required for refinishing your pool. Spot patching with plaster is also a viable option.
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
Thanks Pooldv! The last guy that said I could hold off said that patching the thin spots is like playing whack-a-mole. The scaling that is present is a brownish-type scale and looks to be from pH neglect. I thought that patch/polish would be a good option since the plaster is good overall. However, he told me that wouldn't prevent thin spots from occurring and being right back where I was.

I thought my Polaris was causing it, but it seems that it just catches the thin spots and exposes them.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
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Aug 10, 2012
25,162
FL panhandle
The Polaris definitely isn't causing it. It was likely thin from the start if most of it is ok. If the plaster is good then the scale can be addressed. The problem is that any aggressive addressing of the scale could expose more thin spots.

Here is the shortish version of how to work on scale from safest to most aggressive.
You can sand rough spots with 100 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth them to the touch.
You can maintain your water so that it is aggressive and brush often with a stainless steel brush, this will s l o w l y dissolve scale. Keep your CSI at -0.8 to -0.9. PoolMath will give you the number after you enter your test results.
You can do a no drain acid bath. More here, The Zero Alkalinity Acid Treatment
You can do a drain and acid wash.

More here, Pool School - Calcium Scaling
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
My scale is not the white calcium scaling, rather a brown plaque-like scaling that is pretty widespread in the pool. I appreciate the suggestions and will read over them. Basically, I know I have to decide next year whether to do plaster or to look at patching and then doing Aqua Bright or something like that. I'm intrigued by Aqua Bright, but there isn't anyone immediately local that's an installer and that could be a problem
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,852
Tucson, AZ
AquaBright seems very promising, especially from a chemistry persepctive, but be prepared for sticker shock if you can find an installer. Many of the A/B installers will take one look at old and degraded plaster and will want to do a full chip-out, replaster and then an AB coating. That will drive the cost of an AquaBright finish well over to the equivalent of a high-end exposed aggregate finish like PebbleTek PebbleFina. I would bet an AB installer will charge well over $12k for a remodel....just a guess, but not out of ballpark.
 

Sfpat

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2016
116
tulsa
For a price reference, I had my pool replastered (white plaster) last summer for $45/linear foot (plaster only). Had other bids slightly higher. Project also included new tile, coping, prep work (chipping, sanding) acid wash and replaced the deck drain
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
For a price reference, I had my pool replastered (white plaster) last summer for $45/linear foot (plaster only). Had other bids slightly higher. Project also included new tile, coping, prep work (chipping, sanding) acid wash and replaced the deck drain
Thanks for the price reference. That's about what I was thinking it should be. I guess it depends on the area and how many plasterers there are, too.
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
I reached out to my local AquaBright installer. I got quoted around $10/sq foot, which seems really excessive. He said a plaster job is going to be the same price. That doesn't sound right and doesn't match with any price quotes I have seen. What would be a good all-in cost on plaster per sq foot for removal, install, etc? Granted, I know that the area where you are determines much of that. I'm in a large city...

I really like what I'm seeing from AquaBright, but if I can get a good plaster (Hydrazzo, etc) for half the price, that is a big bridge to cross on that.
 

YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
9,410
Evans, Georgia
I dunno, if you're going to be in that house a long time........ doesn't AB last a lot longer? So it might be an investment but one that over time pays off.

I have a fiberglass pool and am reassured that should anything major happen to its shell that I can use AB to coat it.

Yippee :flower:
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
I just talked to a pool service this afternoon and got a ballpark of around $5500-$6000 for a plaster job. I'll get a more precise quote next week after he sees it. The AquaBright quote is $16500. At that rate, I can for sure have 2 plaster jobs done for the same price as the AquaBright. As much as I like the thought of AquaBright, I may have to look at Hydrazzo or a finish like that.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,852
Tucson, AZ
Many applicators that offer AB coatings don't actually want to do it because it is a very time consuming process. Plaster takes half a day to knock out. AB coatings can take multiple days. Therefore labor costs are a lot higher. I wouldn't be surprised if they are high-balling their estimate to drive you towards the more profitable option for them. Unfortunately, with low competition in the AB applicator world, the price will remain high.

Thanks for looking into that. Posting prices online helps other future pool remodels.


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bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
The AquaBright installer told me that it was much less labor than the plaster and that he prefers to install the AquaBright!! I'm actually a bit bummed out by it because I was sold on AquaBright. I don't mind paying a little extra, but if I am going to have to pay 3X what a plaster job costs, that is a no-brainer for me. I called ecoFinish and they told me 7-9/square foot was what they thought. Getting a price of 10 was a bit of a shock! I've reached out to another installer in another market to see what their rates run and maybe I can counter back to the installer in my area. Although, it didn't sound like he was too keen on negotiating.

Many applicators that offer AB coatings don't actually want to do it because it is a very time consuming process. Plaster takes half a day to knock out. AB coatings can take multiple days. Therefore labor costs are a lot higher. I wouldn't be surprised if they are high-balling their estimate to drive you towards the more profitable option for them. Unfortunately, with low competition in the AB applicator world, the price will remain high.

Thanks for looking into that. Posting prices online helps other future pool remodels.


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Mar 24, 2017
8
Sunrise Beach
The AquaBright installer told me that it was much less labor than the plaster and that he prefers to install the AquaBright!! I'm actually a bit bummed out by it because I was sold on AquaBright. I don't mind paying a little extra, but if I am going to have to pay 3X what a plaster job costs, that is a no-brainer for me. I called ecoFinish and they told me 7-9/square foot was what they thought. Getting a price of 10 was a bit of a shock! I've reached out to another installer in another market to see what their rates run and maybe I can counter back to the installer in my area. Although, it didn't sound like he was too keen on negotiating.
Curious if the square footage you are using is the surface area of the pool or the actual area of the floor and walls?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,852
Tucson, AZ
I suppose it would really depend on the starting surface. If the current plaster can just be patched and repaired, then I don't see why they're charging $10/sq ft. If the current plaster has to be chipped out, hauled away and new plaster installed then AquaBright, I can understand the higher cost.

What did they say they would do? Chip out or use the existing plaster?


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bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
I used an online calculator. My surface area is 45 x 20, but I have it calculated to 1600 square feet. It's a big pool, no doubt.

- - - Updated - - -

I suppose it would really depend on the starting surface. If the current plaster can just be patched and repaired, then I don't see why they're charging $10/sq ft. If the current plaster has to be chipped out, hauled away and new plaster installed then AquaBright, I can understand the higher cost.

What did they say they would do? Chip out or use the existing plaster?


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He said they would patch the areas that are worn to the gunite, but not a total replacement of the plaster or anything like that. He stated he needs a rough coat of plaster for the AquaBright application. It didn't sound like it had to be perfectly smooth or anything like that. If he had said 11-12, I probably would have booked him for next week! For 16500, I could probably look at getting the whole thing tiled :(
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,852
Tucson, AZ
He said they would patch the areas that are worn to the gunite, but not a total replacement of the plaster or anything like that. He stated he needs a rough coat of plaster for the AquaBright application. It didn't sound like it had to be perfectly smooth or anything like that. If he had said 11-12, I probably would have booked him for next week! For 16500, I could probably look at getting the whole thing tiled :(
Wow, that's really expensive for use of the existing plaster surface. You are quite right that a roughened surface works better as it allows the epoxy coat layer to adhere well. Then all they need to do is apply the AB thermopolymer and make it smooth and seamless....that's the hard part, making it look good since dimples and bumps in the surface will be accentuated.

Still, $16k for AquaBright on old plaster seems a little unreasonable to me....
 

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