New (+1st timer) Pool Build - North DFW

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I'm surprised the tiles ended up clashing so much. We went with a cobalt tile over PebbleSheen Blue Surf and we feel like it looks great.

Me too, to be honest. And of course today in the sun the plaster looked very blue, where yesterday it looked very green. If you search photos of sapphire treasure pools they’re very blue…but the thumbnail that WetEdge uses (in my post above) shows that the base is kind of teal. They actually use “Mediterranean blue” pigment in the plaster. Oh well. We wanted white, was sold white, chose white, etc….if we kept the blue we would’ve probably forever regretted it just a little. And I’ll probably forever regret making them switch to the white if there’s any noticeable tells of the redo 😅
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Another (quick) update - figured out over the weekend that one of the niches were also damaged by the plaster guys when they chipped off the old plaster, so electricians had to come back out to replace the niche entirely. That pushed plaster install back a day to tomorrow. Probably better anyways since we're forecasted to get rain tonight. So close....again!
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
After a few wind-related delays last week we were finally able to plaster yesterday, and polish today. Orenda fill starts a little later today too.

Some sneak peaks right after finishing up the polish...
 

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convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
That looks great! Reminds me of the beautiful terazzo floors I would see in older houses in my area.
Thanks! We love it so far 😍

Fill is almost done. <24 hours. We've been getting pretty consistent light rain the whole time which I think has sped things up a bit. Taken a few initial readings and put into Pool Math. pH is higher then it should be, I don't think the Orenda tech added enough Muriatic Acid but he should be back out today to adjust and I'll talk to him then. My tap water measures at about 8.2...with all this rain it might've brought pH down a little.

pH 8.2
TA 80
CH 525
CYA 0
TEMP 64*
CSI 0.70

There was still about 6" to go when I took those levels, so it will change once full...just practice!

I assume the fill water being super cloudy is typical?
 

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KCNM

Silver Supporter
May 20, 2021
235
Tampa Bay, FL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Truclear / Ei
I have no idea if cloudy water is expected with that start up. Normally cloudy water is attributable to plaster dust, but I thought this startup was like the bicarb one, in which case it's really supposed to minimize the dust? It could just be stuff left over from the acid washing and will clear up fast once the pump and filter are going. CH being high can cause cloudy water, but I don't think 525 is high enough for that.

With the bicarb startup, you just use acid to reduce the TA back again when startup is done. But there's nothing to do that with CH, so is the plan to replace some of the water after startup to reduce the CH again?
 

joel98z

Bronze Supporter
Jun 14, 2021
99
Wylie, TX
Pool Size
24000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
Looks great! I must feel good to be close to the finish line. Question on your fence, as I am thinking of getting similar fencing. How high is your fence and is there a height requirement in our area?
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Water was cloudy before there was even a foot of water in the pool...like 3-6 inches in the deep end and you could tell it was cloudy.

Yes, this startup process is supposed to minimize plaster dust, but only if done right. Which, I'm wondering if it's being done right. Granted, with a build like ours, and a forum like this, I can't help but second guess everything 😅

First, pool completed fill around 1pm today. Equipment was started up around 3:30/4pm. The Orenda Startup tech was not able to come back out today after fill to re-balance levels 😡 They said it was because of weather, and while we have gotten off/on rain all day and it's cloudy, windy, etc outside...I see that as a pretty B.S. excuse. They said they'll be out first thing in the morning.

Here's where levels were when pool was full before equipment startup:

62.8* water temp
FC 0.5ppm
CC 1ppm
CH 450ppm
TA 60
CYA 0
PH 8.2 or higher (my TFTestKit/Taylor test maxes out at 8.2)

I brushed the pool when I learned startup tech wasn't going to make it out today. I have no experience what plaster dust looks like, but I did see dust kick up in a few spots, but it wasn't consistent. It seemed to be more noticeable the lower I was in the pool, and I did see dust...but for example on our tanning ledge I brushed that really well, and saw no dust kick up whatsoever.

My working theory right now is that the startup tech didn't add enough muriatic acid into the startup barrel, which allowed pH to creep up really high (my fill water is already high...probably like an 8.0). But I am no chemistry expert.

Right now I'm tempted to go dump some Muriatic Acid in the pool for overnight and not tell the startup tech tomorrow 🤷‍♂️ Don't really know what to do.

Question on your fence, as I am thinking of getting similar fencing. How high is your fence and is there a height requirement in our area?
It is a 4 foot fence. Standard pool code fence is >=4ft from the last horizontal bar. For example, if you have a 5 foot wrought iron fence that has a "puppy fence" section at the bottom half and the top of that puppy fence has a horizontal bar/ledge that kids can climb on, there must be 4 feet of fence above that. Gates must be self-closing and open away from the pool.

Our normal backyard fence was already "pool code" - 5 foot fence with self closing gates. However, we purposefully designed our pool with a fence in mind. We have young kids. So our pool is off center of our back door / porch area, and is fenced in with separate entrances. But we also have the backyard space to do that well.
 

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convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Edit: I tried to post the below message in the "Starting Out" forum b/c I thought the subject was different (startup vs build) and to get more 👀 on it so I could maybe get an answer tomorrow...but they got merged by a helpful mod. I understand...I'll leave the post below as originally posted in the other thread, it does summarize some of the information in prior posts above.

Hey!
Build thread link in signature. I'm having troubles with The Orenda Startup my builder is doing, and I'm not sure how relatively concerning these different things are and what I need to do tomorrow. Please help. Long story short:

1. Polished WetEdge Primera Stone Plaster, finished (polished) yesterday mid-day, fill started a few hours later by startup tech using Orenda method. ~15k gallons (a little less actually, maybe closer to 14k)

2. I did not see the startup tech test our fill water. I wasn't out there the whole time because I had some work calls, but I double checked on security footage and didn't see him do it either. I also don't remember seeing him add Muriatic Acid to the startup barrel. I saw him add 1 bag of Calcium Chloride and 1 bottle of SC-1000. There were a few other steps omitted from the Orenda prescription, such as putting a rag over the fill hose. When I saw him get in his truck to drive off, I ran out and asked what all he added, and he did repeat all 3 back to me...but I'm just not convinced it was done right.

3. I noticed the water was pretty cloudy right away. Like even with just a few inches of water in it, it was cloudy.

4. That night with the pool half full I tested some levels. Very high PH (at least 8.2), 60-80 TA, 600 CH, water temp of 64-66 degrees.

5. Next day still cloudy. Can't really make out the drains and it's only a 5ft pool. Fill up was finished around 12pm and pool company out to startup the equipment around 3:30pm.

6. The startup tech cancelled coming back out on the same day that the pool was filled "due to Weather". We had off and on rain, and it was overall cold and windy. A BS excuse for probably being too busy or not wanting to make the trek out. Scheduled for first thing in the morning (~20 hours after fill). I expressed disappointment to our builder but it was already 5pm when I found out and too late for them to do much at all.

7. I brushed the pool for the first time around 5pm. I don't see a TON of plaster dust, but I do notice it in a few areas. I took another reading: 0.5 FC, 1.0 CC, 8.2 pH, 60 TA, 450 CH, 0 CYA, 63* temperature.

8. I brushed the pool a second time around 9:30pm (~4 hours later) and noticed more dust. The pool was actually clearer now after the pump running...but I kicked up a good amount of dust.

At this point, I'm not sure what I need to have the startup tech do in the morning, or what to tell them. Obviously acid needs to be added, but LSI/CSI seem OK. I'm sure the pH might be higher than 8.2 - I don't have a way to test it higher than that. What should I do? What information would be helpful?
 
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convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Took another reading. TA seems to be dropping slowly....down to 50. CH is stable at 450 CH. Pool dropped a degree or so at 61/62 degrees. Photos showing cloudiness before pump started up. I didn't take any more photos later in the day.

Also photo of pH test tonight. Amazon was supposed to deliver a digital pH meter today but of course that got delayed. I do have a RO water filter in the house but didn't know if I could use that to some how take a diluted test to get a better reading on how high the pH might be?
 

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convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Another potential data point (just trying to think through things):

During plaster they did spray quite a bit more water on to the pool. I know that is a tell sign of a few things wrong in the plaster process, but not sure if that could be attributed to the plaster dust I'm seeing now. Again, it's a polished plaster so the next day after plastering they came out, acid treated the pool, polished, then they used A LITTLE additional acid around the glass tile to clean things off - but the immediately rinsed that post-polish acid off.

The plaster dust doesn't seem to be concentrated in the areas they sprayed the water into - they sprayed it mainly onto the tanning ledge, but let a lot run down into the floor bottom, and they sprayed it on the bench seat on the opposite side from the steps.
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Looking at the plaster this morning before the light comes up...noticing the plaster has a lot of "indentions" - I don't know if this is "normal" or a sign of something (a sign of the calcium etching, or bad water levels, or bad plaster mix, etc)
 

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convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Start up tech came back out today. He's a joke. Admitted that they don't use the Orenda method very often, they're not huge fans of it, always have problems with plaster dust, yada yada. I'm fuming. I might be calling another certified Orenda provider near by to see if I can get them out on my own dime to see what we can do for damage control. I told Builder and they were fairly taken back...they use this company a lot to repair leaks on older pools, but they haven't used them for startup yet. They're only using them because I asked for an Orenda or Bicarb startup, and the startup company that our plaster installer recommended couldn't make it out.

I haven't taken my own readings this morning, but he said that he got 8.0 pH, 80 TA, and 390 CH. He added muriatic acid, brushed and left. He mentioned that there was "a lot" of plaster dust.

Edit: I asked him what he added to the startup barrel and verified he took no measurement of fill water levels. He said he added almost 50lbs of calcium, and "2 bottles" of SC-1000 (security camera only shows 1 bottle). I asked him about Muriatic Acid and he said very little, that you're not supposed to add a lot. I didn't see that he added any on camera footage. I told all this to builder and they're trying to get plaster company out.
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I just took my own levels an hour or so after tech left.

I'm now getting:
6.8 pH
20 TA (seriously, not sure how he's getting 80)
425-450 CH
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I also contacted a local certified Orenda tech. Supposedly they do more Orenda startups than "anyone in North Texas". Guy was really frank with me... didn't like that they did start up before scheduled rain, damage most likely already done, happy to take a look and see what they can do to stop the damage, if anything, and give general advice on how to proceed. He's going to come by today. Will keep this forum updated....
 
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onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,232
Utah
Your tap water for filling is okay.
I suggest that the pool water alkalinity be raised to a minimum of 80 ppm (I would prefer 100 ppm), and add acid to lower pH to 7.6, but no lower. Perhaps the pool guy coming out will agree. Since acid will probably be added, put more Bicarb in to raise the TA level slightly higher than the final goal.
I don't see any major damage being done. A little plaster dust isn't a major deal. I think the "white" plaster finish was a good choice. Be sure to vigorously brush often.
Perhaps you could explain more regarding the "water spraying" event during plastering, or was it during the acid wash procedure the next day?
 

convan23

Gold Supporter
Sep 27, 2020
159
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
@onBalance thank you, I appreciate a little reassurance.

I uploaded a video of them spraying water on the plaster...just a short snippet. This is after they spent a lot of time troweling. I'm not familiar with the process, but this was pretty late - they sprayed, troweled, then came back with more water and troweled some more.


At the beginning you see them spraying the tanning ledge (2:00 a lot), then towards the end you see them spraying the walls some. There was a lot of water that ran to the bottom.


The tech from the pool care company came out. Supposedly they helped developed the Orenda process, and like you said @onBalance, they didn't see anything too terribly bad, and to raise TA up to 80-100ppm. pH was 7.4-7.6 when he was here. Calcium verified at 440 which is what I've been measuring. He said he saw some spider cracking probably from the plaster getting rained on, but it wasn't bad.

They said they would've overdosed SC-1000 since it's a polished plaster and there was rain, but the calcium levels were pretty good.

My pool builder might be paying them to take over the rest of the process. TBD.

Edit: some more photos from tanning ledge showing voids in the plaster. Think these are from them using too much water?
 

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