New pool - Efflorescence or calcium

Kcav

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2017
45
Sacramento, CA
Hi there, Hoping someone will have some advice :). Our new pool was finished last summer, so it is less there 6 months old. We have a beautiful back wall built from McGregor Lake stone. Well, we noticed in several areas we are getting a white build up running down from stones on to the tile. We have had very little rain this winter, so this fact coupled with the fact it is brand new has me really concerned about what our pool will look like after a year or two, yikes! :(. I understand that this is part of pool ownership but this seems extreme and I am wondering if there are any preventive measures I can take? I thought it was calcium from the stone, but I spoke from the very nice rep. from Montana Rockworks (McGregor lake stone) and she said it is not coming from the stone, but from the mortar the mason used... She said it is fixable but call the stoyeyard and talk someone there. I spoke with them, they confirmed, yep its from the mortar. They weren't super helpful though as to what to do, said I could try some cleaner they sell there or try white vinegar, but couldn't tell me that mixture or process...They also said its efflorescence from lime in mortar and not calcium?
So a couple of questions...
Did the mason use the wrong mortar? Should I contact the pool builder?
What is the best way to clean this?
Can I seal the mortar?
IMG_4610.jpg
Sorry if this isn't very clear, I am a bit lost talking about this stuff. Any advice I would be grateful for.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
20,560
Laughlin, NV
Did the mason use the wrong mortar?
I am sure it is basic cement mortar - which is proper.
Should I contact the pool builder?
You can - but do not be surprised they say that is normal when building walls with stones and mortar.
What is the best way to clean this?
You can use a dilute muriatic acid solution. But do not be surprised if it returns. It is from the minerals in the stone and mortar.
Can I seal the mortar?
You can, but the sealer has a tendency to turn yellow over time.
 

Kcav

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2017
45
Sacramento, CA
Thanks so much for responding here! It is very disappointing that my brand new pool looks like this 6 months in and no real good solutions, wish I had realized that choosing a natural stone wall with mortar would do this so quickly.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
20,560
Laughlin, NV
I can understand. Natural products look so good new. But they are not really well designed for the conditions they are placed in.

Efflorescence should eventually lessen. It is typically accentuated if you have a moisture source on one side of the rock. Do you have dirt behind that rock face you showed? If so, did they use a moisture barrier on it prior to backfilling?
 

Kcav

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2017
45
Sacramento, CA
I just feel sick about it. Our pool and yard is very small and this wall runs the entire span of the 30 foot length, the white tiles are already an eyesore. I don't think they put any kind of sealer behind the cinder blocks they used to build the wall. But I do think that it is just from rain water coming down the front of the rock wall and mortar running on the tiles. Compounding the problem is probably the rough surface tile I picked. It has been a really dry year and I can only imagine what is in store for me when it really starts to rain :(. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.

- - - Updated - - -

IMG_4679.jpg
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,932
Tallahassee, FL
I do have some good news for you. There is something you can do to make the tile look better. It will take some effort on your part but if you pick 10 tiles at one time and work on them you will get it done.

Get some muratic acid and mix it 1 to 4 (m. acid to water) and spray it on a tile. Have you couple of different brushes ready. See what works best. Maybe even a plastic scrubbie as well. See what works best to get that off the tile. IF the 1 to 4 does not work move to more 1 to 3 and see if that helps.

Make sure to wear gloves and eye protection when you work with this. If any gets on you the pool is right there to rinse it off so you should be fine.

Kim:kim:
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,490
Tucson, AZ
Are you testing and treating the water yourself? Can you please post a full set of chemistry numbers from your test kit?