New Pool Quote - Aquron Sealer?

frikinelmo

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Oct 14, 2020
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Baton Rouge, LA
I'm getting near to finalizing my pool plans and the bid. One line item on the bid that is a possible upgrade to thegunnite is Aquron. Here is the note on the bid.

Aquron Sealer for the shell of the pool. This is optional but HIGHLY recommended. If you decide to add it , $450. Stops minerals from leeching through the surface of the pool.

What are the opinions on the product, benefits and cost?
 

cowboycasey

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I knew nothing about it but just searched it.... Unless someone else has something better to use I would use that.. it makes the shell waterproof so water will not come through the shell behind your plaster.. that is a great thing... AT 450 bucks its worth every penny :)
 

Desert Dog

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Apr 4, 2020
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Alpine, Ca
I used something similar as I have a raised exposed pool wall. It was $300 and I applied myself. If the builder is doing it for $450, not bad. It is supposed to stop any leaching of water through the shell and help stop efflorescence I suppose. As a water proofer, it seams to work. You can see the water bead from the shell after applying it. Some Shotcrete/gunite companies offer something similar in the cement mix, but it is very expensive.
 

JoyfulNoise

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I would recommend caution with it unless there is some added guarantee to the plaster. Plaster is a cement-based material. It needs contact with water in order to undergo carbonization and hydration, ie, “curing”. That process takes days or weeks to complete. If you place a sealer on the plaster surface right away then there is no contact with the water. The water mixed in the plaster will allow for hydration but carbonation will be impeded. This could potentially lead to “softer” plaster.

Does the National Plasterers Council (NPC) have any technical data on this or a position on using sealants?

Perhaps @onBalance might be able to guide you better.
 

cowboycasey

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This is a great conversation.. I have heard you do not want water coming through the shell getting to the back of the plaster as that can cause early failures... I know the shell is porous and allows water to come and go.. I know it is recommended to put a waterproofing agent on the shell under tile to stop water getting behind the tile why would you not want the same thing behind plaster?
 

cowboycasey

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Found this from CERAMIC TILE INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, INC :)

They recommend waterproof coating....

WATERPROOFING Pool waterproofing falls into several categories, all of which can be very effective depending on a variety of conditions the pool may be subjected to, as well as the level at which the pool is expected to perform. While properly waterproofed vessels will far exceed the industry standard for in ground pools, there are conditions in which some systems will be superior for a variety of reasons including the following: 1) Partially or fully above ground pools and fountains. This could include hillside pools that are exposed underneath. 2) Structures that may be subjected to movement. i.e. cold joints, concrete blocks, 3) Pools in close proximity to or particularly above occupied space, garages, or other similar areas Additionally, extreme conditions may require multiple systems used together. An example is a pool in which an elastomeric system is specified, but the area in which the pool is built experiences hydro-static pressure, from the negative side, stronger than the elastomeric system would be capable of sustaining. This is a case in which a cementitious waterproofing capable of holding back hydro-static pressure could be applied to the pool shell prior to the application of the mortar bed in which the elastomeric system will be applied. Some of the most common systems are as follows: a) External or “sandwich” waterproof membranes- One example would be a sheet membrane placed into the excavated area prior to actually shooting the pool. This method is typically used when extreme external or negative hydrostatic pressure is present. This would be used in conjunction with another system inside the pool to keep water from entering the shell. b) Integral crystallization - An additive mixed into the concrete or mortar that promotes crystalline growth that ultimately blocks the capillaries in the cement. c) Topically applied crystallization – This uses the same principle as the integral but is applied to the surface of the concrete shell. The concrete must be saturated and allowed to become saturated surface dry before the cement paste is applied, at which time the crystals are activated and will grow into the concrete as far as moisture is present. Note: During the process of crystalline growth, residual crystals can accumulate on the surface and act as a bond breaker for subsequent layers waterproofing or other bonding materials. It’s imperative to remove all potential contaminants prior to the application of additional material. d) Dense cementitious film- A prepackaged cement powder that when mixed with water or acrylic, depending on the manufacturers’ recommendations, can be applied to the surface of the concrete shell and will cure into a dense film capable of holding back moisture. e) Elastomeric membraneUsually latex based, these systems are typically applied over a cured mortar bed and have flexible characteristics. Once applied and cured, tile can be installed directly over them with an approved thinset. f) Flexible cementitious - Similar to the elastomeric system but a two-part cement/latex based waterproofing. This system can be applied directly over the shell and floated over by bonding the mortar with an approved thin-set or applied over a cured mortar bed. Tile can then be bonded directly to it with an approved thin-set.
 

JoyfulNoise

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Efflorescence is only a problem ABOVE the waterline, not below it. I see no reason to apply a waterproof coating between the plaster and the shell below the water line. Plaster is already designed to be a hydraulically sealed material (ie, water does not permeate through it). Applying a waterproof membrane between tiling and the shell above the waterline and around the bond beam is standard practice because thinsets are not often designed to handle water exposure. If you want to avoid efflorescence on the grout, then have the tile installer use epoxy grout as opposed to standard pool tile grout (cement grout). Epoxy grout is completely waterproof.

If high ground water is an issue, then applying a sealer to the inside of the shell is somewhat useless. Fix the ground water issues using French drains and dry-wells to move water away from the shell. Long term that is a better strategy than hoping a sealer will protect you from troubles.
 
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onBalance

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I agree with Matt.
Although a gunite sealer may provide additional waterproofing for a new pool. Pool plaster, by itself, provides adequate waterproofing. Ground water that seeps through the gunite is effectively stopped when it comes into contact with the plaster and will not cause failure or damage to the plaster.

Also, a gunite sealer will not stop efflorescence, discoloration, or mottling of pool plaster. Those are independent and isolated issues.

One concern is that applying a sealant over the gunite could possibly affect and hinder the bonding between the gunite and plaster.
 
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Desert Dog

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Apr 4, 2020
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Alpine, Ca
Ha ha. would really like to know more about this. I did it and so far no problem. There has been a couple of posts here about water coming through exposed walls even though plaster is supposed to be water proof (this is the only reason why I did it). Have not seen any fix for the issue after the fact or anyone have much to say other than you must have a broken pipe. No one "sold" me as I did my own build. Other builders recommended it as I have an exposed wall. They had nothing to gain. It was cheap, so I did it. If our pool was all in ground, I don't think anyone would have even mentioned it.

I forget all the technical terms but works with all cement products and does not affect bonding of the two (The one I used). I also saw a bid recently posted on this site that included the sealer and no one said anything about it.

The sole purpose I used it was to avoid what I have seen on pools with exposed walls, and that's water seeping through. Anyhow maybe its the newest thing that gets slammed by the old timers until it becomes standard with time. Or it is snake oil and I lost $300. I won't loose any sleep unless the plaster falls off. The plaster company was one of the folks that recommended doing it even though they probably would use that as an excuse not to warranty it. But if no one knows.............

And I was making an assumption about the efflorescence part. Yes it is above the water line, but don't builders water proof the water line? And doesn't water coming from behind the shell through above the water line cause efflorescence? So maybe additional protection in that area might help?

Anyhow I used it to stop water from going through the shell and out the exposed wall. I have rambled too much, and am really interested in if it has a benefit in my case. I seems to be gaining traction in the Los Angeles, CA area.
 

onBalance

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Deseret Dog, there are occasions when high ground water is coming through the hardened gunite, and then also through the new plaster before it dries and hardens. But I submit that a gunite sealer will not stop that event unless the water can be stopped until the sealer has dried and hardened. The reason that the plaster doesn't stop that water is because the water is coming through (into the pool) during the plastering operation and literally will "drill" holes through the non-hardened plaster.

As I stated before, if a sealer is water-proof, then a product such as that could hinder the bonding of new plaster to the gunite. Remember, bonding is by two processes. A mechanical bond and a (cement) chemical bond to new gunite. As one can see, a smooth non-porous water-proof sealer would/could hinder that bonding process.

Lastly, I have noted that many of the purported "claims" or benefits of using these types of products are false, such as preventing mottling or efflorescence (calcium scaling) of plaster. Another bogus claim was that a sealer would prevent toxic water/chemicals from passing through the gunite shell and contaminating the soil and ground water. Such nonsense.
 
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Desert Dog

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Apr 4, 2020
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onBalance thank you for the information. Do you think there is any truth to a sealer designed to penetrate into the gunite and leaving the top milometers not effected? Sounds silly now as I type it, the sealer I used made this claim. Another question.... if water is drilling through the plaster from ground water, do you have an explanation for water seeping through on above ground exposed wall gunite pool if there is no plumbing in the wall? Bad plaster job? Hope I did not still the thread, but perhaps the OP has an exposed wall.
 

onBalance

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First question: Nonsense. Same as claiming that sealer allows gunite to breathe.
Second question: No explanation. Each water situation would have to be investigated for possible answers.
 
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JoyfulNoise

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onBalance thank you for the information. Do you think there is any truth to a sealer designed to penetrate into the gunite and leaving the top milometers not effected? Sounds silly now as I type it, the sealer I used made this claim. Another question.... if water is drilling through the plaster from ground water, do you have an explanation for water seeping through on above ground exposed wall gunite pool if there is no plumbing in the wall? Bad plaster job? Hope I did not still the thread, but perhaps the OP has an exposed wall.

Raised walls represent a unique situation when building a pool. Such is the case when a pool has a negative, or "Infinity", edge - part of the pool wall is raised above ground level and a long spillover is created with a trough at the bottom to capture water and send it back into the plumbing. When a pool builder knows what the heck they are doing, infinity edges are very beautiful (especially when matched to the landscape of the property and any high vistas it might have); but, when a pool builder has no clue, infinity edges can look and operate terribly. Raised walls can also be found around built in planters or scupper/waterfall walls.

Whenever a pool has a raised edge where the waterline is above the ground level, the surfaces of the gunite needs to be waterproofed with the appropriate sealer. There are both "positive" and "negative" edge waterproofing membrane materials. Laticrete is probably the most popular manufacturer/vendor by far for water sealing membrane materials. They supply both positive edge and negative edge cementitious sealers that are designed to provide excellent adhesion to cement bonding materials like plaster and tile thin sets. The reason to seal both surfaces is to avoid water from the pool impinging on the gunite wall (rare because plaster is hydraulically sealed...but minor cracks can occur) and too keep external water sources (like rain or sprinklers) from causing water to impinge on the gunite from outside the pool. Now most external surfaces, especially with infinity edges, are tiled, but even so you want the sealers in place to protect the thin set. Another reason to add sealers on both surfaces is that gunite in contact with ground soils can absorb water and while that has little effect on plaster surfaces, you do want to avoid moisture in the gunite contacting tile thin-set as it can weaken the bonding of those material surfaces over time.

Properly designed raised walls would never be bare gunite sticking up out of the ground. They should always be finished with something, be that either plaster or tile or stone work. Concrete surfaces by themselves are not very aesthetically pleasing and so any pool builder leaving a cement wall sticking up out of the ground has, in my opinion, not finished their work properly. I guess one could paint it too, but that rarely ever looks good or passes the test of time...
 

Desert Dog

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Apr 4, 2020
261
Alpine, Ca
So if your pool comes out of the ground 6 inches and has tile on both sides you would use Laticrete Hydro-ban on both sides under the tile? This really is a great thread :)

That's the product i used under tile/stone work. Additionally, the whole shell was sprayed with a different cementitious product that was a cure and seal similar to the product the OP asked about . I did not use it as a cure, waited at least 30 days before i sprayed it on. That's what has me perplexed, if you can use mortar over the hydro ban with out issue, why is there a concern about plaster if all is a cement product?
 

JoyfulNoise

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That's the product i used under tile/stone work. Additionally, the whole shell was sprayed with a different cementitious product that was a cure and seal similar to the product the OP asked about . I did not use it as a cure, waited at least 30 days before i sprayed it on. That's what has me perplexed, if you can use mortar over the hydro ban with out issue, why is there a concern about plaster if all is a cement product?
Do the least amount of harm....that's how doctor's roll.

I wouldn't argue that you did anything wrong, simply that it is unnecessary (I can think of plenty of things I'd rather waste $300 on...). Plaster is a cementitious material that is hydraulically sealed, water does not permeate through it's bulk. Therefore, putting a water proofing membrane material between it and the gunite adds very little value but could, potentially, cause harm (delamination). It sounds like you were careful in following the technical data sheet for it's application and so you probably did the best job possible with it. Anyone who has ever watched a pool build with some basic construction knowledge can often find themselves horrified at what passes for a "skilled tradesman" nowadays. Corners are cut all the time and so anyone hawking a "miracle product" for pool construction sends shivers up my spine because there's just too many ways things can go bad. And, of course, at the end of the day, there are a great many people that wouldn't know the difference between the contractor spraying water on the gunite versus actually spraying some kind of product.

There are many, many, many manufacturers in the cement products world but only a few I would trust. Laticrete is one of them.