New re-plaster in the fall, rough finish / scaling on first spring opening.

swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
Hello Everyone,
First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone in this community for providing such an invaluable wealth of information! I’m a first time pool owner. I’ve been a little bit of a lurker since last season, but I’ve now gotten to a point where I need some guidance. I purchased a home from the estate of a relative that had passed away. Forgive my long winded post, I just want to give context to the situation. This is my first pool ownership. I closed on the home at the end of august 2018. The property has the pool listed in my sig. It’s a 36,000 gallon plaster pool originally built by Anthony and Sylvan and includes a spa. The property is located in northeast PA, so we have long and often bitter cold winters. The pool hadn’t been opened in many years, and as a kindness, my family agreed to have the pool refurbished prior to my purchase. They contracted a local pool builder to assess what the pool needed and perform the work. The pool was re-tiled, re-plastered, new heater, new pump motor, new blower. Therefore, I “inherited” the pool builder and did not choose him. The re-plaster was complete in early August. The remainder of the work was completed in late September. I was given very high level instructions verbally. Thankfully, this site and Pool School gave me a LOT more information. I maintained chemistry in the pool per recommended levels. I brushed the pool every day (sometimes multiple times). I kept the PH down and in check every day. In retrospect, there were a number of things this pool builder did and did not due that I found questionable (at one point he was using test strips and said “it’s good enough for gov’t work). Given the huge investment made in refurbishing the pool, I used the same builder to close the pool for the season at a cost of almost $500 because I wanted to ensure that everything would be in great shape when I open in the spring. The ONLY direction I was given by the pool tech(s) who closed the pool was to keep the water level 4-6 inches below the tile line so ice and freezing didn’t pop them off. It has a mesh safety cover, so the water rose several times over the winter. They never mentioned anything about watching chemistry and I had assumed they treated the pool accordingly. As I mentioned, it’s my first pool. In retrospect, I should have known better. During my 3rd “pump-out” sessions a few weeks ago, I noticed the dirt built up on the sides of the pool. I reached into the pool to see how easy the dirt would come off and all of the surfaces below the water line are rough. Like sandpaper. Everything above was still smooth. At this point, I’ve done a bunch or reading and realize this is scaling due to the pH getting way too high in the pool. It introduces a whole host of questions. The pool is still technically “closed”, but I have been pulling sections of the cover off to access it. Also, there is no bypass for the new heater, so I plan to plumb one in.

I can scrape away the “bumps” with my finger. However, I’ve brushed small sections briefly with a combo brush and it had little impact.

Additional info:
Source water at fill – 25,000 gallons from tank trucks from pool fill company, remainder from hose / municipal source.

Chemistry at close – not provided by pool builder / service tech. Last entry I had for personal log as:
Date – 9/24/18
FC – 4
pH – 7.4
TA – 80
CH – 200
CYA – 25


pH when issue was first noticed10
I have since knocked it down to 7.4 by adding 4.75 gallons of Muriatic acid and using a drop in sump pump to circulate water and drain + fill spa with treated water.

Current Chemistry
Temp = 50F(ish)
FC – 0
pH – 7.4
TA – 20
CH – 275
CYA - 25


Info I have found that is influencing my questions:

  • I’ve found some very similar posts, unfortunately most of them are older and none of them have any follow-up that discusses what people actually did to address the problem and the ultimate outcome.
  • Some advice was lower pH to 7 – 7.2 and brush every day with a combo brush and run the filter to catch debris.
  • Some advice says you can go lower if you bypass or don’t have a heater.
  • Some advice suggests attempting / using a no-drain acid wash such as “No Dran” from United Chemical Corp.
  • A more recent post suggest doing a Zero Alkalinity Acid Treatment. This post seems to make an argument against “No Dran” type products as they call for too much acid.
  • Some posts suggest using a combo brush, others say use 100% stainless, and others still suggest a pumice stone.

My Questions:
  • Given the age of my plaster, and the fact that I’m able to scrape the scaling away with my finger nail, what is the best method to address this roughness?
  • Should I run my equipment at all when treating the pool?
  • What else am I missing?


Again, I can’t thank this community enough for all of the help and wonderful information provided on this site. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!!
 

swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
Sorry to hear about your problems. It happens. Read my story here —> Replastering a Pool - A 1 Year Saga - Problems & Lessons Learned

You didn’t do anything wrong. At this point an acid wash, drain, and refill should clean it up. Talk to the pool company. They owe you a fix up.
Thanks Allen! I just read your post and it sounds like a total PITA! I have contacted the builder and I'm still waiting to hear back. At least in your situation, you had a builder that stood behind the work. I am hopeful that mine does the same. He has a good reputation locally and my previous interactions with him were good. I just worry that I didn't have the contract with him to do the work. I still want to be prepared to have to go it alone. I also want to make sure I fully understand and agree with any plans he might propose.
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
2,445
NE/Pa
Why did he close you so early after a new plaster job? You ph rise would still be pretty quick. That was my biggest worry my first year.

How does the plaster look overall?
 

swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
After re-reading my original post, I now realize that I didn't mention we closed the pool on 10/17. I followed the direction of the pool builder. He said we should close mid to late October and that is what they did.

My initial thought was that it looks good. Again, the cover isn't off but what I see looks appropriately dirty. The finish is white and I didn't notice any stains. Water is clear and all tiles are intact.

The pool builder has agreed to open pool next week and contact the plaster company. Hopefully he steps up and makes it right.
 

swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
Techs opened yesterday. Still waiting for builder to stop by, hopefully next week. It looks good to me, so I'm hopeful the scaling can be dealt with by the time swim season starts (late May / early June around here).

97177
97178
97179
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
2,445
NE/Pa
hey there!

clean water that's for sure! that is the exact same pool our friends' up in your area has from A&S. cover, spa and all. hopefully he gets back to you this weekend!
 

derek533

Active member
Mar 23, 2017
28
Edmond, OK
Just looking at your picture, you sure that's 36K gallons? Looks more like about the mid 20's to me judging by your fence, post spacing, and pavers measuring it out in my head. Just something to keep in mind when figuring your pool math.
 
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swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
Just looking at your picture, you sure that's 36K gallons? Looks more like about the mid 20's to me judging by your fence, post spacing, and pavers measuring it out in my head. Just something to keep in mind when figuring your pool math.
Thanks, but I'm 100% positive based on several factors. Not the least of which is my chemical additions are having the calculated affect. The pool is 40x20 with a 3ft shallow and 9.5ft deep end. Every calculator I use comes out at 36k+.
 

swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
Just looking at your picture, you sure that's 36K gallons? Looks more like about the mid 20's to me judging by your fence, post spacing, and pavers measuring it out in my head. Just something to keep in mind when figuring your pool math.
Here it is with 25k gallons in it from the tanker trucks.
97330
 

derek533

Active member
Mar 23, 2017
28
Edmond, OK
Wow, 20x40, the photo really obfiscates the width of it and makes it look much more narrow.

As long as you know what it is, that's all that matters!
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
974
Utah
This type of scaling on newly plastered pools occurs often. There should have been a more coordinated effort by the PB and pool tech to avoid this problem at the closing down time.
The best way to resolve the scaling problem is to drain the pool and give it a good polishing job.
Doing a no-drain or zero alkalinity treatment (both are the same thing) is risky because too much acid is usually added and for too long and etching of the new plaster surface can develop. Even if an acid treatment is performed, a polishing afterwards is needed to restore to a smooth and non-damaged finish.
 

swampthang

Member
May 23, 2018
9
NEPA
Quick update.
On 4/17 PB came and looked at the pool and said it wasn't too bad. He hadn't spoken to the plaster company, but did speak with Pooltec. He instructed me to lower the pH to 7.2 and gave me a double dosage of Scaletec. I plumbed a heater bypass on the 18th and added the Scaletec according to the instructions I was given.

I have not been brushing the pool every day because the PB said it was not necessary. I think it is, but I'm willing to follow his instructions. So to balance, I've been brushing periodically as I can.

As of now, there is virtually no change in the scaling. Due to rain, I've been knocking down the pH almost daily.

PB says it will take 3-4 weeks to know the effects. He said if scale doesn't dissolve, they will have to lower water and do an acid treatment.