Old plaster delaminating under Pebbletec re-surface

darkwater

Member
Jun 11, 2020
5
Austin, TX
My pool is over 20 years old and maybe older. It was in very bad shape. We had it re-surfaced with Pebble Sheen applied by a licensed applicator. First they did a quick acid bath at the same time they where draining the pool. Then they did a partial chip out. They never offered option for full chip out. Almost 5-years later the floor of the pool grew a long crack and humped up. The pool never lost water even with the crack. Eventually the company came, drained my pool, cut a chunk out and determined the delamination problem is due to the old plaster deteriorating underneath the Pebble Sheen. The pool is under the 5 yr. warranty for delamination of Pebble Sheen. Because the sample they cut out shows plaster attached to Pebble Sheen then they claim it is not their fault. They say the whole pool needs a full chip out and they are willing to do this at half off. They say they do not know why my old plaster is deteriorating but it was sound when they applied the Pebble Sheen. I asked "Exactly how do you determine the plaster condition as sound before applying the Pebble Sheen?" They answered "The pool is checked for any loose and delaminated plaster and those are removed before the bondkote." This sounds to me like they take a guess and can not really know. I asked if the acid bath was to blame. They say no because the plaster is sticking to Pebble Sheen. They said partial chip outs are common. My delamination problem is uncommon but does happen. I asked WHY? Again they say they don't know. Does anyone know why? Do you believe they should have done a full chip out? I believe this is a faulty job and they should redo my pool for free? What should I do? Here are my options:
1.) Accept this offer to redo my pool at half price?
2.) Ask for a PebbleTec quality assurance rep to evaluate my pool? I am afraid they may be bias and I'll have to pay full price for redo pool. Has anyone done this?
3.) Offer to pay only 1/4 cost to covers full chip out.
4.) Go to court
Attached photo of sample and photo of sample hole in pool floor. Note the separation is so bad I can stick my hand between the two surfaces. The walls looked fine to me but they say the also have the problem.

Cut out.jpg Crack chipped out.jpg
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
652
Katy TX
Wow. This is very concerning. I had some soft spots that they chipped out but my PB stated as yours did, a full chip out was not required, just in certain places. It appears you have complete separation on the bottom. I would definitely contact a lawyer to read your warranty and provide you advice if it is worth it to proceed. Having a PebbleTex QA rep is a double edge sword. He could determine how the pool was assessed prior to replastering, good or bad. Keep us informed of your progress.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,280
Tucson, AZ
Perhaps @onBalance or @bdavis466 or @jimmythegreek might provide an opinion...that is an amazing amount of plaster that heaved up like that. Reminds me of a sidewalk that heaves up when there are freezes. Even here in the desert it can get cold enough in the winter for the ground to move and cause 6” thick concrete sidewalk sections to split and heave.
 

CaveDiver1932

Well-known member
Mar 2, 2014
101
Dallas
If the pool was not drain and sat empty for a time, this falls into bad prep. I’m guessing they did not do a sand blast. It’s a shame Texas standard practice is only partial chip out. Standard practice is to tap for hollow spots and chip those only. Sand blasting old original marble based plaster is the norm in Texas. Their statement that the old plaster deteriorated and they don’t know why is half truth. It was deteriorated before they applied the pebble finish and the age of the plaster is the reason. At least they did not blame it on water chemistry.

The pebble company only warranties the pebbles. Yea, rock. For example if the bags of pebble had foreign debris like iron. About worthless.

As the warranties on bondKotes, they will claim bad prep. That leaves the applicator and it comes down them owning up.

cd
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,828
Morris Cnty NJ
This is why you will always see the pros on here recommend a full chip out. Theres no way to guarantee the old plaster is sound. The tap method works but isnt enough. I honestly dont think you have much to back you up on. Their warranty is for their finish and it looks like they prepped it right for a coat over job. Paying half is them eating most of the labor amd you paying material. I'm surprised he offered that, very fair in my opinion. On the other hand I understand your position amd had you known the possibility of this you would have likely paid for a full chip out. Crappy situation.
 

darkwater

Member
Jun 11, 2020
5
Austin, TX
Update on my pool problem:
Quality Assurance Pebble Tech guy (he is from Texas, been doing pools for 20+ years) came to inspect my pool. After a minute of visual inspection and some wall tapping, he says Pebble Tech it not the problem. The problem is the old plaster was soft. But he says he wasn’t there when the crew chipped it out, so he doesn’t know how bad it was. It is hard to know if surface is sound before application. He believes the crew must have determined it to be sound or they would have recommended a full chip out. When he tapped walls on my spa, he found hollow spots and said they should redo the spa too. He said there is a possibility the hollow spots could crack open but sometimes they never do. He said the applicators are a reputable company and do good work. He thinks the resolution they offered is fair. (He had talked to pool company owner before seeing my pool.)

The pool applicator offered $2500 for full chip out and $2500 to resurface the pool. ($2500 is what I would have paid if they said I needed this from the start, so I'm OK with this. I paid close to $11,000 for Pebble Sheen surface for my pool 4-years ago. )The redo will include a new 5-year Pebble Tech warranty. It seems to me like I need to pay $5,000 to fix my pool because there judgment was wrong on the plaster condition? Do you think this fair?
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
652
Katy TX
It is unfortunate, but seems fair. The $2500 for resurface is probably just labor & equipment costs and they are absorbing the cost of materials. Let us know how this proceeds. I thought the warranty would be longer than 5 years. You may want to review that.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,280
Tucson, AZ
Well, you could look into equipment rental for doing the chip out and maybe try hiring some guys and a small roll off dumpster to see if DIY is significantly cheaper but my guess is the best you’ll do is save about half the $2,500 cost. Not sure that’s worth the sore back.

As others have said, it’s unfortunate but not a bad compromise. The alternative is a lawsuit that you won’t likely win and, even if you did, probably wouldn’t be worth the grief.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
20,724
Assuming they do a really good job with a full chip out and resurface, I would say that the deal is OK. Not great, but acceptable.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,846
Central California
If I'm following... You're only out $2500, right? Because if you had been given the choice, you would have spent the other $2500 on the full chip out the first time, right? And you have had a brand new finish for most of the five years, right? So you should prorate that some how. Maybe 25%? So if that is the math, this is actually going to "bottom line" cost you about $1875. You'll start over, you'll get a brand new finish and a brand new warranty and a full chip out. So how much is the stress of a court case (really your only option at this point) worth to you? That's IF you could win somehow. Going to court would surely evaporate the offer, so you'd be gambling this "deal," such as it is.

This is coming from a guy that battled a local pool company for six months over a similar situation, but my dollar amount was closer to $8K. Even at that the stress was pretty awful.

Take the deal. Focus on the $1875, not the $5K. You'd pay more if your refrigerator quit on you. Chalk it up as a home repair expense and put it behind you, get back in your pool.
 
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