Pebble plaster in high Arizona heat?

Roger Bull

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Sep 14, 2020
47
Tucson, AZ
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I have been trying to get my PB to plaster my pool for months. Material shortages and the fact that he is not making much if anything on my job has left me without a finished pool. I recently told him to just pay the (double normal) price for the only material apparently available which is essentially radiant fusion without pre-mixed cement. I'm tired of being told maybe this week the plaster crew will be available.
It is been 100-103F here and my job is a larger than average pool. If not done this week it gets really hot next week (110-115F). I expressed concern and he said it wasn't a problem. I know they won't be tenting the pool and it has full sun exposure. Should I just put it off now that we have missed almost half of the swim season? Or is it really not a problem?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,470
Tucson, AZ
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Wow. Sounds terrible. I think with the heat and dryness right now, you can’t plaster without tenting without risking serious plaster issues. Perhaps @onBalance can offer advice.
 

clambert1273

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2013
1,110
Gilbert, AZ
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Ours was just plastered on the 4th, for the heat my place starts at like 5am and will only do 2 pools a day. They got here around 7:30am and had it done by 2pm just in time for the heat of the day... it got acid washed the next day & started filling at noon
 

JTAZ

Member
May 28, 2021
7
Phoenix, Arizona
I have been trying to get my PB to plaster my pool for months. Material shortages and the fact that he is not making much if anything on my job has left me without a finished pool. I recently told him to just pay the (double normal) price for the only material apparently available which is essentially radiant fusion without pre-mixed cement. I'm tired of being told maybe this week the plaster crew will be available.
It is been 100-103F here and my job is a larger than average pool. If not done this week it gets really hot next week (110-115F). I expressed concern and he said it wasn't a problem. I know they won't be tenting the pool and it has full sun exposure. Should I just put it off now that we have missed almost half of the swim season? Or is it really not a problem?

I'm in a similar situation though plastering is likely to occur next month (I live in Phoenix). My pool also has full sun exposure. I'm very interested in hearing other folks' experiences regarding pebble application in extreme heat. This is a remodel that was started in January. Might be worth hitting the pause button until mid-September when temperatures are lower.
 

clambert1273

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2013
1,110
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
12000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
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CircuPool Edge-40
I'm in a similar situation though plastering is likely to occur next month (I live in Phoenix). My pool also has full sun exposure. I'm very interested in hearing other folks' experiences regarding pebble application in extreme heat. This is a remodel that was started in January. Might be worth hitting the pause button until mid-September when temperatures are lower.
See my post above
 

clambert1273

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2013
1,110
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
12000
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Plaster
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CircuPool Edge-40
Thanks. I did read your post and it sounds like your finish turned out great. However, last week's temperatures were hot but not 110 - 115f.

Have you noticed any craze cracks in your new finish?
Nope it looks amazing and has been really stable since filling, my point with mine was if they do it early AM it should be ok

CFA10967-187A-4C93-ADB9-795ECDA953EA.jpeg7E10D608-CC17-43BB-942A-1EC1FB55990A.jpeg
 

Cwiggs

Gold Supporter
Aug 31, 2019
293
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
21000
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Plaster
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Doesn't it all depend on the temperature? Sometimes it never gets below 90F even in the middle of the night.

Also, just because you don't get cracks right away doesn't mean all is well?
 

clambert1273

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2013
1,110
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
12000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool Edge-40
Doesn't it all depend on the temperature? Sometimes it never gets below 90F even in the middle of the night.

Also, just because you don't get cracks right away doesn't mean all is well?
I am pretty confident with mine
 

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Cwiggs

Gold Supporter
Aug 31, 2019
293
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
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Lots of good info there. Will read it all before talking with PB again. Thanks!
Make sure to report back. I'd love to know if the PB tells you to "pound sand".
 

Roger Bull

Bronze Supporter
Sep 14, 2020
47
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
24000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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Not sure why he would tell me to pound sand. Do you know something about this job?
 

Cwiggs

Gold Supporter
Aug 31, 2019
293
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
21000
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Plaster
Chlorine
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SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60 Plus
Not sure why he would tell me to pound sand. Do you know something about this job?
I simple have heard how pool builders respond to info that goes against what they say. Just like the rest of the pool industry they have their way and don't like anyone else's way. They don't seem to actually approach issues using science, logic, etc. They basically wing it.

At the end of the day they want your business, and if they tell you "no, we can't plaster the pool because it's too hot." They no longer have your business, at least in the short term. Basically goes back to the old saying "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Problem is if the PB tells you "yep everything is good" and you pool plaster cracks; maybe it's days after, or years. It's going to be a huge pain getting them to actually fix the issue, and if it's been 5, 10, etc years they might not even be in business anymore.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,470
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
My point about "pound sand" is to say that while there are "preferred" methods of plaster startup (the bicarbonate startup method is the most optimal but requires effort to pull off properly), most contractors have their preferred methods of workmanship (tenting or not tenting, late hard troweling, using calcium chloride accelerant, lubricating the trowel with too much water, etc, etc). If you hand them a document off the internet that says, "DO THIS" and it doesn't match up with what they do, well, good luck trying to convince them.

As one member in the business stated long ago, pool builders like to build the pool they know how to build, not the pool you want them to build.
 
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onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,197
Utah
The American Concrete Institute has a guide Hot Weather Concreting (305R-10). It explains the issues and problems with hot temperatures. Pool plaster is similar to exposed and smooth concrete surfaces.

Plastering is especially more vulnerable than concrete. The fact is that are plastering companies that "tent" the pool when applying plaster in hot weather. Unfortunately, many plastering companies don't.

Problems generally don't manifest themselves immediately and can take many weeks or months to show up. It can depend on just how hot the temps are and how well the plastering is performed. Since it can take time for plaster defects to show up, some plastering companies often blame the plaster defects and problems on poor pool water maintenance. One reason they may do that is because they haven't learned about what hot and dry weather can do to pool plaster.

I have written an article about this topic that was published in WaterShapes magazine.

I have not seen any articles that claim that hot and dry temperatures do not have a detrimental effect to pool plaster surfaces.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
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May 23, 2015
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Tucson, AZ
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Great article!!

I will share this anecdote - 2 summers ago a street corner down by our middle school was completely re-done with new road pavement, sidewalks, modern cross walks with signals, traffic lights, etc. The sidewalks were all poured concrete and they were beautiful. It was summer and the heat was high, humidity low. Every concrete pour was followed up with some kind of pink substance sprayed onto the surface and every section was covered with plastic tarp after the bleed water was absorbed and the final finish (light brush) was complete. The plastic was held in place for days afterwards. I’m sure that was done because the contractor knew that leaving a freshly poured sidewalk to the heat and low humidity would result in them coming back to rework all the cracked slabs that would have happened.

I agree 100% - the plastering professionals could benefit from greater education in this area.
 

Roger Bull

Bronze Supporter
Sep 14, 2020
47
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
24000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60 Plus
My point about "pound sand" is to say that while there are "preferred" methods of plaster startup (the bicarbonate startup method is the most optimal but requires effort to pull off properly), most contractors have their preferred methods of workmanship (tenting or not tenting, late hard troweling, using calcium chloride accelerant, lubricating the trowel with too much water, etc, etc). If you hand them a document off the internet that says, "DO THIS" and it doesn't match up with what they do, well, good luck trying to convince them.

As one member in the business stated long ago, pool builders like to build the pool they know how to build, not the pool you want them to build.
I definitely agree with all of that. I've been squawking a bit about my job not being done and I think he is getting tired of hearing it but the squeaky wheel get the grease. My pool remodel has been put together as a bunch of side jobs by subs and that saved me a ton of money. The downside is their profitable jobs are getting done first. They have been saying they would plaster my pool as the second job of the day on a day when they only have one job. Starting next week and until the weather cools down, I'm not going to allow that. Mine will have to be the first job of the day. I'll be getting close to being told to pound sand at that point.
 
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Roger Bull

Bronze Supporter
Sep 14, 2020
47
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
24000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60 Plus
Thanks for posting the link to that article. When it comes to cementitious products, I drive my subs crazy. I cover all slabs and keep them wet for at least two weeks. Stucco gets water several times a day. They often do not understand that if the material drys out the curing/crystallization stops and will not resume when it gets wet again. I'll be spraying my fresh plaster often until I can cover the pool with plastic overnight. No doubt the plasterers will think I'm crazy.
 

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