Pebble plaster in high Arizona heat?

JoyfulNoise

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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.

I think @onBalance csn give you better advice on this. I don’t think you want to wet plaster or else it will stain. I believe with plaster you want to let it set for a minimum of 6 hours after final trowel abs then fill immediately. I’m not sure if that same process applies to pebble finishes as well because they need to an acid etch to expose the aggregate. Again, Kim knows more than anyone about proper plaster startups.
 

Roger Bull

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I think @onBalance csn give you better advice on this. I don’t think you want to wet plaster or else it will stain. I believe with plaster you want to let it set for a minimum of 6 hours after final trowel abs then fill immediately. I’m not sure if that same process applies to pebble finishes as well because they need to an acid etch to expose the aggregate. Again, Kim knows more than anyone about proper plaster startups.
I was using plaster as a general term. I'm doing a pebble finish with an acid wash the next day to expose the aggregate.
 

onBalance

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The hot weather issues are the same for pebble finishes as with regular plaster finishes. Maybe even more so because of the large pebbles and shrinkage of the cement paste.

While spraying, and even misting a concrete surface is usually okay, doing so to a pool plaster finish (even pebble) is very risky as it may cause streaks to develop, AND, that type of streaking discoloration often doesn't show up immediately, which then can lead to a misdiagnosis on the cause. Unfortunately, some plasterers (incorrectly) think that there are no similarities to concrete flatwork and they are allowed to do things different, and nothing can or will go wrong with plaster.

In 100 degree temps and low humidity conditions, I would tent a pool and use a portable evaporative cooler to keep temps lower and humidity higher while the pool is being plastered, acid washed, and left empty for any period of time.

Since you are wise to be involved with overseeing your pool remodeling, here is another article that may help with understanding and supervising the plastering process of your pool. Note: They may not like being scrutinized and supervised by a pool owner. Also, there are some troweling differences between exposed pebble and smooth plaster finishes.

 
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Roger Bull

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Thanks for another great read. I'll try to impose as many of those requirements as possible. Since I have have been a little more testy with them about getting my job completed they may not go along with all. It has been ready for plaster for over 4 months now so I think I'm within reason for starting to push hard.
 

Roger Bull

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In 100 degree temps and low humidity conditions, I would tent a pool and use a portable evaporative cooler to keep temps lower and humidity higher while the pool is being plastered, acid washed, and left empty for any period of time.
I'm thinking about completely covering the pool with a large plastic sheet as soon as the plaster is done and leaving it until the acid wash to expose the pebbles. Black plastic to keep the sun out and keep the heat at the plastic. It would probably only be covered for a day but it would prevent premature drying and keep the plaster cooler. Do you think it is worth doing?
 

onBalance

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Yes, that would be better than doing nothing. But insist on being the first pool in the morning, and I believe that a white or light colored plastic tarp would reflect the sun's heat better than black.
 

Roger Bull

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Yes, that would be better than doing nothing. But insist on being the first pool in the morning, and I believe that a white or light colored plastic tarp would reflect the sun's heat better than black.
I'm definitely insisting on first job of the morning. If they show up in the afternoon I'll send them away. Unfortunately the only plastic I can get locally is clear or black. My thinking on black was that while it would absorb more heat, that heat would be kept away from the plaster.
 

Nikilyn

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At least next week is cooling off a little bit, at least up here in the Valley. Hopefully they can get you on one of the “cooler” days.
 

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Roger Bull

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It finally got plastered this morning. It was a little cooler but still got up to 105. I think it got away from them a bit so some areas did not get troweled like I would have liked. Those areas are not as smooth. Our next discussion will be about diamond grinding to smooth everything out prior to filling.
As of now they are returning Monday to acid wash. I have the pool covered with black plastic to try to prevent drying and to keep the humidity up. It's a pain but I'm sure that will be much better for the cement cure than drying out.
The finish is micro radiant fusion with tahoe dye. We had some discussions in the morning because they were substituting white pebbles for the micro radiant fusion. IMG_5487 (1).jpg
 

onBalance

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Your plaster finish looks great. Covering the pool with the plastic tarp will go a long way in helping the plaster to properly hydrate.
I am curious, how many hours did it take from start to finish?
 

Haku84

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May 20, 2021
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Thanks for another great read. I'll try to impose as many of those requirements as possible. Since I have have been a little more testy with them about getting my job completed they may not go along with all. It has been ready for plaster for over 4 months now so I think I'm within reason for starting to push hard.
Did you impose any of the requirements on the crew? If so, did they follow the requirements? I will be getting plaster (mini pebble tec) soon probably sometime next month (fingers crossed). My PB has only been out twice, for the initial dig and to assess damages to my home from the subs hired. I've been managing the project myself. I will try to impose some of the requirements as well.
 

Roger Bull

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Your plaster finish looks great. Covering the pool with the plastic tarp will go a long way in helping the plaster to properly hydrate.
I am curious, how many hours did it take from start to finish?
They started work a little after 6:00 and were done 4 hours later. 8 batches in total.
 

Roger Bull

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Did you impose any of the requirements on the crew? If so, did they follow the requirements? I will be getting plaster (mini pebble tec) soon probably sometime next month (fingers crossed). My PB has only been out twice, for the initial dig and to assess damages to my home from the subs hired. I've been managing the project myself. I will try to impose some of the requirements as well.
I had a few requirements. One was to do full thickness pebble and not an inferior scratch coat followed by the radiant fusion coats. Unfortunately we had some issues right off the bat. They showed up with white pebble to blend with the micro radiant fusion and I was not happy about it. They wanted to use 4 bags white pebble and 7 bags radiant fusion per batch. They wanted to do that to save money since the cost of materials has gone up so much. Nice try but I caught it. I decided to have them use only white pebble for the first 2 batches and thereafter use 2 bags white pebble and 9 bags radiant fusion. My pool has been ready to plaster for 5 months and I'm tired of waiting so I compromised instead of sending them home. We will see how the end result looks after the acid wash.
Another requirement was to be the first job of the day now that it is really hot. That meant I had to wait til Saturday but it got done.
Other than that I just babysat the job. They asked about a torch and I said No. I called out a couple areas that seemed thinner than I wanted and made sure they really troweled the most important areas well. I made sure the step tile was aligned properly. I also had them adjust one of the ladder steps so they were all aligned when viewed from above.
I should have called them out on the mix being a little too wet but I let it slide.
I expected multiple true layers but got essentially one thick layer. Not happy about that since I had talked about it with the PB. Waiting for multiple layers would have added more time to the job though. The spa was one thick layer without even a scratch coat. It did get away from the guy assigned there and there are some rough areas that will need to be ground a bit.
Had the work climate been different I probably would have insisted on items like a stiffer mix and more troweling to get the pebbles smoother. I certainly would have sent them away when they showed up without the materials we had agreed on. The risk of too many requirements on a job where they are not making a lot of money is that they keep doing the high paying jobs and I miss the swim season. I decided not to risk it.
 
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Roger Bull

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Two days after getting plastered :ROFLMAO: the acid wash guy arrived. I was a little skeptical about just one guy but he had a routine and it turned out great. He had a grinder with polishing pads so I paid him extra to polish everything smooth. I was pretty stressed about how rough the surface was but it turned out to be unnecessary. Everything is smooth now.
 

Roger Bull

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Of course more problems when filled. The cap on the anode was defective and had a split so I couldn't start the circulation for 2 days. And the bottom drain line in the pool is plugged. I was able to get some debris pushed out of the drain from the top with hose water pressure but still very low flow. I have been unable to get the drain cover off so far because it is at 9-1/2 feet depth. I'll push the PB to resolve it.

Due to the high cost of water here I really do not want to drain the pool but I'm thinking it is going to need some kind of thin snake from the bottom up. Any tips?
 

Roger Bull

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I am sure that tarping the pool for the first two days helped the curing process.

However, I did get a lot of spider web hairline cracks. I'm sure this was from the heat and the plaster mix being a little too wet. I'm a little concerned but it seems the consensus here is generally if the pool is not leaking don't worry about it. Here is an example pic as I was filling.
Opinions?
IMG_5510D.jpg
 

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