Plaster Issues and Meeting with PB This Week - Advice?

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
Will do!

I need to make sure the warranty manager comes to meet with me. I need to show him the video and issues as well.
The plaster guy said he would ask the warranty manager to suggest ways to rectify the indents and such, because that's not his forte.. his is the plaster itself.

I forgot to say that the plaster guy also said we had scaling on the wall just above the sun ledge and on the floor of the sun ledge which happens to also be the area that the cracking and nodules are most concentrated... also possibly on the deep end bench, maybe spots on the deep end floor? (The floor ones were just comments like "that's probably scale, too).

When I asked him how that was possible when he said our water maintenance/balance was fabulous, he said "remember, it's all about that number." Referring to LSI specifically. He also said we can use products to remove it, we just need to find the right ones and amounts, which he offered to help when needed.

He also said our crazy pH is a product of new plaster (now 1 year old) and the salt system. Even after I said I have to add acid basically every day, and have to turn off the salt cell when I go out of town because I can't be here to add acid and keep pH in check.

And also, he said that nodules will come and go...

I'd like to have someone else look at it on my behalf as well. @onBalance, et al, do you have any suggestions on how to find someone in my area to do so, that is reputable and whose opinion would be "respected" or acceptable in legal documents if it came down to it?
 
Last edited:

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,095
Utah
It seems that the plaster rep is dancing around the issues and misleading you.

Calcium nodules don't come and go. Once they start appearing, they generally continue to increase in numbers. They are only removed by sanding or with acid water. They are an inherently serious cracking problem and possible delamination (debonding) problem. This will surprise the plaster rep, but the formation of calcium nodules contributes to the pH rising issue. They may also incorrectly suggest that calcium "bumps" (actually calcium nodules) is "scale" caused by out of balanced water (a high LSI and CSI. Don't buy into that. Scale is uniformly rough like sandpaper. There is very little pH increase caused by plaster after six months to a year.

Additional discoloration problems was caused by a poor acid wash and rain afterwards that was performed in February. They are responsible for that, not you.

Visible footprints and dents are formed during the plastering operation, not after the pool is filled with water. The plaster is far too hard to be formed by people walking on the plaster after the pool is full of water.

I don't know of a good consultant in Florida. You will have to check around for someone to call. Sorry.
 
Last edited:

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,981
Chapel Hill, NC
Essentially says most of the issues are inherent to plaster and curing over time. We will see more changes as time goes on. Any imperfections in the gunite shell could eventually show up through plaster.
Have to get in pool to see if the humps flex. If they do, they are delamination. If not, they're part of the shell.
Said nodules are an application issue but aren't a huge issue, essentially.
When I said something about possibly excessive use of accelerant he didn't seem to think that's the case and actually said "you can't use too much of it". I told him that wasn't what I'm aware of and by plastering standards it shouldn't be over 2%.

One BS answer after another. Kinda expected that!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MeowMeow724

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
One BS answer after another. Kinda expected that!

Agree!
But.. we we will see what the PB says, I guess.
I need to make sure the warranty manager meets with me so I can explain everything. I MUST in the least show him my video. They don't even know of all the issues. I hadn't mentioned the calcium nodules or humps prior. I was waiting to tell he and the plaster rep at our meeting per recommendation of the company owner, to tell the plaster rep of all of the concerns at our meeting. So I stopped sending emails with my list of concerns, holding it for our meeting.. but I don't feel like I was able to give a full picture without the WM there. I think they need a holistic picture, and I appreciate that the Warranty Manager tried to get the plaster rep to meet with us still that day, even though he, the warranty manager, couldn't be there (after they didn't show for the original meeting we had scheduled with the WM and plaster rep 🙄)
 
Last edited:

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
I am attempting to get video and better photos to show the issues... mostly so I can send them to the PB ASAP since their "rep" has already come out and will be doing a report soon.. and I haven't even been able to discuss ALL of the issues I've seen with the PB themselves.

(I need to get a different video because it was having trouble focusing. I have a much longer, better focused video but it's almost 24 minutes long).
And, unfortunately it seems to lower the quality when it links out. I don't know how to get it any better.
I am mostly having trouble getting quality pics of the shallow end floor. When I send them to myself from hubby's phone, it degrades them on me.

I had someone look at it this weekend. He does plaster for a living, that's his business and trade for the past 34+ years.
He conferred with possible excess use of calcium chloride accelerant, and they it's generally "rough"-- meaning the lumpiness, bumps, indents, etc.
And, when I told him how long they were there for to prep, do and finish the plaster he said "There's your problem right there! A pool this size should take just about a full workday to prep, work and finish." Which is also what the project manager for our pool had told me would also be the case, but it wasn't. And I told him in a text message "

I try to be a reasonable person, and I know plaster isn't "perfect", especially since it's hand-applied by humans and I know the light highlights everything. But, what is acceptable? Am I being over the top, or OCD about how bad the bumpiness and indents are? I am sure everything could have been much smoother than it is, and would be accepting of imperfections-- I just think this is excessive. It looks so very awful in the shallow end, sun ledge and deep end bench.
 

Attachments

  • 2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_IndentsandSuch.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_IndentsandSuch.jpg
    31.2 KB · Views: 19
  • 2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_Nodules.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_Nodules.jpg
    53.1 KB · Views: 18
  • 2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_RtSideMess.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_RtSideMess.jpg
    29.3 KB · Views: 18
  • 2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_RtSideMess2.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolDeepBench_RtSideMess2.jpg
    33.7 KB · Views: 17
  • 2020-11-08_PoolDeepBenchNodules2.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolDeepBenchNodules2.jpg
    53.2 KB · Views: 16
  • 2020-11-08_PoolShallowEndFloor.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolShallowEndFloor.jpg
    25.2 KB · Views: 22
  • 2020-11-08_PoolHumps_Inked.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolHumps_Inked.jpg
    57.1 KB · Views: 23
  • 2020-11-08_PoolHalfMoonStep_Nodules.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolHalfMoonStep_Nodules.jpg
    72.7 KB · Views: 21
  • 2020-11-08_PoolShallowEndFloor1.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolShallowEndFloor1.jpg
    16.9 KB · Views: 20
  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeMess1.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeMess1.jpg
    13.5 KB · Views: 22
Last edited:

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
More Pics:
 

Attachments

  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeMess2.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeMess2.jpg
    12 KB · Views: 11
  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeMess3.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeMess3.jpg
    11.9 KB · Views: 14
  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules1.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules1.jpg
    52.1 KB · Views: 14
  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules2.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules2.jpg
    51.6 KB · Views: 12
  • 2020-11-09_DeepEndBench.jpg
    2020-11-09_DeepEndBench.jpg
    36.4 KB · Views: 11
  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules4.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules4.jpg
    52.9 KB · Views: 8
  • 2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules3.jpg
    2020-11-08_PoolSunLedgeNodules3.jpg
    50.7 KB · Views: 10

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,095
Utah
I should have mentioned this before, but I doubt that the PB and WM will accept night time pictures as evidence of a poor plastering job. It (discolorations) should be shown from daytime photos.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MeowMeow724

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
The hump in the middle shows up as a dark area. I saw it when we played yard games the other day. I'll try and get it in a photo. It's a dark hump. The other hump isn't as visible during the day.

And you can also see the cleat marks, what another plasterer called "butter marks", stain from the jet, and also the "river effect" from the In-Pool acid wash.

You can't really see the calcium nodules (perhaps up close) because it's white plaster... and the indents and ickiness that looks so awful at night, during the day. But I'll be checking for sure.

They haven't reached out today, so I guess I can wait and see if they do relatively soon. But I really want to send him my list of concerns and things I'm displeased with.
 
Last edited:

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
That dark spot is one of the raised "humps". It shows up dark in daylight.
It doesn't photograph super-well, but, it shows something.
 

Attachments

  • 20201110_223907658_iOS.jpeg
    20201110_223907658_iOS.jpeg
    301.3 KB · Views: 24
  • 20201110_223749059_iOS_LI.jpg
    20201110_223749059_iOS_LI.jpg
    324.2 KB · Views: 24

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
Basically, at this point, I have not heard a peep from them since our meeting (which was only with the "plaster rep" and no one from the PB itself). The warranty manager was supposed to meet with us, but no one showed up and when I called him he told me that the plaster rep had to cancel and thought I was on those emails.. which I was not. He managed to still get the plaster rep to meet with us, but the WM did not. During the meeting with the plaster rep- he slipped and told me that he had just had dinner with the WM the night before in the next town over from where we were located. Wow.

Now I have noticed they banned me from their FB page, so I cannot comment or post a review. This was their way of sensoring me from posting my truth about them. This is a complete change of attitude from what they say they do.. stand by their customers and do what is right.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I'll help you in any way I can, but I'll want to read your thread first, which I'll try to get to asap (I've got a busy day today). Stand by...
 
  • Love
Reactions: MeowMeow724

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
2020-11-08_Sunledge1.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • 20201109_024424356_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_024424356_iOS.jpeg
    134.6 KB · Views: 10
  • 20201109_024832412_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_024832412_iOS.jpeg
    367.8 KB · Views: 11
  • 20201109_034555434_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_034555434_iOS.jpeg
    320.1 KB · Views: 9
  • 20201109_034626172_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_034626172_iOS.jpeg
    396.4 KB · Views: 10
  • 20201109_034811707_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_034811707_iOS.jpeg
    484.7 KB · Views: 9
  • 20201109_034838757_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_034838757_iOS.jpeg
    410.9 KB · Views: 10
  • 20201109_034927283_iOS.jpeg
    20201109_034927283_iOS.jpeg
    456.8 KB · Views: 10
  • 20201110_223907658_iOS.jpeg
    20201110_223907658_iOS.jpeg
    301.3 KB · Views: 11
  • 20201109_034341900_iOS_LI.jpg
    20201109_034341900_iOS_LI.jpg
    392.3 KB · Views: 11
Last edited:

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
301
FL
Thank you!
I think they see this stuff as all cosmetic (which a lot of it is, but was still avoidable!) and will not own up to the fact that their plaster subcontractor rushed the job and thus, skimped on quality and decent aesthetics.

The daylight pic that ends in 7650 is to show a dark spot that is actually a large bump in the shallow end floor. There is another large bump in the shallow end floor that is difficult to photograph. Also, many, many smaller raised, smooth "bumps" throughout, in addition to what are known as calcium nodules. The pic ending in 341900, I marked up to point out some of those smaller, raised, smooth bumps. But this pic is also to show the rough-messiness, bumpy mess that the floor is.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
OK, whew, quite a ride you've been on. It's time to stop messing around with the PB. It's both-barrels time. Sorry I missed this thread earlier, you missed a few things, but you're still OK. Here are my initial thoughts, then we'll get into the how-to.

First off, you've been doing a good job of evidence collecting. That evidence is now worth almost 5-figures (the cost of the fix). Protect it. Print out your emails, copy all your photos and videos to a flash drive. Keep them offsite (like with a neighbor or relative). Nothing is likely going to happen to the originals, but that's not a given.

I have constantly rising pH, even after three years. I solved that with automation, so that I could leave my pool and not have to worry about it. We can come back to that some other day.

Adding salt that early was a mistake by the PB. I can't say it exacerbated your problems, but it goes to their competence. IMO, they bungled your startup if what you described is all they did. Not sure how you can use that, but it might be helpful in convincing a judge of their lack of attention to detail.

Mottling is normal, but it doesn't fade. It increases over time. That doesn't help your case much, but get used to it, is more the point. I don't mind the mottling, it makes the finish look more "organic" to me. If you get your finish replaced, it'll probably happen again.

Nodules coming and going has been debunked by onBalance. But that's important to discredit the plaster rep's report, if need be. A lot of what he reported is inaccurate. That might help your case. He was right about a few things. LSI is important to plaster health. We use CSI, an index better targeted to pool finishes, but they basically indicate the same thing. Hopefully you'll be able to show that your CSI has been in the recommenced range this whole time. You might start plotting out your chemistry, including CSI, in spreadsheet format, so that you can prove that these issues have never been about water chemistry. Include all your tests and results. Color code any cells that indicate test results are in range. If you've been doing as well as you claim, you'll end up with a bunch of green cells that makes your case.

"Rectify the indents and such?" Not sure what that means. You can't smooth out or re-plaster indent's and such. Maybe by sanding them out? But that will likely just orphan treated areas visually from the rest of the pool. That sounded like a dodge to me.

Materials reps have an incentive to help the PB and none to help you. They're not all like that, but there is an inherent conflict of interest. You represent no repeat business to them. The PB is their client, not you. If they can get you satisfied, without cost to them or the PB, they might say anything. They might certainly color their comments to get you to accept the existing results. That is hard to prove, but it's something worth mentioning in case you can use that somehow. Their report is certainly compromised in terms of credibility.

I did not look at every pic. As you've mentioned, conveying what you're seeing in pics is a challenge. Do the best you can to document the worst things, but your going to need to rely on a report by a reputable third party that sides with your view. You've already mentioned that. Keep pursuing it.

Stains running down from the returns indicates they did not seal the returns during the plaster process and water leaked from them onto the new plaster. Do you recall seeing plugs in the returns? Or any wet spots dripping down from them while they were working? Any pictures to support either? I believe those stains are permanent and point directly and the workers' negligence.

Acid washing. Don't get me started. Too late! Acid washing is the go-to move by PBs that are trying to disguise a myriad of plaster problems. IMO they provide little relief, at best, and can stain and damage a pool at worst. Here is the fact of the matter. Acid washing does not magically attack and remove just the stains or other defects. That is not the nature of, or a property of, muriatic acid. No, what MA does is it burns off a layer of your finish and by doing that physically removes any stain that happens to be clinging to that finish! Most acid washes will leave the finish feeling rougher, and that's why. Acid washing reduces the lifespan of your plaster. There is no way around that, because an acid wash removes plaster. A really well controlled acid wash will minimize that fact, but there's no way to completely eliminate that "side effect." A poorly executed acid wash can take years off the life of your plaster. PBs don't care about that, because if the acid wash can remove a plaster problem, or hide it for long enough, and satisfy the consumer, then the PB "wins." By the time the long-term effect occurs (as in: the plaster has to be replaced sooner than it would have otherwise), the consumer has no idea what has occurred, and the finish will be out of warranty even if they do! That acid wash stole some of your plaster, and some of its lifespan, and that's not what you paid for, is it? A properly installed finish does not need to be acid washed a year later. I would say this issue is a primary chunk of your case. Corroborated by the plaster rep with his "not a fan" comment. Did he put that in writing? Of course he isn't a fan. He knows all about what I just described!

You're going to have to go after these guys. My caveat, all of the following is based on my personal experience taking contractors to court. I've done it a few times. I haven't lost. I learned most of what I know from google. I am an ex-CA-licensed-contractor, so I do know CA contractor law somewhat (but it's been a while since I learned it). So you have to filter what I'm sharing and find out through research how much applies in FL.

I would first reduce or completely eliminate any verbal contact. The opportunity to solve this amicably seems to have passed. I'm not suggesting you give up on amicable, but they have already set this stage by ignoring you. Everything in writing from now on. I used certified mail exclusively, not even email. That does three things: it makes for great evidence, it sends a crystal clear message to the PB that you are done messing around and are preparing to sue him, and (in my experience) if the PB responds to you in writing, he will invariably hang himself. This has happened to me every time. And they do it in writing, so it's very handy for a lawsuit. These guys don't know the law. They only know how to bully their way out of ponying up for their mistakes. That usually gets revealed when they try to form sentences! You've already described how they've let some things slip. That will probably happen more. So everything in writing.

If they do "come back to the table" and want to meet, that's fine. You can't deny them that for now. But have a witness present (that's the part I would have advised you about earlier). Ideally someone not related to you or a spouse. Got a friendly neighbor that can stand in? Follow up any meeting with an email, or letter better yet. "You claimed X, I said Y, we agreed on Z." Short and sweet. Ask for a reply to any email, to confirm his receipt of it. If he doesn't reply, then no more emails. Certified mail only.

Remain objective and cordial, respectful, at all times, in letters or meetings. Dispassionate. Let them do all the blustering, all the yelling if there is to be any of that. Again, let them hang themselves. Resist sharing information. This is your case, not theirs. A tactic I was taught: only ask questions. That gives them no ammo, no evidence of any wrong doing on your part, and only helps foster the eventuality that they'll disclose something incriminating. So for example, if they accuse you and ask "What has the LSI been?" You ask "Well, what is it supposed to be?" or "What did you do to control LSI?" Like that. Or just shrug and give them a blank stare. Include all their answers in your meeting-followup letter.

The next step is to send a demand letter. This is one of the things you'll have to check on, in terms of required format for FL. Short as possible. Just facts. DO NOT include anything emotional, or any comments about the trouble this has been for you, or anything of that nature. As you write, envision a judge reading it. They like short and sweet, just facts. Use bullet lists. Describe the problems, describe the timeline. Describe what has been done by you and them so far. State you are not satisfied. State your expectations (as in, what resolution you are expecting). I think that should be a full chip out and complete replacement of the plaster, but that's up to you. Give him a specific timeline to perform. Two weeks might be enough. A month is more than enough. This is critical. In CA, you MUST give the contractor the opportunity to fix the problem. You can't fix it yourself until a reasonable period of time in which the contractor can fix it has expired. You've already done that, but unfortunately the "official clock" doesn't start until the demand letter is sent. State that non-compliance of either the fix or the deadline will result in (1) you having the pool fixed by someone else and (2) the PB will be responsible for paying for the expense of the fix and (3) that should he not perform or pay that you will be suing him in court. That last item is required in CA, and it's not a demand letter without it. Something to check on for FL. Send the letter certified mail.

While you're waiting for his reply, if the FL Contractors Board has a mechanism for it, file a formal complaint with the Board (this is how I won one of my cases, without going to court). This will get the ball rolling in case the FL Board can be of help. This can take weeks or months, so do it now. This also serves to send another crystal clear message that you are not messing around. If it works in FL like here, he'll be contacted by the Board to tell his side of the story. You'll have to send the demand letter and all your evidence to the Board.

Oops, skipped a step. You need to get a third party assessment. I used the guy that ultimately fixed my pool. So he had some incentive to help me out in this regard. You'll need to find one willing to help. That can be tough, as contractors tend to shy away from such things. They wouldn't want it to happen to them, so there's a bit of a "boys club" mentality. But a third party assessment is going to be critical to your case. And that report should be part of the evidence you send to the board, so has to happen before you file your complaint.

Those are your next steps. As I mentioned, one of my cases got solved before court, because of the Board complaint. Hopefully that, or just the demand letter, will get this guy off his butt and get you a resolution. I wanted my guy to default, because I didn't want the same knucklehead fixing my pool that messed it up the first time! So him continuing to ignore you is not necessarily the worst thing. I was just told that FL's small claims court limit is $8K. It's going to be close. A full replacement might be more than that. If this initial thrust does not get the PB to comply with what you want done, you'll then need to decide what you're up for:

- Live with it?
- Pay for the fix and let it go?
- Go to small claims and pay anything above $8K yourself? (Assuming you win.)
- Go to superior court and try to get it all (but then subtract legal fees, unless you win and can get fees as part of the judgement).

Remember, going to court doesn't mean you'll win. And winning doesn't mean you're going to get paid. Two unfortunate realities that will be part of your decision process about what you're willing to do.

The third party report should include the cost of the fix. That is part of your evidence and case. That number will help you decide on those options. I was incredibly stressed out when I did this myself. I hate this kind of confrontation. I won about $6K. Sometimes it felt not worth it. Now that it's over, it definitely was, but it can be tough if you let it get to you. If you're not affected by such things, then great.

But the demand letter is the first step. You can decide about your other options later if that fails.

I hate this type of injustice (which is what it is when you get bullied and ignored by a contractor that has done shoddy work), so we fight the good fight! Remember, he has nothing to lose by putting you off, by stalling. Doesn't cost him anything to try. He likely has gotten away with that tactic most of the time. People don't like confrontation, and will tend to give up when the going gets rough. He know this. He's experienced this. He'd going to try (he IS trying this). He may give up quick if you push back, when he realizes you're not going to cave. Or he may fight to the bitter end. I've experienced both.

If it were me... I think you have a good case. I think your finish was not installed correctly. I think this will lead to premature failure, which in essence will mean you'll be paying MORE for this poor workmanship. He gave you a faulty product, and then he made it worse, and worth less, with the acid wash. Personally, I would go for it: letter, Board and then small claims if necessary. Superior court usually means only the lawyers win. Small claims will cost you next to nothing (except for time) and here in CA they're trying via Zoom, so you might not even have to drive anywhere!

Good luck. Reach out if you need any help.
 
Last edited:

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,981
Chapel Hill, NC
Now I have noticed they banned me from their FB page, so I cannot comment or post a review. This was their way of sensoring me from posting my truth about them. This is a complete change of attitude from what they say they do.. stand by their customers and do what is right.

Time to file a complaint with the BBB - they are playing hardball and you'll get nothing if you don't too.
 

skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
Night time with pool lights shows everything. Your plaster job actually looks better than mine. My pool builder did nothing. Pebble Tec did nothing. My guess is you will fight to get the perfect pool you deserve, but it may not work out. This thread reminds me of how much I hate contractors. No one takes pride in their work any more. It's all about greed now. Good luck.
 
Last edited:
Thread Status
Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.