Pool Plaster - advice needed

Apr 17, 2017
9
Frisco
#1
We recently resurfaced pool with a quartz finish -- at end of start-up, there was significant splotchiness/discoloration that the pool company was reluctant to acknowledge. We brought in a 3rd party inspector to provide us an evaluation -- and his report indicated significant issues with the pool start up (they did a hot start) and recent attempts to remedy the discolored areas have produced corrosive water. When inspector did chemistry, the calcium was over 500, alkalinity 0, ph <7. He indicated that the corrosive nature of the water is causing calcium to leach out of the plaster (you can see clouds in water if you rub hand against the surface and can also see quartz falling out). He cautioned that this water could cause loss of pigment, damage to lights (they have copper color coating on them), damage to heater and finish may not last as long. His recommendation is to drain and try to polish plaster to remove loose quartz. if plaster is too weak to do that, it should be replastered.

the pool company disputes the claims of the inspector. Their recommendation was an acid bath and sending a diver down to work on the areas where there are patches of cream on the surface. They only acknowledge the cosmetic issues -- they have so far ignored the inspectors findings related to the damage caused by the corrosive water.

the plaster company representative claims the inspector has a personal issue with them and is therefore not being honest in his report. We have no idea who to believe or how to determine what the appropriate path forward is. We would never have known there were larger issues with the surface had it not been for the inspector. all we saw were the very obvious blemishes in the plaster, which seem to have gotten worse.

How do know who's right and find the best path forward?
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#2
Who is the manufacturer of the plaster? Have you registered your warranty with them? And have you contacted them to assist? It will be someone like Pebbletec or SGM.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 25, 2011
880
Utah
#3
Based on your information, your 3rd party inspector seems to be providing mostly correct information, and that the current corrosive (or aggressive) pool water is making things worse.
And an acid bath will do more damage to the plaster surface and not correct the problem.
As pooldv suggests, find out the product material the plasterer used and try to get them involved to determine the problem and help you out.
 
OP
OP
A
Apr 17, 2017
9
Frisco
#4
thank you both very much for your insight. The manufacturer is Finest Finish Blends. Our pool company asked the local company rep to be involved --- he immediately called and told us not to trust the pool inspector because he was unreliable and owed him money. You just can't make this stuff up.
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
575
Ashford, CT
#5
It is normal to have calcium or cloudy water after a replaster... that you can filter out just by running the pool.
As far as the PH you have to manage that until it levels off. Never heard of a new surface - creating TOXIC WATER.. water needs to be managed
with chemicals to balance the water.. until the PH is stable.
Where did your original water come from ? City Water? A Well? or a Pool Water company?
Was the water tested when filled and ongoing???
You normally brush new plaster for a couple of weeks to help smooth the surface - which again can stir up dust and calcium.
I also believe it is not that unusual to get blotching with Quartz and Pebble finishes --- its all in the application and finishing techniques.

I would call another plaster who installs quartz in your area - a real company and not "a inspector" to offer advice.

An Acid Wash --- can expose more quartz but is normally done with the pool empty. There are also power/ water driven buffers that are used to POLISH and
buff out pebble and quartz finishes.

When was this installed -- in the past few weeks ??
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
575
Ashford, CT
#6
I hate to throw shade... but I have never heard of a Pool Inspector?
You are either a pool builder, pool service company, or sub contractor....
How could you make a living as a Pool Inspector?

Since your builder or plaster company is involving the Materials company.. I would give the guy the benefit of trying to solve your problem... to your satisfaction.
Plasters and pool finishes are not always perfect.
Many problems can be corrected or improved with polishing and acid.

I would also clean your filers real good -- and balance your water... PH, Alkalinity to start.
500PPM of calcium is not the end of the world. Normal is 200-400ppm for a plaster pool.
I would clean the filers, balance the PH and retest the pool YOURSELF.
You can get a real test kit from the guys here and its very easy to test and balance your water.
B

B
 

lasvegaspools

In The Industry
Jan 19, 2015
104
las vegas
#7
You should ask for the credentials of the pool inspector, he may or may not know what he is talking about. The manufacturer rep is normally the best option since they are warranting the product. As a contractor my experience is a pool inspector or plaster expert normally means nothing. For reference picture below is a job that had significant surface staining and was scaled. Pool owner called in an expert who said "plaster was bad and stains were coming from inside the plaster itself. The only option was to replastering the spa. After 30 min of polishing the surface stains and scale were gone, expert was paid by owner for is opinion and we polished for free out of principal.


Sent from my SGP561 using Tapatalk
 
OP
OP
A
Apr 17, 2017
9
Frisco
#8
it was installed about 6 weeks ago. The "inspector" owns a plaster company, but also does consultations such as in this case (he was recommended by another pool company for precisely this kind of scenario). The water was managed by the company that did the installation - they brushed plaster and tested water each day. So current chemistry is what they intended. We used city water (installer did not recommend anything else).
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#9
Have you not run your own set of tests on the pool? That will put to rest the claims of the 'pool inspector', and shed some light on who is truthful.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
OP
A
Apr 17, 2017
9
Frisco
#10
it was installed about 6 weeks ago. The "inspector" owns a plaster company, but also does consultations such as in this case (he was recommended by another pool company for precisely this kind of scenario). Perhaps not appropriate to call him an inspector -- but he was hired to perform an objective evaluation and produced a detailed report with findings/recommendations. Perhaps we were naive to assume this was meaningful, but for whatever it's worth, these are the credentials of the person who did the inspection:
NPC Board of Directors MemberNPC Technical Advisory Committee Member
NPC Certified Start Up Technician Instructor
NPC Certified Start Up Technician

We used city water (installer did not recommend anything else). The water was managed by the company that did the installation - they brushed plaster and tested water each day. So current chemistry is what they intended - and that's the part that concerns me most.
 
OP
OP
A
Apr 17, 2017
9
Frisco
#11
RE: Have you not run your own set of tests on the pool? That will put to rest the claims of the 'pool inspector', and shed some light on who is truthful.

we have not, but the pool company is not disputing the chemistry readings of the third party. They are only disputing whether those readings cause a negative impact on the finish.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 25, 2011
880
Utah
#12
Amy, do you live in Frisco, Texas?
I agree that if the plastering company has been maintaining the water, they should be responsible for the condition of the water and its effect on the plaster.
You are right to be concerned about that, especially since you indicate that a "cloud" appears while rubbing the plaster surface with your hand. It is very unlikely that with water that has a zero alkalinity and a pH below 7.0 would be causing calcium scaling. Therefore, the "cloud" would not be plaster "dust" or calcium scaling, especially if it happens on the wall of your pool.

It is does not appear that the materials/manufacturer company is willing to objectively investigate your plaster problem and help you out. Sounds like he is favoring his client.
It would be very helpful if you could post a picture of the blotchy plaster surface. What areas of the pool is the worst blotchy discoloration?
The other thing that needs to be considered is that it may not be the "corrosive water" that actually caused the blotchy discoloration. It may be about the lack of proper plastering workmanship.

The following are questions for your plaster contractor that should show him that you are serious about determining what went wrong. Once you receive the answers, please post here.

What was the water-to-cement ratio of the plaster mix?
What was the cement-to-quartz aggregate ratio?
Does the plaster contains a color pigment, and if so, what is the brand-name of the color, and what type of pigment is it (organic or inorganic)?
Did the plaster contractor add calcium chloride to the mix? If so, how much per 100 lbs. of cement?
Did the plaster contractor add water to the plaster surface during late troweling?
How soon after completion of plastering was the water started to fill the pool?
What was the composition of the tap water that was used to fill the pool (pH, alkalinity, & calcium hardness)?
Did the plastering contractor balance the tap water before it entered the pool?
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
575
Ashford, CT
#13
Regardless of who did what I would test and balance your water.
I would also test your city/ hose water for calcium, alk and PH & metals.
Also do you have an older home with galvanized plumbing or is it all copper?
Post pics.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 25, 2011
880
Utah
#14
If the plastering contractor is still maintaining the pool water (in a corrosive condition) in order to "fix" the splotchy discoloration, then he owns the discoloration problem still, and I suggest that you do not attempt to balance the water at this time.
It is very difficult and problematic to re-balance pool water that currently has a zero alkalinity and a pH below 7.0. You may end up making the water very cloudy, causing white scaling, and then the contractor can use that adverse result to blame you and void the (his) warranty. Have the contractor be responsible to re-balance the water.
It is unfortunate that the water is corrosive, and that you are in this position, but keep the contractor on the hook. You have a report from the inspector, and right now, that is your best defense and offense. I would test the water or have the water tested by someone else for confirmation. And in fact, have the plaster contractor provide his water test records.
 
OP
OP
A
Apr 17, 2017
9
Frisco
#15
Thanks again for all of the replies. The pool company is still maintaining the pool water. In fact today i received a note saying they added chemicals to start neutralizing the acid and that water will look cloudy and is normal. They also said that the plaster applicator has offered to have a diver come out to "adjust plaster". Regarding other questions/comments -

- Home is 20 years old, believe plumbing is copper
- regarding home water chemistry - only reading i have is calcium, which was 220.
- i will attempt to get answers to the posted questions (thank you for these), but am doubtful they will provide. We had previously asked for chemistry readings throughout startup and they did not/could not provide.
- will post pics -- blotchiness is primarily on bottom of pool. Agree that this is likely due more to plaster workmanship than to aggressive water. Seems like the water issue is a separate problem causing separate issues.

- - - Updated - - -

IMG_2114.jpg IMG_2115.jpg IMG_2117.JPG IMG_2143.jpg
last pic shows the red coating on pool lights, which wipes off if you touch it.