Pool renovation with Aqua Bright

mrd5

LifeTime Supporter
May 15, 2014
37
Vienna, VA
Hi everyone,

Back in the fall I posted about the estimates I got for replastering as compared with an Aqua Bright install (prices are CRAZY in the mid atlantic region!). Anyway, I decided to take the plunge and go for the Aqua Bright. They started the Reno last week. So far they have blasted off the old paint and have done a fair amount of grinding on the plaster surface. Yesterday they removed all the old tile and they are in the process of prepping for the new tile. My installer seems pretty good and has been pretty easy to work with, but answers to a few questions left me doubting him a little. If anyone has experiences to share regarding their Aqua Bright Install I'd love to hear it......

1) With the pool empty and most of the plaster prepped, I tapped around and found a couple spots with a hollow sound. One spot was a foot or two away from the main drain and there were a few spots on the spa bench. When I asked the installer about those he said if he was re-plastering they would have to dig that out and re-bond the plaster to the gunnite but not so with AB. His reasoning was that plaster absorbs the water so any delamination will eventually get worse. With AB, he said the coating is water tight so the plaster essentially stays dry and should not see further degredation. He said provided the old plaster surface is still intact the AB should be fine. That kinda makes sense but left me a little uneasy. I have a call into the Aqua Bright HQ in PA to double check with them that this is good info.

2) My old plaster was in pretty rough shape. Now that the installer has stripped everything you can see pock marks all over the place and some are deeper than what can be fixed with a simple grinding/smoothing. The Installer admitted this was far worse than anticipated so rather than repair all of these, he said he'd apply a second layer of the 100% epoxy coating. He seemed pretty confident that the additional epoxy coat would fill in the pock marks and leave a smooth surface for the AB layer. I'm a touch skeptical so that's also a question I'd like to verify with the AB mothership in PA.

Anyway, attached are a few pics of the reno thus far. If anyone has experience on the above, please chime in, otherwise I'll just update when there's more to show.

Cheers
-Mike
 

Attachments

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,852
Tucson, AZ
Wow! That is a HUGE pool...I love the diving well!

Please post as much as you can about the water chemistry. AquaBright is new and I know many, many people are interested in it. Chemical inertness is a key factor and so the more info we gather on this new surface, the better.

Looking forward to the finished product...
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
My AB installation is 99.9% complete! I have a spot where my plaster had worn down to the gunite. They patched it up, but it came up when they put the heat on it. I'm having some water seepage and that kept the concrete patch (or whatever they put on it) from adhering properly. We opened the bottom of the pool to let the water come in through the main drain. Going to have to try again tomorrow on the one spot. Other than that, it was a pretty cool installation process. I can tell you that any imperfections that I had in the plaster are visible through the AB finish, so I would question what your installer told you about the epoxy...IMHO.

Did you AB installer say anything about the chlorine to use? The official paperwork said lithium chlorine. I called their HQ in Pennsylvania today and asked and no cal-hypo...as it runs the risk of bleaching the finish over the long term. I also asked about liquid chlorine and was told the same thing...no cal-hypo in liquid. I'm worried I won't be able to use bleach in it, which is a bummer.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,162
FL panhandle
The only reason they say that is that it could sink to the bottom and sit there for a while if you brush it to dissolve it it will be fine. Liquid chlorine/bleach is what we recommend anyway. No risk of it sitting on the bottom. Or SWG is even better.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 4, 2014
4,422
San Clemente, CA
1.) Per the trainer I had and all of the EcoFinish literature, all hollow spots must get chipped out and redone.

With that said, I had a pool where I did just that and I will never do it again. If there is a spot that is obviously bad then it will get fixed but if I can hit the plaster with a full swing from a hammer and nothing happens then it stays as is. There was one spot that I recall that was hollow prior to the installation but wasn't any longer after applying AquaBright.

2.) I really doubt a second coat of epoxy will hide anything. The problem with this stuff is since the color ends up being so uniform, every surface imperfection shows and often times looks much worse than it did prior to application.
 

mrd5

LifeTime Supporter
May 15, 2014
37
Vienna, VA
Brian,

Why did you say that you would never repair the hollow spots again? Did you have issues like what bjc123 mentioned above (ie the patches came up once heat was applied)?

I called Aqua Bright HQ in PA yesterday and spoke with Mike Donovan (one of the trainers). He said it's a judgment call on whether to fix hollow spots and in some cases you can get by without fixing. He said if it were him, he'd fix the patches. I have a call into our PB to push them to patch the hollow spots but I may backoff if you think I'll be fine.

On the other question about the pock marks, Mike D at AB agreed with my installer and said a double dose of Epoxy should go a long way towards smoothing things out. He seemed to indicate that the imperfections might not be too noticeable. I'm troubled by what you said. Have you come across installs where the plaster was heavily pockmarked? If so how did you handle??

When I get home after work I'll see if I can get a few close ups pics of the pockmarks.

I really appreciate your insight!!


Bjc123 -- Regarding your question on type of Chlorine, I didn't bother to ask. Since I have a SWG it's less of a concern. Granted, if I SLAM I have that risk, but I try to distribute the liquid chlorine pretty evenly when I do. This may sound like blasphemy but I'm not terribly concerned about bleaching out the color over the long run (provided it does so evenly). We wanted a lighter color anyway so if the blue mist we picked lightens up as it ages, I don't think it would bother us.

-Mike
 

bjc123

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2016
51
Germantown, TN
Mike, I don't know about hollow spots, but I had a few areas that had small imperfections and cracks. They showed up right through the AB, even though they had epoxy, etc. It's not a bother for me, but I can see where if someone was looking for perfection, that would be a problem.

My major area was where the plaster had worn down to the gunite. They tried patching, but it wouldn't hold due to water coming through. They put epoxy and AB over the spots and it's just not good. They are going to have to tear out a spot probably about 12"x12"and get that right. Other than that, I'm just ready to put water in and enjoy it. This last bit is killing me!
 

mrd5

LifeTime Supporter
May 15, 2014
37
Vienna, VA
So I came home yesterday and was glad to see that our installer had chipped out a few hollow sections. Since we're down that path I tapped around and found a few more hollow spots which hopefully represent the last of the bad plaster. The other question that remains are the pock marks and I have yet to connect with the installer to discuss. I think I'm going to push them for one more round of grinding to see if we can try and get things a little smoother. I'm trying to find the middle ground between being too anal and having reasonable expectations. Attached are a few more pics....

-Mike

IMG_1038.jpg
 

Silver_2000

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 29, 2015
493
Carrollton tx
I'm filling my pool after a AB refurb and I would take the recommendations above. The smooth AB surface will SHOW EVERYTHING. The prep work and ESPECIALLY The fireproof tape work is KEY to a good job.
The flame thrower will melt anything it touches. Even stuff that is "taped off "

The comments about the chemistry confuse me because any pool has chlorine in it whether its from bleach or tabs or SWG

The documents that come with the AB powder, recommend a special chemical, ( mcgrayel start up tec ) that is designed to prevent dust from plaster, which makes little sense since there will be like 1% exposed plaster ... Then follow up maintenance with Beautec

from the start up tec website

Start up tec
"

  • Provides cleaner startups with 90% to 100% less dust and brushing.
  • Significant reduction of mottling discoloration on all types of finishes.
  • Typically eliminates “hot startups” that exposes quartz and aggregates.
  • Strongly sequesters metal ions that stain surfaces and form calcium film.
  • More brilliant exposure of pigmented and pebble type finishes.
  • Advanced multi-sequestrant formulation . . . no phosphates or acids.
  • Reduces warranty issues, lawsuits, and replastering of damaged pools.
  • Swimmers can use pool immediately"

BEautec


  • [h=3]Beautec® Features[/h][h=3]Superior Scale-Stain Controller[/h]
  • Absolutely phosphate free formula.
  • Aggressively prevents and removes scale and stain buildup.
  • Salt cell de-scaler (without acids), protector and prolongs cell lifespan.
  • Controls calcium (up to 1,000 ppm) and hard silicates (up to 300 ppm).
  • Strongly sequesters iron, copper, and manganese metals.
  • Protects all equipment: filter, heater, water auto-leveler, salt cell, and solar unit.
  • Provides long lasting protection: pool finish, tile and equipment.
  • [h=3]Beautec® Benefits[/h]
  • Affordable year-round protection.
  • Extends life of salt cell generators.
  • Prevent future costly washing and tile cleaning.
  • Advanced Synertec formula is both acid-free and phosphate-free.
  • Chlorine stable multi-polymers lasts for months, not weeks.

aquabright-startup-card.jpg

All seems counter to the TFP methods
 

mrd5

LifeTime Supporter
May 15, 2014
37
Vienna, VA
We're going to be adding a tile detail to each step edge. I'm really excited about how that's gonna look because the old steps looked pretty plain. Yesterday they started cutting a trough in the plaster so they can inlay the tiles

IMG_1048.jpg




For the Spa edge I asked that they create an infinity edge. You can sorta see in the picture that they are beveling the dam wall. I didn't think to check with my laser level yesterday to see if they are true but I will tonight when I get home.




IMG_1050.jpg
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 4, 2014
4,422
San Clemente, CA
It's typical industry chemical stuff and no different than what you would see from plaster manufacturers.

I discussed this very topic HERE
 

mrd5

LifeTime Supporter
May 15, 2014
37
Vienna, VA
I haven't talked to my installer about the start up procedures yet but I question the need for a sequestrant if your fill water has reasonably low dissolved metals. Especially for AB which I imagine is less prone to permanent staining than plaster.....(I'm assuming the Start up Tec and BeauTec are sequestrants).

Having enjoyed the merits of the TFP method I'm reluctant to add anything to the water if not absolutely needed.


EDIT -- Brian, I just read the link to your older post,... so I gather those products are scale inhibitors. Again, If we're maintaining proper chemistry I'd have to imagine they aren't necessary (other than for fighting warranty claims...). Even though the AB supposedly is a water tight barrier, I was still planning to keep the calcium & PH spot on with recommended levels since I didn't want to invite any degradation of the underlying plaster.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 4, 2014
4,422
San Clemente, CA
Metals are important but know that calcium is also a metal and using a sequestrant is cheap insurance against the formation of calcium silicate scale(very difficult to remove).
 

Silver_2000

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 29, 2015
493
Carrollton tx
We're going to be adding a tile detail to each step edge. I'm really excited about how that's gonna look because the old steps looked pretty plain. Yesterday they started cutting a trough in the plaster so they can inlay the tiles

View attachment 60821




For the Spa edge I asked that they create an infinity edge. You can sorta see in the picture that they are beveling the dam wall. I didn't think to check with my laser level yesterday to see if they are true but I will tonight when I get home.




View attachment 60823
your attachments arent working

We added 3 rows of glass tile to our steps ... looks great
IMG_20170509_163045.jpg
 

Other Threads of Interest