Replaster or not to replaster that is the ?

adhanani

Active member
Aug 22, 2019
25
Round Rock, TX
Hello fellow TFPers, you guys have been super helpful over the last year for a first timer. Once again looking for advice. Wife and I had agreed that we would put off considering replastering for at least a year. Now that our one year is nearing, I wanted to see if the pool needs a replastering or we have few years to ago.

The plaster looks to be showing age and what I think looks to be etching in several places. There is also some staining in the deep end (I think something was left in there and it rusted) I read that the plaster is not responsible for integrity of the pool but I didn't want to push the plaster past its functional life. I have noticed that the spa water seeps through the spill way into the pool. When the pump turns off, I can hear the water dripping from the spill way into the pool for some time. The spa drops an inch of water level each night.

Thanks for the feedback and advice.
 

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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,249
OV, CA
I dont think it looks that bad.. you should see mine!.. if you have iron staining, that can be easily removed. How old is it?.. when was it put in? Has it every been plastered before?
 

adhanani

Active member
Aug 22, 2019
25
Round Rock, TX
I dont think it looks that bad.. you should see mine!.. if you have iron staining, that can be easily removed. How old is it?.. when was it put in? Has it every been plastered before?
Thanks mguzzy

Built in 2007 and I don't believe it was ever replastered. I checked with previous owner who had the pool for 6 years.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,249
OV, CA
Honestly I would consider replastering only if you see a lot of damage to the plaster in the form of pitting or spalling. If there are stains, those can probably lifted with various treatments. Now If you just dont like the way it looks , that would be your call. My nieghbors replastered their pool just cause they wanted to change the color. Nevermind the previous owners had just replastered it before they sold the house less than two years previous.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,355
Central California
I read that the plaster is not responsible for integrity of the pool...
Not so. The gunite underneath is what makes the structure of the pool, but is not watertight. The plaster is what makes a pool watertight. That might explain the spa leak, but that could be a lot of other things too.

If the pool is not leaking, then replacement is subjective. Does it bother you to walk around on it? Does it bother you to look at it? If not, then you can pretty much leave it as is until it starts leaking.

On the flip side: How old are you? Is this your forever house? Do you think you'll outlive the current plaster, or are you certain you'll need to replace it at some point? What I'm getting at: if you and your plaster are of the age where you'll very likely need to replace it one more time (but not two more times), then you should do it now (or when "the virus" is done messing with prices). You'll be able to start enjoying your "new" pool all that much sooner, and the cost of the replacement is only going to get higher, not cheaper.

But if you might have two plaster replacements in your future (based on how long you and the typical plaster lasts), then you have to do some math. Should you stretch the life of the current plaster long enough to guarantee that you'll only have to plaster one more time, or plaster now and start saving for the next one?

Depending on how that equation works out, you might consider a longer lasting surface, like pebble or quartz.

Kinda morbid, but that's how I figured it out for myself. I had to get new plaster, but the ages were such that I would likely need one more replaster after that. So I resurfaced with pebble hoping that that will out last me and save me $6000 down the road. And that $6000 is not adjusted for inflation, so it could be double that or more in 15 years...
 

ManiacalMama

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2017
132
Antelope, CA
My NONexpert opinion is as long as it's holding water, you can get several more years out of it. Going by what I see in your pictures my pool was 1000 times worse than what you're dealing with and we still got 3 seasons out of it (after buying the house). Every time I emptied the vacuum canister there would be little bits of plaster in it. We finally bit the bullet and replastered due to black algae growing UP UNDER the delaminated plaster and it looked nasty. But it was still holding water.
 

adhanani

Active member
Aug 22, 2019
25
Round Rock, TX
Not so. The gunite underneath is what makes the structure of the pool, but is not watertight. The plaster is what makes a pool watertight. That might explain the spa leak, but that could be a lot of other things too.

If the pool is not leaking, then replacement is subjective. Does it bother you to walk around on it? Does it bother you to look at it? If not, then you can pretty much leave it as is until it starts leaking.

On the flip side: How old are you? Is this your forever house? Do you think you'll outlive the current plaster, or are you certain you'll need to replace it at some point? What I'm getting at: if you and your plaster are of the age where you'll very likely need to replace it one more time (but not two more times), then you should do it now (or when "the virus" is done messing with prices). You'll be able to start enjoying your "new" pool all that much sooner, and the cost of the replacement is only going to get higher, not cheaper.

But if you might have two plaster replacements in your future (based on how long you and the typical plaster lasts), then you have to do some math. Should you stretch the life of the current plaster long enough to guarantee that you'll only have to plaster one more time, or plaster now and start saving for the next one?

Depending on how that equation works out, you might consider a longer lasting surface, like pebble or quartz.

Kinda morbid, but that's how I figured it out for myself. I had to get new plaster, but the ages were such that I would likely need one more replaster after that. So I resurfaced with pebble hoping that that will out last me and save me $6000 down the road. And that $6000 is not adjusted for inflation, so it could be double that or more in 15 years...
Thanks for the awesome feedback. Here are my answers.

The pool is currently not leaking. The spa is a little and that doesn't bother me. It is not rough at all to walk around in the pool and right now I'm just happy looking at a sparkly clean pool so the stains or the etching is no issue.

I'm 35 and our plan is the stay in the house long term 10+ years. Based on that I'm looking at one, maybe two plastering in our ownership.

From what I'm reading it probably makes economical sense to wait at least another year and get more life out of this plaster and wait out this crazy pool frenzy that is happening in and around Austin.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,355
Central California
Oh, yah, you're just a pup! ;) I like your plan. Stretch the life of this current plaster until it starts to bother you (or leak) and pick this up then. Since selling the home is not off the table, keep in mind that, in most areas, a pool adds very little value to a home, if any, and what type or condition its surface even less. Just sayin'... don't ever base your plaster replacement strategies on resale value, there is none.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,846
Chapel Hill, NC
Sounds like you have 2 issues.
1 - older plaster that may need a cosmetics touch up (acid washing or replastering). That's a personal, subjective decision.
2 - leaking from the spa. If it doesn't bother you, again its more a personal, subjective decision, but it could be fixed independent of replastering the pool
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,768
Morris Cnty NJ
It's never a god idea go leave a known leak in anything, including pools. Water can damage the concrete and weaken it by rusting the rebar internally. At the least caulk the cracks in spa
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,355
Central California
Acid washing is a solution commonly suggested and tried. It's a go-to move by pool maintenance "pros" because when done it looks like it did something good and it's a high-profit sale for them. It often does make old, stained plaster look a little better. I tried it once, and will never again, no matter how bad it looks. I've written pages on the subject here, short version: acid washing does what it does by removing a thin layer of plaster and taking the stains with it. It doesn't just magically attack the stain and leave the plaster untouched. It won't make it smoother, at all, and will most certainly leave it rougher, some times a lot rougher. In my case, it weakened my only-four-year-old plaster to the point where it destroyed it (that's why I had to have my pool resurfaced). Etched it. Pitted it. Blistered it. The works. Never again. Granted, I believe the guy that did it was to blame, and heavy-handed the application of the acid. And I sort-a believe that if you have someone do it that really knows how, that it can be effective (but still cost you some plaster). It certainly won't make your plaster last longer.

Better to live with what you have, and then strictly follow TFP methods which will help you control any algae or algae staining, or calcium build up, or most any of the other nasties that causes premature plaster failure (cosmetic or otherwise). The better you take care of the water, the longer what you have now will last.
 

adhanani

Active member
Aug 22, 2019
25
Round Rock, TX
Thanks for all the feedback.

The stains in the pool really doesn't bother us.

Initially when we got the pool, the spa would drain 50% or more overnight when the pump was off, into the pool. I ended replacing all the check valves I could find and now it only drains down to where the tile line stops.

I've attached a few pictures of what I think are cracks running up from the spa return jets and another picture of the spill way to show the tile line. The cracks running up from the jet appear on 4 of the 7 jets. Not sure if that is the cause. Its odd that it only seeps until the end of the tile line and not further.
 

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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,249
OV, CA
Thanks for all the feedback.

The stains in the pool really doesn't bother us.

Initially when we got the pool, the spa would drain 50% or more overnight when the pump was off, into the pool. I ended replacing all the check valves I could find and now it only drains down to where the tile line stops.
I'm curious.. try some vitamin C on the stains and see if that removes them..if that removes them its iron and that would be an easy fix.

How high is your spa raised above your pool? When you say it drains to the bottom of the tile line, I assume you mean the tile line on the spa, yes? That doesn't sound like a leak per say, but maybe the water settling to its level.

I really think you should be able to get 15 years or so out of a plaster's life. My pool still has the original plaster and was built in the late 80's early 90's. But I've heard that older plaster was better, I don't know if that is really true. It might be one of those, "everything was better in the old days" sort of comments.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,355
Central California
Maybe that's an issue with the grout? You can do an "amateur" leak test. But someone else here will have to describe the exact method. Basically you squirt the right kind of die at areas you suspect are leaking and see if and where the die gets sucked in.
 

adhanani

Active member
Aug 22, 2019
25
Round Rock, TX
I'm curious.. try some vitamin C on the stains and see if that removes them..if that removes them its iron and that would be an easy fix.

How high is your spa raised above your pool? When you say it drains to the bottom of the tile line, I assume you mean the tile line on the spa, yes? That doesn't sound like a leak per say, but maybe the water settling to its level.

I really think you should be able to get 15 years or so out of a plaster's life. My pool still has the original plaster and was built in the late 80's early 90's. But I've heard that older plaster was better, I don't know if that is really true. It might be one of those, "everything was better in the old days" sort of comments.
The stains are in the deep end. I can try to use my pole and hold it place or scrub it.

The spa is 18 inches raised from the pool. Yes the tile line on the spa. I would expect when the pump stopped, the water in the spa would stay put at the top of the spill way, which is about an inch above the end of the tile line but I can hear the steady trickle down the spill for quite some time until the water drops below the tile line.