Replastering a Pool - A 1 Year Saga - Problems & Lessons Learned

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
3,310
Northern NJ
#1
TFP has been helpful to me over the years and I am paying this forward hoping my experiences will help someone in the future.

Background

Pool installed by previous house owner in 2000. Pool builder is one of the top family owned companies in the area and has maintained pool ever since. 20x50 IG pool with spa and waterfall with Hydrazoo plaster finish.

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By 2016 pool finish was showing some wear and was a bit rough especially in the spa. Then one day after a big storm this stain appeared in the deep end of the pool.

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I initially thought it was from some animal that crapped in the pool. Nothing I tried would clean it off. Pool company came over and used acid on the stain which removed it for a day and then after a few days it returned. Tried treating it that way three times with no lasting success. Pool guy said he thought pool took a lightning strike.

With a 16 year old pool finish I knew the pool would need to be refinished in a few years. That stain set things in motion.

Getting Bids- Fall 2016

I spoke to two friends who had their pools refinished and both had problems with the surface afterwards. Their pool builders wiggled on their responsibility saying the PH was too high and the pool was not brushed enough.

I got bids from 3 pool companies in the area in late 2016 before I closed the pool. My original pool builder proposed the best price. I also learned that all the pool builders subcontract to a few companies who do the actual plaster work. I made it clear to my pool builder that I wanted them to take all responsibility for the startup of the pool, water balancing, and brushing. Whatever it needed fold it into their price.

In early 2017 I finalized the contract with my Pool Builder. Finish is Cayman Lagoon Hydrazoo plaster. http://clindustries.com/polished-pool-finishes/hydrazzo/

The following was included as part of the contract:

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Refinishing the Pool - Spring 2017

I scheduled them to open the pool and do the refinish as soon as weather was warm enough in Spring 2017. The pool was drained and prepped over 2 days by the pool company including a scratch coat bonding surface. Then the plaster subcontractor arrived and in 2 days shot a new coat of plaster and polished it smooth. The pool company arranged for water trucks to arrive at the end of day 4. Pool took four 700 gallon water trucks and then I finished topping it off with hoses.

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Pool Startup

By late May 2017 pool was looking good, new water was in, and job looked great. Pool company said not to sue SWG for at least 30 days. My friends who had pool finish issues said to give it a few months. I ran the 2017 season without any salt in pool and the SWG and used chlorine tablets from Costco in the skimmers. PH needed continuous monitoring knocking it down below 7.8 as to be expected with new plaster. I monitored PH and brushed pool as well as the pool service coming weekly to check water chemistry and brush.

Problems Began Showing

Pool finish was nice and smooth for the first 2 months. By August I began seeing problems in the Spa step areas.

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Areas were pitting and getting rough. Not what I expected to have in a few months. I asked my Pool Builder to drop by and take a look. Now this guy is the son of the owner, worked on building my pool in 2000, and is now the Director of Construction. He came by, saw the problems, and said he would get the plasterer to come by and look at it. This dragged out into September trying to get the plasterer's attention on this.

My Pool Builder reassured me that they will stand by their work. He said they have had the plasterer redo a few pools and if it was necessary it would happen. To me these issues were cosmetic but not what I should have after a few months. And I didn't know how much more it would deteriorate over time. Pool closing time came in October and we agreed we would see how the pool looked when it was opened in 2018.

This is what the spa looked like when it was closed:

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To be continued ....
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
3,310
Northern NJ
#2
Spring 2018 Opening

I scheduled the opening of the pool as early as possible in mid-April. Had to wait until all the snow melted. But I wanted to see what needed to be done and to get the Pool Builder and Plasterers attention before they got busy.

This is the way it looked at opening:

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I sent these pictures to my Pool Builder saying this was unacceptable. Within 2 weeks he had the plaster out who setup a 4 day acid startup of the pool. They hung pumps in the pool as agitators and dumped a bunch of acid in and let it run from Friday to Monday.

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On Monday they came in, drained the pool, and used diamond wheel sanders to polish the surface. They got it pretty smooth in most areas. Although the sanding took off the finish on some of the tiles on the spa steps. At the end the surface looked like this:

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I got two hoses running and filled the pool in about 37 hours. Then came the fresh water startup. Filter has needed backwashing a few times getting rid of all the plaster dust. Added 13 lbs of CYA using the sock method to get CYA at 70. Bought 22 bags of Morton Pool salt at Walmart and got the SWG running. Ordered 55 lbs of Boric Acid from DudaDiesel that is waiting until I get TA down. TA was at 110 so today I lowered PH to 7.0 to lower TA.

To be continued ....
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
3,310
Northern NJ
#3
So now after a year I am back where I started with a new refinished plaster pool. It looks pretty good but I don't have a baseline of how a perfect Hydrazoo pool should look.

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There is one area on the sunning ledge in the deep area that I am still not happy about with pits and white areas:

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If this is the way it stays it is acceptable. I really don't want to go though re-plastering the pool, the expense of water trucks, and not knowing if it will be any better the second time. I do hope that there is no further deterioration in the next year and it stays this way.

Lessons Learned

- The reputation of your Pool Builder is everything. Will he step up to fix problems?
- There seem to be many issues with new plaster pools.
- Document everything and take lots of pictures along the way.
- Put as much responsibility as possible on the pool builder. They will try and put it on you.
- When I started seeing problems with the Hydrazoo finish I went to their website to see what their warranty said - http://clindustries.com/resources/ In hindisight I should have looked at the warranty before I contracted. The website says:


What Constitutes A Valid Warranty?

A valid warranty should be a 3 part form – white to CLI, Yellow to applicator and Pink to pool owner. Each form should have a unique number printed on the upper right corner. The applicator should complete his/her name, address, telephone number, date pool completed, finish (product name & color), and batch #. The home owner should sign and date the forms and send by certified mail to CLI at address listed on warranty. Warranty claim procedures are on back of warranty along with chemistry parameters.

Extended warranties available through CL Industries’ Authorized Applicators.

For Official Warranty Please Call Customer Service (If not provided by your builder/applicator) 1-800-333-2660


When I read that I asked my Pool Builder where is my written warranty? His reply was:

Ive never had a customer fill out a warranty form. My plaster company warrantees their work. However the warranty is against delamination, meaning the plaster falling off the wall. I had the water tested and everything was perfect. I sent the pictures to my plasterer and they said there is a remedy. I will find out what it is, they did not mention it, and let you know
I thought I had a possible warranty remedy with the Hydrazoo manufacture and discovered I didn't. I was not happy with that. I am sure the Plasterer needs to pay Hydrazoo for that warranty. If I do this again I will insist on a proper warranty.

So that is where I am today. Pool is up and running and looking pretty good. Looking forward to a nice warm season this year.
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
1,995
Tampa, FL
#4
Wow. What an odyssey. I would have cried opening to that mess!glad it is looking good now, and hope you will have a great summer!
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
575
Ashford, CT
#6
The white material on the surface looks like calcium scale. What was your CH and did you or your pool builder add calcium to the pool.
If there is not enough it will pull it from the plaster and if there is too much it will settle on the walls.

Otherwise looks like a nice job and a really nice pool.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
3,310
Northern NJ
#7
The white material on the surface looks like calcium scale. What was your CH and did you or your pool builder add calcium to the pool.
If there is not enough it will pull it from the plaster and if there is too much it will settle on the walls.

CH was in the 350 - 400 range the entire season.
CYA was 90
PH was 7.4 - 7.8
TA started at 120 and ended the season at 70
Used Chlorine tabs the entire season and didn't add salt and use the SWG

AFAIK no calcium was added. Startup water came from 4 water truck loads.

I agree it looks like calcium scale but both me and my PB saw no problems with the water chemistry. I do wonder if it was a bad mix.
 

BMK

Bronze Supporter
Mar 29, 2016
217
Pittsburgh, PA
#8
Thanks for taking the time to share all of that...very informative. Luckily (at least so far) you have a PB that stood behind his work and wants it right as much as you do. I can only imagine the nightmare this could have been if your PB and / or his plasterer were more interested in deflecting blame than making it right.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 25, 2011
871
Utah
#9
The original stain on the bottom of the pool (before re-plastering) is from the rusting of the rebar (iron steel) within the pool shell and "bleeding" out through the plaster surface.

Below is a link to information that is relevant to what happened to your re-plaster job.

White Spotting of New Plaster Pools
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
3,310
Northern NJ
#10
The original stain on the bottom of the pool (before re-plastering) is from the rusting of the rebar (iron steel) within the pool shell and "bleeding" out through the plaster surface.

Below is a link to information that is relevant to what happened to your plaster job.

White Spotting of New Plaster Pools
Thanks for the point out of the thread. I will see how this finish goes through the winter after the acid wash and diamond polishing.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 25, 2011
871
Utah
#11
I just noticed that you have a Hydrazzo finish, which involves polishing the finish after troweling. Therefore, the thread I pointed out to you above does not completely apply to your plaster issue. I am sorry for the oversight.
However, I do believe that the "whitening" of the plaster color is a porosity issue describe in that thread.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
3,310
Northern NJ
#12
I just noticed that you have a Hydrazzo finish, which involves polishing the finish after troweling. Therefore, the thread I pointed out to you above does not completely apply to your plaster issue. I am sorry for the oversight.
However, I do believe that the "whitening" of the plaster color is a porosity issue describe in that thread.
With the acid wash and diamond polishing after the issues do you think I should expect more issues with the plaster over the next few years? Or was this an issue with the surface finish and I am past that?
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 25, 2011
871
Utah
#13
If they polished it to a fairly good smooth surface, then I think your plaster color will hold up well over time.
I also want to ensure you that the "white" spots are not calcium scaling.