Resurfacing - how long can you go...


Jun 15, 2019
TFP Members,

Looking for some opinions on a resurfacing effort. Pool is concrete/plaster and inground...

There was a long period of non-maintenance since the pool was originally built 20 years ago ( about 4 yrs - due to vacant house during 2008 financial crisis), I bought the house 7 yrs ago and converted pool to SWCG....things work very well, water is balanced and pool is maintained religiously (thanks to SLAM and this forum) - no notable issues. However in the last couple of years I have noticed more chipping of the concrete in the pool (mostly on concrete steps closer to the water surface). I have done research on resurfacing in Google and in the TFP forum, and the sense I get is people recommend resurfacing of concrete pools every 5-10 years to address chipping issues.

To me, that is like saying have a heart bypass surgery every 5-10 years - resurfacing is a very invasive and expensive process, and while it is quite necessary sometimes, it is not something I want to rush into doing unless i have absolutely no other options.

So the context is - this is 20 year old pool that has never been resurfaced. Conventional wisdom and minor chipping indicate that resurfacing is in order. I would like to put the resurfacing off as long as possible, but my big concern is reading about potential failure of the pool concrete over time (thus causing leakage). The chipping is pretty minor and you have to really look for it to notice it. How likely is failure & leakage if I take no action? If I did nothing, how long do you think I could get by without risk of concrete failure and leakage given we have gone 20 years without a resurface? Another 20 years? Or am i sitting on a ticking time bomb?

Opinions and feedback are most appreciated.

Thank you!!

15k gal
Poolpilot nano SWCG
High water hardness (CA - 400-500)


Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
Marietta Ga
Mine was about 11 years old and was start to look bad but once I drained it I found a few hair line cracks. I was told 7 to 10 is normal.Hopefully some of the experts can give you things to look for.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Dude, let’s get an understanding of terminology for this discussion. The buildup of a plaster/concrete/gunite pool is typically a shell formed by steel rebar that has gunite or shotcrete applied to form the concrete shell. On the concrete shell tile and about 1/2” thick plaster is applied.

So when you say concrete is chipping do you mean the plaster? Or is the plaster gone and the gunite is chipping away? Can you see rebar? Do you have rust stains?

I have had plaster last 20 years on two pools.

Post pics of your pool and problem areas?


Well-known member
Dec 23, 2012
Manassas Park, VA
If the plaster is fading away in certain spots you can do an underwater plaster patch if needed to get you some extra time. It will not look the best but it will continue to provide you with a waterproof shell over the concrete. If the plaster is chipping and is coming off in chunks then patching may not be a big help.

I have not done the research that you have but I have been on this forum regularly for the last several years and do not recall seeing the recommendation to re-plaster every 5 to 10 years. I think the common belief is that plaster should last at least 20 years or longer if you maintain the pool.


TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
Morris Cnty NJ
Starts with the install. The proper prep and install of good material, and right behind that is good water chemistry. The hotter climates seem to go thru shorter lifespans than seasonal climates
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Jun 15, 2019
TFP Members,
Thanks for the input . There was an ask for pictures so I posted some below. The chipping is evident on the close-ups of the steps (bottom two photos). You can see the paint wearing down in parts of the pool (uneven colors) and a few areas of concrete wear. I don't care about the color situation, I am more concerned about structural integrity. Please note pool is a little dirty also as I have been unable to vacuum due to frequent thunder/lightning conditions the past 2 weeks.

This pool was poured 20 years ago and I think the original concrete/marcite mix was of a high quality. If I could get another 20 years out of it, I would plan to do that....that's part of what I am looking for opinions on. As I noted I am pretty rigorous about balancing and overall maintenance.

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Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
Chapel Hill, NC
Steps are frequently the first to start chipping. Yours doesn't look too bad aside from the staining. Given that you're considering a replaster, why not try an acid wash to clean it up before going through the potential grief of a replaster? Good plaster should last 20 years. Unfortunately, there are too many hacks in this business, so the range may go down to 5 years if the job is done poorly.