xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
If it really is a plaster product I assume it will have the same type of susceptibility to bad chemistry as your current plaster, unless your current plaster was just faulty. When my parents had their pool replastered, you can see the dark blue is kinda splotchy. I wonder if that’s just the thing that happens over time.
Ok, so by "bad chemistry" do you mean too much chlorine? It seems the majority here say too much acid will not cause color loss, but chlorine will if the blue pigment is not colorfast. It also seems according to the supervisor's on-site test, that my calcium levels are between 600-700 ppm, although a sample taken to Leslie's the same day only revealed 339 ppm. I sanded a sizeable area on the front step yesterday which only revealed the midnight blue color. Today, there is a whitish film on the treated surface. Additionally, the loss of color took place only 40 days from the date of application...in no way should that be considered something happening "over time" unless there's material defects or some kind of very unique chemistry reactions going on.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,895
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
It also seems according to the supervisor's on-site test, that my calcium levels are between 600-700 ppm, although a sample taken to Leslie's the same day only revealed 339 ppm.
Post water chemistry results from your own proper test kit. Neither of those sources of data are reliable.
 

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
Post water chemistry results from your own proper test kit. Neither of those sources of data are reliable.
Wish I could but I don't know how to test my water, that's why I chose to hire a pool service company. I saw the supervisor do the calcium test, using a plastic tube and applying 3 different reactants to the water. Saw each color change especially the last one which took 60-70 drops so I'm not sure how you'd consider that unreliable unless you're suggesting he's lying to me.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,895
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Then why are you concerned with which test to believe? If he is not lying, believe it.

You need your own proper test kit to properly manage your pool water chemistry. Or discontinue being concerned about it and let the pool service company manage it.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,071
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Ok, so by "bad chemistry" do you mean too much chlorine? It seems the majority here say too much acid will not cause color loss, but chlorine will if the blue pigment is not colorfast. It also seems according to the supervisor's on-site test, that my calcium levels are between 600-700 ppm, although a sample taken to Leslie's the same day only revealed 339 ppm. I sanded a sizeable area on the front step yesterday which only revealed the midnight blue color. Today, there is a whitish film on the treated surface. Additionally, the loss of color took place only 40 days from the date of application...in no way should that be considered something happening "over time" unless there's material defects or some kind of very unique chemistry reactions going on.
I meant that whatever caused it will cause it again assuming it was caused by the water. Getting a reliable test kit is really the answer, it’s super easy and not difficult to do the tests.
 

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
Then why are you concerned with which test to believe? If he is not lying, believe it.

You need your own proper test kit to properly manage your pool water chemistry. Or discontinue being concerned about it and let the pool service company manage it.
I'm not sure why many on this forum act so harshly towards pool owners who don't personally monitor their water chemistry or make them feel it's their fault when something goes wrong. Obviously, it's best for people to monitor this themselves but what's so hard to understand that learning pool water chemistry might be extremely difficult for someone, especially when no one's around who can walk them through how to do tests, explain how each individual chemical contributes to water stability and knows what to do when the results don't make sense? When your car malfunctions or needs maintenance service, do you pull out a book and learn to do it yourself? No, you PAY someone who is SUPPOSED to know how to FIX the problem and you DON'T blame yourself when they either screw up or can't tell you what's wrong! So far, no one on this forum has been able to distinctly say what caused my plaster color loss. Neither can my service tech or plaster contractor so in the meantime I am trying my damnedest to figure out this extremely complicated problem. What makes it worse, is what I initially said, which water tester produced the accurate results? Tech guy used a portable test kit (the same that most pool owners would use), Leslie's used a machine. Why were the two results so vastly different? Lastly, I can't "let the the pool service company manage it" because that won't bring back the original plaster color. I need to figure out what happened so once I do find a solution, the problem that initially caused it won't be repeated.
 

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
I meant that whatever caused it will cause it again assuming it was caused by the water. Getting a reliable test kit is really the answer, it’s super easy and not difficult to do the tests.
Yes, agreed although I'm not sure I'm with you on this being "super easy." Seems the more I find out about the chemical processes occurring both in the water and plaster, the more difficult it is to figure out exactly what caused the color loss.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
xtexan86, let's keep this discussion on your pool to this thread only.
And let's move forward on this, and I understand your frustration.

The reason that there is some whitish film on the area where you sanded is because the sanding exposed plaster that hadn't reacted with water before. The newly exposed plaster is now going through the process of releasing calcium hydroxide and converting to calcium carbonate as a white dust or film. So brushing that area often will be important for two weeks.

Another thing that needs mentioning is that a chlorine floater that contains Trichlor tabs is very acidic and also chlorine combined. So it will etch the plaster, and it will also bleach non-colorfast pigments.

I think the reason for the plaster turning very dark blue or black is because a layer of plaster cream (that contains less visible quartz aggregate) is being removed and exposing a greater amount of the black color quartz. That is generally a common thing to happen.

Here is what I can offer to help more. If you are willing to wait a few weeks before doing anything else, I will be traveling to the Bay Area (Oakland) in about two to three weeks. I can easily stop by to a take a look at your pool to see what I can figure out. If that meets with your approval, let me know, and we can PM each other for the details.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: x Wild Bill x

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
xtexan86, let's keep this discussion on your pool to this thread only.
And let's move forward on this, and I understand your frustration.

The reason that there is some whitish film on the area where you sanded is because the sanding exposed plaster that hadn't reacted with water before. The newly exposed plaster is now going through the process of releasing calcium hydroxide and converting to calcium carbonate as a white dust or film. So brushing that area often will be important for two weeks.

Another thing that needs mentioning is that a chlorine floater that contains Trichlor tabs is very acidic and also chlorine combined. So it will etch the plaster, and it will also bleach non-colorfast pigments.

I think the reason for the plaster turning very dark blue or black is because a layer of plaster cream (that contains less visible quartz aggregate) is being removed and exposing a greater amount of the black color quartz. That is generally a common thing to happen.

Here is what I can offer to help more. If you are willing to wait a few weeks before doing anything else, I will be traveling to the Bay Area (Oakland) in about two to three weeks. I can easily stop by to a take a look at your pool to see what I can figure out. If that meets with your approval, let me know, and we can PM each other for the details.
Hi, that's a very generous offer and I'd love to have a non-biased opinion. Might be easiest to email me but will clicking the "Start Conversation" button under your profile send you a PM on this site?
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,071
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Yes, agreed although I'm not sure I'm with you on this being "super easy." Seems the more I find out about the chemical processes occurring both in the water and plaster, the more difficult it is to figure out exactly what caused the color loss.
I meant doing the tests is easy. Understanding what caused your plaster issue is a separate thing. The pool store test equipment and generic test kits and strips you get from the pool store are notoriously unreliable and having accurate test results is super important. That’s why TFP recommends only two kits from the same manufacturer. I know it’s hard to believe but doing the testing is really nothing like taking your car to a mechanic or hiring a plumber.
 

Norman Tyree.

In The Industry
May 11, 2019
7
New Zealand
A lot of Tests and Answers however the Acid added is the problem.
Another problem may be the Plaster being Pre Mixed has a Shelf Life (what is this) There are several reasons that the Colors can alter.
Cement in the product Hydrate's The Plasters I make have fresh Cement added at the time of Aplication I also add Polymer to give added Benefits for Aplication ect.
Establishing the Date of Manufacture and the Date of Aplication is very important. Any Lumps Formed in a Bag I suggest you dump the product 😉
 

Norman Tyree.

In The Industry
May 11, 2019
7
New Zealand
I will try to condense all the above issues and discussion.
The main question with this pool is what caused the two different types of discoloration.

1. One situation is a dark spot (that strongly suggests that acid or a Trichlor floater "etched" the surface in that location. The effect of acid dissolves and removes a top thin layer of plaster and expose the original plaster color (blue/grey) that hasn't been affected yet by anything else. Acid also causes a rough sandpaper like finish.

2. The other situation is that the blue color of the plaster appears to be changing or disappearing and turning to a predominent grey. It is very common to mix both a grey and blue color pigment for a special color appearance for pool plaster. Whenever the blue color disappears and leaves the grey unaffected, it is often because the blue pigment is not colorfast and therefore has been bleached out by either chlorine or sunlight. The grey color remains because it is has colorfast quality. And the plaster remains very smooth because no etching (from acid) has taken place.

3. A simple test can be done with acid to show what happens to the plaster and its' color. Just squirt some acid directly on the top step and watch the plaster fizz somewhat and the blue/grey color stays the same or becomes darker or more intense. A continual application of acid on the plaster will start to show the etching and sandpaper effect caused by too much acid being added.

4. Unfortunately, a similar test with liquid chlorine isn't likely going to show an immediately effect. That test requires some time. You could lower the water level of the pool to below the top step. Then sand a large portion of the step to expose unaffected plaster (and color), then pour some liquid chlorine on one half of the small area and not on to the other sanded area and wait a few days to see the results.

5. With regards to the suggested detrimental effects of using hard tap water to mix pool plaster, that is nonsense. Hard tap water generally only contains about 500 ppm to 1000 ppm of calcium. That isn't very much in reality. However, if the plaster company adds 2 percent or more of calcium chloride (as an hardening accelerator), that would be adding roughly 40,000 ppm of calcium to the mix water, and also a lot of chloride that can leach out of the plaster. Yes, that could cause a white efflorescence developing on the plaster surface.

6. While it may be interesting to know the current water test results, the reality in this case, is that much can be determined without knowing that as discussed above. I suggest looking closely and touching the plaster in the pool to determine if the entire plaster surface has been etched and is rough to the touch. Also note if there is any rough calcium scale on the surface. Also, ask the plasterer what was done to remedy the dark spot caused by the acid. That will help with this situation.

I hope this helps.
Your suggestions are really suspect the problems are the facts that Cement in the Pre Mixed Plaster has Hydrated.
 
  • Sad
Reactions: onBalance

Jaimslaw

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 5, 2015
309
San Diego, CA
Mention was made earlier about going to an automated setup for input of acid…something you or your pool guy could easily set up. An Acid Tank/Stenner Pump /digital timer configuration thread some years back made this really easy to do myself.

This isn’t to suggest your problem will be solved with such a configuration. But as you noted, you’ll have zero interaction with this caustic substance (besides your infrequent filling of the tank). Additionally bringing up or down the quantity of acid introduced to the pool will be more measured, and perhaps more evenly distributed; and adjusting ph will be done through a timer process vs pouring from a jug. Going this route could possibly be a contributing factor to the eventual solution given the remote possibility that your current method of adding acid is part of the problem (that is, perhaps skewing or adversly affecting diagnostic efforts).

Doing this now means that when you get this issue resolved, the acid injection system will be in place to reward you for years to come. I’ve never looked back since I put mine in. So many of my PH issues (ph bounces, et al) went away, never to return. With my SWG and acid injector set up, my chem levels have been rock steady (a godsend for those like me who lack the time to devote to pool care). One thing is certain: I sure don’t miss the days of pouring acid from a container; especially during days when the air is moisture laden…the consequent cloud of acid fumes rising up from the pour in that thick air got really scary one time (still evokes a shudder thinking about that).
 

superuser

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2020
218
Spring, TX
I'm not sure why many on this forum act so harshly towards pool owners who don't personally monitor their water chemistry or make them feel it's their fault when something goes wrong. Obviously, it's best for people to monitor this themselves but what's so hard to understand that learning pool water chemistry might be extremely difficult for someone, especially when no one's around who can walk them through how to do tests, explain how each individual chemical contributes to water stability and knows what to do when the results don't make sense? When your car malfunctions or needs maintenance service, do you pull out a book and learn to do it yourself? No, you PAY someone who is SUPPOSED to know how to FIX the problem and you DON'T blame yourself when they either screw up or can't tell you what's wrong! So far, no one on this forum has been able to distinctly say what caused my plaster color loss. Neither can my service tech or plaster contractor so in the meantime I am trying my damnedest to figure out this extremely complicated problem. What makes it worse, is what I initially said, which water tester produced the accurate results? Tech guy used a portable test kit (the same that most pool owners would use), Leslie's used a machine. Why were the two results so vastly different? Lastly, I can't "let the the pool service company manage it" because that won't bring back the original plaster color. I need to figure out what happened so once I do find a solution, the problem that initially caused it won't be repeated.
You do realize people are trying to help you, right?

This site is definitely all about owner maintenance, and owner knowledge. Using your car analogy the answer is a resounding yes; many people here would most certainly change their own oil and replace a failed headlight. If you aren't that person that is perfectly okay too, you can still learn an incredible amount about what is happening with your pool and get a lot of help resolving problems you may have. But being openly hostile to the people trying to help, at any suggestion that you put some control in your own hands, well that's just disrespectful in my opinion.

Consider the reasons people suggest you, and everyone, test their own water. Consider why educational links are right there in many peoples' signatures. Knowledge is power. If you know the conditions of your pool, you know more about how to keep it the way you want it. Even if you never want to do the maintenance yourself, having that knowledge makes it your choice rather than a leap of faith someone else with no emotional connection to your pool will do the right things with it.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,562
NY
+1. And i’d to add the difference of having a trusty mechanic (TFP) that can guide you as to what you actually need, and things that will matter one day but are only on the wishlist today. Going to the pool store when you are unsure of anything would be like walking into Jiffy-lube all confused and asking them to check your levels because your alignment is off. $27 for $3 in oil and some headlight fluid later, Your car would still pull to the left. When you go back to complain it would be a new, equally as confused kid, who sells you muffler bearings.

I’d also like to add the confusion about testing confusion. I myself was as overwhelmed as we all were at one point. It turns out that *we* were the problem. Analytical paralysis, over thinking, being afraid of the unknown, too much info to process at once, holding onto previous terrible advice, etc. Taken one step at a time it is as easy as counting drops. Then checking pool math to see what to do about it. (Add 3 lbs of borax ??? I can do THAT !!) Run any questions past the army of helpers here and folks will be pushing themselves out of the way to help you. In the end, every last one of us kicked ourselves for not trying sooner.

So we spend all that time saved here, helping others save their own time and headaches.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
It is time to take a step back regarding some previous comments. Yes, it is best to have an accurate test kit, to perform water tests personally, and maintain pool water properly. And yes, the OP has acknowledged that.

BUT sometimes, and with this perticular case, accurate testing and proper maintenance would probably not change or prevent the plaster problems that has occurred. And if we understood that, we would understand OP's responses and sincere requests for help. I am fairly certain that we will have more answers to what has occurred and what remedies will be available for this pool within the next 2 weeks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bperry

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
I counted 9 comments from TFP members suggesting that xtexan should purchase a good test kit. One commenter suggested that the plaster problem would not have happened had they performed the testing and chemical maintenance treatment themselves. That is false. Another comment seemed somewhat snide.

Let’s review this situation. Xtexan comes to TFP (as a source of info) and asks; “what caused the pool plaster discoloration problems?” He is told (lectured) 9 times to own a quality test kit. Is that helpful or productive? Does that solve the plaster problem that has already occurred? No. That is like saying “I told you so” but not actually having told the person that prior to the problem happening.

TFP is a good source for pool information. But the fact is that many homeowners see pool stores, pool contractors, and pool service companies also as a source for information. They are looking for answers, and they see everyone as trying to help, whether or not it is good or accurate information.

Becoming defensive, offended, or angry because an OP questions a few things and does not automatically accepts everything from TFP is not going to help. Explain the facts as you see them and let the pool owner decide who and what to believe.

Is the information and advice given on the TFP forum always accurate or correct? Unfortunately no. There are members that don’t understand everything and absolutely correct. And that also even applies to experts, including me. Fortunately, many mistakes are often corrected by other members.

Let’ understand and appreciate xtexan’s perspective on this. I do not see anything that approaches being “openly hostile.”
 
Last edited:

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
An additional thought: After it is detemined what caused the plaster discoloration problems, I am sure that xtexan will accept the advice to learn how to test pool water.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread