onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
How do you confirm what caused the problem without having accurate water test results?
That is a very good and fair question.
Inasmuch as plaster (cementitious material) is directly affected by the water balance (CSI), one can study the plaster surface and obtain a great deal of information without having and knowing what the past water tests results were.

Often, having water tests results will confirm what is observed by a surface analysis, and sometimes the available water tests results will contradict what is seen by surface analysis. It is nice when both (analysis) confirm the same plaster issue.

With this particular pool, I will be looking at the surface to see if etching has occurred, or if there is a calcium scale on the surface, or if a color pigment has been bleached. I will sand the surface and observe the color differences underneath. I may have to take (remove) a chunk of plaster and analyze it (in a lab) for its' calcium chloride content, water/cement ratio, cement/aggregate ratio, test the color pigment for colorfastness, and observe plaster the surface under magnification.

I plan to visit and inspect this pool within 7 days and will share what I see and learn in this thread.
 
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Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
11,121
Eastern Ohio
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I’d like to step in as there’s no hidden agendas here. onBalance for years has put users best interest at heart and has went out of their way to assist. They’ve even went as far as making personal visits free of charge to help a user determine what’s occurring. There’s zero doubt in my mind they understand the need for a quality kit, but also they’re well aware of other issues not understood by the majority of the rest of us.
 

onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
Additional item: If color pigments are beached by sunlight or chlorine (or any sanitizer), then that aspect and result would have nothing to do with the water balance, past or present. Water tests would NOT be relevant.
 

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
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.”
Sorry about my delayed response but I wasn't getting any notifications from TFP about additional comments to my post. Thank you, onBalance, for an accurate summation. After trying to explain why I didn't do my own testing at least a few times, and realizing now how important that is, it wasn't helpful for members to keep harping on this issue without offering any suggestions on what caused the plaster color change. And yes, I see anyone's response here as an offer to help but criticism isn't neither helpful nor productive.
 

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
+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.
Yes, you've accurately summed up my apprehensions about learning pool chemistry! Sure, it's easy to learn how many drops to add to a water sample but you also need to understand what's going on when the color doesn't change like it should and it's that part of the process that's a bit overwhelming right now. But, I'm more than convinced there's many people here who are willing to help and do appreciate that!
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,562
NY
I’m sorry for getting off on the wrong foot Tex. Don’t see it as 9 people scolding you. See it as 9 people frustrated and trying to help you be unfustrated. 9 total strangers that genuinely care about your pool more than the people who have been there. You’ll come to know us better over time and see that. I promise.
Sure, it's easy to learn how many drops to add to a water sample but you also need to understand what's going on when the color doesn't change like it should and it's that part of the process that's a bit overwhelming right now
We got you now. We were ALL there once. And we ALL kicked ourselves for not jumping in sooner when we realized how stupid easy it was. We were 98% of the problem. Free your mind and you’ll soak up the new info like a sponge. There is no learning like doing and when you goof with guidance, it will be a small hiccup and the info will stick twice as fast. Ask at every step and folks will be pushing themselves out of the way to help. :)
 
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xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
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.
Yes, I do realize people are trying to help and sincerely appreciate those who are offering good suggestions, but after acknowledging the first bunch of "you need to do your own testing" comments, it seemed that realization didn't matter anymore and even sunk to the point of blaming me for what happened. So yes, that's frustrating when you are coming to a forum for "knowledge" and getting criticized instead. I can see how you might interpret that as being "hostile" but maybe consider how you'd feel in my position.
 

xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
I’m sorry for getting off on the wrong foot Tex. Don’t see it as 9 people scolding you. See it as 9 people frustrated and trying to help you be unfustrated. 9 total strangers that genuinely care about your pool more than the people who have been there. You’ll come to know us better over time and see that. I promise.

We got you now. We were ALL there once. And we ALL kicked ourselves for not jumping in sooner when we realized how stupid easy it was. We were 98% of the problem. Free your mind and you’ll soak up the new info like a sponge. There is no learning like doing and when you goof with guidance, it will be a small hiccup and the info will stick twice as fast. Ask at every step and folks will be pushing themselves out of the way to help. :)
No worries Dude and it's all good. Like most things that are hard and difficult, it's always a learning experience if you let it be one. There's no doubt I will have a much greater understanding (and appreciation) of water chemistry after going through this. Also good to know there's probably many here with your positive attitude and willingness to help someone not repeat other's mistakes. :)
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,562
NY
Also good to know there's probably many here with your positive attitude and willingness to help someone not repeat other's mistakes. :)
Rest assured. I’ve made them ALL. :ROFLMAO: Most of us have. Then we *slap* the old forehead and it’s permanent knowledge. One screwup down, 57 to go. Woohoo !!!

Again. Ask away *anything* at *anytime*. Especially now. It’s slowed greatly as most of the country shut their pools and are off doing cool weather stuffs. We’re literally just sitting around bored waiting for the next question. (y)
 
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xtexan86

Well-known member
May 3, 2021
54
Fairfield, CA
Little bit of an update. OnBalance made it to my residence and inspected my pool. I will let him post his observations here when he is ready. Today, I did get some water testing results taken by my maintenance company since Day 1 (end of April this year when the new plaster was applied). What we have noticed in the last month or so, is how the calcium hardness of the water is increasing. Tech supervisor thinks it was because too much calcium hydroxide (more than 2 percent) was added to the plaster mix. The values you see are what was written down. If a value is missing, I don't have it but all results are correct interpretations of the hand written testing results. On a separate note, has anyone had any experience with either Sider-Crete roll on plaster or MicroGlass's plaster preservation roll on product?
vp3.JPG
 
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onBalance

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 25, 2011
1,228
Utah
My observations on this pool:
1. The original plaster color was/is a blue-gray blend. Except for the small spots or areas that have been sanded by the owner which shows the blue-grey color, the rest of the pool is grey only. The blue color has disappeared.
2. There is no calcium scale deposit, and the surface is very smooth. No etching was observed.
3. The darkened spot that had an acid spill has disappeared. Most likely because the blue color has been bleached by chlorine and sunlight. Acid treatments and sanding always exposes and restores the original color, at least temporarily.
4. Likely causes of color loss: Adding calcium chloride (not hydroxide) to the plaster mix. Using a non-colorfast pigment.
5. Color pigment manufacturers warn against adding calcium chloride to colored plaster. Non-colorfast pigments should never be used in a swimming pool environment.
 
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