Startup questions after pebblesheen application


Jul 20, 2007
Sudbury, Ma
Hello All! Mostly a lurker at this site and the search box usually helps me find what i need. However i am having a difficult time finding the info on whats going on now.

2012 i purchased a house that has a 24k IG kidney. The plaster was pitting rather bad and had some staining that was just making the pool look as old as it is (built in 1978). The relatively new coping and tile-line from 2010 was a contrast that didn't help. This year we decided to fix this.

We had a nice new aqua blue pebblesheen finish installed and an intellicolor 5g light. (that was so worth it!!). So here is where my concerns begin.

The installer sent me how he wants it started up AFTER the trucks already started filling it.
Here are his instructions:
BICARB Startup Procedure
  • Fill pool as quickly as possible
  • First day procedure after pool is full:
    1. Test water for calcium hardness and total alkalinity
    2. add stain preventer
    3. add bicarb and raise the total alkalinity to 300 ppm
    4. test water for acid demand
    5. add acid to bring ph down to 7.6
  • Continue to add acid until PS is 7.6 to 7.8
  • Test water daily for the first two weeks
  • Lightly brush the plaster with mylon pool brush dailly for the first two week ( not necessary for pebble tec or sheen)
  • Add calcium when ph is below 7.8
  • add calcium in increments over a few days testing each time so as not to over shoot.
  • Add chlorine last, after pool is balanced
  • Raise chlorine level gradually
  • Avoid shocking new plaster. Do not regulary shock pools. Only shock when necessary to reduce combined chlorine.
  • Always pre-dissolve dry chemicals before adding to pool. The only exception to this is CYA which should be added directly to the skimmer.
  • Maintin pool at:
    • Total Alkalinity: 130 to 150 ppm
    • Calcium hardness 200 ppm
    • Cyanuric Acid 90 to 100 ppm
    • PH 7.6 to 7.8
    • Free Chlorine Over 3.0

Since he is the authorized installer for all of MA and has to warranty it, i therefore follow these.

After the pool is filled enough to get the filter running, i start adding baking soda, 50 LBS over the course of the next 8 hours. I didn't really believe it would take that much to get to 300, but it did and also took a about 10lbs more of pool store "alkalinity up" that i had on hand.
After that i have been baby sitting the PH, making sure i don't let it get above 8. I'm testing a good 3 - 4 times a day, possibly more. ( day 1 - 3, i was hourly during the daylight hours), gone through 2 gals of MA so far.
My CH is currently at 150, it started out at 50 and i have been raising it as prescribed. When the pool is eating the acid up like candy, its hard to add the Calcium.

So here is my concern, well both of them.
First, after reading about a real BICARB startup, it seems the baking-soda should have been mixed with the fill water during the fill so the non alkaline rich water never touches the new surface. If i had known this, i could have at least thrown in the BS while the pool was filling. Not as good as the dilution barrel, but better than what really happened.
Second, and the reason for this post. I have some areas of what looks like white streaking that have developed. They seem to be only in the shallow end. My best guess for what they look like are calcium scale. I still need to contact the plaster company about this, and they have less than ideal communication. But im wondering if this is calcium scale, how can i remove it?

I will try to get a picture of it and post it on this thread.

Current Chemistry:
FC: 0
CC: ?
PH: 7.8
TA: 220
CH: 150
CYA: 0

Pool was filled 5/29
On 6/2 i did drop 1 tab of Leslies Tri-Chlor pucks that i had stopped using because they jumped the CYA significantly. (figured this is a decent use of them) Chlorine is still undetectable. Not sure about CYA, TF-100 cant detect less than 30, and i am sure 1 puck has not done much.

Here are some pics of the remodel,
Pool draining: (all that nice balanced water going away :( )


Empty, some pics of the pitting:


Prep work, bond koat:


PebbleSheen Install day:




Missed the acid wash, but here is the "polishing" right after. Who knew you could use a weed whacker to polish a pool:




All done, including a matching cover for the main drain. Filling it up:



When i get home i will get a pic of it full, and try to get a pic of the spots i am concerned about. I guess in all my fun playing chemist i forgot to get updated pics.

Thanks for your time,

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Noreaster, great pics! HERE is a link to the TFP page that talks abuot starting-up new plaster. Maybe you will find it helpful. You also have lots of other questions in the begining of your thread. Before erveyone chimes-in, be advised you will need (if you don't already have) the proper test kit. Not strips, not going to the pool store, but your own kit from a recommended site (see TF-100 link below). That is critical to maintain your pool. Next, start reading the Pool School, Recommended Levels, and Chlorine/CYA links below. They also serve as the foundation for managing your pool. Just about everything you hear from TFP will be based on these links. Welcome to TFP! :wave: Gorgeous pool.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
Welcome to the forum!

As I said in my message earlier, that is a gorgeous finish choice. I really like it.


Jul 20, 2007
Sudbury, Ma
Thanks for the kind words about the pool rehab. I have to credit the wife for the color, i was thinking lighter.

Here is an attempt at sharing the white blotches i am concerned about, I took about 20 pics, this is VERY hard to photograph. They are much more noticeable in person than in the pic.





Well-known member
Jul 23, 2007
Greater Houston
Did you get answers on the light spots? I like your finish as well..what did this cost you?

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