Problems with Pool Plaster
“Since pool plaster is composed of natural materials that have certain inherent characteristics, some amount of shading or color variation is a natural occurrence which should not be construed as a defect and which only enhances the natural beauty of your pool. Homeowner agrees that the plaster is NOT guaranteed for evenness of color and may not be the exact shade anticipated. The shade and color may vary and fade over time. The plaster may become streaked, blotchy, or have a mottled appearance over which the contractor has no control.”
If you have had your pool re-plastered in the last 15 years, it’s likely that you were presented with a statement similar to the one above, adopted by the National Plaster’s Council, IPPSA, NSPI and NPSF.
Now, with all due respect to plaster, a fine pool finish – I have to say that issues with a plaster finish are rare. Most new plaster finishes are flawlessly brilliant and without any visible defects for years. This post is not meant to discourage you from using plaster as a pool finish, even white plaster – but merely to discuss the problems that can occur with pool plaster, so that the pool owner can be better informed – beyond the disclaimer statement offered by the plastering company.
Discoloration of Pool Plaster
Making a distinction from surface staining, discoloration is within or beneath the plaster. When attempts to acid wash the stain fail, this confirms that the discoloration is not caused by mineral or organic deposits on the surface.
Discoloration of a newly plastered pool can occur within the first few months and years of plastering, and can be more pronounced on colored pool plaster. Discoloration or variations in hue or shading of your pool plaster may be caused by one of the following.
Etching of Pool Plaster
Making a distinction from delamination or spalling of the surface, where spots of new plaster have separated from previous plaster layers, “Spot Etching” is a symptom that is almost universally blamed on pool owners, or service companies performing water balance. But etching of pool plaster indicates a soft spot of plaster that has degraded or deteriorated due overuse of tablet chlorine, and is also most prevalent on steps and swim-outs, around wall fittings, pool lights and under the tile line.
Delamination of Pool Plaster
As the name suggests, pool plaster delamination is a situation where the new coat of plaster has separated from the old layer beneath. Small pop-off areas the size of a quarter may not be indicative of large scale bond failure.
Spray a hose on an empty plastered pool, and you may “hear” areas of delamination in the pool, which produce a hollow sound. However, de-laminations can go unnoticed for years, unless they crack and begin to flake off.
When you are planning to have your pool plastered, chances are you’ll have no problems. Our plastering crews here at Advanced Pool & Spa, Inc. are highly skilled applicators – and they have to be – pool plastering is as much an art as it is a science. Prep, Timing and Touch are all very important for a proper pool plastering job.
Pool plaster is a difficult medium to work with, with hundreds of variables affecting the outcome. It’s one of the few pool repairs which should NOT be a DIY project. Contract with Advanced Pool & Spa, Inc. and you will be pleased with the end result.
Be careful with the start-up procedure and follow pool aftercare to the letter – fill the pool rapidly without stopping, balance the chemistry, brush twice a day, and backwash as needed – and you should never need refer to this blog post. But, if you do find yourself in a disagreement about the condition or appearance of a new plaster coat – I hope that you find this little article helpful.