Pool Problems

Plaster and Pebble Finish Issues

The finish coat is the most scrutinized part of a swimming pool, so much so, that a committee was formed several years ago to study the problems.  If you think about it, we are asking a material to bond to concrete, to handle movement, to handle water, and to handle chemicals, all while staying its original color.  These are high expectations for a product to endure.   

Common plaster & pebble finish problems are as follows:

  1. Check cracking – This can occur when the pool takes too long to fill or the finish is installed on a hot, dry, or windy day.  It can also be caused by normal cement shrinkage.
  2. Cracking due to movement – Pool finishes do not have much structural strength, so if movement occurs, pool finishes can crack.  If this causes a leak, we can usually make repairs without draining the pool.
  3. Rough surface – This is typically caused by not brushing the pool on a regular basis or poor water chemistry.  The rough area can usually be sanded to remedy this situation.
  4. Discoloration or staining on surface – Foreign objects on the surface or minerals or metals in water typically cause this problem.  As a rule, light sanding with wet/dry sandpaper will remove the discoloration.  If not, acid washing should take care of the problem.
  5. Discoloration or staining in surface – The staining, streaking, or discoloration of plaster is an entire area of research which has yet to be defined.  It is an area of great debate in the pool industry and is not covered under the warranty.
  6. Whitening of colored plaster or pebble-finish – This is a normal occurrence and is more noticeable on darker finish pools because the white stands out.  It is the calcium leaching out of the product.  Proper water chemistry and brushing the pool are both very important in order to avoid this.  The best solution is probably to drain the pool and lightly acid wash.

Most of the plaster issues that we see are a direct result of poor water chemistry.  (low or high pH, low or high total alkalinity, low calcium hardness, etc.).

If it is necessary to drain your pool, contact your local pool professional prior to doing so.


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