Frequently Asked Questions
Although most companies don’t discount during the “off-season” because costs don’t change, you will find better scheduling available.
So, when a client requests just a new pool surface, the industry refers to that as pool resurfacing or replastering. A complete remodel would usually include, at least, tile and coping.
The price to replaster a pool depends on two main factors; the size of the pool and the type of finish selected. The interior surface of a pool and spa is the part that, typically, wears out the fastest depending on the surface material. Some materials, such as plaster, will last an average of 8 to 10 years while aggregate finishes can last up to about 25 years and come with a more expensive price tag. A typical pool can range from $4,500 up to $12,000 depending. Our average cost is $15,000 to remodel a pool because we perform hundreds of simple replasters all the way to much larger projects at $25,000 and higher.
The only way to properly repair a rust spot is to chip into the pool shell around the rust spot, bend the rebar or remove and/or wire into its proper place, spray with Rustoleum or similar product to prevent further rusting and patch. Unfortunately, finding one rust spot does not mean that other spots won’t appear a month or year later. There is no way to tell except for those currently visible with surface staining.
Acid washing an existing pool surface is usually performed to remove or lessen stains. This is a less expensive alternative to replastering the pool. The problem is that acid (which is Muriatic Acid) can shorten the life of plaster finishes. It does not, however, harm a quart or pebble aggregate finish. Depending on the severity of the staining, an acid wash can be performed in-water. In other words, the pool does not need to be drained – the acid is added to the water and will perform a good cleaning. It is very important that the homeowner not swim in the pool until the acid has been neutralized and the chemicals rebalanced.
Acid washing is a necessary step for the application of a new finish of several types; aggregate, glass and Hydrazzo. It is used to clean the surface haze or cement residue off of a newly plastered pool. This is the final step prior to filling the pool with water.
For example, if a homeowner plans to sell their home within a few years, “best” may not mean to spend a lot of money on the pool finish looking for 25 years of longevity. Although this may not be the “best” option for the new home buyer, it may be best for the current owner’s budget. If the homeowner plans to be in the home for many years, then a more expensive option can be less expensive, in the long term, since the pool may not need remodeling for the lifetime of home ownership. A secondary consideration is change in style. It may be that the homeowner feels that styles change and will want to remodel the pool down the road for a new look. In that case, the “best” pool finish may not be the longest lasting or most expensive.
How the pool is used may determine how textured a finish is preferred. For example, a larger aggregate size may be a little rough for small children, chaffing feet and hands. A smaller rock may be better or a non-aggregate finish which is typically smoother.
If the pool is not being used by young children or, in general, not a consideration, then the next question would be what the required look of the pool is preferred. Does the homeowner wish a strong, vibrant water color to make the pool pop and become the focal point of the backyard or wish to pool to blend in with the current landscaping because there is already a focal point? Or, perhaps, there is a water feature that is dominant, such as a rock formation, and the pool surface should be secondary.
All of the questions must be considered before recommending the “best” pool finish.
It is difficult to compare in-ground spas(gunite) and above-ground (fiberglass) spas even though the, basically, perform the same function.
There are pros and cons to both.
An in-ground spa becomes a part of the property and will be a consideration when the property is appraised in preparation for sale. An above-ground spa will not, but it also can be transported to a new home, if wished.
An above ground spa, typically, offers more jet action (30 to 70 jets) than an in-ground spa (5 to 15 jets) and more contoured seating. However, it will not match the look of the pool, where an in-ground spa can match all the major elements of a gunite spa including the surface finish, tile and coping. The aboveground spa will look more like what it is – an additional piece of equipment sitting in the back or sideyard.
In above-ground or portable spa will cost, on average, between $2,000 to $12,000 while an in-ground spa starts at around $15,000 although can be more cost effective if added at time of the pool construction. An above-ground spa will cost a little less to run than in-ground, but usually not enough of a difference to merit a strong decision-making factor.
Above-ground spas usually have a cover lifter option that allow one person to place and remove the spa cover. This is not usually an easy option for in-ground spa although there are such products.
In summary, there are several points to consider when making a decision from aesthetics to cost to usage. There is not right answer for everyone.
No. Ceramic tile, which is usually used in kitchens, bathrooms and other interior applications, will slowly disintegrate in a pool due to the water chemistry. Natural stone, manufactured stone and porcelain tiles are used in pools. Porcelain tiles are fired during manufacturing at a much higher heat and longer than ceramic and, therefore, is denser and can withstand the constant contact with pool chemicals.
While paint is much less expensive and can be done by an ambitious DIYer homeowner, it is only a short term solution.
Most average sized pools can be prepared in a single day.
Depending on what other work is being performed, determines the length of time it will take to complete the remodel. If the client elects to save existing tile, then the entire job, including a required 3-day start-up to clean the filter, brush the pool interior surface and add and balance the chemicals, will take about 1-1/2 weeks. If new tile is being installed, about 2 weeks.
When adding dye to pool plasters a certain amount of mottling will occur. This has nothing to do with the application, necessarily; it is the nature of the product and how it is impacted by curing times, how much dye is added and weather conditions during the application. Mottling can range from light to very severe and is not predictable from pool to pool While most finishes mottle, except Hydrazzo, it is far less apparent in a pebble finish.
Therefore, Quartz lasts about twice as long as plaster, about 15 years on average, and is for the homeowner planning on staying in the home that long or more, is usually a good investment. The longevity doubles, but the cost is only about 50% more.
A smaller aggregate may be a better option where it can provide the strong vibrant colors wishes, good traction, superior longevity and yet be less rough on the skin.
Always consider the potential usage of the pool when making a decision.
Quality pebble finishes, such as Pebble Tec, can last 25 years and more. Although you may pay a higher price for this superior finish, if you plan to stay in the home long-term, it pencils out to be a much better investment and will save money.
Pebble Tec products have additives for a more durable and uniform finish.
In addition, Pebble Tec uses naturally tumbled stones. Many competitors machine crush the stones and this leads to sharp edges which can snag bathing suits or cut skin.
Finally, Pebble Tec screens the pebbles three different times in order to produce the most consistent pebble size possible for consistency. If you prefer a smaller pebble, for example, Pebble Tec’s product called Pebble Sheen will be within an acceptable range of size throughout the finish between 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 mm size.
Pool owners are fortunate these days to have so many choices in pool finishes and colors. Adding a finish to a pool has become a designer consideration and, in some cases, can actually be custom-colored to match whatever the client desires. This is far different than not too many years ago.
Let’s take a look at some of the many of the pool finishes available today.
Usually, during daylight hours, this is not very unnoticeable. However, at night pool lights shining across the pool floor highlights minor imperfections. This is usual and customary.
This is why, sometimes, it is recommended to raise pool lights further from the surface if they installed too deep. The optimal level for a pool light is 18″ below the pool surface.
Another point to remember is to never, no matter what, stop the water filling a pool at any point except when the level has reached halfway up the tile line. If the water is stopped and started, this may leave a very large and noticeable ring around the pool finish which cannot be removed. Most contracts will clearly state this potential issue and that this mistake will void warranties.
This is much less likely in a pool, since the drains are deeper under water, but it is still possible.
When splitting a drain, either two drains on the floor of the spa or one on the floor and one on the wall, the risk of getting stuck is virtually eliminated. If a person were to get too close to the cover and momentarily be “stuck”, the other drain would simply take over, releasing the person.
Even though it is not law, It is our company policy to split spa drains and as a safety precaution. This is to protect you and your family from potential injury.
Pool and spa lights, once installed, are not designed to be out of water. The gaskets crack and the light will probably no longer function once the pool is refilled with water. That is why we always recommend replacing lights. Although a gasket can be replaced most remodelers will not perform this because there is no way of knowing how long the light may last even after this repair.
Many remodeling companies have struggled with this issue and have tried alternatives to save the existing light, such as placing the light in a water-filled bucket on top of the coping. The problem has been shown that this then becomes a trip hazard and potentially more expensive than simply replacing the light, no to mention to possible bodily harm which may occur.
Those in “hard water” areas of the U.S. know what’s it’s like to have gritty scale from water hardness at the bottom of a swimming pool. So the idea of filling swimming pools and hot tubs with soft water sounds great.
Water described as “hard” usually has a high mineral content—generally calcium and magnesium. As more and more of these minerals dissolve in water, the mineral content levels increase, making the water harder. Excessively hard water can leave a coating of white, gray, or brownish deposits on pool walls and floor.
When pool water is too hard, a chelating agent can be added to render the calcium inactive and make the water “softer”. The agent actually bonds with the calcium ion, keeping it in solution and preventing it from plating out as scale (calcium carbonate).
“[Scale] is a combination of carbonate ions and calcium ions. “Hard” water can have high levels of calcium and magnesium. If these levels are too high, the water becomes saturated and will throw off excess particles (scale) out of solution which then seek to deposit themselves on almost any surface inside the pool. They can be attracted to ladders, lights and deposit themselves as very small crystalline clumps – all over the pool surfaces. Calcium Carbonate scale shows up as a “white-ish,” crystallized rough nodule.” (PoolCenter.com)
Yes, hard water can cause grief—so if you have a home water softener (and especially convenient if you’ve had a soft water exterior hose bib added) soft may seem like the obvious solutions. But hold on…
Soft Water Must be—Harder!
In the home, there are many benefits of soft water—from spot-free dishes to brighter laundry. But in a pool, some calcium hardness is a necessity.
The trouble in filling a swimming pool with softened water is that “soft water” may seek to balance itself by leeching calcium directly from pool walls—causing the pool’s plaster or tile grout to dissolve, corrode and eventually crumble. And anyone who’s had a pool replastered knows that it’s a huge expense.
“If the Calcium Hardness levels are too low, the water is under-saturated…[and] will become aggressive as it attempts to obtain the calcium it needs. Such “soft-water” will actually corrode surfaces inside the pool which contain calcium (like pool plaster) and other minerals to maintain its hardness demand.”
In addition, everything metal in the pool area such as heaters and railings can also gradually corrode from the soft water. This problem can be exacerbated if a pool owner allows the pool’s pH level to plummet and stay low for an extended period of time.
So while swimming in soft water may feel great, the soft water can greatly damage the pool.
Those who have successfully maintained pools with soft water generally increase their water hardness by adding calcium chloride or calcium chloride dehydrate found at pool supply store. Basically, all that wonderful soft water is now harder.
So, what is the right solution? Regular Water Testing is the Key