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'Pool Prep and Surface Protection' from "Pool Coatings: Plaster Finishes" on our Pool School PRO CD,

You've signed the contract and you're spending big bucks to get your pool resurfaced with one of the cement coatings. The pool's been drained and the prep crew, scruffy as they are, has arrived. How can you know if they're doing a proper job ? And, how can you help the surface through the 28 day curing period?

There are twenty four steps that must be completed to insure durability and promote long life in your new surface.

Step 1. The pool should be well-pointed. Failure to properly deal with the water table can result in your pool 'floating.' Even if no water is found under the pool, be sure the well point plug under the main drain cover has been removed, the well point line flushed and demonstrated to be open and free- flowing.

pool plasterStep 2. The pool must be drained completely. Leaving even a small amount of water in the pool during the prep phase results in problems with the surface around the main drain. It's natural for crews working with electric equipment to avoid submerged areas. It's also impossible to properly sound out areas of the pool surface that are underwater. Later, when the pool is acid washed, allowing the acidic water to sit at the main drain 'sours' the existing surface, denying the new surface a proper chemical or mechanical bond.

Step 3. All hollow spots in your existing surface must be chipped away or they will surely cause bigger hollow spots in the new surface. How do you find hollow spots ? We used to use hammers; dragging them across the surface, listening for a change in tone. When we did the first of the three Navy pools, we spent the better part of a week hammering out hollow spots. When I was sure we'd gotten them all, I called for an inspection. The inspector arrived carrying a can of fluorescent orange spray paint and a golf ball. He bounced that ball against every square foot of the 60' X 180', 12' deep pool. When he left, finally, the pool appeared to be on fire. He'd gone through an entire case of spray paint. So, now I use a golf ball. It has the ability to sound out not only hollow spots directly below the surface, but hollow spots in any under-layers and the pool shell. Bounce the ball against the surface. When you hear a sharp 'boink' you're okay. It's the dull 'blunks'they have to dig out.

pool plaster repair4. All fittings and tile lines should be trimmed out at least one inch and the old surface (s) removed down to the concrete shell. This provides a ' footer ' for the new material at the tile lines and fixtures and the fittings won't get buried in the new material. Take special care that the light fits properly before and after recoating.

Step 5. Take a screwdriver and roughly drag it over the old surface. If the surface flakes off more than a half inch on either side of your gouge, you have to sand or wetblast. What's happened is, either the previous surface was applied to a dry wall and the water was sucked out of the new material before it had a chance to set, or chemical imbalances in the pool water pulled all the calcium out of the plaster after the set. No new surface will adhere to a flaky old surface.

pool plaster

Step 6. Also use your screwdriver to probe any ' off color ' wear spots. Soft or 'sour' marcite isn't a good base for a new surface. You can remove smaller soft spots by scraping them with a shovel or chisel, larger areas or totally affected pool surfaces should be blasted.

Step 7. Any black algae should be wire brushed to remove the protective heads and the exposed roots soaked with liquid chlorine. Resembling blotches of tar, black algae can grow roots through six inches of concrete. If you don't kill it now, it'll soon be reappearing in your new surface. Be especially wary of black algae growing around the skimmer, light and in tile grout lines.

We skip to.....

Step 24. Most importantly, never forget that an empty swimming pool is no longer a friendly place to be. A tumble into a drained pool is like falling from your roof onto the driveway. Be sure that all unnecessary doors and gates are locked, especially doors that open to the house, and access is restricted to workmen.

Here, we present 8 important steps to getting a superior surface refinishing job. Our Pool School PRO CD, contains 24 points; 16 additional items that add years to your surface, just so we could tell at a glance who actually read the book.

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