Tip #41: Removing Calcium from Tile
Water is naturally hungry for Calcium and when the calcium level drops below around 120 ppm (pH, alkalinity, water temperature and total dissolved solids are also factors) for long periods of time, pool water will pull Calcium out of the weakest cement available. Tile grout is the most common source of easy Calcium but really hungry water can pull Calcium out of acrylic plasters like Diamond Brite.
In this old commercial pool built when DisneyWorld opened, the weakest cement was simple masonry cement holding pavers to the top of the coping.
Amazingly enough, Calcium was drawn out of this cement without actually making contact with the water.
Calcium build-up was roughly 1/4" thick and up to 3" wide, much too heavy for a simple chemical eradication.
Fortunately, this was a glazed tile and Calcium could not penetrate the glass surface as it would on a terra cotta or other unglazed tile.
Sharpened 1" wide wood chisels were used to scrape and hammer (carefully) away the bulk of the Calcium. Muriatic acid dissolved what was left. It's important to remember that a glazed tile surface is identical to glass and permanent scratches and cracks will result from rough treatment.
Tip #42: Pool Contractor Blues
Windage is always a problem on the days you plaster a commercial pool. Powder from mixing cement can carry dozens of yards and leave a permanent dusting on buildings, fences, windows and, because you're usually working from a parking area, especially automobiles.
Whether you're dealing with a condo, apartment or motel pool, you've got to deal with the residents.
You can leave cones, saw horses and surveyors tape to block off a section of the parking lot and some special residents to whom the rules never apply will decide that this blockage is a parking opportunity for them. They'll move your cones and park just exactly where they shouldn't park. And despite your best efforts, you, as the contractor are responsible for any damage to their car windows or paint job.
It's always wise to have a bucket of soapy water and a clean sponge on hand, but the easiest way to avoid discoloring cars is to cover them in plastic sheeting. Wet the car first, lay visqueen over the car and then wet the plastic sheeting and you'll have a temporary bond that will hold up under a medium breeze. Heavier winds may require weighted objects to hold the visqueen in place.
It may cost around $100 (US) for a 100' roll of 20' wide visqueen protect these vehicles but it's cheaper than repainting one or more of them.
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