Great American

Resurfacing and Leaks

Q. We just signed a contract to have our pool marcited. The rep told us it would solve our leak problem, but now I have doubts.

A. Resurfacing the pool will repair most interior leaks; when a breakdown of the surface is the problem. Sign of an amateur when a pool guy makes a statement, but offers nothing to back it up. If he thinks his material will repair your leak problem, then he must know what the problem is. He should have temporarily plugged the leak to put you at ease.

Worn Fiberglass and Irritation

Q. Kids think the pool is giving them a rash. I ran my hand over the surface and it feels like a bristle brush. It's five year old fiberglass, what gives?

A. At about five years the fiberglass gelcoat begins to dissolve, especially where it gets full sun. The hair you feel are strands of glass that were once protected under gelcoat. It's vital that you move quickly to either repair the gel or cover it with an epoxy paint; pool water will destroy the resin bonding the glass. If you can't find your dealer for warranty, don't forget the most experienced fiberglass repair people are found in boatyards and autobody shops.

Diamond Brite Stain?

Q. I had 'Classic'Diamond Brite put in my pool and there's a three foot dark spot at the bottom of the steps in the shallow end and around the main drain. The contractor wants to drain the pool and acid wash the dark areas. Will this stain be permanent?

A. Diamond Brite is finished with an acid wash which takes the 'haze' off the surface. I'll bet the 'darker spot' is actually where the Diamond Brite is fully visible while the lighter areas still sport the haze. Have the contractor drain the pool but ask him to first try lightly acid washing the lighter areas of the surface.

Water Jets

Q. How do you get the water jets working in the shallow end?

A. If this is an older pool (1960's or early 70's) and the jets are in the seating area, this was a first attempt at the 'spa effect'. There will be a valve on the return line at the equipment that controls them. If the jets are not valved and run constantly, you may need to put smaller eyeballs in the deep- end returns to increase water flow at the shallow end.

Tile Repair

Q. A tile is chipped and I'm worried about one of the kids getting cut. Nobody will come out for one tile and I have no tools.

A. For an emergency repair, you can mix a little 2- part pool putty and carefully form it onto the broken tile. After the putty sets, use a crayon to color the repair.


Q. My pool recently has become infested with some sort of very tiny bugs. They are almost invisible to the naked eye. at first I thought it was an algae. But when you get up close to them the are very definitely bugs. I have shocked the pool, increased the chlorine setting, run the skimmer on high, run the pump 24 hours a day, and nothing stops them.

A. You've come to the right place; whether it's bugs or plants, we can deal with it in Florida.

Have seen two types of such infestations; one is tiny insects that grow to about 1/8" with fins on either side of its body and the other looks and acts like teensy 'fleas'.

I'll assume you're talking about the fleas.

What makes eradicating them tough is the habit they have of clustering on the waterline tile, just out of the water. Can't use a poison on them. Oil based insecticides will eventually do to you what you are trying to do to them.

The bugs go into the water for only a limited time so you've got to hit them hard when they do. Many interpretations for the term 'shock'. Most people don't realize that it takes chlorine readings of 8.0 and above to kill things; anything less only makes them goofy.

Shock your pool with 4 of the 2.5 gallon containers of liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) sold in a pool store or 10 (or more) of the gallon jugs if you buy your chlorine at the home supply store.

All readings will be off the chart for a day or two. Check again in three and hopefully everything will be back to normal, and bug free.

Rebar and Rust Stains

Q. The rebar on my in ground spa is showing through (rusting) and staining the walls. I tried using a primer and also paints the spa but nothing last for very long. I am looking at fiberglassing the spa. Is this a good idea ? Is this something I can do myself ? I am quite handy around the house. Is the idea itself worth pursuing?

A. Rebar (or the wire used to tie rebar intersections) rusts through when it's less than an inch from the surface. If you've got just a few rust spots, I'd consider cutting them out. Takes a concrete cut- off (handheld) saw and hammer & chisel. Dusty, but homeowner do- able. Repair with grey masonry cement and cover with any material you like.

Except fiberglass. One writer pointed out that a major fiberglass installer uses snarling Doberman pinscher dogs as a trademark. Said she didn't appreciate the symbolism until she asked for warranty work.

If you want a surface that will truly (the Romans did it) last forever and something a homeowner could do, I'd tile it. Use 'penny' tile, 4"X4", 1"X 1", doesn't matter. Go slow, in small sections, while you learn the routine. Start with the floor and the leg- high wall. Use thin- set to stick it to the walls, wait a day and use sanded tile grout to grout it in, meld in the fittings. Didn't mention the size of your spa, but $400- $500 should cover all the costs. All procedures are in the book. Sounds like an interesting project.

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