It may be just a matter of appearance, or there could be potentially damaging structural degradation. Whatever the reason, there comes a time in even the best pool’s life when resurfacing may be in order.
Depending on the amount of structural damage bringing pool surfaces back to life may mean one of several options, including replastering, painting or changing the surface altogether. This could mean installing a new vinyl liner, going from plaster to vinyl (or vice-versa) or fiberglassing.
Success in any resurfacing procedure depends strongly on the proper preparation of the surface. This may include the traditional three-step procedure of cleaning the surface with a trisodium phosphate solution, acid washing and a final T5P cleaning, but on heavily damaged plaster, more detailed work like grinding or sandblasting may be required.
Foremost in the minds of resurfacers should be taking precautions against a pool’s “popping” out of the ground because of a high water table in the area.
In fact, the danger of popping causes many professionals to refuse jobs where they fear that the risk outweighs the potential profit. It also puts an emphasis on working with the current pool finish—repairing rather than replacing.
Repairing cracks in plaster pools has gotten a little easier in recent years with the introduction of hydraulic and underwater repair cements, which allow you to do small jobs without draining the pool.
Aqua Creations of Ventura, Calif., has developed a process that uses fiberglass to repair cracks in plastered or previously fiberglassed pools and spas. Richard Dietz of Aqua Creations detailed some of his procedures at a seminar at the recently concluded Western Pool & Spa Show in Long Beach.
Tools needed for this type of procedure include a disk sander, a 4-inch diamond blade grinder, a putty knife, paint rollers and rib rollers.
Materials needed include a bond coat, fiberglass cloth (which Dietz calls “woven roven”), resin putty, polyester gel, a catalyst, masking tape, sandpaper and acetone for cleanup.
The procedure is rather straightforward:
When repairing a crack in an existing fiberglass pool or spa, you should eliminate the second step. Do not open the crack further or Zipper cut.
Fiberglass surfaces are growing in popularity because while they cost 20-to-40 percent more than plaster – they offer longer service life and a generally smoother finish. In addition – according to fiberglass finishers – glass reduces chemical usage and offers a better insulating quality (which may translate to reduced heating costs). Its surface also is less likely to provide a toehold for algae.
But just like any surface, fiberglass also offers certain challenges in the field that service technicians need to address through knowledge an trouble-shooting procedures.
Moisture in the surface at the time of glassing will also cause a delamination problem. This problem can be eliminated by thoroughly drying out cracks and other sources causing moisture.
Again, proper preparation of the surface— grinding, vacuuming, cleaning and bond coating—1s the best way to avoid problems down the line. Dirt, grit or oily film left on the surface will cause delaminarion.
Incomplete coverage of the fiberglass material will cause water absorption through the fibers. You can prevent this by completely wetting out the fiberglass during the lamination process.
Non-pH-stable materials and fillers such as calcium carbonate also have been proven to create delamination problems. Avoiding these materials and using gels that are pH stabilized will eliminate this potential problem.
At the tile line and around all fixtures, care should be taken lo properly cut to a minimum of 3/4″ inch depth with a diamond blade and then seal.
Bubbles in the laminate can be avoided by using proper air release agents in the resins and rib rolling.
Again, use of non-pH-stabilized materials in the glassing process can be a cause of chalking. Using fillers that cannot break down from chemical exposure will eliminate the problem.
Improper mixing and use of the catalyst will also cause chalking. The materials should be thoroughly mixed with an electric mixer or applied with a sprayer.
Care should also be taken to resurface only under ideal weather conditions. Temperature below 60 degrees or above 90 degrees (F) should be avoided, and a canopy over the pool should be used when classing under bright sun. Resurfacers should check the surface for cure with a solvent before refilling the pool. In addition, healers should be used ro warm up resins in cold weather.
Test the surface for a proper cure with acetone before refilling the pool. It may be necessary to raise the wax percentage, regulate the catalyst or hear. the resin to promote curing.
A higher concentration of wax in the finish coat provides a barrier and prevents cobalt from being attacked by the chlorine- The catalyst can also be adjusted depending on weather conditions, and the use of non-corrosive, Isothcdic resins will help combat cobalting.
When installers take all the proper precautions and follow correct procedures, resurfacing or repairing with fiberglass can provide years of life to your pools.
Proper care of the surface on the part of you— the service professional—will only add to your customer’s satisfaction.
Reprinted with permission from The Pool & Spa Service Industry News