THE FIBERGLASS STORY
It is important for the consumer to understand that fiberglass resurfacing is an evolving technology that has been used in the swimming pool industry for over 30 years. Many companies have chosen the simplistic approach to preparation and application of fiberglass linings. An example is that most fiberglass resurfacers roll on their materials – resin and fiberglass mat – with paint rollers. Their primary coat is a pigment filled resin matted to the pool surface and then covered with fiberglass. Many go on to sand the laminate and roll on a pigmented finish coat. This was standard practice for many years with varying degrees of success.
The problem with most applications was: poor preparation techniques; failure of the bond between the old surface and the new fiberglass; and, an improperly cured finish.
THE AQUA CREATIONS DIFFERENCE
Aqua Creations has addressed those issues by a more comprehensive approach to preparation. We begin by laminating a pool only after disk grinding the surface and preparation of all loose or hollow plaster areas. (Most companies glass right over loose and hollow areas!) The technology breakthrough that we put to use in 1994 was bonding barrier coating. The bond coat consists of an unfilled non-pigmented vinyl ester barrier coat that is applied directly to the substrate. Our experience has demonstrated, that a polyester or vinyl ester resin has the greatest bonding capabilities when applied in it’s purest form. This bonding gives the best chemical adhesion to the substrate, and the bonding barrier coat is chemically compatible with the Aqua-Glass™ laminating coat. We at Aqua Creations believe there are no shortcuts to providing the most durable, longest lasting pool surface the industry has to offer.
Advanced technology incorporates the use of fiberglass chopper guns. The benefit of gun laminations is that we can apply about 30% more material, which adds structural strength to the laminate. Conversely, hand laminations are limited by the thickness of the fiberglass mat which is usually 3/4 or 1 oz mat per foot. Gun fiberglassing is not limited to such thin laminations. The thicker finish coat we achieve with gun lamination provides a superior water tight barrier. If you wanted an attractive, silky smooth finish on a car, you would certainly not use a paint roller! The chopper guns we use are the latest and best designed machines available. The guns have a reservoir for the catalyst and a pump which regulates the exact catalyst-to-resin ratio to guarantee the best cured laminates. A hand mixed catalyst will vary from mix to mix, causing an unevenly cured surface.
HIGHLY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS
Chopper gun laminations require the initial expense of the equipment and the training needed to operate it properly. A stable work force is absolutely essential for superior gun laminations. If a company has a lot of turnover in manpower, it is easier for them to hand a laborer a bucket and paint roller so that they can begin laminating with very little training. Aqua Creations is a swimming pool contractor, licensed to do all aspects of pool renovations – coping, tile, equipment and deck work. We do not need subcontractors for any aspect of our work; all of our employees are covered by our insurance. When a contractor’s license is limited to coatings only, then subcontractors are needed and their material suppliers, licenses and insurance must be checked, or you may become liable, as the property owner.
DEVELOPERS OF THE SIX-STAGE APPLICATION STANDARD
Aqua Creations is the exclusive installer of Aqua-Glass/fiberglass coatings. Inferior lamination work is being done when fiberglass installers do not have an understanding of the matrix of the polymer composite that is being used. The successful fiberglass surface is contingent upon many things, first of which is a properly prepared surface. The area of expertise which separates our technology from others, is understanding the influence of environmental factors and making adjustments in our formula and installations. It is important to note that testing of fiberglass laminates is done in a highly controlled, regulated environment at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Any variation from that temperature requires adjustments that most installers do not begin to understand. For example, our research and field testing has determined that polyester coatings with fiberglass lamination should be done in an ambient air temperature between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit (75-85 degrees is ideal). Temperatures too hot or too cold inhibit the proper cure of the laminate which will shorten the life expectancy of the fiberglass surface. We know of no other organization that has the facilities, resources or the knowledge for developing fiberglass coatings. All of our materials are pH stable, mixed to a high shear consistency, and tested for cure upon completion.
To make sure you are getting the “apples-to-apples” quote for your project, make sure the contractor provides the specifications for the materials and application system.
BREAKING THE COLOR BARRIER
Aqua Creations is technologically advanced in obtaining uniformity in custom colors. Custom colors are not usually offered because of what is termed as “fading” problems. Here again, we see others as having a lack of understanding on how ambient air temperature and surface temperature come into play. Dark colors tend to dry too quickly in hot weather and, therefore, have the potential to not fully cure. Also, since the surface has variations in temperature between the deep end and shallow ends, or the walls and the floor during cure time, it may cause the surface to dry lighter or darker in different areas of the pool. It is important to adjust the surfacing agent, catalyst ratio, and control the surface temperature of the pool to make sure the laminate is fully cured. A solidly cured dark color will be very hard and almost fully uniform in color.
Aqua Creations is the only award winning fiberglass resurfacing company in California, receiving awards for best alternative pool surfaces at the 1996 through 2008 Western Pool and Spa Show. There is no question that we have the best available technology in pool fiberglass resurfacing. We are very proud to have gained the confidence of the pool industry itself – we are recommended by many of the most respected people in the service industry, pool stores, contractors as well has our thousands of satisfied customers.
Click here to see some of our “work in process” photos.