Swimming Pool Resurfacing Options

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Established 1999

Swimming Pool Resurfacing Options

Originally, the material used to build the swimming pool (gunite, concrete, block, wood) was brand new and had not yet been exposed to ground water or the natural aging process. Plaster is an ideal material when the surface is new, but it does deteriorate over time. Typical life expectancy of the original plaster (marcite) is 15 to 20 years, although it does begin to look somewhat seedy after 15 years.

Swimming pool plaster deterioration is caused by numerous factors:

  • Ground water

  • Improper chemical usage

  • Algae

  • Damage caused by improper use of muriatic acid

  • Erosion beneath or adjacent to the pool

  • Neglect

Ground Water is Your Swimming Pool's Worst Enemy!

Ground water is a swimming pools worst enemy. Lots of homeowners have recognized this problem and attempted to deal with it by caulking the expansion joint between the coping and the deck. Unfortunately, this is only a partial solution because the water comes in under the deck and attacks the wall anyway.

Keep in mind, the deck around the pool is only 4 inches thick. By caulking the expansion joint you can only protect the top 4 inches of the pool wall where the tile is located. The rest of the entire pool shell is constantly exposed to ground water.

This is the cause of plaster pop-offs and cracks. Ground water works its way through the wall and attacks the plaster from behind. This process takes about 15 years under normal conditions because the wall (the first 3 1/2' down from the top) is 12" thick. The bottom however is only 8" thick, so the cracks and pop-offs usually appear sooner on the steps and the bottom. These dimensions apply to almost all pools built since 1965.

If there is a hill sloping down to the pool, the bulk of the damage to the tiles and plaster will be to the wall on that side, even before any damage to the bottom. This is known as a gravitational flow of underground water.

Another enemy of swimming pools is hydrostatic pressure. Rain water, which cannot harm swimming pools, mixes with the chemicals of the earth and becomes groundwater. This groundwater moves underground, due to hydrostatic pressure, until it meets a solid object, your swimming pool. What was originally rainwater, which could do a pool no harm, has now been enriched by the chemical compounds of the earth and has become your pools worst enemy: groundwater.

Another common problem is underground springs. The spring erodes the earth supporting the pool until the water reaches the bottom of the pool. The ground water then works its way through the 8" bottom and the cracks begin to appear far more rapidly than normal.

What Is The Best Option for Resurfacing Older Swimming Pools?

There are two other solutions available to pool owners besides the UGlassIt Resurfacing System. None of these other solutions are "do-it-yourself" and both are costly. Nevertheless, in addition to the UGlassIt Resurfacing System, each of the following are viable options which we can recommend:

  1. quartz exposed aggregate

  2. marble exposed aggregate

There is an excellent article in the Orlando (FL) Sentinel which explains these resurfacing systems which  you can read by clicking here.

What Is Not a Viable Option for Swimming Pool Refinishing?

Pool paint which is rubber based is not a viable solution because is will only last a few years before it peels and needs to be done again. Years ago paint was a better solution because it was lead based and lasted for up to ten years. Due to environmental concerns, lead based paint is no longer manufactured.

Epoxy paint is not a viable solution because it will begin to crack and blister within three years and must be done again. This presents serious problems because the hard surface is almost impossible to remove.

Epoxy paint is now being sold on the internet under different names. Paint by any name is still paint and everyone should understand that painting a swimming pool is not resurfacing a swimming pool. Buyer beware.

Plaster also known as "marcite" is not a good choice for resurfacing. The ground water has had ample time to leech through the sand in the gunite or concrete by the time you're considering resurfacing.

Re-plastering requires sandblasting to remove the old plaster, then the application of a new coat of plaster. Since the ground water has already reached the inside of the pool wall, it can immediately attack the new plaster from behind.

This is why the plaster contractor will only guarantee the work for one year, except in California, where the State mandates a three year guarantee. Keep in mind that when the swimming pool was brand new, the plaster guarantee was ten years no matter what State your reside in. If you're considering marcite, be sure to inquire about the guarantee.

Consumer Awareness

Obviously, we are in the fiberglass resurfacing business, but our management team believes that consumers should have the option to learn about all the available choices. We hope this information proves helpful in your quest to determine which option best meets your needs.

Still have questions? Don't hesitate to call.

Toll Free: 800-676-8528

pool resurfacing,fiberglass resurfacing,do it yourself,swimming pools
Pool Resurfacing, Inc.
607 Louis Drive Suite I
Feasterville-Trevose, PA
19053-7855

Toll Free: 800-676-8528
215-355-5305

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Page last updated on Friday, June 21, 2013