What is this white scratchy stuff on the sides and bottom of my pool?

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Here's a picture of the walls of my pool I just drained:

What is that white stuff?
It's sandy. It's scratchy. It's smaller than sand but pretty prevalent. It's even on the metal ring of the pool light.
Is there a 'chemical' test I can run to identify the culprit?
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On 5/5/2012 5:56 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

Nice pool.
I dunno, but out of curiosity, did you check the hardness regularly before you drained it? I'd be concerned it's the plaster.
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On Sat, 05 May 2012 18:02:01 -0500, gonjah wrote:

Leslies always tells me that the hardness is on the low side.
Here's my last report: 5 ppm Free available chlorine (HIGH, should be 1-4ppm) 5 ppm Total available chlorine (HIGH, should be 0.2 difference) 140 ppm Calcium hardness (LOW, should be 200 to 400 ppm) <== add 28 pounds 4 ounces of Calcium Chloride 55 ppm Cyanuric acid (OK, should be 30 to 99 ppm) 90 ppm Total Alkalinity (OK, should be 80 to 120 ppm) 7.2 pH (OK, should be 7.2 to 7.8) 1 Base Demand (no test results) <== add 1 pound 4 ounces of Soda Ash 0 ppm Copper (OK, should be 0 ppm) 0 ppm Iron (OK, should be 0 ppm) 500 ppm Total dissolved solids (OK, should be less than 2,500) 100 ppb Phosphates (OK, should be below 100 ppb)
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Just another datapoint, whatever this white scratchy stuff is, it's all over the stainless steal light bezels ... so it's some kind of 'coating'...
If I opt to acid wash, do I leave the light bezels in the pool? http://picturepush.com/public/8211506
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Why don't you just ask some neighbors, friends, etc and find a decent pool company to come out and have a look? In some cases, being onsite and having years of experience is worth it. Especially before you screw up a major investment like a pool. Also, they may be familiar with particular problems in that area due to the specifics of the water, specific pool construction materials, etc. The $125 or $250 for a couple of evaluations could be the best money you ever spend.
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Bad news!
I may have ruined a small section of the wall of my pool (I'm not sure).
I first chipped off the encrusted (calcium?) sandpaper coating off the stainless steel bezel as shown below:

Then I dropped it into the clear 29% muriatic acid - it immediately bubbled and turned yellow:

Assuming therefore the sandpapery coating was calcium, I ran a 5:1 test on a small section of wall for about 30 seconds:

The results were smooth - but - gray (and definitely not blue!

Is this what is 'supposed' to happen?
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On 5/8/2012 10:03 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

The third one looks surreal.
--
X-No-Archive: Yes


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...
Nope. Was it 2 days ago I said you should put the water back in the pool?
You're not going to see any white stuff when the pool is full.
--
Dan Espen

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On 5/8/2012 10:55 PM, Dan Espen wrote:

Ditto. Save up for a re-plaster but until then enjoy the pool.
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On 5/8/2012 8:03 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

i told you yesterday pools are shot gunite (gray) with a very thin skim layer of plaster (usually white) on top.
that could be either paint under the white film, or you ate all the plaster off and are into the gunite.
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On Wed, 09 May 2012 08:29:11 -0700, chaniarts wrote:

It's not gray paint - it's gray stuff. So I must have eaten all the plaster away. Wow. That 29% (1:3 or so diluted) muriatic acid is strong!
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On Wed, 09 May 2012 16:07:44 -0700, SMS wrote:

Thanks for sticking with me.
The pool is only ten years old so it probably has never been replastered or repainted.
I'm still so confused WHAT my pool is made out of.
What I see are three things: a) Gray stuff, smooth, and in the small pits are mica crystals b) Blue stuff, maybe it's paint ... maybe it's copper coatings from the (dark blue) algaecide. Whatever it is, it's paper thin. c) White sandy stuff ... this is probably calcium since it bubbled greatly in the acid
The wierd thing is I don't see plaster anywhere (if plaster is defined as white stuff). A) Maybe the gray is the plaster? Or is it the gunnite itself? It seems to be smooth to the edge of the tile whereas I expected a half inch of plaster before hitting gunnite. B) Maybe the blue is paint? Or is it a copper coating? I can't flake it off, it's that thin. C) The white is probably calcium as it scrapes off relatively easily. Maybe it's dead algae but it bubbles in hydrocloric acid.
I think I'll open a separate thread, and add a pool-related newsgroup (dunno any offhand though) as to what the pool is made out of.
Here are some closeups ...
1. This is the white sandy coating that bubbles in acid:

2. This is the blue thin coating (either paint or copper deposits?)

3. And this is the gray underneath all that:

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On Tue, 08 May 2012 09:17:52 -0700, Oren wrote:

I'm pretty sure it's calcium-something. Today I will drop a chunk into 29% muriatic acid (with glasses). I'll see if it bubbles.
I'm not sure 'what' that tells me if it does - but someone suggested it somewhere so that's what I'll do and report back.
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On Sat, 05 May 2012 18:02:01 -0500, gonjah wrote:

Leslies always tells me that the hardness is on the low side.
Here's my last report: 5 ppm Free available chlorine (HIGH, should be 1-4ppm) 5 ppm Total available chlorine (HIGH, should be 0.2 difference) 140 ppm Calcium hardness (LOW, should be 200 to 400 ppm) <== add 28 pounds 4 ounces of Calcium Chloride 55 ppm Cyanuric acid (OK, should be 30 to 99 ppm) 90 ppm Total Alkalinity (OK, should be 80 to 120 ppm) 7.2 pH (OK, should be 7.2 to 7.8) 1 Base Demand (no test results) <== add 1 pound 4 ounces of Soda Ash 0 ppm Copper (OK, should be 0 ppm) 0 ppm Iron (OK, should be 0 ppm) 500 ppm Total dissolved solids (OK, should be less than 2,500) 100 ppb Phosphates (OK, should be below 100 ppb)
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On 5/5/2012 6:33 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

How long has it been that low? Hard to tell but it looks like the plaster might be in poor condition. Might be the residue. But it's just a guess. If the water lacks hardness it will leach it out of your plaster. Or so I'm told.

I try to keep my phosphates at zero.
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On Sat, 05 May 2012 18:41:19 -0500, gonjah wrote:

I don't know. It's normally OK (last summer) but it was left alone all winter so it turned green so I drained it.
Do you think I should wash it with vinegar?
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On 5/5/2012 7:02 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

I dunno. I'll have to reserve comment. Someone with more experience will chime in eventually.
Maybe if you take a sample to the pool store they will know for sure what it is and how to clean your pool. Is the plaster rough like rough sandpaper?
Jim
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On Sat, 05 May 2012 19:10:55 -0500, gonjah wrote:

Yes. Just like sandpaper. I'm assuming it could be calcium deposits but I have no idea if that 'is' what it is.
Is there a chemical test?
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On 5/6/2012 12:02 AM, Arklin K. wrote:

Nah. What ya got is pitted plaster because the water has leached out the calcium. It leaves the plaster rough like that. My pool is the same way. Previous owners didn't take care of the pool at all. The only cure I know of is a new plaster job. On a pool the size of yours it's probably going to be expensive too. Right now might be a good time to get estimates because there are a lot of contractors looking for work. That's what I ascertained from your info and the picture at least. I don't know how to clean it up. I guess it depends on if you want to leave it in the condition it's in.
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On Sun, 06 May 2012 00:14:30 -0500, gonjah wrote:

Interesting. It 'could' be that as it was a foreclosure. And, the pool is big (I'm not sure how you figured that out since the picture showed only about 3/4 of it as the rest still has water I'm pumping out).

The water doesn't seem to be too high in Calcium - if anything, I have to constantly add calcium according to Leslies.
So, maybe it 'is' pitted. I wish there was a test. I tried some vinegar today but I wasn't sure if it worked or not.

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