I might try replasting our gunite pool myself. The cost of raw materials
for plaster is about the same as raw materials for high quality pool paint.
If I do an imperfect job at plaster, I figure will still be superior to a
good paint job. I found the following how-to guides. Amazingly there is
not a single book written on this subject (at least when I searched Amazon).
Are there any other good resources I should look at besides these links?
http://sgm.cc/html/productorderpage.html (install guide video on CD)
Permit me to alert you to something before you start.
I drained my 20' X 40' gunite a few years ago to make some repairs.
Well, it was July and I didn't move very fast to do the work.
In a matter of just a few days I had a number of "bubbles" that were 18" or
more in diameter.
If any pressure was applied to them they would break up.
Ended up getting PebbleTec ($$$).
In short, gunite has to be repaired within a day or two and filled with
water to avoid my problems.
Check with Dolphin or Leslie's before you drain.
Good luck to you.
Dick in Dallas
Were the bubbles from the plaster layer? I've had the pool drained for a
couple weeks so far and the gunite seems to be holding up pretty well. I
need to peel off any of the loose plaster anyway. The plaster is so old, I
don't think ours has been replastered for 30 years, so whatever could wear
off has pretty much worn off by now. The rest needs a chisel.
Yes...bubbles were from the plaster layer.
Some were about 36" or more in diameter.
I didn't trust myself enough to replaster all the bad areas.
Plus the "cool crete" decking was screwed up.
Except for financially, I'm glad I let the professionals do the job.
I called a major pool plaster manufacturer to ask where I can buy the
plaster aggregate, and they got curious what kind of project I'm working on.
I explained that I'm going to replaster the pool as a DIY job with a friend
who professionally builds pools (just the two of us). Basically, it sounded
like he thought I'd be crazy to try it. He said I'd need at least a team of
5 people. You would've thought I asked him about performing brain surgery
on his dog with no experience.
Ok maybe plastering is challenging, but I doubt it's THAT hard. I have the
feeling that a certain amount of this attitude is to protect the industry
profitability in this secretive trade. I can't even figure out where to buy
plain white pool plaster. With the contracting industry in decline after
the housing crash the plasterers are probably guarding their methods and
materials even closer.
On Thu, 18 Jun 2009 18:00:48 -0700, "scorpionleather"
Richard said it in fewer words: http://www.truetex.com/pool.htm
They said it "couldn't be done".
They said it was a job for "professionals only".
They refused to sell me the "tools of the trade".
They said only licensed contractors are allowed to buy "that kind of
But I had the Web.
I had Lowe's. I had Home Depot.
I had a wife and eight children to conscript.
I took the ultimate do-it-yourselfer's challenge.
My challenge now is to find a source of pool plaster.
I tried Diamond Brite. They are keeping their product restricted to the
trade inner circle.
The stuff that Richard used isn't being manufactured anymore. I sent an
email to Quikrete. They kindly responded, "The Quik Wall Surface Bonding
Cement is a qualified substitution for the Pool Finish."
However Richard says that Quik Wall may give a hairy surface since it has
glass fibers in it. Would that make much difference?
Is there another source for pool plaster that doesn't restrict their product
like plutonium or the secret formula to Coca Cola?
My friend (the pool builder) stopped by today to actually take a look at the
pool in person. He said I should use epoxy paint and that would be best
after taking my budget into account. The pool is worn all the way down to
the gunite showing through and the epoxy will help to seal it water tight
including the hairline cracks. He was more concerned about some larger
cracks which I'm going to fill with Vulkem 116. It turns out that I can buy
all the raw materials through him, whether I need plaster or paint etc.
It's just interesting that the general public can't get pool plaster powder,
except for the really expensive pool patch material in small containers.
Yes, mostly because he was concerned about the cracks and he felt that if I
replastered without doing structural fixes about the soil settling
(basically rebuild the entire pool) then I'd be wasting a whole lot of money
on a costly replastering job since the pool is so big (if I had the money in
the first place). So as a band-aid until the whole structural things can be
addressed, my best bet would be epoxy which seals pretty well. This just
adds to my back-and-forth confusion between plaster and epoxy but I trust
his opinion because he looked at my pool in person and he's building several
of them in my same neighborhood.
You should be careful about choosing pool paint. Research it first.
I purchased pool paint and applied it last summer and its already
peeling off and wearing thin like crazy! I wasted $500 ON THE BEST
POOL PAINT AVAILABLE, and MY TIME. I pressure washed it and sanded it
down first. What a waste. My pool is 93' in perimeter and the spa is
25'. Now im considering Pebble Tec or Wet Edge Aggregate. My best
quote is $7200 with a 20 year guarantee. Some want more $ to remove
the paint! Yes, it's lots of money, especially when I think about how
much we use it. Thats why im trying to find out if its possible to do
myself. But looks like a big undertaking; see video of just plain
plaster application :
I wonder how much the actual product is to purchase; that why I can
see how much their beating me out on the actual labor. If the product
is over $2500 then I think their offer is fair. It is a skilled job
and allot of work!
For my 16 x 32, 40K gallon pool (13 feet deep at the deep end) the
Pebbletec was $12,000, versus $8000 for plaster. This is in Northern
California where prices are much higher than places like Florida. The
$12K also included new tile (not the cheapest choice), Connecticut Blue
stone coping, plumbing, electrical, skimmer, ladder, and filter (but
the existing pump). I think the existing plaster was original, about 20
I got several bids for the refurbishment, but all of them used the same
company to apply the Pebbletec. I went with the company that was the
1. For the first few months you'll find some pebbles in the pool, ones
that didn't get set into the cement.
2. Some people complain that the pebble surface hurts their feet.
3. After five years I notice that the color isn't consistent across the
whole pool, i.e. the color seems to be fading at different rates.
1. The surface is lower maintenance than plain plaster.
2. It's supposed to last longer than plain plaster, but it's too soon to
3. The appearance is much nicer than plain plaster.
4. The pool vac (Dolphin) can climb further up the walls.
My pool is only 11K gallons and 4 feet deep in the center (old folks
pool - perfect for two people). The pool only needs a finish, so I
opened my mind to the pebbletec finish. Perhaps a new finish and new
waterline tile is all I need. No coping, because it is a Kool Deck. A
12 year old pool.
Reading about this pool finish, the "artisans" are trained, certified,
and have continuing education.
Right now my sweeper is picking up fine pieces of plaster as the pool
has damages (looks like white sand dollars) on the bottom. One place
has rust from a re-bar that seems to have wicked through the plaster.
Is this a light color? Teal vs. Blue. I'm in the desert, so with the
UV and a shallow pool I think is may make a difference.
My sweeper has the pads on the bottom - not sure if they would wear
down faster, but that's another day.
I appreciate your comments.
See some photos of the whole thing at "http://nordicgroup.us/pool /"
The color we chose was black I think, but it looks very blue.
Artisans with continuing education huh? The guys did a good job, but I
don't think they were educated artisans, just hard-working amigos.
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