I will talk about finding the right company at the end.
The remodel process,
Pumping the pool, the company that you chooses will need to inspect your site.
Is there ground water
Has the chlorine been neutralized before pumping
* The company should not use your pool pump to pump the pool
they should use their pump(s) to empty the pool.
Pumping the pool, believe it or not people do make cement boats and your cement pool will float like a boat. When the pool is pumped unless you are on a hill, holes should be drilled into the pool shell to see if there is ground water below the pool. We will drill 2 or more hole until we can remove the main drain plug to make sure that the ground water is low enough to avoid floating the pool (6 foot deep no more than 2 feet). I like to leave the pool empty for about a week, this will cause the bad plaster to hollow.
Finding hollow plaster, use a wood or metal stick, like a paint roller stick and slide one end of the pole on the floor and walls.
Where the plaster is hollow it will sound different.
Remove hollow plaster, the plaster should be chipped out with a chipping hammer.
The holes that are caused by the hollow plaster being removed may need to be filled
with plaster. This up to the companies plaster because it is a finishing issue.
Grinding, The wall returns will need to be ground around to allow the new plaster behind the fitting along with about 1-foot ring so the taper back is less noticeable. The main drain my need to ground around if a new drain cover is not installed. IF you are not installing new water line tile. The contractor will have to grind along the bottom of the tile to allow the plaster to be thick enough and to bond to the tile. Here is one place the tile will not look like your house. Plaster will be puffy along the tile, this helps with the water tight seal. Remember that tile to plaster connection is under water and will not be as obvious underwater.
Sandblasting, sometimes the plaster has failed from poor chemical balance. The best way to tell if your pool my need to be sandblasted is when the plaster is soft. Try to scratch the plaster with a screwdriver, if the screwdriver digs into the plaster the plaster is too soft. If you were to plaster over this plaster without removing the failed plaster you will not get the full live from the new plaster.
Returns and Drain Covers, if available the contractor should replace these items especially the main drain(s) covers to ensure they are VGB Virginia Graham Baker compliant drain covers. Floor returns as part of a pool remodel are not replaced.
Bond Coating, I have run across several companies that do not bond coat their pools.
The only reason I can think of is to cut cost. An average pool cost around $300 in materials and 1 man’s days wage. I don’t believe in doing a job if you can’t do it right. The Bond Coat is very important in keeping the plaster product you choose from delamination later on, usable after your warranty has passed if there is one.
Tile, Water Line and Step Tile, If it was my choice on water line tile being used over or being replaced I will always recommend new tile.
When you have new tile placed over the old tile (I think this is the best way) make sure that the tile is checked for being hollow or loose
like the plaster, if hollow or loose chip it out. “Do not allow your pool contractor caulk on the tiles” Tile should be installed just like floor tile
thin-set applied by a trowel, not 1 spotted. 1 spotting doesn’t keep the water from running around the back of the tile. This will make finding a tile line leak hard other than a patch. The cause of a leak could be anywhere tile is installed this way. Step Tile, if your contractor is not including new step tile in their remodel price, my bet is they are either trying to add it later for extra money after they have your pool pumped out and torn up.
Of they don’t care about the quality of their work. The places I see this the most are at Hotels and Motels (not all) and It is probably the pool contractor low balling then and letting the decision maker know about that option. Commercial pools need nonskid tile at all steps.
Plaster, There are many different types of pool plaster granite, quartz, river stones, or glass bead quarts is the most common today but mini pebble would be next with a small increase 5%-20% depending on colour next is glass you are looking at 50% to maybe more than 150% depending on colour. Most contractors will be loyal to 1 or 2 brands, just check out what you can find on the plaster
brand online and decide from that.
Plaster Day, this is when you will see where the contractor ranks in replastering, the size of their crew, the look of their equipment I wish that was the case but a new mixer will look like it is 10 years old after 1 year. Plastering is messy work, it is very hot in the summer and unfortunately you may see applicators light on the shirts, along with cloth’s that look like they live in them (plaster is like paint and once you get on your cloth’s it’s there) please don’t judge.
Cleaning Pool, Deck and Yard, This is where our trade sometimes falls short. I hope when your pool is completed your deck is cleaned of any over spray of spillage, even with the deck covered with tarps things happen. Your yard will need to be cleaned the plaster will need to be raked up and any sprinklers broken repaired along with wheel ruts needing to be filled. I am not saying that anyone can clean up as if they were not there but the contractor should make his best effort to do so.
Exclusions and Omissions – look for this! You will need to have electricity and water available for the work to be completed. The ones that I am warning you about Not Responsible For Broken sprinklers, wheel ruts, clean of yards and there are many more. I was at a new pool construction where a friend of mine was working on their house and the pool contractor was completed with his project and had been paid in full. The dirt from the pool was still in a pile in their yard, the old cut and broken pavers were all around the pool deck, plaster bags piled up with dirt piled on top of them, I guess there were trying to keep them from blowing away. Plaster on their house and on the kids swing set and even more but how long do you want me to go on. I talked to the homeowner and we talked about the mess and they told me they were not happy and they should have read the pool contractors contract. I looked at their contract and was not much more than a quote with a place to sign and what they do not do excursions.
Startup Sewage, Pool start up should be included in your pool replaster project. I recommend that you have the pool contractor do the pool maintenance for the first year to protect the owner for the blame game. If the pool contractor is the one doing the maintenance and they do not notify you of and issue and your new pump fails due to poor chemical balance it should be on the pool contractor to make that repair. The person that is taking care of the pool chemistry should a testing results log for your protection. Sewage cost for refilling your pool if you are on city sewage, contact your city water company when your new pool or remodel project begins and find out is they will discount the sewage from your water bill. You are not putting the water into their sewage system for them to have to treat.
Clean Up Site, I talked about this in exclusions and omissions. Make sure you talk to your pool contractor.
Warranty – Company, This is where you will see the biggest difference between Contractors. Most plaster manufacturers offer a warranty for one year. Florida lifetime warranty is 7 years in most cases. I hope anyone looking at this was blessed with a longer life than 7 years. Here’s where it gets harder to know, does your contractor have an office of a pickup truck. We have taken care of items that were past the warranty’s time frame and was not due to us. We will do this for our customers because many of them go from customer to friends. Read reviews and make reviews. It sometimes amazes me that people will go to the ends of the earth to say something bad about someone, but to get them to sit down for 2 minutes and write something nice is a different thing.
I hope if you read this I was able to help with the process of pool remodeling. Please make comments and I will make updated to this as time goes along.
Thank you, My Favorite Pool Store Steve Cronin
This information is my option of what someone needs to know when having their pool replastered.
I am not a lawyer or even a writer. Please use this information for my perspective only.
Do your own due diligence and enjoy your pool.