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Changing dimensions of pool surfaces

By Marcelle Dibrell

Pool owners looking to renovate their swimming pools frequently turn to service technicians for ideas about how to spruce up their swimming pools.

Should they opt for the inexpensive route, and just paint it?

Or should they go for the high-end exposed aggregate?

Maybe there’s an option in between, like refinishing the plaster surface.

While the choice of finish is initially about aesthetics, there are numerous other factors that come into play. Service professionals can play a vital role in helping to make a choice that is not only beautiful, but long lasting, suitable for personalized use, and within the constraints of the pocketbook.

For example, the owners of vinyl lined pools may simply replace their liners, and might be happy enough to discover that the colors and patterns that are currently available are superior to when their pools were originally installed. And replacing vinyl liners is a fairly lucrative job that many service techs perform.

Gunite pools are more common, however, and simply refinishing the plaster is popular choice because it is fairly durable, attractive enough, and fairly inexpensive. When installed by a quality contractor and properly maintained, it’s a relatively inexpensive reliable product with an expected life-time of between 5 to 10 years before replastering may be necessary. On the However, of the finishes it is the most prone to potential staining from metals, and the porous surface provides niches for algae growth.

Dyes or pigments can be added to the mix for added dimension but this may amplify the appearance of mottling or pigment streaks.

The durability of standard plaster can be improved with certain additives such as pozzalans that have been shown to reduce cracking, mottling, and other problems.

Natural quartz can be added to white cement with mineral-based pigments for a stunning pool finish. A quartz finish is more durable than a standard plaster finish with a typical life-span of between 7 to 12 years.

For those with deeper pockets, adding an aggregate such as glass beads or pebbles to the plaster can create a visually stunning effect as well as long term durability, but not everyone is willing to shell out the cash. This finish typically lasts between 15 and 20 years, since aggregates don’t break down easily. With some exposed aggregates, the texture can be rough, which may be a drawback for those with sensitive feet.

This problem is solved by polished aggregate surfaces, which are even more expensive, but may not look as authentic as the rough pebbles.

Then there are a few different polymertype products, designed to renovate existing plaster or fiberglass pools. Priced in line with other high end materials, some of these new pool finish types are beginning to catch the attention of the pool and spa industry. They promise long lasting durable results and come in a variety of colors. While some installers have reported mixed results, others chalk it up to improper surface preparation. Polymer finishes will be discussed in greater detail in accompanying articles.

In this issue of Service Industry News, we’ll look at a few renovation techniques employed by service techs, and tools that can facilitate some of the prep work.

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