Common Pool Plaster Problems
Many factors can impact the appearance and integrity of your pool plaster, including problems with water balance, poor cleaning and maintenance habits, wildly swinging weather patterns, ground shifts, and of course age. Depending on the blend of plaster you have, you can expect it to last anywhere from 10-25 years. It goes without saying that higher quality plaster mixes paired with proper pool maintenance tend to have a longer lifespan. Lets take a closer look at some of the most common types of plaster damage in a pool.
BONUS TIP: It’s not always age or pool maintenance that causes pool plaster to fail. Sometimes it has to do with the quality of the plaster mix and/or how it was applied. That said, maintaining proper water balance and keeping a regular cleaning routine will help your pool plaster look pristine for as long as possible. For more information about how to balance pool water and other common pool maintenance tasks, check out our other pool care blog posts.
Main Types Of Cracks In Bottom Of Pool
1. Check Cracks/Crazing
These are the smallest cracks found in pools and are typically superficial and caused by cement shrinkage or flexing of the supporting structure. It is most common to see this type of crack form if pool construction was completed on a hot, dry or windy day.
Check cracks are not usually cause for concern and do not typically cause any leaks. They are usually reserved to the shell of the pool.
2. Major Cracks/Structure Cracks
If you notice larger cracks in the surface of your pool floor, or if you are noticing a loss of water, it is likely the result of major or structural cracks. Soil movement is a common contributor. Structural cracks occur in the shell of the pool and are often found in several different areas. Cracks may appear vertically or horizontally, as well as on the sides or bottom of the pool.
Most structural cracks run through the concrete and will be apparent in the plaster coating as well as the tile area over the bond beam. If your pool is not level and has cracks, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Why Not Leave It As Is
Its tempting for anyone who owns a pool to wonder if they really do need to fix that crack, anyway. Lets say they arent exactly worried about aesthetics, or are really into wabi-sabi . Basically, theyre the type of pool owners who dont mind leaving pesky metal stains as they are. Arent cracks sort of the same deal?
If only we could be sure. The thing is, pool cracks range in severity. They typically arent serious, and only reach the surface layer of your pool. But sometimes they can reach deep enough to the shell of your pool, or indicate that your pool is leaking water. Not only could bad leaks get worse, but theyll also cost you a lot of money in operational costswhen you have a leak, your equipment needs to work harder, which increases your energy bill. Cracks can also eventually affect your pools structure. I think we can agree we both wouldnt want to deal with starting from the ground up on this one.
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Plaster Flaking Or Cracked On Swimming Pools And Spas
The plaster coat on a pool or spa is approximately 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch thick and is troweled over a 6 inch+/- thick concrete shell of the pool when first built. Over time it may fade, develop cracks, flake or have other issues. Generally, most plaster problems are considered to be a pool or spa maintenance issue some would say theyre just part of owning a pool.
A+ Workability And Bonding Strength
Do it right the first time! Designed to be used on dry surfaces, our pool plaster offers maximum reliability and endurance while still being very workable. We also include a liquid bonder in every container to further enhance the mixtureâs strength.
In its freshly mixed state, the plaster has no trouble molding itself into thin gaps and can be manipulated as you wish. Once it cures, it boasts a high compressive strength to withstand the poolâs continuous water pressure with ease.
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How To Fix Cracks In Your Swimming Pool
It can be a frightening moment for any pool owner, but not every crack in your swimming pool means an expensive repair or replacement.
As you close down your pool for the season and prepare it for many months of not being used, you might notice cracks in your swimming pool. It can be a frightening moment for any pool owner, but not every crack in your swimming pool means an expensive repair or replacement. Many pools get minor hairline cracks in their plaster surface, especially in areas that are close to the surface of the water. Deeper cracks are often found along the corners or at seams. When it comes to fixing cracks in your swimming pool, there are three different methods depending on the severity.
I Knew We Could Patch Things Up
That was kind of fun, dont you think? Now that youve mastered filling one crack, you wont have to feel any of that useless stress next time you see another appearand hopefully, thats a long time from now. And since you know youre not running into any doomsday scenarios here, your next dive is going to be even more relaxed. Youve put a lot of work into your pool, so now is the time to reap the rewards. Dont forget sunscreen! And, enjoy.
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Do I Have To Acid Wash My Pool Before Painting
Yes. Your pool surfaces must be clean, flat and dry so that pool paint will adhere to the plaster. I highly recommend an acid wash to remove all dust and dirt before painting.
Some people recommend lightly sanding the plaster surface to remove the polished smoothness which gives the paint better adhesion. Make sure you wash the surface afterwards to remove the dust. Please wear a mask when you do this to prevent breathing in the fine plaster dust particles.
Repairing Plaster Via Patching
If you have smaller areas that may need repairing, a pool patch repair kit may be an excellent option for you. This method works similarly to regular plastering techniques, but is suited for smaller calcium scale repairs. Patching techniques encourage tight and durable layers of plaster for cracked or brittle areas of a surface.
When patching, youre encouraged to drain your pool below your target repair area and remove any loose cement on the surface of your pool floor. Once the plaster is mixed to your preferred density for patching, you can apply it to any cracks you might see.
If you run into any air bubbles when patching, use your equipment to release them and smooth out the plaster.
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First Assess The Damageand Know When To Drain
Alright, so we know that not all cracks are equal. So how is yours looking? It might be a thin crack or a small spot that needs to be plastered. But your plaster might also be coming loose in chunks, is bubbling up, or is a long crack on the floor or down the side of your pool. If this sounds like your situation, youre going to need to drain your pool. Be extra, extra carefulwhen you have cracking already occurring in your pool, you might be more at risk to experience the rare but dreaded pool pop up. Make sure youre taking all precautions possible to prevent it from happening to you.
If you have a thin, easy-to-tackle crack, you might not need to drain your pool at all. Id recommend this for anyone who isnt sureits better to do all you can to avoid draining your pool when you have a crack or more already creeping along its surface. Plus, youll get to wear goggles and swim while you repair. Thats two birds, one cracked stone.
How To Repair Plaster When Your Pool Is Full
If you have a crack or hole thats not too big you might not have to drain out the entirety of your pool.
You actually have two options for materials to use and both work just as well.
The cleaning and prep steps are going to be the same for both options. Grab a set of goggles and maybe even a snorkel. You dont need anything fancy, dollar store brands work just fine.
Youll want to scrape away at the crack and dig out any of the loose bits of plaster and gravel. After youve knocked out all the loose bits, you can take a wire brush and give it a good scrub.
Now youre ready for your filler.
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Surface Deposits Or Discoloration
Also common in most pools, calcium deposits mixed with dirt and oil can deposit on the waterline or in less apparent thin sheets over the entire pool surface. When mixed with metals, various colors will stain pool plaster. Organic material like leaves and lawn debris can also stain the bottom of the pool if you dont keep up with a regular cleaning routine. Stains and discoloration can be removed with a professional acid wash.
Easy Pool Crack Repair
For small cracks, the easiest repair you can do is to jump in the pool with a mask and a flathead screwdriver. Scrape the screwdriver down the crack to remove any loose material, and widen the crack a little bit. Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt, oils or algae on the bonding surfaces.
Next, mix up some Pool Putty in equal parts and roll it into a snake with your hands. Push the putty into the crack and smooth it out with your hand.
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Stress Fractures Or Deep Cracks
Plaster cracks that are smaller than 1 mm often do not leak, but you can dye test them to confirm. Larger vertical cracks in plaster may be the result of structural stress. Horizontal cracks in the pool tile line are often caused by the pool deck pushing against the pool wall. Large cracks must be repaired as soon as possible.
How To Repair Plaster In Your Pool
If youve ever spackled some holes in the drywall before moving out of an apartment you already have the skills necessary to repair the plaster in your pool.
But even if youve never had to patch drywall holes, youve come to the right place. Well walk you through it step by step.
Lets start by gathering all the materials and equipment youll need to get the job done. If you dont have some of these items, make sure to grab them before you start the project.
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Adding The Finishing Touches
After letting your last layer of plaster dry completely, paint over the area with some pool paint to make it blend more evenly with the rest of your pool. We recommend starting with two coats of paint, let it dry, and see if you need more. After the paint is dry, you should be ready to refill your pool. Dont re-enter your pool until the water is balanced and all work areas are clear of plaster dust.
Repairing Hairline Cracks In Plaster Pools
Properly installed plaster pool walls expand and contract as the ground settles and shifts. As the plaster ages, it loses its natural elasticity and small cracks begin to develop. Typically, these cracks are superficial. If you find small, hairline cracks, you can make the repairs yourself. Contact a pool professional if you notice larger cracks because they may affect the structural integrity of the swimming pool. Lower the water level in the pool to expose the cracks before you start to make it easier to make the repairs.
Remove any rough or loose particles from the edges of the cracks. Put on protective eye wear and use a hammer and chisel to tap away any flaking plaster at least 1/4 inch deep. Tap on both sides of the crack and listen for hollow sounds. If you hear hollowness, chip away the old, loose plaster until you get to solidly attached material. Use a damp sponge to clean away any debris that remains in the crack.
Stir 2 ounces of liquid cement bonder into 1 1/2 pounds of white pool plaster mix in a 5-gallon bucket. Stir in enough water to make the mixture look like mashed potatoes, using a trowel. If you need less plaster mixed, use less of each material proportionately. For example, if you need half that amount, use 1 ounce of liquid cement bonder and 3/4 pound of plaster mix.
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Fix Structural Cracks In A Concrete Pool With Staples
Make a horizontal cut on the crack. Drill a hole on both ends of the cut. Put a steel or carbon fiber staple to fuse both sides of the crack. This process is actually more complex than it seems. An experienced pool repair professional can help you ensure that structural cracks in your pool are completely fixed.
DIY repairs might be great for fixing surface cracks. Structural cracks, however, are best left for experts. Fixing them on your own might do more harm than good. Getting the best pool repair service in Sarasota will do wonders for your pool. Read one of our many clients testimonials.
How Do You Repair An Inground Pool
Your Guide to Repairing Pool Stairs 1) Drain/Remove Pool Water. 2) Clean & Dry the Pool Stairs. 3) Locate the Crack. 4) Clean & Prep the Crack. 5) Prepare the Rotary-Stone Drill Bit. 6) Remove any Coating with Sandpaper. 7) Apply Surface Primer & Bonding Filler. 8) Smooth the Crack for an Even Surface.
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Surface Etching Or Corrosion
Common in most pools, these small surface irregularities are sometimes the result of improper plaster mixing or curing. This issue can also be caused by improper water chemistry, which erodes softer surface areas like plaster. Damage from etching and corrosion is not normally patched, but can be sanded.
Vinyl Liner Tears And Cracks
It is the most accessible crack to repair. You can use a vinyl kit, and most of them you can use underwater. In this case, you do not have to drain the pool. First of all, you should cut the vinyl patch more extensively than the hole in an oval or circle. Then, put vinyl glue on the patch and fold it for three minutes. Finally, unfold the patch and apply it to the crack to repair it.
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How Much Will To Cost To Fix Pool Surface Cracks
This depends on how large and deep the crack is and how long it takes to fix. Unfortunately, there is no single standard price. Once a professional comes out to your home to assess the problem, you can get a better idea of how much it will cost to fix the surface crack in your pool.
One thing is for certain. It will cost far less than it would to replace a structural crack or a leak in your pool! The most important thing you can do to keep your costs down is to have any pool repair issue fixed as soon as possible. As with your home, repairs only get more detailed and expensive when they are ignored.
When you need problems repaired in your pool or are simply looking for a pool maintenance company, look no further than Flower Mound Pool Care and Maintenance.
For the past 14 years, we have proudly served Argyle, Carrollton, Coppell, Corinth, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Highland Village, Lake Dallas, Lantana, Lewisville, Plano, McKinney and Frisco and continue to do so today. We have helped countless customers with pool surface cracks and repairs as well as with weekly maintenance.
Are Cracks In Pool Plaster Normal
Owning a pool comes with maintenance and sometimes repairs. When you own an in-ground pool, you need to be aware of the condition of the plaster in your pool. Over time, you may notice some cracks in the plaster leading you to wonder are cracks in pool plaster normal?
This may especially be the case if youre new to owning a pool or if its the first time youve ever noticed cracks. Lets take a closer look at what causes pools to crack and what you can do to fix them.
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Fix Minor Surface Cracks In A Fiberglass Pool With A Fiberglass Pool Repair Kit
First, drain the pool until it reaches the level below the cracked area. Next, sand the cracked area and cut around the crack with a diamond-bladed saw. Fill the crack with hydraulic cement if it is leaking water. Next, apply the bond coat, followed by the mixed polyester putty. Wait for the putty to cure before sanding it. After that, apply the fiberglass layer. This is done by applying a gel coat, a fiberglass cloth on top of it, and then another gel coat layer to completely seal the crack.
Note that the fiberglass layer has to overlap the existing pool fiberglass by at least 2 inches on either side to completely seal the crack. Finally, sand the surface when the gel coat is completely dry to smoothen it and apply a fishing layer of gel coat.