Gunite repair & refininshing
Gunite is a mixture of cement, sand, and water that can be molded into any shape desired. As the most versatile construction material for pools, gunite is sprayed or blown onto a rebar framework to form and give strength to the structure. Gunite is porous and should not be used by itself to construct a pool. There must be a water barrier between the porous gunite and the pool water. Plaster is then applied to not only ensure a smooth touch on the pool surface, but also to create a water barrier between the pool water and the gunite. If the plaster is not thick enough, it could allow water to seep through the gunite. This will result in water loss that is difficult to isolate without draining the pool. There are methods to repair a pool that is not properly sealed with enough plaster. Seasonal changes such as freezing and thawing will cause plaster to eventually crack. Winterizing your pool properly will help to keep your pool’s gunite/plaster structure intact.
Painting vs re-plastering
One day you must make a decision. The pool plaster has been looking worse every season. Delaminations, stains, cracks, and generally dull and lifeless. Painting pools has been an option even before pool plastering came around. Back in the day, all pools were painted; it was an annual pool opening tradition. When plaster for pools began to be used, pool owners appreciated the long lasting and durable surface and the smooth white finish.
Re-plastering a Pool, when properly mixed, applied, cured and maintained – can last 15-20 years. Pool Paint, Depending on the type of paint used, as well as application and curing factors, 2-7 years of life can be expected from a pool paint job.
Paints used for pools, spas and fountains, are specifically made for underwater use, and are quite durable against poor water chemistry, temperature extremes and even rough treatment from pool equipment. Plaster however, with it’s usual 1/2 inch thickness, can handle more distress than the thin layer of pool paint.
Prep Work Factor:
Both pool paint and pool plaster require that the pool be drained properly and prepared for the new surface. To paint the pool, you’ll need to degrease the surface with TSP, then acid etch the plaster, followed by another washing and scrubbing with TSP. For acrylic pool paints, the pool can be painted damp, but for epoxy paints (the longest lasting pool paint), you’ll need to let the pool air dry for 3-5 days before painting. Tape off the parts you don’t want to paint, and you’re ready to begin.
Pool plaster requires a much more industrial prep process. After draining, the “cut-n-chip” crew arrives, and with tiny saws, they cut the plaster beneath the tile and around all of the wall and floor fittings. Another crew arrives to acid etch the pool, to roughen the plaster surface, which helps the bond of the new plaster coat. Some plaster companies will make a third trip to apply a “scratch coat” – a rough, textured bond coat that adheres tightly to the old plaster surface, while giving a good surface for the new plaster coat to bond to.
Both new plaster and new paint are looking good! Pool paint is shiny and reflective, and new plaster has a deep luster, like an eggshell. Of course, you can add colors and additives to plaster to create custom tones. You can do the same with paint, and could even paint a mural. Plaster may look the best for longer, but at least initially, and for the first few years, the appearance of both is fairly equal.
plaster may run you in the tens of thousands ranging from 15,000 to 30,000, while painting is in the thousands, ranging from 2,500 to 10,000. Cost is relevant to overall size of pool and type of paint used