Friday, December 13, 2013

Care For Your Pool Throughout The Winter

Another swimming pool season has ended here in the North.  Most of us have closed are pool and will not think about them again until the Spring when we start to think about opening them again.  One thing that tends to wreak more havoc on swimming pools than little kids and their floaters is the drastic temperature changes that occur throughout the Winter months. Here you will find some things to consider during the Winter to help you stay ahead of the game to create a trouble-free opening and swimming season when we see the sun again.  

Your pool motor is the first place we will begin.  During the winter the pool motor does not have to run all day at full power.  The motor cycle can be turned down to anywhere between three to five hours a day throughout the Winter.  The best time to do run the motor is during the early morning hours when temperatures are at their coldest to keep water moving through the pipes. This will help to prevent any standing water left in the pipe from freezing and will also keep pump seals from going bad.  A good time to run the motor is between two and eight in the morning. 

If your pool has a salt chlorination generator it is best to remove the cell and replace it will a blank cell.  The cold water will not allow it to produce chlorine.  Once this is done take the cell that was in the generator and thoroughly clean it making sure it is in prime condition to re-install during the next swimming season.  To keep the pool at the correct chlorination throughout the Winter season you can add chlorine via a pool floater.  This will help expand the longevity of the generator as well as it is not trying to produce chlorine throughout the long, cold season.  

When you are closing your pool for the Winter season it is the perfect time to change and replace the water in the pool.  The water may still appear clean and clear but still has all of the ingredients to mix together a good batch of residue, algae and bacteria.  It is easier to drain and refill the pool than dumping in lots of expensive chemicals trying to improve the pool water quality.

Cleaning the calcium off pool plaster and pool tile is best done as you are closing the pool for the season as well.  When the pool is drained or partially drained it is easy to access the interior of the pool.  The pool plastering should be cleaned for sure if you are completely draining the pool anyway.  You will be killing two birds with one stone.

Hiring a professional to maintain your pool and the pools plaster is just as important in the winter as in the summer especially if you know you will not make time to do it yourself.  The little bit extra you will pay for professional services will save you a ton of money and headaches come Spring when you start to think about opening the pool again.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Pool Plaster

Owning a pool is a wonderful luxury but also requires a good amount of effort to maintain the pools finish, plumbing and everyday care.  One important aspect of pool maintenance is the finish of the pool be it white plaster or something more specialized like Hydrazzo, Diamond Brite, Sunstone, Traditional White Plaster, Quartz Aggregate and Pebble Surface plasters.  When researching plaster finishes for your pool you will come to realize that white is the most affordable therefore the most common finish for commercial and residential inground pools.

Plaster is the most common material and the least expensive finish for inground pools. It is likely that if your home has an inground pool or if you are installing one that the shell of the pool is made out of concrete, or as known in the pool industry a material called gunite.  The pool plaster is laid over the gunite shell and smoothed to perfection.

Pricing on different types of plaster finishes can vary a great deal depending on the color, style of the plaster chosen and the region in which you are from. When looking at companies to finish or refinish your pool make sure to check references and ensure that you are looking at what each company offers and their references.  Some companies will take shortcuts that can make the plaster job cheaper however will reduce the length of time the finish will hold up costing you more in the long run.

Below is a brief overview on the different options in plaster finishes you can choose from for your pool finish.
White Pool Plastering:  As mentioned above, this is the most affordable and most common plaster finish.  It is created using a combination of marble aggregate, water and cement.  White plaster is often used in commercial pools as it is standard code.  The one disadvantage of white plaster over other options is that is tends to be softer and therefore lasts only about five to seven years before the first signs of erosion are seen.  Keeping the chemistry of your pools water will increase the longevity of your white plaster finish.

Colored Pool Plaster: The difference between white plaster and colored plaster is, you guessed it, the color.  A dye is mixed in with the aggregate, water and cement to create a tint.  This is one way to add interest to the finish while keeping the costs reasonable.  The one disadvantage is that overtime the coloring will start to fade.

Crushed Quartz Additives In Plaster: Diamond Brite and Hydrazzo are brands that add luster and shine to the pools plaster finish along with increasing the life time of the finish.  Using quartz additives can increase the life of the finish for up to twenty years.  Just be careful as the quartz adds a slip resistant surface which is durable but can be rough on feet.

As with every purchase around your home you need to weight the benefits, cost and time you will be living in the house. If you intend to stay in your home, therefore utilizing the pool for a long period of time it is a safe bet to go with a quartz finish as it will save you the hassle of finishing the pool every five to seven years!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tips On Repair Coping in Gunite Swimming Pools

When you become a pool owner whether you have had on installed or you have purchased a home with a pool there is so much to learn in regards to the upkeep. There will be many new terms to learn about, one in particular is pool coping.  The swimming pools coping in basic terms is the buffer between the deck of the in ground pool and the pools beams.

It is particularly important in new gunite swimming pool construction that the coping is kept up on.  You will find major settling in the pool over the first year or two.  This is when changes in the ground as it shifts and settles can cause cracks in the pools tile, coping and joints.  If the cracks are left and are not repaired water is allowed to seep in between the pools plaster walls and the soil supporting the pool as a whole.

When fixing the damaged swimming pool coping you find the hardest part is finding coping stones to match the areas that are broken.  Below you will find steps to help do your coping repair on your own.  Most homeowners find that since the coping is such an aesthetic part of the pool that a swimming pool contractor is much better suited to handle the detailed repair.

Step by Step Swimming Pool Coping Repair

1)      To begin your coping repair you will need to remove the old mortar that is holding the stones/tile in place.  Most of the time for small swimming pool coping repairs you can use a hammer and a chisel to get into the area that is damaged.  When the repair is larger the mortar can be removed using a saw.  Be so careful not to damage areas around the original area of damage.

2)      Remove the coping stones that are damaged and in need of replacement until you see the exposed beam below.  You need to thoroughly clean out the old mortar that is left within the hole. Use the chisel and hammer to get off all of the mortar and a shop vacuum to help get even the smallest bits of mortar cleaned up.

3)      The next step involves mixing the coping repair product in a work bucket.  This will be used as your mortar and grout for the coping repair job. Every material that is being used will have directions specific to prepare it.  The basic consistency will be mashed potatoes.

4)      With a trowel you will add the mixture to the beam and create a space to set the replacement coping stones in.  The bed will be just deep enough for the new stones to be level to the surrounding stone.  If the area is uneven it leaves room for stubbed toes and the look of the pool being off.

5)      Using the trowel you need to add a layer of the mortar to the sides and back of the coping and set the stone in place.  The stone should fit firmly into the mortar bed laid in step 4.

6)      This process will be continued until the entire area that had been damaged is replaced with new coping and mortar.  It is crucial to make sure the spacing is even throughout the process. Any gaps can be filled in with any additional mixture.

7)      Before the mixture dries on the surface of the coping use a clean damp sponge to clean the area.  The grooves between the copings can be created using the handle of the trowel once the mortar has begun to set up.

Coping repair can be complex and should be done with great care.  If there is color in your existing mortar make sure you add the color to the mix before you add water.  These little things are what make this job an easy one to hand off to professional pool contractors.  The match must be spot on otherwise the repair will be evident and this is what is to be avoided anytime a repair is needed.