Frequently Asked Questions
General Renovation Questions
Q. How long does a renovation take?
A. Plaster requires 2 days (1 day for prep and 1 day for plaster); tile and coping 1 – 3 days; decking 1 – 3 days (prep 1 – 2 days and concrete pour 1 day); Start up (after new plaster) typically takes 5 days.
Q. What do I, as the homeowner, need to do?
- Provide gate access (leave backyard accessible to the crew)
- Keep pets inside
- Watch water level (at refill)
- Do not add chemicals
Q. How much does it cost to refill my pool?
A. The City of Houston charges $7.37 per 1000 gallons, with the sewer portion about 40% of that fee. For an average 20,000 pool, the refill cost would be $147.40 and most municipalities will deduct the sewer portion if you are only refilling, reducing the refill charge to $86.00. Note: the credit for sewer can only be used once per year.
Rates obtained 10/2003
Q. How do you keep the pool from "floating" or popping out of the ground when you drain it?
A. We removal of all hydrostatic valves in pool floor (if equipped) and install relief holes immediately upon draining the pool. The water being removed from the pool is transported away from the pool area so as to not saturate the ground nearby.
Q. If I choose not to replaster at the same time as I retile, will the pool have to be drained?
Yes. The thinset and grout used to install the new tile will fall onto the pool surface. This is not easily brushed off. The pool will likely have to be pressure washed and possibly acid washed after the retile if you are not replastering the pool as well. Expect additional charge for the cleanup.
Q. What does it mean when I have a leak in my skimmer throat?Plaster Questions
The leak is where the tile meets the plastic edge of the skimmer. Through time the grout that seals the skimmer to the tile begins to wash away or crack. The water then flows through the crack underneath the deck. Shifting of the deck may cause the skimmer to pull away from the pool more or may crack the skimmer; eventually causing it to leak.
Q. How long does plaster last?
The average lifespan of plaster is approximately 8 years, however, there are many variables that can reduce or extend this time. Factors such as how the plaster is applied, the initial start-up, and the chemical water balance can have a dramatic effect on the longevity of your pool's plaster.
Q. How do I know when it is time to replaster?
When you can no longer keep control of the algae that has grown into the pits of the plaster. When you see the gray gunite shell show through thin plaster. When plaster is peeling or coming up. When the pool surface is rough to walk on, snags bathing suits, or pool cleaner plastic parts seem to be wearing down in a short time (tires, wear rings, hoses, etc.). When plaster has blue/green or rust colored stains from high amounts of metals in water.
Tile and Coping Questions
Q. Why is my tile falling off?
The pool and or the deck have mostly likely settled since they were installed. The pressure from this movement causes the tile and coping to break loose and opens the grout line between the tile and coping. This crack allows water to penetrate and disturb the integrity of the brick and/or tile. The area where the pieces of tile came off exposes the damaged mortar bed. Repair would involve lifting and resetting the loose copingstones and setting new tile in that area. Usually some or all of the old coping stones are not reusable due to either breakage when lifted or to mortar remaining underneath
Q. Will I lose water through this crack?
Yes. If the water level gets too high the water will flow out this crack underneath the decking. This in turn will cause the deck to shift even more.
Q. Do I have to replace coping when I retile?
No. The tile can be easily removed without loosening the brick. However, when recoping the pool, you will have to replace the tile. The coping stones will have to be jack-hammered off and most of the tile will go with the brick at that time.
Q. Do I have to retile when I replaster my pool?
No. The Plasterer will saw cut under the tile line and chip out the cut plaster. Although it is a very good time to retile because the pool will already be drained and is easier to clean up after the tile has been set.
Q. What is the white build-up on the tile?
This is commonly known as calcium or mineral build-up. The calcium in your pool water may be too high and begin to adhere to the grout. Also, as water splashes above the water line and dries, the minerals in the water remain leaving a white residue. Dirt will stick to this film and eventually the build-up may turn brown or gray.
Q. Can I get calcium/mineral build-up off of the tile?
You can get some of the calcium off with some cleaning products and a lot of "elbow grease", though many times the calcium is too thick or hard for this to be effective. Another method we have had success with is a soda blast method. The cost of soda blast cleaning is typically less than 1/2 of the cost of replacing the tile.
Q. Do I have to get white grout with my tile; or can I have other colors?
Better Business Bureau http://www.bbbhou.org/
No, you do not only have to use white grout. Many times gray grouts look good with your tile choice and the gray will not show the dirt as well as the white grout will.
Q. What do I do in case of a freeze warning?
1. Have Freeze Protection?
Pool owners with computerized system have freeze protection. Your equipment should turn on automatically at about 35 degrees and may cycle on and off throughout the day. The heater does not need to run as water travels through the heater while the pump is running.
2. Don't have Freeze Protection?
Run your pool equipment continuously during the freeze. Remove the "OFF" tripper from the time clock.
DO NOT WRAP YOUR PIPES: The pool pump will get hot and will catch the blankets or whatever you use to wrap on fire
If the pumps cannot run due to equipment malfunction or electrical power outages, you may want to winterize the equipment to prevent freeze damage to equipment and plumbing. When water freezes, it expands. This can cause great damage to your pool, pool plumbing, and its filter system. The following steps cover draining the pool equipment:
National Spa & Pool Institute http://www.nspi.org
National Swimming Pool Foundation http://www.nspf.com
National Plasterers Council http://www.npconline.org
Noble Tile Supply http://www.nobletile.com/
National Pool Tile Group http://www.nptgonline.com/