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Your PebbleTec Customer Service team is with you every step of the way–before, during and after your pool project. That means we’re always standing by to answer any questions you may have. Below is a collection of the questions we hear most often, with responses provided by own PebbleTec Quality Assurance and R&D experts.
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Winterization of your pool may be required if your pool water is subject to freezing winter temperatures or if the cold temperature region you live in dictates that you must winterize your pool. Your pool builder, applicator or service professional may recommend that your pool is drained as part of the winterization process, which often results in the exposing of the finish to the harsh environment for long periods of time. As a consequence, there is a high risk of experiencing rock loss, cracking, delamination and/or debonding of the finish due to freezing and thawing process, which is NOT covered by the PTI warranty. We strongly advise you to ask your select builder or authorized applicator for advice before draining your pool.
The most common maintenance issue is scaling (a white haze) on the pool finish surface due to poor water chemistry. The water chemistry in your swimming pool and/or spa must be maintained at certain levels to prevent scale build-up. Scale can also trap dirt and debris, further discoloring your finish.
Scale removal is not covered by warranty. The most common method for removing scale is through chemical treatment. However, in some cases it may be necessary to drain your pool to remove the scale using chemicals and/or pressure washer. Most authorized applicators will offer this service. We recommend that testing and balancing of the pool water take place at a minimum of once a week. It is also recommended to have the water tested regularly at a retail pool supply store (in some stores, testing is computerized), even if the pool is being cared for by a pool service company.
Other concerns such as etching, discoloration, formation of algae, and staining can all be attributed to improper water chemistry. We cannot stress enough how vital it is to maintain proper water chemistry. This can significantly impact the longevity and beauty of your pool finish.
Maintaining a clean filter and ensuring that the return outlets are all moving the pool water in a clockwise rotation, also will increase the circulation of the pool water, lessening the likelihood of staining or scaling the finish surface.
With the ownership of a new pool comes the responsibility of maintaining proper water chemistry. Maintaining proper water chemistry is essential to preserving the aesthetic beauty of your pool finish, as well as attaining the expected longevity of the finish. After 30 days, the pool water must be maintained at all times per the National Plasterer’s Council for recommended ranges for pH, carbonate alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid/stabilizer, and total dissolved solids. For saltwater pools (SWCG’s), be sure to follow PTI’s specific “Start-up and Maintenance Procedures” instructions.
Select finishes may contain seashell pieces such as abalone and mother of pearl that are made from minerals in seawater by living mollusks. Under certain unfavorable conditions, such as that of aggressive water chemistry, the shells may lose some of their luster and sparkle over time. With proper maintenance and care of your pool, the luster of the shell should last for years.
There are many factors that influence the final pool water color including, but not limited to: pool depth, day time sun exposure, night time lighting placement, trees and landscaping, decking material and water features (i.e., fountains, jets etc.) Even water chemistry and filtration can affect water color. PTI cannot guarantee that a product sample or image will be an exact match to your finished pool for these reasons. In all cases, allow time for the initial curing process (approximately 30 days) before judging the finish or color.
It is normal for pebbles to come loose during the initial curing process. It is also normal to see some small loss of pebbles over time. Maintaining proper water chemistry is crucial to preserving the integrity of the finish. If water chemistry is not properly balanced, the cement may weaken over time, and the pebbles may come loose in larger amounts.
After registering your PTI pool finish on our website, you will receive a confirmation email that contains a link to download the full protection plan including start-up and maintenance guidelines. After 30 days, we recommend you follow the National Plasters Council (NPC) guidelines. For saltwater pools (SWCG’s) and PebbleFina Galaxy finishes, please follow PTI’s ‘Start-up and Maintenance Procedures’ instructions.
According to the National Plasterers Council, cementitious surface coatings are susceptible to chemically aggressive swimming pool water or to any chemical that may deteriorate the cementitious materials of a surface coating.
Swimming pool water that is not in the ideal range of acceptable tolerance (or “balanced”) as in accordance with the ANSI/APSP Standards 3 and 4, is considered detrimental to cementitious surface coatings. Depending on the direction of the imbalance, a coating can either be stained or etched. Often, both staining and etching are exhibited on the surface of a coating as the pool water fluctuates from one extreme to the other. Visible signs of salt crystallization, surface efflorescence, or cracks that are emitting efflorescence or salt deposits are common to a coating in contact with a positive saturation index (+ LSI), or “scaling” condition. If the water is capable of leaching cement compounds from within the surface coating, then that water is in a negative saturation index (─ LSI), or “aggressive” condition.
If care is not taken to ensure that the water of a swimming pool is kept in an Ideal Range that is considered by ANSI/APSP Standards to be “balanced”, and further that a sufficient amount of carbonate alkalinity buffer is constantly present, then the cementitious surface coating will be susceptible to damage from that water– and deterioration may result. Water-soluble salts, acids, or ions such as sulfates, chlorides, and carbonates, can be transported into a cementitious surface coating and react with the cementitious compounds. The resulting chemical reaction between the cementitious compounds and these salts, acids, or ions, in the presence of water, can cause deterioration to the coating. Acidic water aggressively attacks and dissolves cementitious surface materials. Water that is low in hardness, or soft water, can cause leaching of certain compounds of the cement, especially calcium hydroxide.
A cementitious surface coating that is in contact with water in a negative saturation index (LSI) condition will typically show some type of etching damage to the surface of the coating over time. Often etching, staining, and salt deposits are seen on the surface coating if the water has fluctuated between positive saturation index (LSI) and negative index (LSI) conditions. Please visit the National Plasterers Council website at https://www.nationalplastererscouncil.com/water-chemistry/ for more information.
Do not fill your pool with soft water. If any of your outside hose bibs are for soft water, please notify your builder/applicator. Soft water may be used AFTER the curing process has taken place. The trouble in filling a swimming pool with softened water is that “soft water” may seek to balance itself by leeching calcium directly from pool walls—causing the pool’s plaster or tile grout to dissolve, corrode and eventually crumble. Basically, all that wonderful soft water becomes harder.
You should never enter an empty pool. We recommend that you wait until the pool is completely finished and filled, with the water chemically balanced, before you start enjoying it. The National Plasterers Council further states: “At no time should any person or pets be allowed in the pool during the fill. Do not allow any external sources of water to enter the pool to help prevent streaking. It is recommended that you do not swim in the pool until the water is properly balanced, sanitized and the there is no more loose plaster dust from brushing; however, entering the pool once it is filled with water will not harm the finish. Please visit the National Plasterers Council website for more information on water chemistry at https://www.nationalplastererscouncil.com/water-chemistry/
It is recommended that you brush a PTI pool finish three times a day for the first three days and two times a day for the next ten days. Using a standard, nylon (very important) bristled pool brush, brush the walls and the floor of the finish toward the main drain. After that, regular maintenance may include brushing the pool approximately once per week, depending on the amount of dust or debris that may fall into the pool. By consistently brushing the interior surface of your swimming pool, you will prevent algae buildup, remove dirt particles, and smooth the surface to ensure a long lasting, beautiful finish
Wait at least 14 days before heating the water and monitor the chemical balance more closely after you turn on your heater. Changing the water temperature drastically on uncured plaster and pebble finishes (can) cause a problem called “hydration”. During “hydration”, water is trapped beneath the “fat” layer, causing the plaster or pebble finish to appear splotchy. Potential delamination of your new pool finish can occur when the finish has not been allowed adequate time to fully cure.
When pulling a sample of your water to test, you want to make sure that sample is drawn from at least 10” below the water line. This way, the sample is a good representation of the pool’s water’s chemistry.
During the initial start-up of your new pool, a nylon pool brush is recommended for brushing the finish because it is less aggressive to the surface than other brush types. After the curing process is complete, most pool brushes may be safely used with our finishes. More aggressive pool brushes such as stainless steel brushes can be used to treat certain types of build-ups and staining but are not recommended for daily use due to their aggressive nature.
Additives such as the Shimmering Sea (shell) and luminous (glass beads) are meant to serve as accents to the overall look of the finish. These items will give a more premium, elegant look to the finish and extra sparkle to the water–but will not have a huge influence on the water color itself.
Don’t over-chlorinate or over-shock the pool. Adding too much chlorine or shock can cause the fading of the color of the finish. Daily chlorine and periodic chlorine shock should not be used interchangeably when balancing your water chemistry. Shock treatments should be used only an occasional supplement to daily chlorine usage, used to breakdown the resistance of algae and to remove chloramine (a chlorine biproduct).
Always brush the entire surface of the pool after adding chemicals. This ensures that the chemicals are properly dispersed and not allowed to harm the finish. Add chemicals by broadcasting them around the pool and brushing until thoroughly dissolved and/or dispersed. Slower dissolving chemicals like stabilizer (CYA), calcium increaser, and alkalinity increaser can be added to the skimmer, while the pumps are running continually, until the chemicals have completely dissolved and/or dispersed. Over time, it is not uncommon to see some color shading in a fan-like pattern radiating outward from around pool returns where the water is circulating with greater force. Regardless of the water chemistry, the increased water pressure and often an increased concentration of chemicals can cause greater staining or erosion to occur in these areas.
Keep fertilizer out of the pool. Fertilizer contains iron and other minerals that can cause small rust spots on the pool finish. If dry fertilizer comes in contact with the pool decking area, it is recommended to use a leaf blower to remove all fertilizer. If no leaf blower is available, then it is recommended to thoroughly broom all visible fertilizer away from the pool and completely off the deck. Then, when no fertilizer can be seen on the deck, hosing off the deck may be an option, but only in the following manner: start washing from the pool’s edge and spraying outward into the surrounding yard, completely washing one small section/area at a time. This precaution will ensure that no remaining fertilizer is allowed to rest or settle onto the deck, which could cause staining.
It’s not uncommon for a few small check cracks (closed shrinkage cracks) to occur on the upper steps and benches. This is a natural characteristic of any cement-based material. In most cases, these hairline cracks will seal up naturally once you have filled the pool with water. Cracking is not something that is covered under our Limited Warranty.
It’s not uncommon to see ripples or slight undulations across the floor of the pool. These can be exaggerated at night, as lighting may expose imperfections that are otherwise not seen in the daytime. (Daytime sun shines down onto the finish surface from above, while the pool light shines horizontally across the surface.) This same effect can be observed by laying a flashlight onto the surface of a driveway or sidewalk at night. Because this is a normal phenomenon, imperfections identified through this method are not covered under our Limited Warranty. Visit the National Plasterers Council website at https://www.nationalplastererscouncil.com/resources/ for more information.