What To Expect
The following article, written by clients Glenn and Lynn Pribus, details a customer's experience of the typical pool recoating process:
OUR LIKE-NEW POOL
When we bought our house, the pool was a major attraction. We kept it clean and maintained the chemical balance carefully, but it eventually developed dark stains-on the bottom and chips appeared on the edges of the steps. The last straw was a family visit including three active grandkids. As they played in the pool, they brushed loose the paint chalking from the walls until the water looked like someone had dumped in fifty gallons of milk. Time for refinishing!
DECIDING WHAT TO DO
Repainting, we discovered, was the least expensive option, but we were told that paint usually lasts only up to three years. Some require rather specific mixing and we were warned that epoxy paints have a very strong odor. And, like all the alternatives, the pool would still require extensive preparation.
The second strategy was plastering and that was nearly as expensive as a fiberglass finish. In addition, since the pool had been previously painted no contractor would guarantee the work. We were also cautioned that if the chemicals get out of balance, plaster etches and can crack. Plaster just seemed "delicate" to us.
Finally we explored fiberglass. Advanced Pool Coatings in Roseville told us over the phone that they had refinished several large pools for universities and commercial establishments like the Red Lion and Sacramento Inns. We visited the hotel pools and were impressed.
We know that commercial enterprises do a careful cost analysis and this reinforced our belief that although fiberglass might cost more initially, it would be cost effective over the years because of reduced maintenance and chemical usage.
When Paul Walter of Advanced Pool Coatings came to our house to give us an estimate, he obviously knew his business. He outlined the process of refinishing a pool step by step, and answered all our questions patiently.
He said that even fiberglass would probably crack in a strong rolling earthquake, otherwise the surface is quite flexible. Our pool would be guaranteed for a minimum of five years.
We never felt "hustled." In fact, Walter didn't want a penny up front. He said he wanted us to be entirely satisfied before we paid.
We finally signed a contract. The grandkids were coming to visit again, and Walter even juggled his schedule so our pool would be ready for their visit.
REFINISHING THE POOL
The first day, a man came about 4 p.m. to drop in a submersible pump. It took all night and most of the second day to empty the pool.
The third day, a crew of four craftsmen arrived in mid-afternoon and spent about two hours preparing the surface by water-blasting and sanding the bad spots. They also used a power saw to cut a groove along the tiles and around the fixtures so they could "tuck" in the fiberglass later. This sawing was the only noisy or dusty part.
The next morning the crew started around 7 a.m. under the supervision of Walter's partner, Dwight Johnson. It was real teamwork with the men knowing their jobs so well they hardly had to talk to each other. They began by masking the tile and protecting the deck with boards and paper.
After that, a preparation coat was applied with long-handled rollers. Next was the fiberglass which comes on huge spools and looks like thick transparent thread. This "thread" was fed through a device which chopped it into very small pieces, then sprayed onto the pool surface where it combined with an resin/catalyst mixture sprayed on simultaneously.
This fiberglass layer was pressed down with paint rollers and carefully "tucked in" around the lights, drain and tiles. While there was a typical fiberglass odor, it wasn't particularly unpleasant and disappeared within a day.
Since the fiberglass is so smooth, a special nonskid additive was used on the steps. Finally the finish coat was applied and by one o'clock all was done -- right on schedule.
"Curing" depends on a pool's exposure to sunshine and the air temperature. In hot weather, filling the pool could begin within 24 hours, in other conditions it takes up to four days. We were told to wait 24 hours.
After the pool was filled, our pool store -Kenney's Pool Supply in Fair Oaks -- walked us through the fussy process of getting the pool chemicals in good balance. They recommended we wait four days for the pool water to stabilize, then gave us a specific order for adding the chemicals. They also analyzed the water several times during the process.
While we were balancing the water, the sun was warming it up, so when the grandkids arrived the following week, they had a great time swimming in our like-new pool. And we know it's going to look like new for many years to come.
Glenn and Lynn Pribus live in Fair Oaks, California
And Now for "The Rest of the Story":
10 years after their inital pool resurfacing, Glenn and Lynn Pribus wrote a follow-up article to discuss how their pool held up over the years: