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Question DetailsAsked on 6/23/2013

What is lifespan of gunite pool plaster?

Our pool contractor and service provider has told us the reason our water feature requires frequent backwashes to keep it running is that the sand filter is getting blocked with deteriorating plaster. Clearly when a brush or a hand is rubbed against the pool wall, a cloud forms. He tells us that 6-7 years is the usual timeframe before we require a re-plastering of our gunite pool. This has been estimated to cost about $ 5500 for a roughly 25000 gallon pool. Any thoughts? Does all of this sound right?

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1 Answer


It is not the gunite that is the problem - it is the plaster. Gunite is a sprayed-on mortar, basically. Because it is sprayed on it is rough, with lots of sand particles at the surface. The spray process is used to avoid having to use forms to shape the pool like you have to do with poured concrete, so it is MUCH cheaper to do and can also conform to any shape.

There are two ways to treat this surface when applied: one is to immediately trowel it down smooth, then cost it with a multi-coat epoxy surface finish which will typically last 15 or so years and can be recoated at long as the pool can be dewatered and dried out.

The second method is to leave it rough (which is much cheaper) and cover the roughness with a plaster. This is a lime product, and the hypoclorate or chlorine gas that is added to your pool water as a disinfectant, and the sulfuric acid used to acidify it to prevent or control algae, both tend to dissolve it. Therefore, it needs recoating and resealing every 5-10 years.

I would talk to your contractor (and a couple of other pool companies) about the cost of continuing to replaster it versus removing the plaster and going to an epoxy system. There are also epoxy systems designed to go over plaster (though a new coat, not a deteriorating one) or direct on gunite to extend the recoat cycle to maybe 15-20 years.

This assumes your pool can be safely dewatered - many pools in high water table areas are not designed to be dewatered because the high water table will collapse them, so if they have to be dewatered for major maintenance you have to put in dewatering points around the outside of the pool and draw the water table down first. You should have received instructions on this when you got the pool info package when you built the pool or bought the house. There are epoxies that can be applied underwater if necessary, but obviously this is more epensive by quite a bit, and generally does not leave as smooth a finish, so a bit more cleaning care is needed.

For more info Google the following search phrase - gunite pool care

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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