With the amount of foreclosures and short sales the economy is seeing many homeowners are getting homes affordably however they come with “issues”. Of course the issue we see most is a neglected pool. Homeowners having trouble making a mortgage payment are not worried about the state of their pool. So it is only reasonable that when the home is sold at a discount that the condition of the pool is a mute point.

Many new pool owners don’t even know the basics of pool construction let alone how to balance the ph of the water. In this article we will address questions and concerns that arise focusing on the materials that make up the pool.

Many terms are thrown around in pool lingo such as plaster, gunite and marcite; what are they?

Gunite is the pools shell. Often referred to as the sprayed in concrete base, gunite is made up of rebar and concrete. Marcite was originally a brand name of plaster but has become known as plaster to many pool contractors. The phrase is universally used; marcite equals plaster for most professional pool installers. Plaster or marcite is the coating over the gunite pool shell. It is made up of white crushed marble dust. The white plaster finish is usually applied in two coats and is between 3/8″ and 1/2″ thick. To be clear the pool shell or base is made up of rebar, concrete (gunite) and plaster (marcite).

What is the purpose of the plaster?

Concrete is rough. Pools would not be enjoyable or as easy to maintain. Plaster is needed to allow for the pools surface to be smooth to the touch. Brand new plaster is the smoothest pool surface. At this point the marcite (plaster) has no imperfections. Imperfections come from age and can range from calcium building up and general erosion on the pool surface, wear and tear for a pool.

After having our pool plastered how long will the plaster last? How long until we have to do this process again?

Before a homeowner notices any imperfections and erosion is the answer I like to give in this situation. The white marble plaster should maintain the original smooth texture and bright white color for five to seven years before any wear is noticeable. This takes into consideration properly maintained water chemistry.

Are there different types of plaster and pool coatings available for in ground pools?

Yes! White marble plaster is the least expensive coating over gunite and the most commonly used. This is why when speaking to homeowners the quoted price will be for this marcite plaster unless otherwise specified.

Diamond Brite: Exposed Aggregate Pool Finishes is just one of many plaster finishes that brings color and slight texture to the pool. This is the most common aggregate coating and should be expected to last two to three times longer than white marble plaster because it is more durable. However, note the durability is something you will pay for as it is about fifty percent more expensive. This expense should be considered when homeowners see themselves in this house years down the road.

There are drawbacks to Diamond Brite over plain white plaster finishes. In order for the Diamond Brite to be applied correctly it must be adhere directly to the gunite. You can can expect over time that the bond fail as the bond between Diamond Brite and plaster is not as strong as Diamond Brite and gunite if it is not properly installed. Also, if you are lax about proper pool chemical balance the adhesives found in Diamond Brite will fail faster than that of normal white marble plaster.

The key to pool ownership is proper chemical balance and maintenance. Don’t allow algae to grow and ruin the pools surface. Scrubbing off algae is not great for your pools plaster. When you start to see staining on your pools surface note that it is time to start looking into having your pool plastered sooner than later to avoid more damage to the plaster than is already present.