Jump to content

New Plaster Startup

Recommended Posts

We just got a new plaster job (pool finished filling Saturday morning), we got really poor startup directions from the replaster folks, and I've been discovering that starting up a fresh fill on new plaster is totally different than starting up a fresh fill on existing plaster. Trying to figure out what to do now to best get back on track.

Been 3.5 days since it finished filling (10,000 gallon pool). Per installer, right then I turned pump on, added 1 gallon muriatic, and brushed 3X. Told to wait 3 days to add chemicals/rebalance, brush 2X daily for 1st week, and wait 3 weeks before using Polaris. That's pretty much it. I'm discovering that's nowhere near enough.

Even after running the pump 24/7, there's still "tons" of plaster dust in the pool. Even after 16 cups of muriatic Saturday, pH was above 8.3 Monday night. Added 9 cups of acid then. Tonight it's still above 8.3, so just added 12 more to that this evening.

So what to do to recover from here, given 1) the pool pump is running, 2) there's no chlorine in the pool (haven't added any yet since I realize their instructions were garbage, and you're supposed to set pH before chlorine typically), 3) pH is still very high, and 4) there's still a ton of dust in the pool.

Found this:

* http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-school/pool_plaster_start-up

but want to double check here with what I should do with the experts. Follow the Traditional method? What do I do with the pH? Just fight to pull it down to normal (7.2-7.4)?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Say, also, how does the pool chemistry work with getting rid of that plaster dust (standard white plaster)? What is it primarily made of? Does the muriatic break it down?

Also, is the plaster dust large enough to easily get caught in a cartridge filter if you can just keep it stirred up enough to (eventually) drain through a skimmer? Or is it a given I need to round up a brush-head vaccuum and go for it?

And what about calcium when starting up on new pool? Should enough come out of breaking down the dust?

(Been taking care of this pool for 4 years, and since I read a full book on it up-front, I haven't really had any problems keeping the water clear and sanitized properly. But I don't think it said anything on fresh plaster pool care, so I'm in catch-up mode.)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

To get rid of the dust, i'd say let the dust settle (pump/ filter off). Then vacuum to waste (vacuum the dust out of the pool, bypassing the filter).

Maybe use some flocculant if the dust is very fine.

The dust will react with the muriatic acid (break it down). To get rid of the dust using muriatic acid will cost you gallons and gallons of acid, and leave you with a pool filled with high total alkalinity water.

That's all i can say.

I am no pool expert (yet). Just using my chemistry knowledge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FWiW, I wrote that start up guide when I was a mod at TFP way back when. What YOU need to do is to contact the replaster and ask him to explain what you have to do. You need to follow HIS directions if you want him to warranty his work. From what you said he is having you do a traditional startup (actually a variation of it knows as a 'neutral startup') and from what I know there is no real difference between a new plaster and replaster job startup.

Plaster dust is calcium carbonate and your pH will be very high as the plaster cures (because of the calcium hydroxide that leaches into the water). This is normal. Keep adding acid to keep the pH in line. It can take a LOT of acid and it might need to be added daily at first. You also need to brush since this removes the loose plaster dust from the surface. You will also need to keep cleaning the filter as the plaster dust is filtered out. After a few weeks things will settle down as calcium carbonate forms on the surface of the plaster and the calcium hydroxide stops leaching out as the plaster cures. The new plaster surface is fairly soft until then, which is why you should not vacuum or run a cleaner for a month.

To get rid of the dust using muriatic acid will cost you gallons and gallons of acid, and leave you with a pool filled with high total alkalinity water.

That's all i can say.

I am no pool expert (yet). Just using my chemistry knowledge.

Close but no cigar. YOu will end up with very high calcium hardness. The constant addition of acid will lower the TA over time but the dissolved calcium will remain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. I appreciate it. Yes, I would like to follow the plaster guy's directions but since we paid him he's gone awol (won't pick up his phone from our number and doesn't keep the appointments we make when we use a "burn phone" to get him to pick up). Guess we went too cheap. Plaster job looks good, but he left us with a non-working light on the side of the pool and no directions besides what I mentioned. So that's why I'm winging it.

Got the pH under control and have some measureable chlorine in. Without any real cyanuric probably won't take much.

And so far the dust gradually bringing up the calcium hardness is a good thing. It was 100 ppm ~5 days ago and is now up to ~170 -- still below the recommended 200-400 ppm (normally on a fresh fill I have to add quite a bit of calcium to get it into a safe range). I guess if it gets much above 200, I'll have to get a brush vacuum and go after the rest of it to get it out of the water.

I'll stay on top of that acid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Another important thing to be mindful of with new plaster is your filter. After the first 30 days you'll want to clean all the plaster dust out of it either by hosing them off (carts) or backwashing (sand/DE). Failing to do so will ruin your filters.

Thats the way that your excess calcium/plaster dust is removed from your system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...