If your pool is showing its age, it may be time to consider pool resurfacing. Your pool may have cracks, blisters, or discolorations that a resurface will eliminate. Depending on how your pool is currently surfaced and what you want to put on it, this could be a simple or difficult DIY project. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to resurface your pool yourself.
If you have a gunite pool, your pool shell will be made of concrete that is 8-12 inches thick. A final finish will have been applied to the surface of the gunite. Typical finishes used are plaster, tile, Diamond Brite, or Pebbletek. This topcoat generally lasts up to 15 years. When you resurface your pool, it is this topcoat that is replaced.
Basic Process for Pool Resurfacing
While these steps won’t give you all of the information you need to completely resurface your pool, they make up a basic outline so that you can consider whether you will be able to do this work yourself and what you should prepare for.
Disclaimer: Before beginning the process, you must contact your city’s planning department to see if you need a permit to resurface your pool or if there are any other special requirements, like where to drain the water.
Step 1 – Draining and Cleaning the Pool
When resurfacing, you must first drain the pool.
Next, you should thoroughly clean the pool's surface with a wire brush. If you have plaster on gunite, you will have to use a chisel, pick, or jackhammer to remove the plaster from the gunite shell. Once you have removed all the plaster, use a wire brush on the shell to remove all of the chalky material on the shell.
The surface should then be cleaned with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and followed by a coating with muriatic acid to remove mineral deposits. Be extremely careful when working with this acid, as it can damage your skin and lungs if inhaled directly. Always wear proper safety gear like gloves, boots, eye goggles, and sometimes a respirator. Finish by neutralizing the acid with TSP.
Step 2 – Resurfacing the Pool
Once your pool's surface is clean, the pool can be resurfaced by spreading plaster. For a pool with 100 linear feet, it will take around 2,500 pounds of plaster and 3,500 pounds of white-marble plaster sand to resurface the pool.
Types of Surfaces
The three most commonly used pool surfaces are plaster, pebble, and quartz.
Generally, new gunite pools are coated with pool plaster, which is cement mixed with marble sand or limestone. It is the least expensive option for pool surfacing and typically lasts around 7 years.
Pebble finishes are actually just plaster with aggregate mixed in. The addition of aggregate makes these more durable and stain-resistant than plaster alone. Pebble finishes can be somewhat rough and cost twice as much as plaster, but the upside is that they often last over 12 years.
A quartz finish is a plaster with quartz aggregate mixed in. This provides more color than pebbles and is a more stain-resistant option. A quartz finish will usually last 12-15 years.
Fiberglass pools should be resurfaced with fiberglass. Look for special kits that use a fiberglass resin and a gel-coat to restore the finish to your fiberglass pool.
Should You Resurface Your Pool Yourself?
The main drawback to making this a DIY project is that water is not forgiving. If you make a mistake, you will be left with a leaking pool and will have to repeat the entire process. Plus, a medium-sized home pool will generally take two people over 20 hours to resurface. If you have a larger pool, it will often take three or four people to keep the plaster from setting too quickly. If this doesn’t appeal to you, consider hiring a professional to do the job.
However, resurfacing your pool yourself can be a rewarding task that could save you money. If you’re excited about resurfacing your pool and you’re willing to put in a bit of work, there’s nothing that should stop you.