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What does it mean to resurface a pool? What happens if you don’t resurface a pool?

What does it mean to resurface a pool? What happens if you don’t resurface a pool? Can I paint instead of resurfacing? Read this to find out

Owning a swimming pool brings joy, relaxation, and a perfect spot for family gatherings, but it also comes with the responsibility of regular maintenance to keep it in optimal condition. One of the essential maintenance tasks for pool owners is resurfacing.

Over time, the pool surface deteriorates due to exposure to chemicals, weather, and regular use. Resurfacing a pool means repairing and renewing the surface layer, which is crucial for maintaining the pool’s aesthetics, functionality, and safety. Understanding the importance, timing, and process of pool resurfacing can help ensure that your pool remains a beautiful and enjoyable feature of your home.

What does it mean to resurface a pool?

Resurfacing a pool involves repairing and renewing the surface layer of a swimming pool. This process is essential for maintaining the pool’s aesthetics, functionality, and safety. Over time, the pool surface can wear out due to exposure to chemicals, weather conditions, and regular use. Resurfacing restores the pool to a like-new condition, addressing issues like cracks, stains, and rough patches.

Why Resurface a Pool?

  1. Aesthetics: A pool’s surface can become discoloured or stained, which makes the pool look old and unattractive. Resurfacing can give the pool a fresh, clean appearance.
  2. Safety: Over time, the surface of a pool can develop rough spots or cracks, which can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for swimmers. Resurfacing smooths out these imperfections, making the pool safer to use.
  3. Prevent Leaks: Cracks and damage to the pool’s surface can lead to leaks, which can be costly to repair and waste a significant amount of water. Resurfacing can seal these cracks and prevent leaks from occurring.
  4. Extend Lifespan: Regular resurfacing can extend the overall lifespan of the pool by preventing significant damage that might require more extensive repairs.
An old empty dry outdoor swimming pool in a dry park

When to Resurface a Pool?

Typically, a pool should be resurfaced every 10-15 years, depending on the type of surface material used and the amount of wear and tear. Signs that it might be time to resurface your pool include:

  • Visible cracks or chips in the surface
  • Stains or discolouration that don’t come off with cleaning
  • Rough patches that can cause discomfort to swimmers
  • Noticeable leaks or a drop in water level

Types of Pool Surfaces

There are several types of surfaces that can be used when resurfacing a pool, each with its own benefits and drawbacks:

  1. Plaster: This is one of the most common materials used for pool resurfacing. It’s affordable and provides a smooth finish. However, plaster is prone to staining and requires more frequent resurfacing.
  2. Pebble: Pebble surfaces are more durable than plaster and offer a natural, attractive look. They are resistant to staining and can last longer, but they are also more expensive.
  3. Quartz: Quartz surfaces combine plaster with quartz crystals, resulting in a surface that is more resistant to staining and etching. It’s a middle-ground option in terms of cost and durability.
  4. Fiberglass: Fiberglass surfaces are extremely durable and resistant to stains and algae. They can be more expensive but require less maintenance and last longer than plaster or pebble surfaces.

The Resurfacing Process

Resurfacing a pool involves several steps:

  1. Draining the Pool: The first step is to drain the pool completely to access the surface.
  2. Preparing the Surface: The old surface is then cleaned, and any damaged areas are repaired. This may involve chipping away old plaster, patching cracks, and smoothing rough spots.
  3. Applying the New Surface: The new surface material is applied. This process can vary depending on the material chosen. For example, plaster is applied in a thick layer and smoothed out, while pebble surfaces involve embedding small stones into a base layer.
  4. Curing: After the new surface is applied, it needs time to cure. This involves filling the pool with water and allowing the surface to set and harden, which can take a few days to a couple of weeks.
  5. Balancing the Water Chemistry: Finally, the pool’s water chemistry is balanced to ensure the new surface is not damaged by improper pH or chemical levels.

What happens if you don’t resurface a pool?

Failing to resurface a pool when needed can lead to a variety of problems, affecting the pool’s appearance, functionality, and safety. Here are some of the main consequences:

1. Deterioration of Aesthetics

Discoloration and Staining: Over time, the pool surface can become discoloured and stained due to constant exposure to pool chemicals, algae, and debris. These stains can become permanent if not addressed promptly, making the pool look old and neglected.

Unsightly Cracks and Chips: Small cracks and chips in the pool surface can worsen over time. What starts as a minor aesthetic issue can become a significant visual distraction, diminishing the overall appeal of your pool area.

2. Increased Safety Hazards

Rough and Uneven Surfaces: As the pool surface wears down, it can become rough and uneven, leading to cuts, scrapes, and discomfort for swimmers. A smooth surface is essential for swimmer safety and comfort.

Structural Damage: Small cracks can grow larger and deeper if not addressed. This can lead to significant structural damage, potentially compromising the integrity of the pool. In extreme cases, this could cause sections of the pool to collapse or fail.

Background of a blue pool maintenance

3. Water Quality Issues

Algae Growth: A deteriorated pool surface can become a breeding ground for algae. Algae not only discolour the water but also make it slippery and unsafe. Algae blooms can be difficult and costly to eradicate once they take hold.

Chemical Imbalances: Damaged surfaces can lead to issues with maintaining proper water chemistry. Cracks and rough areas can harbour bacteria and algae, requiring more frequent and intensive chemical treatments to keep the water clean and safe.

4. Leaks and Water Loss

Increased Leaks: Cracks and damage to the pool surface can lead to leaks, causing a significant loss of water. Not only does this waste water, but it can also lead to increased water bills and potentially damage surrounding areas.

Soil Erosion and Structural Problems: Water leaking from the pool can erode the soil around the pool, leading to further structural issues. This erosion can destabilize the pool, causing more severe damage over time.

5. Higher Repair Costs

Escalating Repair Needs: Minor issues, if not addressed promptly, can escalate into major problems. A small crack might be easy and inexpensive to fix initially, but if allowed to grow, it could require extensive and costly repairs.

Comprehensive Overhaul: Neglecting resurfacing can eventually necessitate a complete overhaul of the pool, including extensive repairs to both the surface and underlying structure. This is much more expensive and time-consuming than regular resurfacing.

6. Reduced Pool Lifespan

Shortened Service Life: Regular maintenance, including resurfacing, is crucial for extending the lifespan of a pool. Neglecting these tasks can significantly shorten the pool’s usable life, leading to a need for early replacement or extensive restoration work.

Can I paint my pool instead of resurfacing?

Painting a pool is an alternative to resurfacing that some pool owners consider, primarily because it is less expensive and less labour-intensive than a full resurfacing. However, painting a pool has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a detailed look at whether painting a pool is a viable option compared to resurfacing:

Advantages of Painting a Pool

  1. Cost-Effective: Painting a pool is generally cheaper than resurfacing. The materials (pool paint) and labour required are less expensive, making it an attractive option for those on a tight budget.
  2. Quick and Easy: The process of painting a pool is quicker and simpler than resurfacing. It usually involves draining the pool, cleaning the surface, applying the paint, and allowing it to dry. This can be done within a few days, whereas resurfacing can take longer.
  3. Aesthetic Improvement: Pool paint can provide a fresh, clean look and can cover up stains and minor imperfections. This can improve the visual appeal of your pool without the higher costs associated with resurfacing.

Disadvantages of Painting a Pool

  1. Shorter Lifespan: Painted pool surfaces do not last as long as resurfaced ones. Pool paint typically lasts 2-5 years, whereas a resurfaced pool can last 10-15 years or more. This means you will need to repaint more frequently.
  2. Limited Durability: Paint is less durable than resurfacing materials such as plaster, pebble, or fibreglass. It can chip, fade, and peel over time, especially with exposure to pool chemicals, UV rays, and regular use.
  3. Maintenance Issues: Maintaining a painted pool can be more challenging. Paint can wear unevenly, leading to patchy areas and requiring touch-ups. Additionally, paint can sometimes make it harder to balance water chemistry properly.
  4. Not Suitable for Major Repairs: If your pool has significant cracks, rough patches, or structural issues, painting will not address these problems effectively. Resurfacing is necessary to fix substantial damage and ensure the pool’s integrity.

Types of Pool Paint

There are a few different types of pool paint, each with its own properties:

  1. Epoxy Paint: This is the most durable type of pool paint, lasting up to 7 years. It provides a hard, glossy finish and is resistant to pool chemicals. However, it is also the most expensive and requires a clean, dry surface for application.
  2. Chlorinated Rubber Paint: This type of paint is easier to apply than epoxy and dries quickly. It lasts around 2-5 years but is less durable and more prone to fading.
  3. Acrylic Paint: Water-based acrylic paint is the easiest to apply and can be used on damp surfaces. It is the least durable, lasting 1-2 years, and is best suited for temporary or budget-friendly projects.

When Painting Might Be Appropriate

  • Short-Term Solution: If you need a quick, temporary fix to improve the pool’s appearance, painting can be a viable option.
  • Budget Constraints: If the cost of resurfacing is prohibitive, painting can provide a more affordable way to maintain the pool.
  • Minor Surface Issues: If your pool only has minor aesthetic issues and is structurally sound, painting can freshen up its look without extensive work.

How soon can you use a pool after resurfacing?

After resurfacing a pool, it is crucial to wait for the appropriate amount of time before using it to ensure the new surface properly cures and sets. The waiting period can vary depending on the resurfacing material used and the specific conditions. Here are some general guidelines for different types of resurfacing materials:

Plaster

  • Curing Time: Plaster surfaces typically require a curing period of about 7 to 10 days.
  • Filling the Pool: The pool is usually filled with water immediately after the plaster is applied to prevent cracking. Once filled, it needs time to cure underwater.
  • Using the Pool: It’s generally safe to use the pool after the initial 7 to 10 days, but full curing can take up to 28 days. During this time, avoid vigorous activity and heavy usage to prevent damage to the new surface.

Pebble

  • Curing Time: Pebble surfaces also require a similar curing period of about 7 to 10 days.
  • Filling the Pool: Like plaster, the pool should be filled immediately after the pebble surface is applied.
  • Using the Pool: Swimming can usually begin after 7 to 10 days, but complete curing might take up to 28 days. Be cautious with the type of activities to avoid damaging the surface.

Quartz

  • Curing Time: Quartz surfaces need around 7 to 10 days to cure initially.
  • Filling the Pool: The pool should be filled immediately after application.
  • Using the Pool: The pool can generally be used after 7 to 10 days, with full curing taking up to 28 days. Avoid heavy usage during the full curing period.

Fiberglass

  • Curing Time: Fiberglass surfaces cure relatively quickly, often within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Filling the Pool: The pool can be filled shortly after the fibreglass surface is applied, usually within a day.
  • Using the Pool: You can typically start using the pool within 48 to 72 hours after resurfacing with fibreglass. However, always follow the manufacturer’s specific recommendations.

Important Considerations

  1. Water Chemistry: Properly balancing the pool’s water chemistry is crucial during the curing period. The pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels should be monitored closely to prevent damage to the new surface.
  2. Brushing: For plaster, pebble, and quartz surfaces, it’s often recommended to brush the pool walls and floor daily during the initial curing period to remove any loose particles and ensure a smooth finish.
  3. Chemical Treatment: Avoid adding harsh chemicals or high levels of chlorine during the initial curing period. Gradually adjust the chemical levels to avoid shocking the new surface.
  4. Professional Advice: Always follow the specific advice and guidelines provided by the pool resurfacing professional like West Coast Pool Resurfacing. They can provide detailed instructions tailored to the materials used and the specific conditions of your pool.

In short, after resurfacing a pool, patience is key to ensuring the new surface cures properly. Typically, for most materials like plaster, pebble, and quartz, you should wait about 7 to 10 days before using the pool, with full curing taking up to 28 days. For fibreglass, the waiting period is shorter, often around 48 to 72 hours. Following these guidelines and the advice of your West Coast Pool Resurfacing will help ensure a long-lasting and durable pool surface.

Final thought

Resurfacing a pool is a vital aspect of pool maintenance that ensures longevity, safety, and aesthetic appeal. Ignoring the need for resurfacing can lead to numerous problems, from structural damage and water quality issues to increased safety hazards and higher repair costs. While painting a pool might offer a temporary and budget-friendly solution, it doesn’t match the durability and effectiveness of resurfacing.

By understanding the different resurfacing materials and following the recommended curing times, pool owners can make informed decisions that will keep their pools in excellent condition for years to come. Regular resurfacing not only preserves the pool’s functionality but also enhances the enjoyment and value it brings to your home.

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