By Kurtis Bednarcyk
Thanks to Mother Earth’s mild manners this winter, we were able to get several projects prepared for plaster and start-up early this spring! That, along with a regularly busy spring and summer ahead has inspired this post, as proper care of new plaster is vital to the aesthetics and longevity of your surface!
The plaster finish that is applied over the concrete shell is what we refer to as a “biological system” – it’s not actually “alive,” but we use the term because it is quite vulnerable early on. As such, it is important to follow an appropriate start-up procedure. DP&S will typically handle the initial step for the pools and spas that we build, but you will have a bit of responsibility as the new owner after we hand over the reins! We’ll cover the entire process and detail the responsibilities of both parties here so that you are best informed
Immediately after applying the plaster finish:
· DP&S will begin filling the pool. The pool should be filled as quickly as possible, without stopping. Use multiple hoses if possible. Do not allow water from the hose to spray directly onto the fresh plaster (we will apply a sponge to the end of the hose to keep it afloat as the pool fills).
· DP&S will add muriatic acid to dissolve some of the plaster “dust” and to maintain proper pH and start the circulation system with the appropriate bypasses to ensure there are no above-ground leaks.
Continuing responsibilities of the homeowner:
*Note – all of this information will also be shared with you at start-up…these are the cliff notes for your reference!
· Brush the entire pool once a day for the first week and at least once a week for the rest of the first month – more often is better. Make sure to brush the entire plaster surface. Brush from the top of the walls down and from the shallow to the deep end to knock off any loose plaster dust.
· Continue to monitor pH and add acid as required for at least 30 days – pH should remain at or below 7.8.
· Do not vacuum or shock the pool during the first 30 days.
· If you have a salt-water generator, do NOT add salt, or turn on the SWG, until 30 days after the plaster was applied – you will operate via chlorine sanitation during this time.
· Do not use any automated cleaning system, buit-in or robotic, during the first three weeks.
· Avoid prolonged standing or scraping in any particular spot on the floor.
The keys are brushing and maintaining a proper pH as often as possible for the first 30 days, and about once a week for the remainder of the first swim season. For the first year, your pool will probably require periodic dosing of muriatic acid, as the curing plaster is very basic. The responsibilities on your end are very manageable, but their importance cannot be stressed enough. So long as you stay on top of these things particularly in the first swim season, you will enjoy a beautiful, consistent finish for many years to come.