As your gunite or concrete pool begins to age, the plaster will require the occasional repair. Cracking, hollow spots, sometimes called “pop-ups”, and chipping are not uncommon. As are wear spots in your pool plaster, when the plaster is worn away, and the gunite below the plaster is showing. Most of these pool plaster repairs can be done by you. With the right tools, the right materials, and a little know how, you can repair most small cracks and chips without too much effort. The following is a step by step guide to making typical pool plaster repairs.
Swimming Pool Crack Repair
Cut the crack out 1/2” deep and extend the length of the crack one inch on both ends. You will need a grinder or saw with a diamond blade. You can rent a 4” grinder, or buy one for about $50.00. Be sure to use all of the proper safety equipment and safe operating procedures.
Allow the crack to dry and wipe away all dust and debris.
Apply a bead of caulk along the length of the crack leaving 1/4” space to allow for plaster to cover the caulk.
Allow the caulk to dry.
Mix some pool patch or white Portland cement and white sand with water and an acrylic cement bonding agent (available at most home improvement super centers). The mix should be the consistency of loose peanut butter.
Lightly moisten the surface. With a flat trowel or putty knife, apply your pool patching mixture to the crack. Gently push the mix into the crack to make sure there is no air left in the gap.
Smooth and even out the patch area with your trowel, and sponge the new patch to match the consistency of the existing surface. If the pool plaster repair won’t be under water for more than a few hours, cover it with a wet towel to keep it moist until the pool repair is covered with water to prevent the job from cracking.
Fill the pool as soon as possible and go swimming!
Swimming Pool Plaster Repair
Get your hammer and chisel and remove any loose plaster that is not bonded to the pool surface. Drag the floor of the pool with a heavy chain and listen for hollow spots, or tap the pool floor with a hammer. You will be able to hear the hollow pool plaster. Chip them up. Be sure to use eye protection, gloves and all of the proper safety equipment.
Chisel some divots and pock marks into the surface that will be patched to help your new plaster patch bond to the existing surface. Acid rinse the surface to be repaired.
Figure out the surface area to be patched. Mix your pool patch or a mixture of 1/3 white Portland cement and 2/3 white sand. If the plaster is a custom color (grey, black) you will need to add cement dye.
Mix the plaster mix and some acrylic bonding agent together with water. Mix to the consistency of peanut butter.
The best way to apply the mix is with a “pool trowel”. Wet the surface with your sponge or a fine mist.
Apply the plaster mix with your trowel. Push the mixture into the corners and divots. Make sure you trowel it enough to there are no air bubbles left in the mixture. Trowel patch smooth. Wait 15 minutes and trowel the patch smooth again, you may need to sprinkle a little water around the edges to smooth it in with the existing plaster. Be sure to keep the pool repair moist until it is under water.
Fill your newly patched swimming pool immediately.
Fiberglass Pool Repairs
You can repair small cracks in your fiberglass pool without too much trouble. Follow the step by step guide below for simple crack repair. You will need a fiberglass repair kit from your local paint supply, or marine supply store. Blisters and bubbles can be repaired the same way. Please remember, you will never get a perfect color and you will always see the repair. The only way to avoid this would be to resurface the entire swimming pool.
Disk sand the entire area around the crack to remove loose dirt and debris.
Cut the crack with the diamond blade, extending the cut beyond the original crack.
Apply the bond coat to the crack area. Let this set and dry until it becomes tacky. If the crack is leaking water, we suggest using hydraulic cement, then applying the bond coat after the crack is filled.
Catalyze the polyester putty, and apply it to the crack using a putty knife. Allow the putty to dry, and then sand the area smooth.
Apply 2-inch masking tape around the perimeter of your repair. Apply a gel coat with the paint roller.
Lay down your fiberglass cloth, using enough to overlap at least two inches on each side of the repair area. Then saturate the fiberglass cloth with another layer of gel. Roll the area using the rib roller, being careful to eliminate air pockets from under the fiberglass.
Allow the repair to dry. (This may take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, depending on temperature and weather conditions).
After the surface has cured to the touch, sand the surface, apply the finish coat.
Make sure the surface is completely dry before you proceed from one step to the next.
Vinyl Liner Pool Repair and Patching
Most rips and tears in vinyl lined pools can be patched with a simple vinyl patch kit. Today, most pool vinyl patch kits can be used underwater or above the water level. If you can drain the pool down to patch the leak, it will be easier to make the patch. The following is a step by step guide to patching your vinyl pool liner.
Clean the area to be patched.
Cut your vinyl patch material about 1/2” larger than the hole. Be sure to cut the vinyl patch material in a circle or oval so there are no corners on the patch. Corners will peel off and the patch WILL come off.
Clean the area around the hole to be patched. If the pool patch is a dry pool patch, use a little acetone (ex. nail polish remover) or a good vinyl cleaner.
Apply the vinyl glue to the area around the hole, and the patch itself. If you are doing an underwater patch, apply the vinyl liner glue to the patch only, and fold it over on top of itself.
Wait 3 minutes and press the patch onto the area being patched. Rub all of the air from under the patch, and take extra time to rub the edges all of the way around the patch.
Wait 10 minutes, and rub the patch and edges again