As spring approaches, we’re looking forward to a major project that won’t occur until the swim season ends – a full replacement of the pool finish. As you can imagine, this project has been a board topic for years as it will require a significant financial investment.
Our pool is coated in a material called “marcite”. Marcite is a white plaster material, composed of Portland cement, marble dust and additives. It’s applied over the underlying concrete pool shell (called “gunite”) that was installed in 1967.
Over time, the layer bonds weaken and the marcite starts to chip. In recent years, patching has been performed as many as 2 to 3 times over the course of the season. Cracking also occurs, particularly on faces near the water’s surface (such as the stairs).
Unfortunately, patching will likely be necessary again in 2022 since the project doesn’t begin until after the swim season. We will do our best to ensure that any holes that appear are patched in a timely manner.
The project is scheduled to begin on September 6th, 2022 – the day after Labor Day (closing day). Demolition and construction are anticipated to take 2-3 weeks. The company we’ve hired uses a novel water blast technique to strip multiple layers of old and loose marcite. The surface is then prepped. New tiles are laid. Then, a finish coat is applied.
We have opted to use a product called Diamond Brite (instead of marcite) due to its enhanced durability and appearance. This material is composed of Portland cement and quartz aggregates.
More details about the project can be found here.
After completion, the pool will be immediately re-filled, then operated for 30 days while the finish cures. During this period, proper chemical balance will be critical. Thankfully, heat is not necessary (as the natural gas consumption could prove quite costly to counter brisk nights in October). The pool and facilities will be winterized around Halloween.
Other bits of information related to the project:
- Reputable pool contractors now only support significantly stripping existing marcite layers prior to application of new material. In the past, new marcite was often applied over existing layers. While less expensive, this also results in a far less durable finish. Since the pool will be stripped, all tiles (i.e. lane markers, stair markers) will also be removed and replaced.
- As of Februrary, we’re still evaluating replacement of the underwater lights with LED fixtures and performing some valve replacement work in the pump house that can only be with an empty pool.
- We’re going to attempt to fix the slight slope to the stairs, if possible. This will be evaluated once the existing marcite surface is stripped.
- Our pool is approximately 203,500 gallons (per the original drawings). As you can imagine, this comes with a substantial water bill (we do not fully empty the pool during the off-season).