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Kim Skinner's Blog (75)

The LSI is Reliable

Using the Langelier Saturation Index as a guide for maintaining proper pool water balance and to protect pool plaster has become a mainstay in our industry, and we believe, for good reason.

We at onBalance have conducted several LSI experiments and have determined that maintaining a balanced LSI (-0.3 to +0.5) helps prevents scaling and prevent the etching of plaster finishes.

However, one plaster industry leader suggests that even when pool water is LSI balanced, if the…

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Added by Kim Skinner on October 12, 2018 at 3:36pm — No Comments

Pool Start-up Alternative for Plaster Pools

Orenda Technologies has recently unveiled a new start-up program that prevents the formation of plaster dust by adding calcium (calcium chloride) to low calcium tap water while filling brand-new plaster pools. We have received communications asking us if this calcium program is compatible with, or a viable alternative to the Bicarbonate Start-up Method that also prevents plaster dust.

The Orenda start-up program can, in certain situations, be an effective alternative to the Bicarb…

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Added by Kim Skinner on July 5, 2018 at 11:15am — 1 Comment

How to Obtain a Quality Pool Plaster Finish

For pool builders, remodeling companies, and pool plasterers that want the best chance to obtain a quality and discoloration-free pool plaster finish (including white, color, and quartz aggregate pools), the link below is to an article in WaterShapes (a pool industry publication) that explains the preparations, workmanship, and practices to follow. 

Consider performing personal supervision on the entire process to ensure good results.…

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Added by Kim Skinner on April 14, 2018 at 9:05am — 1 Comment

Cal Poly Plaster Study Conclusions Shown to be Incorrect

Beginning in 2004, a series of plaster research studies were released by the National Plasterers Council (NPC), which they instigated and financially supported, and which were undertaken by the California Polytechnic State University in San Louis Obispo. In these studies, the researchers concluded that aggressive water conditions were the cause of “spot etching” and other plaster surface defects. The conclusions, and the quality of the research, have long been contested within the industry,…

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Added by Kim Skinner on December 6, 2017 at 10:18am — 1 Comment

The Future for pH and Chlorine Standards

It appears that the pool industry’s long-time recommended parameters for chlorine and pH levels will be changing in the near future.

The current range of 1 to 4 ppm for chlorine will likely be raised when pool water contains cyanuric acid (CYA), and the pH range will be broadened beyond the current limited range of 7.2 to 7.8. The reason for this change is due to a new understanding of the science of stabilized pool water.

Some years ago, Richard Falk (known as Chemgeek on pool…

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Added by Kim Skinner on December 4, 2017 at 12:28pm — 7 Comments

Announcement of Pool Plaster Study

The research and consulting group onBalance has decided to conduct new plaster research studies to generate additional evidence regarding the cause of unsightly plaster discolorations and defects. The plaster issues of concern are gray mottling discoloration of white plaster, white spotting of both colored and white plaster, calcium nodules, spalling, flaking, and craze-cracking.

One aspect of the study will be to construct two demonstration pools, each with sections of various…

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Added by Kim Skinner on March 23, 2017 at 3:29pm — No Comments

The Reality of Pool Chemical Treatment

For at least 40 years, many pool service companies have been successfully maintaining their residential pools on a once-a-week visitation basis. Empirical evidence has shown that pool water can be kept safe and properly sanitized without harmful bacteria and algae developing with weekly treatment programs.

Also, pool service companies provide a great service by keeping hazardous chemicals out of the hands of pool owners and their children.

One reason that pools can be kept…

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Added by Kim Skinner on November 29, 2016 at 1:34pm — 4 Comments

What Alkalinity is Best for Pools?

It is amazing how incorrect information gets started, and gains traction despite being wrong, and not based on science. For example, contrary to some pool literature and manuals, it has been shown that a pH of 8.0 to 8.4 is workable, and sometimes is best for some pools.

Another misconception regarding pool water maintenance involves the recommended “Ideal” alkalinity range of 80 to 120 ppm. While that may be a good range for some pool situations, it is not necessarily the best when…

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Added by Kim Skinner on September 13, 2016 at 3:33pm — No Comments

What pH is Best for Pools?

Experienced service techs know that the pH in many of their pools generally rises above 7.8 within four to seven days following chemical treatments.  It is a chemistry reality that when water contains 80 ppm to 120 ppm of carbonate alkalinity, and is left alone and untreated by additional chemicals, the pH will rise to 8.0, and sometimes as high as 8.4 and stay there until chemically treated again. 

What does this mean?  It means that thousands upon thousands of residential pools are…

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Added by Kim Skinner on August 3, 2016 at 9:42am — 3 Comments

What is the NPC up to?

Some plasterers are occasionally finishing pools so fast that it detrimentally affects the quality and durability of plaster surfaces, and are not even aware of the consequences. And the NPC is enabling for this to happen. This needs to stop. Improper practices can speed up the finishing process, but they also lead to a short life-span for plaster, lasting only five-ten years instead of twenty. They are not doing the consuming public right by condoning, and by omission endorsing, those…

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Added by Kim Skinner on February 24, 2016 at 2:25pm — No Comments

Pool Service Techs: Don't Get Hoodwinked

Imagine, service techs: from day one, you maintain the pool water in perfect balance, yet get blamed for causing various plaster discolorations or defects. That is not a pleasant thing to deal with, especially if you are being told to pay thousands of dollars to re-plaster the pool.

Yes, some plastered pools (including quartz and pebble finishes) may develop either white spotting and streaking, calcium nodules, gray mottling discoloration, spalling (flaking), severe craze (check)…

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Added by Kim Skinner on October 26, 2015 at 1:38pm — 3 Comments

Plaster Spotting Exposed Again

The swimming pool publication, Service Industry News and its’ PhD chemist, recently peer reviewed the NPC/Cal Poly (NPIRC) Phase 2 pool plaster study report and concluded that white spotting (soft spots, spot etching, and spot alteration) of their plaster pools was not caused by aggressive water, and that the claims (by the NPC) regarding that study are false. In fact, every plaster study of the past twenty-five years has exposed that the NPC is wrong, and that aggressive pool water does not…

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Added by Kim Skinner on September 18, 2015 at 6:00pm — No Comments

NPC & Color Plaster

If NPC leaders would just acknowledge what improper plastering practices do to pool plaster, there would not be a controversy within the industry - and there would be fewer plaster defects and discolorations occurring.

Case in point: Adding calcium chloride (hardening accelerator) to plaster and water troweling enables pools to be plastered faster and easier. But adding calcium chloride (CC) to a color pigmented plaster can also lead to blotchiness and mottling, which pigment…

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Added by Kim Skinner on September 3, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

Kudos to Service Industry News

Instead of writing a “he said, she said” article about the plaster spotting controversy, Service Industry News (SIN) thought it would better serve the pool industry by conducting their own investigation to determine what information is true, and false. They started on that goal by analyzing the Cal Poly test pool studies. In their July 31, 2015 issue, SIN presented credible evidence (from the Cal Poly Phase 2 report) that the white spotting of the plaster test pools was not caused by…

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Added by Kim Skinner on August 7, 2015 at 2:53pm — 2 Comments

Article on Plaster Standard Misleads Industry

The NPC has drafted a plastering standard which has been submitted to ANSI for approval.  But the NPC did not include and address many proper and improper workmanship practices, such as, limiting water content (water-to-cement ratio), calcium chloride additions, and wet (water) troweling. These are all very important issues for the making of quality pool plaster.

And unfortunately, an article by Pool & Spa News about the new proposed plaster standard does not tell the whole story…

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Added by Kim Skinner on June 5, 2015 at 1:21pm — 1 Comment

Understanding Pool Water Balance

Decades ago, people in the pool industry started becoming aware that there was more to pool maintenance than just adding sanitizers to the water (to kill algae and bacteria) and filtering it (to help keep it crystal clear).  Gradually, we learned that even properly sanitized and filtered pool water could become unbalanced.

 

We figured out that unbalanced water could be either scale-forming, in which case a layer of calcium scale would form everywhere – or…

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Added by Kim Skinner on April 20, 2015 at 10:43am — No Comments

NPC Should Step Up

Are NPC leaders really trying to resolve plaster problems, or will they continue to ignore and/or misrepresent the research studies that have already provided the answers? The NPC says that there has been decades of debate regarding plaster problems. Actually, there have been decades of pool plaster studies, but no honest discussions or debates, and no accountability.

There was a time when NPC leaders understood that improper plaster workmanship can cause plaster defects and…

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Added by Kim Skinner on November 25, 2014 at 1:30pm — 2 Comments

What the NPC is Not Telling You

With a lot of publicity and fanfare, the National Plasterers Council (NPC) recently invited the onBalance group to participate in new test pool studies to determine the cause of plaster spotting, which they claim is caused by aggressive pool water.

The NPC wants the test pools plastered with good workmanship and supervised by onBalance, and then they want the pool water to be maintained aggressive (per LSI) to see if spotting develops on the plaster surface.  The NPC says “the testing…

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Added by Kim Skinner on November 4, 2014 at 1:02pm — 2 Comments

Why Acid Wash New Quartz Pool Finishes?

It is understood that muriatic acid can dissolve and etch a plaster surface.  Therefore, why, after working hard to achieve a smooth, brand-new, hand-crafted, quartz pool-finish, would anyone immediately perform an “acid wash” on that pool?  Yes, that would increase the exposure of the quartz color; but isn’t that shortening the life of the plaster and causing future…

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Added by Kim Skinner on June 16, 2014 at 6:12am — 8 Comments

Durable & Discoloration Free Pool Plaster

There are proper steps to follow for the making of quality pool plaster, including color, quartz, and pebble finishes.  There are also improper practices that can lead to early deterioration and discoloration. Following is a ten-point checklist that will help achieve a smooth, long-lasting, and discoloration-free swimming pool plaster.

 

1. Plastering in extreme weather conditions can lead to quality and durability problems. The ACI and PCA have specifically warned against…

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Added by Kim Skinner on May 12, 2014 at 12:11pm — 5 Comments

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