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Why Acid Wash New Quartz Pool Finishes?

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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 problems?

Although acid washing of older plaster pools can be helpful to remove stains and scale, and restore the original appearance; that process, unfortunately, will make the surface more porous and prone to future streaking, blotchiness, and staining over time.

If a plaster surface begins to show light color blotchiness or streaking within a few weeks or months after completion, the acid wash or acid bath treatment that was performed when the pool was new may the cause of the discoloration problems.

As is known, new plaster/quartz pools can be more easily damaged by acid than one that is even a month old.  That is why the NPC recommends the Traditional Start-up program in order to prevent acidic and aggressive water from damaging a new finish.

Fortunately, there are better methods that will achieve exposure of the quartz color and retain a smooth and durable surface without damaging the pool finish.

Step 1: During the finishing process, properly time the troweling process to remove the weak, watery cement “cream” (known as laitance) that develops on a cement/plaster surface. The cement cream that accumulates on the trowel while hard troweling should be discarded. 

Leaving a thin layer of cream on the surface while troweling not only prevents the color of the quartz from showing, but creates a weakened surface that will break down, deteriorate, and likely become unsightly over time.

It is commonly believed that as plaster hardens and “cures,” it will naturally release a cement component known as calcium hydroxide, which then results in “plaster dust” forming throughout the pool. That is not necessarily true.

Calcium hydroxide can be prevented from leaving the plaster surface in the first place, and instead, be chemically converted into calcium carbonate (a much harder material) within the plaster matrix. When this is achieved; the surface is harder and smoother, and no plaster dust develops to foul the surface.

Step 2: Preventing calcium hydroxide from leaving a plaster surface can be achieved by the following.  Create a “thick” plaster mix, and do not add calcium chloride.  Do not add water to the plaster surface and trowel it into the surface.  Delay the filling of the pool for at least 6 to 8 hours after finishing. (If the weather is hot and dry; tent the pool!)  Fill the pool with +0.5 LSI water. (The Bicarb Start-up recommended by onBalance will accomplish that).

Step 3: A pool cleaner can be used to continually polish the plaster surface over time to maximize the quartz or pebble color.

If the above recommendations are followed, there will be no need to perform a “No Drain acid bath” (also known as Acid Start-up or Zero Alkalinity Process) after the pool has been filled in order to eliminate plaster dust problems and expose the quartz color.  

The benefit of following the above recommendations is a pool finish that is smooth, dense, durable, and stain resistant. The color of quartz will be vivid, consistent, and long-lasting, and that is what will make a pool owner willing to pay a premium for a special quartz finish.

Note the good color of the light blue quartz pool finish in the picture below.  This pool is ten years old, had no CC added to the plaster mix, no wet troweling, a 12 hour delay water filling – with the Bicarb Start-up process.  An acid wash or acid bath treatment has never been performed on this quartz pool.

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Comment by Norman Tyree on October 1, 2014 at 11:06pm

Mark,

You certainly have a bee in your bonnet  about things however just to confuse you a little more I use Quartz in all my Filters and it forms a sort of natural ionization and I and my clients love the fact that they don`t use as much Chlorine.

New Zealander`s have have over the years discovered a few things like splitting the atom, thee first to the top of Mt Everest.

I write about what I have learnt over 30 plus years of fixing and building pools and I try to share my knowledge so as to assist people who are searching for information that may save them money.

I love the fact I have helped people in the USA solve pool problems.

And after 8 years of development I am setting new standards by removing the Cable Gland from the Swimming Pool Light, they are all sealed beams and are the so simple to connect up. If you want to learn about them have a look at my website www.poolquartz.co.nz and be prepared to learn

About the announcement by 3M yes I read that to and I always have doubts about anything I read by any large companies like you have doubts about what I am writing, fact is it works.

Norman.

Comment by Mark Pristine on October 1, 2014 at 1:56pm

What I claim?

It's a fact, here in the United States of America we suffered from a recession in 2008 that anyone who's been in the industry HERE remembers quite well. I only posted a portion of the announcement but a simple Google query about the announcement will bring up more than you should need to know. I believe I'm pretty thorough and include links to validate my statements which I am seeking from you on certain topics. For your reference I'll add the entire announcement.

"Announcement – August 17‚ 2009

Following a review of its product portfolio‚ 3M is today announcing the phase out of its Colorquartz™ Ceramic Coated Crystals product line‚ both the S grade and T grade products‚ by December 31‚ 2009.
The phase out is related to business conditions in the markets utilizing Colorquartz™. There is no impact on or change to our Roofing Granule product lines.
There is currently inventory of most colors in Wausau. The amount varies by color. 3M will accept orders for this material at current prices on a first come first serve basis. Final orders should be placed by September 15‚ 2009. 3M will consolidate these and communicate the following shipment quantity to our customers by September 30‚ 2009. We are committed to an orderly phase out.
Please contact me or your sales rep with any questions.
Sincerely,

Frederick D. Zonino
Sales and Marketing Manager
651.733.1110"

There are plenty of articles like this one at Aqua Magazine or this one at Pool and Spa Marketing that includes additional information as you can see.

"the company plans to exit the pool and spa plastering business as a result of the current economy and reduced demand."

"3M is not selling the brand because the proprietary blend in Colorquartz™ is used in other product lines carried by the company."

As far as this statement goes:

"yes 3M stopped making colored quartz, but was the reason because every man and his dog was adding it to all types of material that left them exposed to some sort of legal action."

We're getting way off topic here but that's like saying Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer, prior to 2006 could be legally liable for individuals who manufactured methamphetamine from the product Sudafed, that is complete nonsense. Expose them to what sort of legal action for what? 3M would not be legally liable for anything that their product was used in that it was not intended for. Please provide some sort of validation to this outlandish statement of this alleged abundance of product misuse you speak of.

I did not miss where you mentioned not using "oxides" and none of my questions had any mention of ANY use of oxides. FYI none of the products I posted links to use oxides either so why you chose to reiterate that point is futile in my opinion. 

Now if you could you please respond to the original questions asked of you that you seem to have perhaps inadvertently ignored so that there is clarification of those topics it would be appreciated.

Thank you,

 

Comment by Norman Tyree on October 1, 2014 at 11:32am

Mark,

Very interesting what you claim, yes 3M stopped making colored quartz, but was the reason because every man and his dog was adding it to all types of material that left them exposed to some sort of legal action.

Do I no what I am talking about you have made several interesting points which are of benefit to people who reads them.

In short if they learn from what we write this is good, From the shelf life of Cement to the using Acid to lower the Ph, If this is done correctly it works but the water must be kept moving.

As a point of Interest I do not use Oxides to provide coloring to the mixture. Maybe you missed this.There are other products added to the 100% Quartz mixture to make it workable and to stop the water draining out of the product to fast.

I am currently re plastering a so called Quartz Plastered pool 10 years old at present a premixed with cement added to it and it has etched the cement away possibly because the cement had hydrated in the bag.

Using fresh Cement helps prevent this.

So to sum up AWARENESS IS VERY IMPORTANT and yes your comments are of value, what role do you play in the Pool Industry and for how long.

Norman

Comment by Mark Pristine on October 1, 2014 at 10:56am

Norman,

I was going to start out by saying you have no clue what you are talking about but with all due respect let me simply inform you and then question some of the statements you have made here as well as challenge some from your website.

"The first to make it 3M stopped making it. I wonder why?"

3M Company is an American multinational conglomerate, one of 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and also a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. They produce more than 55,000 products, with over $30 billion in worldwide sales and a net income of $4.659 billion year end 2013. Point being 3M does things for a reason, you don't need to speculate anything in regards to their decision to discontinue manufacturing their Colorquartz™ Ceramic-Coated Crystals.

From the official announcement dated August 29, 2009:

"Following a review of its product portfolio‚ 3M is today announcing the phase out of its Colorquartz™ Ceramic Coated Crystals product line‚ both the S grade and T grade products‚ by December 31‚ 2009.
The phase out is related to business conditions in the markets utilizing Colorquartz™."

This came at a time when we were coming out of a recession that crippled not only the pool building but the entire construction industry as well. We witnessed the collapse of some of the industries long time builders and service companies.

3M manufactured the ceramic coated quartz that premixed pool finish manufacturers and contractors of designer concrete flooring utilized in their products. Since there was a huge decline in the consumption 3M stopped manufacturing, pretty simple decision I think any business minded individual would agree with.    

  "As far as I know I am the only manufacture using 100% White and Colored Quartz."

Rather than simply outright flame you for this statement I'll assume you meant "the only manufacturer in New Zealand" or at least I would hope that's what you meant because from what I see on your site you provide a similar product to this GEMSTONE QUARTZ and this product also DIAMOND QUARTZ INFO .PDF so we can clarify that statement. And as far as actually plastering here's a quote directly from the choosing a pool surface webpage of a local pool plasterer in Southern California, Alan Smith Pool Plastering.

"100% Quartz Finish

The combination of white cement, 100% quartz and water make for a very durable finish. 100% quartz finishes offer a broad range of colors, from vivid blues, to more subtle colors such as beige and even plum.

It also has the advantage of creating a much more durable surface than standard plaster, one that is harder and far more resistant to fluctuating chemical conditions. While there are other formulations of quartz (50% or 75% quartz) available in the industry today, never settle for anything less than 100% quartz. For the traditional white swimming pool surface, there is no better solution than 100% quartz."

  Combined that would debunk your statement entirely.

"We manufacture the best swimming pool quartz in the world."

Is this a self proclaimed statement, if not this is based on what proof? Please provide the doc**entation from the independent 3rd. party laboratory or laboratories that conducted the tests with their results validating this statement.

As far as I know 3M was the Top Dog in this category I believe most people would also agree. If that's the case, then what makes your product superior to the company that has actually been manufacturing the 3M Colorquartz™ Replacement for some time now?

"for many decades concrete pools have been finished with white marble plaster, however marble is porous and will soak up stains and may be dissolved by acids used in treating pool water. This cannot happen with our Pool Quartz."

At first I was going to say this statement was UTTER NONSENSE, however in reading it again it is simply MISLEADING to say the least. The statement comes across as if the pool finish is impervious to stains and acids however the actual "quartz crystals" are the only things this pertains to. As far as the finished product goes you answered that in this statement here.

"Over all smoothness depends on the size of the aggrate used in the mix both colored and the white quartz, the quartz is not effected by acid at all the cement is."

"Because cement is added to Pool Quartz on the day of application it has no shelf life making it for stronger than other prepared coating on the market."

That latter would be awesome except for the fact that the "Portland Cement" you are mixing the quartz with DOES have a shelf life. Again a MISLEADING statement, if the Portland Cement being used is over 6 months old or has been stored in an inappropriate manner, either one of those scenarios would make your statement completely false.

"It is smooth even after the pool has acid added to the pool 7 days after filling. However the water must be keep moving I use 2 methods a portable filter and cleaner or a submersible pump to keep the water moving otherwise the acid drops to the bottom and can over expose the finish."

Your start-up procedure is nothing more than what Randy Dukes would teach at his seminars during NPC Annual Conferences and Pool and Spa shows.

If your product is what you claim it is and you want your workmanship to be on par with the product start doing Bicarb Start-ups because anything else is inferior and there is plenty of scientific doc**entation as well as real world applications to prove it. Your statement regarding your start-up procedure already validates you are not producing the end product you are capable of for your clients.

Sorry Kim to hijack the thread somewhat but I don't want pool guys who are just starting out to learn the WRONG way to do things and I know you agree that we're here to better the Industry not drag it down further.

Cheers!   

 

Comment by Kim Skinner on June 24, 2014 at 5:19pm

Norman,

If you are adding enough acid to lower the pH to 6.5, then you are etching the cement portion of your finish somewhat as seen under magnification, which means it is not as smooth as it was before an acid treatment.  

Are you suggesting that there is a major difference between quartz and silica?

Comment by Norman Tyree on June 24, 2014 at 2:47pm

Are you sure that it is Quartz or a type of Silica, there being many types. Like the Colored Quartz it can be Colored Sand. The first to make it 3M stopped making it. I wonder why? added to anything maybe!.

It can be coated 2 different ways.and added to marble almost anything.the smoothness depends on the size of the aggrate used in the mix is most important.

Norman.

Comment by Kim Skinner on June 24, 2014 at 1:41pm

Yes, the cement portion is not impervious to acid, and can be etched by acid. 

Therefore, depending on the amount of acid added, a certain amount of etching takes place (due to the fact that the cement is also at surface), making the surface less smooth as compared to immediately after the final troweling is done.  Magnification would tell the story.

There are many plasterers that use 100% quartz (aggregate) on their jobs.

Comment by Norman Tyree on June 24, 2014 at 1:24pm

For a start about the Quartz Plaster, just how much Quartz is in it in some cases it is only the colored aggrate that is added to the mix.

As far as I know I am the only manufacture using 100% White and Colored Quartz. It is smooth even after the pool has acid added to the pool 7 days after filling. However the water must be keep moving I use 2 methods a portable filter and cleaner or a submersible pump to keep the water moving otherwise the acid drops to the bottom and can over expose the finish.

Over all smoothness depends on the size of the aggrate used in the mix both colored and the white quartz, the quartz is not effected by acid at all the cement is.

NOTE,we do not use Oxides as a base color because we have a developed a very small sized 0.1 - 0.3 mesh size which provides our colors. And of course our cement is added to the mix on site, not pre-mixed which is one of the major problems faced with hydrated cement in a  blended mix.

Norman

Have a look at www.poolquartz.co.nz

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