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Pool Plaster Repair: The Complete Guide in 2021

If you are on the cusp of buying your very first swimming pool, here is something really important to keep in mind: No matter what, you’re going to need to take pool plaster repair seriously at some point. Pool maintenance is vital. It can prevent a good deal of financial suffering, while ensuring your pool can be enjoyed easily by all. At the same time, cracks and similar issues are going to develop regardless. This doesn’t mean you should skip out on the maintenance altogether. Certainly not. At the same time, you will want to know how to deal with the problem when the time comes.

Cracks will indeed appear over time. Maintenance and general care can ensure this doesn’t happen before natural aging sets in, and can also go a long way towards keeping such cracks and loose bits of plater from being severe in the first place. However, you will still eventually have to make some minor repairs. Doing so quickly and efficiently will help you to avoid the possibility of having to make extremely costly repairs later on. This is unquestionably the sort of issue you are going to want to handle as soon as humanly possible.

Thankfully, there are just a few basic components of swimming pool plaster repair that you are going to want to keep in mind.

What Causes Pool Plaster Problems?

A bonding failure between your plaster and gunite can potentially create air cavities or voids. This isn’t a huge deal on its own. In fact, it’s entirely possible for such spaces to never reach the surface of your swimming pool. However, when and if that does occur, you’re going to want to do something about it. This is the point in which water can make its way into the cracks and pinholes that are appearing at various points along the surface of your pool. That means problems with the plaster that defines and ultimately protects your swimming pool.

What are some of the specific causes of these problems? A lot of things. Virtually all of them are from simple wear and tear, combined with time. Even with maintenance and care, there is only so much you can do about factors like humidity, excessive sun exposure (particularly if the pool is empty), or the shifting of the ground. Just in case you were wondering, water balance levels have nothing to do with damage to the plaster. This is what we mean about maintenance only being able to accomplish but so much. It protects your pool, to be sure, but it doesn’t safeguard you against absolutely everything.

At this point, your next step is to do something about this problem.

How To Repair Your Swimming Pool Plaster

Repairing your swimming pool’s plaster situation isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. Of course, you always have the option to refer the situation to professionals. This is particularly true, if the damage has become more than you can handle.

Furthermore, understand that pool plaster repair work can involve utilizing tools such as concrete saws and grinders. You may even have to use acid. Some DIY repair experience can be helpful for the kind of work you may have to do. If you don’t have the experience, and you’re concerned about safety and efficiency, call the experts. Spending a little now on their expertise can save thousands, or even safeguard you from harm.

Let’s discuss some specific scenarios of pool plaster repair.

Pool Plaster Repair Work: Cracks Or Holes

Do you see one or several cracks moving far down the wall of your pool? Do you see cracks along the floor? Some cracks can also get to the point of demanding cutting work. In these situations, you will want to have the pool completely emptied.

Safety goggles are a must. The same goes for ear protectors, work gloves (the heavy-duty kind), and closed-toe footwear. Using your blade or saw, cut about half an inch deep into either side of your crack. Moving diagonally towards your cut should create a dovetail. After lengthening your crack by an inch on both ends, you should be able to remove the piece with ease. After rinsing and drying the crack, use a brush to remove any debris. Underwater sealer should now be applied along the edges of your crack. You should try to leave about 3/8th of an inch of empty space for your replacement plaster.

The plaster can now be mixed with your bonding agent. You want something thick enough to stay put, but not so thick that you can’t spread your mixture with relative ease. After applying a layer of gentle moisture to the crack’s perimeter, you can start applying your new plaster. Avoid the creation of air bubbles at all costs!

Scrape and do whatever else will be necessary to establish a surface texture similar to what you had before. If you won’t be filling the pool for a little while, due to the need to fill several cracks, have your work protected with something like a damp pool. Otherwise, fill your pool.

Patching And Swimming Pool Plaster Repair

If plaster is bubbling, or even becoming loose, you could have a more substantial problem on your hands. Once again, you are going to need to drain the swimming pool.

Wearing the same safety gear we mentioned above, a hammer and masonry chisel will be necessary to get rid of any loose plaster you’re dealing with. Focusing on the same general area, use a wood pole to figure out if there are any hollow sounds emanating. If there are, you’re dealing with additional loosened plaster that you will need to chisel out. Clear off everything you’ve removed, and make some divots along the surface of where you’ll be doing this patching work. Acid washing is your next step. This should be done to the area you’re working with. However, since your swimming pool is empty, it might be a good idea to just acid wash the whole thing.

After measuring your planned area, create a plaster with a consistency similar to what we mentioned previously. You may need cement dye, in order to match up to the color of your current pool. Dab your surface with a damp sponge, and then use a trowel to apply your plaster. Make sure the area has been completely smoothed. Again, you don’t want to leave behind bubbles of air.

Wait approximately fifteen minutes, and then smooth the area over a second time. Cover the area with something damp, if you’re going to patch additional areas.

Can I Repair Pool Plaster Without Draining My Water?

In certain cases, absolutely. There are putty/plaster mixes available that allow you to make your repairs without having to drain the pool. Swimming goggles will obviously be necessary for such work.

The pointy part of a paint scraper will be handy here. You can use one to open up the crack you need to repair. It can also help you to prepare the general area for what you have in mind. A wire brush will next be used to remove not only unwanted debris, but any algae that might be hanging around, as well.

The next step will be to pick the material that will be well-suited to what you ultimately want to accomplish. There is underwater epoxy putty, as well as underwater swimming pool plaster products. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses. This holds particularly true in the context of the specific problem you are tackling. There are also naturally going to be situations in which there is no choice but to have your pool drained of all water. Making the determination on your own can prove to be difficult, which is why many opt to instead trust the results to professionals. The work involved can be relatively inexpensive, although this will again be dependent upon how serious the problem is.

Once you have chosen the ideal underwater pool plaster repair product, follow the instructions to the letter. Each have different guidelines that you are going to need to keep in mind.

At What Point Do I Call Pool Plaster Repair Pros?

Although we have already touched on this, it is worth discussing a little bit more. Simply put, if you have waited a significant amount of time from noticing the first cracks/other signs of damage, then there is a good chance you have arrived at a problem too severe to be handled on your own. That is the point in which you will want to call someone. At the very least, you should strongly consider hiring someone to perform an inspection. After all, they will not begin the work, until everyone has agreed to the terms and price involved.


We’ve covered the basics of pool plaster repair to the best of our abilities. Truth be told, this is a very complex, multifaceted subject. Keeping in mind the steps mentioned above, you should be able to tackle the situation, more often than not.

However, again, given what will likely be demanded of you, there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with hiring pool repair professionals in your area.

Posted in pool maintenance

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