Do’s and Don’ts for Your New Plaster Finish

The initial period of your pool ownership is the most critical. 60% of the curing or maturing process of a plaster finish occurs in the first 28 days and will continue over the next 8 to 10 months. This curing process causes the alkalinity, pH, and calcium levels to rise on their own as the pool strengthens and seals the new finish. If not kept in check this will cause scaling (roughness), pitting, and gray streaks/spots. A conscientious start-up and maintenance procedure must be followed to maintain the beauty and life of your plaster finish. Chemical Maintenance The curing plaster will drive the pH up rapidly within days. This will require your attention in balancing the chemicals to prevent scaling and hydration problems. With proper care it typically takes about 30 days for the pH and alkalinity to stabilize. The initial treatments will have been added by your Swim-Mor service technician at start-up. However, it is necessary for you to test and adjust your water chemistry a few times per week during the first few weeks. Beyond that, the water chemistry should be tested weekly.
  1. Pre-dissolve all chemicals before adding to pool water. Always add chemicals to water, not water to chemicals.
  2. Do not add chlorine or other sanitizers for the first 72 hours and not until after you have brought a water sample into the store for testing. The store personnel will be able to more thoroughly explain any additional instructions once the water testing is complete.
  3. Address the Alkalinity first, pH second. Adjust the alkalinity to ~between 80-120ppm. Then lower the pH to ~7.2.
  4. A sequestering agent was added at the initial start-up to crystallize any un-filterable metallic contaminate and make it filterable. This helps to prevent staining and/or scaling. However, these chemicals are broken down by UV light. It is recommended that these chemicals be replenished as part of normal maintenance.
  5. Once the pH and Alkalinity are within the proper ranges then you can add the Mineral Cartridge and Chlorine Pack. When the Mineral Pack is added you need to Shock the pool at the same time. Remember, after shocking a pool (1lb for 10,000 gallons of water) you should not swim until the chlorine level drops below 3.0 ppm.
As the plaster cures it will continue to raise the pH level, it is important that you test the water frequently to maintain the proper water chemistry. Brush the pool twice a day for the first two weeks. This opens the pores of the plaster to allow proper curing as well as removes any loose plaster dust from the surface. You may notice plaster dusting when you brush and the water becomes cloudy. This is normal and will go away with proper treatment and brushing. The more brushing the better, but twice a day is sufficient. This is a handcrafted product, slight imperfections, minor crazing, or color variations (shadowing) are normal occurrences with your plaster finish. It may seem like a lot but is truly pretty simple; a few minutes a day for the first couple of weeks and then only a couple times a week thereafter. All it takes is a little work and attention to maintain the life of your plaster finish.