Pool Resurfacing Process - How Does It Work? Step By Step
If you’ve decided that it’s time to resurface your pool you’re probably wondering: what’s the process of pool resurfacing? What are the steps involved and how long does it take?
In this article, we’re going to cover the exact steps and process involved in pool resurfacing, to help you better understand exactly what’s going to be happening to your pool over the coming days!
Step 1 - Preparation
Before any resurfacing actually begins, there’s a few critical steps that need to be done. In some situations, you may be able to get started with these preliminary steps before the resurfacing company arrives to help reduce costs down.
If you do decide to do this, be sure to discuss it with the resurfacing company beforehand to make sure that they are happy with this.
1.1 - Draining The Pool
Before any resurfacing work can begin, the pool needs to be drained completely. This process needs to be done carefully to avoid any damage to the pool or surrounding area.
The first step in draining a pool is to turn off the pool's circulation system. Then, the pool water can be drained through the outlets.
The water needs to be drained at a steady rate to prevent the pool from shifting or cracking. A professional pool contractor will know how to drain the pool properly without causing any damage.
For pools with a high surrounding water table, the resurfacer may wish to place props inside the drained pool to prevent it from “popping” out of the ground.
Disposal Of The Old Water
Once the pool has been drained, the old water needs to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Depending on where you live, there may be specific guidelines for pool water disposal that you need to follow.
Generally speaking, this water can’t be disposed of via your sewer outlet and must be carted off site. Council generally sets the rules here, so your resurfacing contractor should be aware of their laws.
Ensuring Proper Drainage Systems Are In Place
Even after the pool is drained, rainwater or groundwater may still accumulate in the base of the pool during the resurfacing process.
It's important to ensure that proper drainage systems are in place to prevent any damage to the pool or surrounding area. A professional will know how to set up proper drainage systems to ensure that the resurfacing process goes smoothly.
1.2 - Inspection Of The Pool
Before resurfacing a pool, it is essential to conduct a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the damage or deterioration.
This process will help identify the specific issues that need to be addressed during the resurfacing project. Here are some of the steps involved:
A visual inspection of the pool is the first step of the preliminary inspection. The pool surface is closely examined for any signs of damage, cracks, or other structural issues. Common indicators of damage include chipping, flaking, discoloration, and stains.
It is important to identify any underlying issues with the pool shell before resurfacing. A damaged pool surface is one of the most common causes of a pool leak.
If a leak is suspected, a leak detection test is carried out to identify any leaks or cracks that may be causing water loss. The test involves using specialised equipment to detect the location of leaks, such as dye testing, pressure testing, or sonic testing.
Determining The Best Type Of Resurfacing Material
The type of resurfacing material used is often determined by the current state of the pool.
Depending on the level of damage, different types of resurfacing materials may be required, such as plaster, fibreglass, or pebblecrete. The inspection will help determine the best option based on the pool's condition.
1.3 - Removing Pool Accessories And Fittings
Next, it's important to remove all pool accessories and fittings before the actual resurfacing begins. This ensures that the new pool surface will be applied smoothly and evenly without any obstructions.
Remove Pool Accessories
This includes items such as ladders, rails, diving boards, and any other items that may be attached to the pool walls or floor.
These items can be removed using the relevant tools, and should be carefully labelled and stored in a safe place until they can be reinstalled after the resurfacing is complete.
Skimmer baskets, return fittings, and other items that are part of the pool's plumbing system will also need to be removed before the resurfacing process can begin.
These items should be carefully disconnected and removed, and the openings left behind should be plugged or covered to prevent debris or surface material from getting into the pipes.
I highly recommend labelling each accessory or fitting that is removed, so that it can be easily identified and replaced in the correct location after the resurfacing is complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up with tons of screws and no idea where they go!
Step 2 - Surface Preparation
Now that the pool has been drained, inspected and the job has been more or less mapped out, it’s time to get started with preparing the surface. This is a crucial step in ensuring that the new surface adheres properly and lasts a long time.
Here’s what’s involved.
2.1 - Remove Old Surface
The first step in surface preparation is removing the old surface material. This is typically done using a chipping hammer or other mechanical means, although in some cases, a chemical solvent may be used.
Once the old material is removed, the substrate is thoroughly cleaned and inspected for any damage or cracks.
2.2 - Repairing Cracks Or Damage
Any cracks or damage to the pool surface are repaired at this stage. This is important because any cracks or damage will compromise the adhesion of the new material and reduce the lifespan of the resurfacing.
The repair work involves filling in any cracks or holes and smoothing out the surface to ensure that the new material adheres properly.
2.3 - Cleaning And Sanding
The first step in surface preparation is to thoroughly clean the pool surface to remove any dirt, debris, or algae. This can be done using a pressure washer or a scrub brush
After cleaning, the surface is sanded to roughen it up and create a surface that the new material can adhere and grip onto.
In our experience, failure to do this can lead to a surface that starts peeling off and delaminating in no time at all.
2.4 - Applying A Primer Coat
After cleaning and sanding, a primer coat is applied to the pool surface. The primer coat ensures that the new material adheres properly to the pool surface. The type of primer used depends on the type of material used for resurfacing.
Step 3 - New Surface Application
Finally, it’s time to actually apply the new surface. This is what everyone has been waiting for!
This stage involves applying the new surface material carefully to ensure a smooth, even surface.
3.1 - Mixing And Preparing The Surface Material
Once the material is chosen, it must be mixed and prepared for application. This involves adding water to the material and mixing it to achieve the right consistency. Proper mixing is essential to ensure a uniform texture and colour.
3.2 - Applying The Surface Material To The Pool
After the surface material is mixed, it's time to apply it to the pool surface. This process is typically done in layers, with each layer being allowed to dry before the next one is applied.
The material is applied with a trowel or a specialised spray equipment, depending on the type of material and the desired finish.
During the application process, it's crucial to ensure that the material is spread evenly and smoothly across the surface. Any bumps, ridges, or inconsistencies will not only look bad, but will compromise the durability and reduce the lifespan of the new surface.
Step 4 - Surface Curing & Finishing
We’re on the home stretch now. There’s just a few steps left but don’t be fooled - they are absolutely critical for ensuring the longevity of your new surface. Read on to find out more.
4.1 - Surface Curing
After the new surface material is applied to the pool, it is important to allow it to cure properly before the pool is filled with water.
The curing process can take several days or even weeks, depending on the type of surface material used and the weather conditions. During this time, it is important to keep the pool area clean and free from debris that may interfere with the curing process.
4.2 - Application Of Sealant Or Finishing Coat
Once the surface material has cured, a sealant or finish coat may be applied to protect the new surface from damage and to provide a smooth, attractive finish. The type of sealant or finish coat used will depend on the type of surface material and the desired finish.
4.3 - Reinstallation Of Pool Accessories & Fittings
After the sealant or finish coat has been applied and allowed to dry, pool accessories and fittings can be reinstalled. This includes reinstalling ladders, rails, skimmer baskets, return fittings, and any other accessories that were removed prior to resurfacing.
You will be glad you labelled everything earlier!
We’re finally finished!
As you can see, swimming pool resurfacing is no simple process. There’s lots of steps involved and any corner-cutting will reduce the lifespan of the new surface and actually cost you more money in the long run.
I highly recommend going with a reputable pool resurfacer. This will ensure that the job is done right the first time, which means less stress and only paying once.
Even for experienced DIYers, this is one job that is best left to the professionals.
A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.