If one of the amenities that your community offers is a swimming pool, it is undoubtedly a source of great enjoyment for your residents. However, it’s a lot less fun for everyone when your pool surface becomes rough or starts to chip and crack. Residents may find the pool unappealing, and if they do still use it, they may go home with scrapes (interested in Pool Safety Tips – click here). HOA board members have to face the truth: It may be time to resurface.
The big question is what should you use to do the job, plaster or paint?  As you might expect, there are advantages and disadvantages with both. A lot depends on your pool’s location and age, the climate in your area, the existing surface on your pool, and the amount your board is willing to spend. (Hopefully, your reserve study has helped you plan for this expense.)
Knowing the facts can make it easier to choose the best resurfacing option for your community’s unique needs. To help you understand the pros and cons of plaster versus paint, we checked in with local commercial swimming pool specialists. A great HOA management company can also offer guidance and refer you to a dependable pool professional in your part of California.
The real trick with plaster is preparation. And that’s one reason you have to make sure you’re working with a skilled plasterer who doesn’t cut corners.
  • It lasts. When done right, surfaces done with plaster last seven to 10 years. Adding glass beads, quartz, or pebbles can help it last even longer—up to 12 years.
  • It looks nice. Plaster offers a number of attractive options like a polished finish and colored or exposed aggregate. The added elements mentioned above can also create a striking look.
  • It doesn’t require waiting. With plaster, you don’t need a perfectly dry surface to get started—a real plus in damp or rainy areas.
  • It’s time-consuming to apply. There are several preparation steps that you simply cannot bypass if you want plaster to last, including water blasting and applying a special bonding coat.
  • It breaks down over time. Water does seep in—slowly—because plaster is porous. As a result, it does require regular maintenance.
  • It is affected by water chemistry. You have to be diligent about keeping the water chemistry of your pool just right. Otherwise, the plaster can become mottled or turn white.

If you haven’t waited too long to resurface, you might consider painting. Paint bases for resurfacing include epoxy, rubber, and acrylic.
  • It comes in a variety of colors. Whether you want a traditional look or not, you have more choices with paint than you do with plaster.
  • It has a nice finish. With paint, the finish is usually smooth and seamless.
  • It can last. The most dependable paint for pools is epoxy, which can last up to 10 years.
  • It is less expensive. In general, painting costs less than plaster.
  • It can be short-lived.  Unless you use epoxy-based paint, you won’t get the longevity you might like.
  • It can involve a lot of prep. If your pool was previously painted, you’ll have to water blast to remove the old paint. Epoxy paints also need catalysts and hardeners, which need to be precisely mixed.
  • It requires wait time. Not only do you need to wait until the surface has been dry for five days before you begin painting, but you also need to wait three more days after painting to be sure the new coat has dried sufficiently.
  • It can peel and blister.   Several factors can cause your paint to peel or blister: poor paint application, debris or contaminants, and improper pH balance are just some of the culprits.
As you can see, there is no single choice that’s right for every community. Consult with your property manager to find a pool professional who can offer the best option for you.

Find out more about pool management by contacting FirstService Residential, California’s leading community management company. Sign up for more HOA best practices by completing the form below.
Monday August 15, 2016