Friday, December 08, 2006

The Story Of One Pool

I did a startup in June of 2004. The owners decided to take care of the pool themselves. I remember the date because they were building a pool next door at the same time, and two months later I got that one on service. I haven't really paid much attention to the other pool since. It's not on my list each week, and so I didn't worry about it. A few weeks ago, the owner asked me if I'd clean his filter for him. He'd had enough of doing it himself. So, last week I went into his back yeard for the first time in two and a half years. Here's what I saw.

From a distance, it doesn't look too bad. But get a closer look at the diving board stand. Remember. It's two and a half years old.

Now, look back at the first photo. See in the foreground what looks like a gap in the grout between those two sections of limestone coping? Take a closer look.

The grout is gone. It's completely worn away. You see, this family has teenage boys. They spend all summer diving into the pool, then swimming over to the steps set into the pool wall right where those sections of coping are missing their grout. They climb out, track salty water onto the coping and grout and go back and dive in again. And again. And again.

Hence, the pattern of rust on the stand and the pattern of wear on the grout.

Here's another photo of the grout failing, wearing away. This shot is of that corner not quite shown in the lower right of the first photo. Those wet salty feet step right on that grout joint, too.

Now, the funny thing is, as much as that salty water corroded that diving board stand, and as quick as it wore that grout away, the limestone in these pictures doesn't look nearly as bad as some I've seen on other pools. And I have no explanation for that.

But here's a picture of the coping around the shallow end skimmer. It's off the same pallet of stone laid two and a half years ago.

I don't understand what's different about the stone at one end of the pool and the other. But one thing I did notice and wanted to point out. It was cold the day I took these photos. The white efflourescense you see is really frost. And even though those stones look dry and the relative humidity was down in the teens, there was still moisture in those stones. The frost just proves that it's there. On this pool, that frost is salty, and doing damage to the stone.

On a pool without salt, it's just frost.

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