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Doing over the pool.

Pool owners remodel their pools for the same reasons homeowners remodel their houses. Normal wear and tear, failing equipment, changes of taste or use--all can prompt the need for change.

The nine remodeled pools we show here started out following the old dictates of pool design, with white plastered walls, a band of blue tile, white precast coping-stone, and a surround of gray concrete. The basic shell of each pool remains the same. The sense of transformation results from changes in plaster color, tile, decking surfaces, and adjacent landscaping. In some cases, a spa was added.

"Remodeling" can range from a simple replastering job to all-out renovation including major relandscaping. Older pools may require reworking of plumbing, gas, or electrical lines. Costs start at a fraction of the pool's original price and soar into the financial blue. Replastering

The commonest pool remodel involves replastering to repair minor cracks, hide stains, or to change the pool's color (the most startling change for the least amount of money). Replastering does not necessarily disturb the tile, coping, or surrounding deck.

You begin by sandblasting the old plaster. Bonding agents help adhere the new plaster to the shell. The cost of replastering is based on the square footage of the pool and the color of the plaster. To redo a 15-by 30-foot pool in white plaster (the least expensive color) costs about $1,500 to $2,000.

Increasingly popular dark-colored plaster lends the appearance of a deep lagoon, and many owners claim there's a significant gain in solar-heating the water.

Never color choices run from black and dark greens to soft grays and blues, and darker plasters can mean problems. The coloring agents can weaken the plaster, and it is difficult to achieve an even color-mottling is common. Dark bottoms also make depth perception difficult; Don Slidell, general manager of the remodeling division of California Pools, does not recommend a dark-bottomed pool for people with young children. If you do choose a darker color, adding contrasting-colored tiles to the bottom can improve depth definition.

If a pool has basically good plaster, it can be painted with special epoxy or rubberized paints after the surface has been sandblasted. The cost for most repainting jobs is less than $1,000. Retiling and adding coping

Removing the old tiles (and their mortar bed) and replacing them with new are usually done at the same time as replastering. You'll find tiles in a wide range of colors and grades. The cost of retiling is figured on a lineal-foot basis. A middle range (group 3) tile usually costs about $10 per lineal foot.

Replacing the coping goes along with adding new tiles. You're no longer restricted to the bull-nose off-white type that banded so many pools in the past. Now you can edge your pool with brick, cantilevered concrete, tile, flagstones, boulders, or even wood. If you want brick coping and deck, select a bull-nose detail to avoid scrapes on rough edges. Surrounding the pool

Plastering and tiling can be only half the job. In a major renovation, what surrounds the pool is the next to go, especially if a spa is to be added. It usually requires careful jackhammering to break up the concrete without damaging plantings or unseen pipes.

To achieve a look of continuity, many of the remodels shown here started at the pool's edge and used the same material for coping and decking.

Covering the old concrete surround with a new material is a less-expensive alternative to removing it. We show two wood surrounds, but in addition, other toppings can be bonded directly to the old concrete. Choices include a pebble texture, a brick pattern, or the appearance of a new concrete deck, all at lower cost than a complete new pour. They can cover minor cracking or grooves cut in concrete for new drain lines or electrical conduit. Surface water

"When starting a pool remodel, drainage is the first thing I look at," says landscape designer Steve Brimer of Encino, California. With the amount of flat, concrete-covered ground around a pool, moving rain and overflow water away from the house can be a problem--and one that's too often overlooked in planning new pools or remodels. If decking runs from the pool to the house, consider adding an overflow line in the pool as well as hooking in house-gutter downspouts to the main pool drain system. Starting with the unseen

Although most pool remodels involve cosmetic changes, less visible improvements are often needed, too. As in remodeling older houses, there frequently are problems with the existing plumbing and electrical systems--especially with 20- to 30-year-old pools.

In the mid-'50s and '60s, copper and galvanized pipes were used for water lines, and years of exposure to fast-moving, chemical-laden water can take their toll. Copper lines can suffer "velocity erosion"--water under pressure from the pool's pump can literally wear holes right through a copper elbow. Galvanized pipe can in time rust and rot away.

The solution: replace the line with PVC. Replacing the main bottom drain line can be a costly and messy job requiring an experienced pool contractor. He must jackhammer out the pool wall to expose the old pipe without destroying the structural integrity of the pool.

Other plumbing additions could involve adding a pool fill line, an overflow drain line (to siphon off water during heavy rain), a hookup for an automatic pool cleaner, additional return lines, or a new surface skimmer. And adding a spa in or adjacent to the pool (the reason so many pool remodels start in the first place) always requires additional plumbing.

Water and electricity are a dangerous combination, and never building codes requires relocating junction boxes away from the pool deck and adding a ground fault interrupter (GFI) to all pool circuits. In older pools, electrical lines often ran in aluminum conduit; this can erode completely. Replace it with PVC lines.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1984
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