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Do’s and Don’ts for New Pool Plaster

The excitement of a new pool is an incredible feeling. For a lifetime of enjoyment, there’s a critical period in the first 30 days when you need to maintain your fresh pool plaster. These steps, especially brushing twice a day, will keep your plaster pristine for years to come.

Understanding Plaster

The primary ingredient in pool plaster is cement, which hardens into concrete. Just like concrete sidewalks and driveways, this product needs time to fully dry. It might look finished on the surface, but underneath, a chemical process called hydration is still occurring.

Plaster’s cure time is essential because it needs to develop:

  • Structural strengthening
  • Water tightness
  • Resistance to freeze-thaw cycles
  • Color fastness

What’s cool about plaster is that it cures under water. Yes, it doesn’t and shouldn’t be exposed to the air during this period! The pool is actually filled the same day that plaster is finished.

So what happens if you ignore your fresh pool plaster? All sorts of issues can pop up. Structural damage is a huge concern, especially spalling (flaking of the top layer) and crazing (a network of cracks like on an eggshell). There can also be aesthetic problems, such as inconsistent plaster color, stains, and leftover impressions from trowels.

The good news is that the cure time for pool plaster is fairly quick. According to the National Plasterers Council, around 85% of the plaster’s cement cures within the first month. It’s why this initial 30 days is when you need to take preventive steps to protect the plaster.

How to Protect Fresh Pool Plaster

The most important step is to brush, brush, brush for the first two weeks. Twice a day, just like brushing your teeth.

This is because as plaster cures, it leeches calcium into the water. If it’s not removed, the efflorescence will cling to surfaces and eventually harden into a white scale. Loosening this dust into the water allows it to circulate and get filtered out.

Other do’s and don’ts that are necessary in the first month include:


Do use a nylon brush



It’s firm enough to remove dust without leaving marks.



Don’t add chlorine for first 48 hours



Chlorine can interfere with the chemical process during initial curing.




Do adjust calcium



Water is attracted to calcium, even pulling it out of materials. Not only will that throw off your pH, but it can cause structural issues in walls, tile grout, and plaster.



Do add muriatic acid



This is to level out your pH. Make sure to add at the recommended amount and frequency.



Don’t use heater the first 4-10 days



If plaster dust absorbs heat, it can settle and harden on your heat exchanger, destroying the copper coating.



Don’t use robot cleaners the first month



You don’t want extra weight or a device with wheels on plaster that’s not fully strengthened.



Don’t use salt generator the first month


Salt is abrasive, so plaster should reach proper hardness before coming in contact.


Best of all, these steps won’t prevent you from using your new pool! You only need to wait for the first four days. But after that, you and your family are free to enjoy the water even as the plaster continues to cure. Simply be mindful of any metal edges on swimsuits or water shoes in the first week.

Other inspiration for maintaining your pool: