Help! Bad Stonescapes color/finish

cmc_poolJuly 17, 2007

I chose Tropics Blue Stonescapes based on pics of pools on the ingernet. MY color came out VERY dark - almost inky black at night - black/blue in the day...does not look like material in the Stonescapes ad. To make matters worse, the finish is very splotchy in color. Large paler blue patches next to dark patches. What is my recourse? Stonescapes won't talk to me - my contractor says that's what it's supposed to look like. Are your pebble finishes (especially darker ones) obviously mottled in color?

Advice please. Pics of Tropics Blue Stonescapes pools much appreciated.

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I truly feel sorry for you on your new pool finish application.
I hate to say you should have gotten PebbleTec but it's just my opinion. The Midnight Blue PebbleTec might have been darker than you hoped for but there would have been no inconsistencies in the finish.
I suggest smacking your pool with a boatload of acid for a wet acidwash and brushing aggressively for days on end.

I'll break the news to you now.
You'll get no support whatsoever from either your plaster applicator or his supplier of the product. You'll have better luck working the finish in the manner I described to you or having your startup man/service handle it for you.

Note to all readers,
I'm not here to pitch PebbleTec products but I'll tell you for fact that this is the simple truth of pebble finishes.

"A pebble placed in cement is just that, a pebble placed in cement."

What your paying for when you purchase a PebbleTec finish is the applicators expertise and for the manufacturer to stand behind the product and the applicator too. This is why they're so selective in whom they choose to be licensed applicators. If you called them with a complaint like this they'd respond to your request immediately and do everything in their power to resolve your complaint.

Try the wet acid wash and lots of brushing, it'll do wonders for your less than desirable finish.

See ya,

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 12:14AM
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Do you have a picture to share? It would be much easier to answer questions if we could see the finish. When was your stonescapes installed, have you been brushing your finish, and what is your water chemistry balanced? I have found that all of these things can potentially influence your pools finish.

I have stonescapes and am very happy with the finish. From what I have experienced, and read, on this forum is that no finish is perfect. Our finish has "darker" and "lighter" areas, but nothing as severe as what you are describing. Here are a couple of pictures of our Midnight Blue Stonescapes for your comparison. If you search for "Jeff and Sharon's" pool, I think you will find some more pictures of a stonescape pool. Sorry about our pictures, they aren't perfect for comparison, but I hope they can give you an idea of what a darker finish looks like.

I truly hope you are able to find some sort of recourse and solution to your problem!



    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 12:21AM
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Here are some pictures of our Stonescapes Tropics Blue a couple of days after startup (July 9/07). We are very happy with the finish. We have been doing a lot of brushing. For another example, you could also search for laff66. Their pool has Tropics Blue. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 1:00AM
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I have Stonescapes in Caribbean Blue. I did not have the splotchiness you spoke about, but had a couple other issues, small crack in finish & a footprint from the install. Both of which my PB (remodeler in my case) will fix in the fall.

I am so sorry & I hope they are able to fix it. You paid enough it shoud be right!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 11:38AM
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We used Crystalstones, and although our pool looked splotchy at start up we brushed for 2 weeks and our finish is very even now, although not perfect.

From what I've read, no pebble finish is perfect. I've read posts from people with pebble Tec whose finishes were splotchy. It's all about the person doing the application. We went and looked at pools our plaster company had done. We were also told that the darker the pebble finish, the more likely it is to get some uneven areas.

When we first added water and noticed splotchiness we called our pool company, our builder came out right away, looked at the finish and said brushing should do the trick, but if we weren't satisfied with that they would have done a no-drain acid wash. Lucky for us the brushing did the trick.

Hopefully some good brushing and maybe an acid wash will work for you. Maybe you could e-mail some pics to your builder and ask them about doing an acid wash.

Don't feel bad for not choosing Pebble Tec.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 12:31PM
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We have Stonescapes mini pebble in our pool. It is Tahoe Blue and we are very happy with it. I agree with what Corona1 said. It is the applicator that makes all the difference.

Our pool builder uses the same crew to do all their pebble work. They said they have had better results and less warranty issues doing this versus when they used Pebble Tek.

It would be great if you had a picture to share. I think the color of Dogpaddles Tropics Blue looks great. When was your pebble finished and how long has your pool had water in it?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 2:31PM
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Thanks for the follow-up notes. I really appreciate them. My pool is browner-darker than the Midnight Blue although I specified Tropics Blue as shown by "dogpaddle". How could that be?

What I learned:
(1) I'm scared of pebble finishes given my experience.
(2) I was told I couldn't go with vibrant colored plaster because of mottling in color w/chemicals over time. I have it with Day 1.
(3) Shop your contractor's work thoroughly. Wear polarized sunglasses. Harsh sun hides lots of mistakes. Turn off the waterfalls if possible and check contractor's finish work early morning or later afternoon. (before glare)
(4) See the color you think you like at different times of day. May not be attractive color many times of day.
(5) It must be easier to hide finish mistakes in a lighter pebble. I would check dark pebble anyway for contractor rating purposes.
(6) Really watch the color of the stone they're attempting to put in your pool. Just because the bag is marked with a name - what color specification is the supplier actually held to/committing to?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:23AM
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Our pool salesperson made a comment about polarized sunglasses also. He said to look at the pool water with them on and you should be able to see what type of head is on the screws in the pool drain. If not it's a good indication the water is cloudy and possibly needs acid. I just thought that was an interesting trick.

My thought on pebble versus plaster was that I was scared of plaster. I thought we'd have lots of problems if we didn't brush it enough or just right. Also, I was very concerned about what they say is natural mottling with 3M quartz and plaster.

I hope you get your concerns with your stonescapes finish resolved. Does your contractor or the plaster company have other customers with that same pool color that you could see for comparison? Perhaps that would help you validate your pool builders assessment of the situation. If you think you have a true issue with the quality of the workmanship you may need to seek help from the registar of contractors or a similar agency.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 1:22PM
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Typically there are two things that can cause the mottled finish. The first is that the stones were not floated and washed enough to get all of the stones up to the surface. The second is the acid washing. This is the more difficult part as the longer the acid is in the basin of the pool, the more it etches. I watched when they did mine and the guy was literally walking around with a hose that was pumping the acid /water mixtue onto the surface of the pool while another guy kept rinsing this down. This is not an exact process. There were a couple areas in my pool where I thought it needed a little more acid washing and so he hand mixed up some acid and then treated those areas. Over acid washing can cause problems also as too much plaster is eaten away and then you have stones releasing. I have been brushing mine for almost a month now and it is quite a bit more uniform that it was initially. My finish is Wet Edge Midnight Sea which is also a dark finish. When the water is perfectly still I can see some variations in the finish. When the pumps are running you can't see any variations. Since my sweep is still picking up fine pebbles and plaster particles from brushing, I think the finish will continue to evolve.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 4:44PM
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cmc pool: Where are you located? If you happen to live in the So Cal area I would be happy to have you come take a look in person at our Tropics Blue as a comparison. If your finish is "browner-darker" than mkfmedic's pool then I think they must have used the wrong color. Does yours have any abalone shell specs in it?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 4:44PM
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Can you send me a picture of your Tropics Blue Mini Pebble? How deep is your pool. I am considering putting in a shallow play pool.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 2:04PM
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My 2year old stonescapes finish is pitting on the steps - why is this happening and what can I do about it???

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 5:49PM
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Pitting is a typically a sign of keeping the pH too low and an insufficient calcium hardness level.

Steps are typically the 1st place any wear will show. This is especially true for the leading edge.

Testing your water with a quality test kit on a regular basis is strongly encouraged. Dip strips are notorious for subjective, often inaccurate results and should not be the sole indicator anyone uses. They can give indications that additional tests should be performed only.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 7:43AM
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Sounds like you got the wrong color. Can you post some pictures?

I have the tropics blue and it looks just like the pictures dogpaddle posted. It is a beautiful blue color and not dark at all.

Have you given your startup chemicals time? On initial fill the water will look darker and greener. Should clear in a few days.

We also were the victim of a shoddy stonescapes job - there were dark splotches all over that did not go away after 2 weeks of brushing. Had to do a drain and acid wash to fix. Also have a less than perfect trowel job which frustrates me but nothing can be done about it and PB considers it normal.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:04AM
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I'm having major problems with my Stonescapes pebbles on my pool. My pool is about 5 years old and all my pebbles are falling off ! Stonescapes supposed to have a "Lifetime Warranty" However its seem that the Stonescapes rep is trying to back out of the Warranty. The pool is so bad that the pool pump,pool filter and valve have become filled with pebbles. I guess we will see what they come up with and I'll keep everyone posted. I'll post some photo's soon depending on stonescapes response.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 11:40PM
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