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Cold Comfort

Shovels often go into the ground after Labor Day, that way the new pool is ready for swimmers on Memorial Day. Whether the timetable will be maintained depends on a host of factors, the most variable of which is weather. Except in extreme conditions, pool construction can proceed as long as precautionary measures are taken by the owner, aquatics consultant, and pool contractor.

In the August 2011 issue of Athletic Business, the Cold Comfort article provides basic knowledge of materials and installation techniques for wintertime pool construction.   For example, each of the four most common types of pool finishes has different temperature requirements.

  • Epoxy Paint — The surface to which the paint is applied should have a minimum temperature of 35°F and be at least 5°F above the dew-point temperature, as it will not cure if the temperature is lower.
  • Marcite Plaster — All materials and affected areas should remain above 50°F for 24 hours prior to and 72 hours after placement of the pool plaster. If applied in cold weather, the plaster coat may separate and create a hollow space between the plaster coat and the concrete pool wall. This development usually occurs after a few years and is likely accelerated by freeze/thaw cycles.
  • Quartz Aggregate Plaster — As with marcite plaster, all materials and affected areas should remain above 50°F for 24 hours prior to and 72 hours after placement.
  • Tile — Normal tile installation conditions are considered to be 73°F and 50 percent relative humidity. Typically, colder temperatures and higher humidity will require longer cure times. There are special tile bonding products that can be used in temperatures as low as 40°F; these products come at a premium cost, but they reduce the cure time and limit the time required to protect the installation from submersion and freezing.

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