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5 keys to have a Successful Commercial Swimming Pool Remodel

Here are 5 key areas to focus on for every phase of your commercial pool project.

1. Plans and Permits

All commercial pool and spas located in Los Angeles and Long Beach require Health Department permits prior to starting the project? The degree of detail required from each county can differ, ranging from easy, over-the-counter submissions by form letter, to complete drawings, site plans and hydraulic schematics. Also, many cities are now requiring a City Permit for the same project in addition to the county permits. Your contractor should know what is needed for your location, so make sure your bid request includes “Acquire all necessary county and city permits” on the list of requirements.

2. Electrical Safety

With liability being a major concern, now is the perfect time to check the safety of your pool or spa for possible electrical issues, such as stray electrical current in the water emanating from pool lights, or other pool equipment. Metal products throughout the pool or spa system like hand rails, grab rails, light rings, pool equipment, and any metal fixture within 5’ of the water should be properly bonded to avoid possible electrocution. The contractor needs to hold a C-53 license for remodeling and construction of pools and spas, but it’s always good to specifically call out a safety audit, including electrical, as part of the bid submission.

3. Pool Shell Preparation Methods

How the old pool plaster surface is prepared to receive the new surface is critically important. The National Plasterers Council recognizes several methods for pool shell preparation. The whole idea is to get a sound surface for the new plaster to adhere to. Much like prepping a surface for painting, the proper preparation is often as, or more critical than the plaster quality itself. The three most used methods are:

Stripping the old plaster off down to the original gunite shell

The stripping method is the most commonly used because it fast, cheap and has a successful bonding record. The down side is that stripping is strongly discouraged by pool engineers because every time a pool is stripped, it can weaken the pool shell, expose structural steel, and can cause micro fractures and bruising of the pool shell.


Plaster surface materials have evolved over the past 10-15 years. Simple white plaster is still commonly used for its lower cost, but it is the softest and most easily etched by aggressive water chemistry and chemicals. For commercial pool applications, it is worth considering replacing the soft, white marble aggregate in regular plaster with much harder and more durable white quartz aggregate. In addition, adding a “modifier” to the cement chemically changes it and makes it much less soluble, thus more durable. Adding the quartz aggregate and a modifier together can almost double your pool surface life expectancy from 10 years to closer to 15-20 years in the same water environment. Most quartz finishes will bump the price 20%-30% higher than standard plaster, so consider this in the bid specification if your community is looking at total cost of ownership for the project, instead of basing the bid on price alone.

5. Start Up Procedure

After the pool is plastered, the critical filling and start-up process begins. Fresh plaster needs to be “cured under water, so filling with water begins immediately after final set of the plaster. The fill water needs to be immediately and properly adjusted for calcium hardness, PH and total alkalinity. If proper and timely adjustments are not made, the water can dissolve or remove important calcium compounds from the plaster surface and shorten the life expectancy.

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