Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

When I bought my house, the pool was dirty and I couldn’t check out the condition. Now that it’s cleaned I see plaster coming up off of the bottom. Some are small pieces about the size of a quarter and other areas I can peel off the size of a grapefruit. The weird thing is it looks like there is plaster under the plaster that is coming off. Why is this happening and what do I need to do to fix it? Thank you,

Evan T.

Hi Evan,

It sounds like the previous homeowner had the pool sandblasted and plastered over, which is not the right way to do it.

What you should do is have all the plaster chiseled down to the gunite. This leaves a very coarse surface. Then you have the pool re-plastered. A lot of guys will take shortcuts thinking that sandblasting will provide a good bonding surface. It will hold for a while, but not long.

At this point you need to remove all of the plaster. You can call a plasterer and they will come out with pneumatic chipping hammers, get it all out, and haul it away. Do it once, do it right.

The new plaster doesn’t have to be white. Blues or gray bottoms are good options. Whatever your color preference is, different colors make for good looking pools.


Being a Do-It-Yourselfer, I want you to know that I really enjoy your column. I’ve got a carport with 4″ x 4″ support posts that are rotted where they were set in the concrete. I know that it’s all of the exposure to water over the years that is causing them to rot. The bottom line is, do I need to take the carport down and start from scratch or would it be better to jack it up and then replace the posts? Any secrets or recommendations you could provide would be great. Thank you very much for your time,

Rick S.

Hi Rick,

What you can do is get some bottle jacks. I don’t know the size or weight of your carport, but put the bottle jacks, or a one and one half ton floor jack down on a piece of 4″ x 6″ x 2″ to help transfer the load of the carport. Take a long enough 4″ x 4″ and place the top end against a 1″ x 4″ against the roof for protection. If the roof is pitched, you can nail the 1″ x 4″ in place, angle the top of the 4″ x 4″ as needed, and toenail into the 1″ x 4″.

Purchase a metal stand-off bracket with a 1″ rise. This will keep the bottom of the post elevated off of the surface by 1″ preventing water from wicking up into the post and causing rot.

Jack up the roof and remove the post. Use a concrete saw, cut an approximately 2′ square, about 18″ deep and demo. Repour concrete and using a plumb-bob, set the standoff bracket exactly where it needs to be and leveled.

Let the concrete dry for three days, come back and install the new 4″ x 4″ post, primed and painted on all six sides, on top of the new bracket. Bolt into place.

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Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a Commercial, General, Electrical, and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made. 

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