Diamond Brite®Exposed Aggregate Pool Finish
Diamond Brite® finishes are blends of selected quartz aggregates and fortified white Portland cement ideal for new or re-finished swimming pools. Diamond Brite finishes are factory blended to provide the pool owner with an extremely durable and attractive alternative to traditional pool coatings. Available in a variety of colors and textures.
Examine pool surfaces to identify conditions that might interfere with the proper bonding of coating. Look for algae, mold, mildew, dirt, paint, mortar droppings, efflorescence, patching compounds, loose tile, cracked plaster, et cetera. Identify hollow spots in plaster by sounding. Clean pool surfaces of all material that might interfere with the proper bonding of coatings. Clean with high-pressure water or by sandblasting. Wash with chlorine until algae, mold, and mildew are gone. Wash oil and grease spots using tri-sodium phosphate or equivalent and water; soak if necessary. Remove all cleaning solutions via high-pressure washing. Remove and repair all hollow and de-laminated plaster. Saw cut an area three (3) inches around bad spots and remove plaster inside the saw cut. Undercut the edges of the remaining plaster. Fill holes with specified patching cement (SGM Mortar Mix and Southcrete™ 25 Acrylic Admix) to a level of existing plaster. Remove loose tile and fittings; undercut existing plaster two (2) inches below the tile line, and around return lines and fittings to a depth of 3/8 inch. Stop water penetration from the outside pool. Plug cracks and leaks around fittings using hydraulic cement (SGM Dynamite Pool Patch). Etch clean the surface with a muriatic acid solution. Use concentration necessary to clean and roughen the surface; smooth surfaces may require higher concentration. Neutralize surface with a solution of baking soda and water to eliminate acid residue, which can cause bond failure. Remove remaining acid solutions via high-pressure washing. Plug pool inlets and outlets to prevent clogging with expandable plugs or threaded caps. Mark location of fittings using tape on coping or on a measured drawing. Place the sump pump at the main drain to remove all running and standing water. Do not begin installation until the concrete pool shell has cured at least 28 days. For renovation projects (plastering over an existing plaster pool finish) and poured or formed concrete shells apply SGM BOND-KOTE™ as directed. Allow BOND-KOTE to cure for at least six (6) hours before plastering. The plaster should be applied to BOND-KOTE within three (3) to five (5) days. If left for a longer period before the finish is applied, ensure Bond Kote is clean and free of dirt, efflorescence, and other contaminants. If necessary, clean BOND-KOTE by brushing vigorously while spraying with water; chlorine may be used as needed.
Diamond Brite is made in batches of 4,000 to 20,000 lbs. (1,800 to 9,000 kg.) using natural ingredients. For this reason, there will be variations in shade between batches. Batch numbers are printed at the end of each individual bag. It is important that the user follow these instructions carefully to ensure the most consistent color throughout the pool.
- Separate the bags according to the batch numbers on the bottom of each bag. Record all batch numbers. Warranties submitted without valid batch numbers are VOID.
- Blend different batches together in each mix according to the ratio present at the job site.
- FOR EXAMPLE: If there are thirty (30) bags total on the job and there are twenty (20) bags of Batch A and ten (10) bags of Batch B, then use two (2) bags of Batch A to one (1) bag of Batch B in every mix.
- Coverage: Each 80 lbs. bag will cover approximately 22—25 sq. ft., to a thickness of minimum 3/8″—½”. Surface roughness affects coverage rates.
- The shelf life of Diamond Brite is up to one (1) year in the unopened properly stored container. Diamond Brite can be mixed by using a low-speed paddle mixer, low RPM drill with mud paddle, ribbon blender, or concrete plaster mixer. Measure and add 1½ to two (2) gallons (5.7 to 7.6 L) of clean potable water to mixer.
- Hold back a portion of the water and add as necessary as mixing progresses. Lower water to cement ratios will produce plaster of greater strength and density. Therefore it is best to use as little water as needed to produce a workable mix. Excess water will reduce strength and increase shrinkage (check) cracks.
- NOTE: Mix water quality is extremely important. Well water or water high in metal and mineral content will cause discoloration in finished Diamond Brite. Additionally, water of high hardness or alkalinity will cause the plaster to effloresce, releasing high levels of salts that produce calcium scale. This is especially true of colored Diamond Brite such as Midnight Blue, Onyx, Tahoe Blue, and French Gray.
Check mix water for metals, minerals, hardness, and alkalinity before use. Start the mixer and add Diamond Brite as quickly as possible to ensure that all the material has the proper mix time. Mix for a minimum of five (5) minutes but no more than ten (10) minutes. This ensures even distribution of aggregates and increases the working time of the plaster. Insufficient mix time will result in uneven setting and shade variations. Too much mix time will produce an overall weaker plaster and may entrain undesirable air bubbles. As a rule of thumb, mix for only the amount of time required to produce a consistent, homogenous mix. Calcium Chloride may be used as an accelerator. It must be fully dissolved in the water allowing impurities to settle out. Pour off the solution from the top being careful not to add impurities to the mix. The impurities found in calcium chloride flake and pellets have been known to cause discoloration in pool plaster. No more than 2% by weight of cement (about 1/2 lb. per bag) can be used. Overuse may cause discoloration.
Although it is not necessary to use a plaster pump, many contractors do. Included here are some helpful hints for successful pumping. Increase the size of the pump manifold from three (3) inches to four (4) inches. Change the valve ball from plastic to steel to improve longevity. Set a plaster pump to the lowest gear by moving the belt. Always begin pumping with a full stroke on the main piston. This is accomplished by advancing the wheel until the cam is at its highest position. Prepare a slurry of cement and water or pump aid and run it through the pump first to prime the pump and lubricate the hoses. Pour the mixed plaster slowly into the pump hopper. Do not pour all the material in at once. Agitate the material in the hopper to prevent separation of the cement and aggregate. Avoid unnecessary stopping during the pumping process. Diamond Brite aggregate will tend to settle in the pump manifold and hoses when the pump is stopped. Agitate the remaining material left in the hopper to reduce clogging. Do not try to clear a blockage using the pump. Disassemble and clean the manifold and hoses when clogged. Do not over-water mix. This will only cause the material to separate, clogging the pump and hoses.
The substrate should be cool and damp but not dripping wet. Mist the shell with cool, clean potable water. Non- absorbed water may be removed by using sponges and/ or air. Standing water will weaken Diamond Brite and may cause washouts. Note: Hot, dry shells will cause the rapid setting of the plaster and result in check or shrinkage cracking and de-lamination. All materials and effected areas should remain above 50°F / 10°C (fifty degrees Fahrenheit / ten degrees Celsius) or below 100°F / 38°C (100 degrees Fahrenheit / 38 degrees Celsius) 24-hours prior and 72-hours after placement. Discard unmixed material (lumps). Apply plaster liberally with the flat side of the trowel using sufficient pressure to key in a scratch coat on the vertical surfaces. Beginning with the shady walls and working to the sunny walls, trowel a scratch coat onto the walls and allow to set up until it becomes tacky. The set time will vary according to temperature and humidity. Once the scratch coat has become tacky, apply a finish coat to the entire pool surface beginning in bowl area and working toward the shallow end, troweling and blending walls and floor together to achieve a seamless appearance while working to a final thickness of 3/8″ to one-half inch (½”) (10 mm — 12 mm). Uniform troweling will help to ensure even exposure, reduce washouts and produce a comfortable slip-resistant finish. The technique of “slick troweling” is recommended. During application make several passes with pool trowels to compact the aggregate and ensure a smooth dense finish. In this process, the cement paste is brought to the surface during troweling, then removed with the trowel. This produces a slick surface and minimizes the exposure needed. Small amounts of lubrication water may be necessary for smoothing out and compacting the finish in this process. The aggregate can be seen through a thin film of cement paste after troweling is complete. Special attention must be given to the filling in of spike holes. The applicator must be careful to fill all spike holes with Diamond Brite aggregate to avoid visible spike holes. Extra care must be taken to ensure proper troweling in the coves and corners. Specialty trowels are required for these areas. Insufficient troweling in these areas will result in roughness and washouts (loss of cement and aggregate) during the exposure process.
NOTE: You must have one workman for every 300 square feet to properly expose Diamond Brite. The exposure time is limited to approximately one hour but will vary according to local conditions. Beginning too early or too late will result in uneven exposure. Some areas may be ready for exposure while other areas are still being troweled. Constant inspection of the Diamond Brite for readiness is imperative. There are several techniques commonly used to expose Diamond Brite. The following is a list of the most popular techniques.
- Water Washing with Brushes:
- NOTE: This is by far the most effective technique and produces the best results with standard Diamond Brite pool finishes. It is not recommended for the Diamond Brite® Quartz Series pool finishes.
When the Diamond Brite has lost its sheen or is no longer damp, it may be ready for exposure with soft bristle brushes and water. The material must be sufficiently set up to allow applicators to walk on the floor without leaving footprints. Wear white cotton socks or foam shoes when exposing Diamond Brite. Boots and bare feet are not recommended. Test the plaster for readiness by carefully washing a small area with a soft bristle brush. If the cream washes away without losing aggregate the exposure process may begin. Starting with sunny or fast setting areas begin washing away cement paste with water and brushes. Use a bucket first then progress to a soft flow of water from a garden hose as the material begins to harden. Begin using stiff bristle brushes as the set progresses. Examine the plaster for hot spots that may be set quickly. Mist these areas with water to allow longer exposure time. Over-cured cement paste will not remove easily and may require stiff bristle brushes to remove. Avoid slow setting areas like shady walls and the bowl. Washing too soon in these areas will cause washouts. If an area washes out it must be re-troweled immediately. Keep some extra Diamond Brite mixed up for use in patching washout areas. Keep a sump pump running in the main drain at all times to discharge the wash solution. Dispose of wash as directed by local requirements. Avoid leaving hoses, buckets or any other items on the plaster during exposure. Any object left on the plaster during this critical phase may leave a “shadow” on the surface. In the event of shadowing heat may be carefully applied to remove the discoloration. When all of the cement paste has been removed from the surface uniformly, the brush phase is complete. If done thoroughly, this will complete the exposure process. The process of acid washing as described below is optional. If desired, an acid wash may now be performed using a 25% solution of muriatic acid (higher concentrations may be needed for stubborn areas) and water to remove the thin film that may remain on the surface. Proper safety equipment must be worn at all times. Begin washing the bowl first and work up to the shallow end. Following this procedure will minimize “rivers” or streaks on the floor. The use of an acid wash additive to reduce fumes and ensure uniform coverage is highly recommended. Neutralize and discard the wash solution according to local requirements. Neutralize acid remaining on the Diamond Brite with Soda Ash and water to avoid discoloration.
- Acid Washing:
- NOTE: This technique is commonly used in cold climates or when the plasterers lack sufficient experience to undertake water washing. It is easier to do but can produce a less uniform finish. Use this technique when applying the Quartz Series.
After troweling, allow the plaster to fully set up. This may take anywhere from one to a few hours or overnight, depending on local job site conditions. Begin acid washing by using a 25% solution of muriatic acid (higher concentrations may be needed for stubborn areas) and water to remove the cement film that may remain on the surface. Increase the concentration of the acid solution as needed. Proper safety equipment must be worn at all times. Begin washing the bowl first and work up to the shallow end. Following this procedure will minimize “rivers” or streaks on the floor. Acid wash walls and steps last. Do not allow acid wash solution to puddle in the bowl area. Use a sump pump to constantly discard the runoff after it is diluted and neutralized. The use of an acid wash additive to reduce fumes and ensure uniform coverage is highly recommended. Neutralize and discard the wash solution according to local requirements. Neutralize acid remaining on the Diamond Brite with Soda Ash and water to avoid discoloration.
- Wet Acid Wash:
- NOTE: Also called Acid Start-Up or No Drain Acid Wash. This technique is sometimes used after water washing. It is also used in areas where the fill water is high in alkalinity and or hardness. When used alone without water washing this technique produces the least desirable results. It will not remove all of the cement paste evenly and may result in a streaked appearance.
Remove all metal such as ladders and lights from the pool and turn off the circulation system. After filling the pool test the alkalinity to determine the amount of muriatic acid needed to lower the Total Alkalinity to zero. Distribute the acid evenly throughout the pool. Brush the pool thoroughly over the entire surface twice daily for three (3) days. Add a sequestering agent and raise the pH to the proper level with soda ash. Start the circulation system and follow the start-up instructions.
- Powerwash Exposure Technique: Hard trowel pool to a uniform smooth finish. Let finish air dry for 1-3 hours after completion. Begin the acid wash process by filling a pool with eight (8) to ten (10) inches of water. This water will buffer the acid solution during the exposure process. Acid wash with 100% muriatic acid starting with walls working down to the bowl. Leave acid on for approximately one (1) to two (2) minutes before rinsing off with a hose. Keep constant water on the floor to diffuse acid solution avoiding streaks. Keep acid-washed areas wet through the entire process or cement paste will re-set. Complete the acid wash on the floor and the bowl of the pool, finish by pumping out water. Begin the power-washing phase with 2,500 psi machine using a 45-degree nozzle. Keep tip twelve (12) to eighteen (18) inches away from the surface perpendicular to the plaster finish. Power wash surface with approximately 20% of overlap to ensure complete exposure. Start power-washing walls from tile line thru cove of the pool, finish with the floor. Pump out remaining water; install main drain covers, lights, and fittings.
INITIAL FILL AND BALANCING — OPTIMUM POOL AND SPA WATER CHEMISTRY CONDITIONS
In accordance with National Plasterers Council (NPC) standards, it is recommended that the following pool and spa water chemistry conditions be maintained on an ongoing basis for the longevity of Diamond Brite exposed aggregate interior pool and spa finish. These values are important to prevent corrosion, deterioration, discoloration, scaling or other problems. For more information refer to your local agency having jurisdiction or NPC. Follow recommended fill and balancing procedures to ensure a successful start-up. Fill pool completely and without interruption with clean, potable water. The use of a filter during fill is strongly recommended. The initial fill water is the most important water that the pool will receive and must be tested, recorded and adjusted according to the following parameters by an experienced pool professional. For the first thirty days (30) the pH and alkalinity must be monitored and adjusted (if applicable) every three (3) to five (5) days. All other chemicals monitored and adjusted (if applicable) every seven (7) to ten (10) days. The pool water must be tested regularly and documented monthly by a reputable company using a computerized system. Monitoring the pool water regularly will not only affect the new finish but will keep the Diamond Brite finish looking new. Improper water chemistry will void the ten-years limited residential / five-year commercial warranty. It is recommended that a quality sequestering agent be used in the initial start-up in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and then a recommended maintenance dosage per the sequestering agent’s manufacturer instructions.
- FIRST DAY: Add sequestering agent upon initial fill per manufacturer’s instructions. Adjust pH to 7.2 — 7.6 and total alkalinity to 80—120 PPM.
- SECOND DAY: Record pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and temperature levels. Adjust pH to 7.4 — 7.6 and total alkalinity to 80—120 PPM. Dissolve all chemicals completely in water before adding to the pool, and allow sufficient time for each chemical to be fully dispersed before adding other chemicals. DO NOT ADD CHLORINE. Brush the entire surface twice daily for the first three (3) days.
- THIRD DAY: Repeat steps from Second Day. Adjust chemistry to the following levels:
- Free Chlorine: 1.0 — 3.0 PPM
- pH: 7.4—7.6
- Total Alkalinity: 80—120 PPM
- Calcium Hardness: 200—400 PPM
- Stabilizer: 30—60 PPM
Adjust the pump timer to normal operating hours. Do not install automatic pool cleaners for twenty-eight (28) days. Do not vacuum the pool with a wheeled vacuum for fourteen (14) days. Brush the pool walls and floor daily for the first two (2) weeks.
Up to one (1) year from date of manufacture in an unopened properly stored container.
WARNING — EYE IRRITANT CONTAINS PORTLAND CEMENT. Product is alkaline on contact with water. Use paddle for mixing to avoid splashing into eyes or contact with skin. During mixing or application avoid contact with eyes. In case of such contact, flood eyes repeatedly with water and CALL A PHYSICIAN. Wash thoroughly after handling and before smoking or eating. Do not take internally. CONTAINS FREE SILICA — DO NOT BREATHE DUST. Prolonged exposure to dust may cause delayed lung disease (Silicosis). WARNING: This product may expose you to chemicals, including silica, which the State of California recognizes as a cause of cancer. For more information, visit the Proposition 65 Warnings Website (www.P65Warnings.ca.gov). Use NIOSH approved masks at all times to handle silica dust. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.
To experience the rich, vibrant hues and textures of Diamond Brite® and Diamond Brite® — Watercolors, visit our Exposed Aggregate Finish gallery and see how your pool, spa, or water feature can be transformed.
Please, keep in mind that the color of the pool may vary due to water depth, lighting conditions at the job site, mixing and installation methods. Sample colors and photographs attached here are as accurate as modern technology can produce and can even vary depending on your monitor calibrations.
SGM Inc. warrants this product will perform in accordance with its intended use for a period of one year from the date of manufacture. Any claim for defective products must be submitted in writing to SGM Inc. and samples of the defect must be provided. SGM Inc.‘s sole obligation will be to replace any product determined to be defective by SGM Inc. EXCEPT AS PROVIDED HEREIN, SGM INC. MAKES NO OTHER REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL SGM INC. BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR NATURE, WHETHER ARISING BY CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE. SGM INC.’S SOLE OBLIGATION WILL BE TO REPLACE ANY PRODUCT DETERMINED BY SGM INC. TO BE DEFECTIVE. Customers may acquire an extended 5-year commercial or 10-year residential warranty. Please visit our Warranty page.