pool plaster delamination

Repair Pool Plaster Pop-offs, Buckles, Blisters and Spalls on Swimming Pool

  |   Pool Plaster, Swimming Pool Inspections, Swimming Pool Resurfacing

Repairing plaster pop-offs or delaminations in your swimming pool can and should be performed as soon as possible.

How Do You Know if You Have a Pop-Off?

Pop-offs are smaller areas where the plaster has debonded from the underlying layer and a hollow void forms underneath the upper layer of the plaster. Stepping on this area could cause it to crack in pieces and break or…”pop-off.” Sometimes the upper plaster has not broken or cracked yet but has debonded. This debonding can be heard and sometimes felt as a hollow area underneath.

What Causes Pop-Off’s?

Debonding and delaminations occur when there is bond failure between the layers of plaster or between the layer of pool plaster and the concrete pool shell. This area becomes “hollow” and a small void develops underneath the plaster. These will eventually crack and break revealing the layer underneath like a small crater.


Areas of delaminating or debonding can be susceptible to cracking or damage. When this happens, water enters into the void area and the chemicals in the water can begin eating away at the nearby bond coat…essentially increasing the size of the pop-off to larger than it originally appeared. This is why it is extremely important to repair or patch these areas without letting them go too long so that the area can remain its original size and be repaired more easily.

How to Repair a Swimming Pool Plaster Pop-Off

1. If the pop-off is smaller in size or few in quantity then underwater repair could be viable.
If the area is on a step or wall and you can reach without having to hold your breath underwater, then you can take a screwdriver and a hammer and chip-out the hollow area. Clean or brush the debris from the area and apply an underwater plaster patch. If the area is too large, too many or too deep, you should always call a trained professional who can dive your swimming pool to make the underwater repairs properly. At Mayan Pools we have all of our own dive gear and we have a variety of underwater materials and tools to help us repair your plaster without having to drain the swimming pool.

2. If the pop-off layer is very large or numerous then the pool should be drained and a professional should come in to assess if these areas can be repaired or if resurfacing with new plaster would be the only option. If the areas are smaller and not frequent then patching may result. If a large percentage of the pool has debonded, then resurfacing may be the only practical option. If the area is small or “patch-able” then the hollow areas should be chipped out and the areas cleaned of loose debris. A bonding agent should be installed or mixed in with the repair coating to ensure a proper bond. Then plaster or the patching material should be installed and troweled to a smooth finish.

Buckles, Blisters and Spalls are general repaired the same way.

Buckles are bulges on the surface due to debonding that have not cracked yet.
Blisters are round bumps on the plaster caused by trapped air during finishing.
Spalls are upper-layer pop-offs on the existing layer of plaster. So instead of the entire top layer of plaster breaking away from an old existing layer of plaster, the spall is when an area in the upper 1/8″ of the plaster comes off the new plaster layer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]