Swimming Pool Plaster Repair: Best Tips on How to Fix Plaster (Empty or Full)

Are you looking for a pool plaster repair solution? Repair pool plaster when it is empty or full. Here are the best tips on how to fix pool plaster.

Is your pool’s bottom is beginning to feel more like grit than a smooth surface? Perhaps you’ve noticed an increase in spots or rust on the plaster of your pool? Even though plaster is a ubiquitous and durable material for inground pools, many pool owners may eventually need to repair their pool’s plaster.

Whether you’re trying to decide whether you should attempt pool plaster repair yourself or whether it’s best to hire a professional, we’ll go through some of the repair stages as well as your alternatives. Are you unsure whether or not the plaster in your swimming pool needs repair? Along with that, we’ll have a look at signs that suggest the need for repairs.

Signs That You Need Pool Plaster Repair or Replacement

Swimming pool with algae and pool plaster with stains

Some pool owners don’t give a second thought to the plaster in their pool until they see deep cracks orbits of plaster that have fallen out. Don’t wait until there is significant damage. Any of these frequent indicators indicate that it’s time to consider fixing the plaster in your swimming pool.

Pool Plaster Stains

Most popular inground pools are constructed using plaster. Plaster pools are incredibly durable and can last for decades if taken care of properly. However, plaster can sustain small cracks or even larger holes that may leak chemicals into the pool water.

The cracks will be filled with water which causes stains on the bottom of your swimming pool. This can be identified by a cloudy, brown layer of water over your tiles on the bottom of the pool. If you leave the water untreated, it can cause unsightly algae growth or other bacteria to form in your swimming pool.

If your swimming pool contains algae growth on its surface, it’s usually an indicator that there are gaps in your plaster on which algae can grow.

“Make sure your pool is clean and the water chemistry is balanced. Regular and consistent care goes a long way toward maintaining your plaster.”

Marcus, riverpoolsandspas.com

Too Much Roughness

Most swimming pools come with a layer of plaster, which is the topmost layer on the pool’s walls and floor. This layer of plaster is generally smooth; however, some owners notice that their pool’s bottom or sides feel rough to the touch. You will need to use your fingers to run over it and check if it feels bumpy. If this is the problem, it may be time for you to consider re-plastering.


If your pool’s pH or calcium level is too low, it destroys the plaster’s material, making pool plaster repair more difficult. Keep a close eye on your pool chemical levels to avoid this type of damage. As soon as you observe peeling, act immediately.

Cracks and Chipping

The cracks are another essential indicator that you need to do pool plaster repair. The best way to figure out whether or not the cracks are near the surface is to inspect where they are located. If these cracks are minor, they can be repaired quickly and easily.

When you notice paint chipping, it usually means there is damage beneath the surface of your swimming pool’s plaster. Again, if your swimming pool’s pH isn’t in balance, it can cause cracks, thinning, and chipping.

How to do Pool Plaster Repairing When the Pool Is Empty

Toolbox and workers repairing pool plaster

Step 1. Get your safety goggles, ear protection, work gloves, and shoes because you will need them.

Step 2. Remove the crack out. Place the grinders or masonry saw on either side of the crack. To create a dovetail, diagonally cut 12 inches deep and toward the cut. Then, on both ends, extend the crack by one inch. Remove the plaster that you just finished cutting out.

Step 3. Thoroughly rinse the crack with water, and let it dry for a while. Once it’s already dry, with a soft-tipped brush, scrub the remaining dust or debris.

Step 4. Apply a bead of underwater sealer along the borders of the crack to prevent more ripping. Allow around 3/8 of an inch of space for the plaster that you’ll use to repair the crack.

Step 5. Combine the pool plaster with the bonding agent until the mixture has the consistency of peanut butter—thick enough to hold in place but not so thick that it is difficult to spread out.

Step 6. Using a damp grouting sponge, softly moisten the crack’s border to prevent it from spreading. Apply the pool plaster with a trowel or putty knife, gently pressing it into the crack to remove the formation of air bubbles. 

Step 7. Scrape away any extra plaster with the edge of a trowel or a putty knife. To approximate the surface roughness of the plaster, dab the surface with a moist grouting sponge.

Step 8. Fill the pool with water. The pool plaster will cure more quickly if it is applied underwater. You should cover the patched area with a moist towel or old bedsheet if you will not be filling the pool for a few hours (for example, if you have multiple cracks to fix).

A rapid drying plaster repair may shrink and crack again if exposed to extreme heat or humidity. Covering will prevent it from drying out until you fill the pool.

How to do Pool Plaster Repair When the Pool Is Full

A freeform plaster in a pool with water

Suppose you have a crack or hole in your pool that is not too large (or too deep). You may not need to empty the pool.

You have two alternatives for the materials you can use, and both of them effectively work just as well. There is no need to spend a lot of money on high-end products; dollar store brands will do just fine.

You’ll need to scrape away at the crack and pull out any loose particles of plaster and gravel that have fallen. After you’ve removed all the loose debris, you may clean the area thoroughly with a wire brush.

Now, it’s time to work on your filter.


Epoxy has two materials that you need to mix before application. The first one is the patching ingredient. The second one is the hardener. For preparation, follow the instructions of the epoxy. Most pool owners use a 1 to 1 mixture.

Wear your gloves for protection before mixing them up.

Pool Plaster

Pool plaster works the same way as epoxy. Make sure you get the epoxy brand that says it works underwater.

Next, follow the instructions or guidelines for application and start mixing. 

Now that the epoxy or blob of pool plaster is good to go, it’s time for patching the hole. If you have a crack, you’ll need to create a noodle out of the plaster, much as you would as a child with play dough. If the object is a hole or gouge, you’ll want to create a ball that fits within. If the crack is a hole or gouge, you’ll want to make a ball that will stick right into the hole.

Dive down and press it into the hole or crack, making sure that it spreads thoroughly to the hole or crack and that it gets into every crevice.

The final step is to scrape the surface using a plastic trowel. This will put pressure on the epoxy/plaster and remove any excess.

Bottom Line

While the process of repairing a pool may seem tricky, it is an easy and fun endeavor. The steps for repair are simple, and like anything else involving pools, you can take them at your own pace. This way, if something goes wrong, you know that there is time to fix it without compromising the integrity of the pool. 

After completing these careful steps, you will have a good pool plaster that will remain safe in the future! Here are pool-related articles that you’ll definitely find useful. Click here to see more pool articles. Check them out!

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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