Should I Replace My Inground Pool? When to Know It’s Time

Written by Michael Dean
February 1, 2024

inground swimming pool replacement process

Owning a pool is a big responsibility. One of the things that people sometimes don’t think about is that the pool will need to be replaced after a while. The typical plastered inground pool requires replacing about every ten years. Here are the common signs to watch out for that show that it’s time to replace your swimming pool.

Main Takeaways

  • Some signs that you need to replace your inground pool include: stains, roughness, thinning, chipping, leaks, and loss of color.
  • The replastering process can take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.
  • The ideal temperature for replastering your pool is between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit with some humidity.
  • The cost of replastering depends on the size and shape of the pool and the colors/finishes.

Repair or Replace?

There are some maintenance and repair measures that you can take to extend the life of your pool. However, there inevitably comes a time when you start wondering whether you should do more repairs or just replace the whole thing. Carefully consider whether the pool has more problems than seems reasonable to fix and what those problems are before coming to a decision. If you intend to keep the pool, it will need replacing at some point, so it doesn’t always make sense to sink more money into repairing an old pool that constantly needs something fixed.

Signs that it is Time for Replacement

Individually, each of these signs may not mean that you need to replaster your pool, but if you see more than one of them, or they are long-term problems, it’s probably time to call someone in.


Some staining of the plaster in your pool is inevitable because pool plaster is a natural material that will take up colored substances. Mineral stains may occur if you have poor water chemistry, which will need to be rectified. Otherwise, you might end up with new stains on your replastered pool much more quickly than you would like.

Stains can be kept at bay with acid washing to some extent. Mild staining in a relatively new pool may be able to be entirely removed this way. However, acid washing cannot be done too often, or it may lead to roughness on the surface of the pool, which is the next warning sign that your plaster may need to be replaced.

Also, be sure to ask your pool contractor about performance-enhancing products for your plaster. I have a patented product that I’ve used for decades that helps prevent stains like these, retain color, and extend the life of the plaster.


The surface of the pool may become rough due to age, excessive acid washing, or a poorly done previous plaster job. This can cause snagged swimsuits, scraped skin, and algae that is extremely difficult to remove. Sanding down the plaster is a reasonable option for small areas, but if roughness occurs throughout the pool, the plaster will need to be replaced.

Thinning, Chipping, and Leaks

If there are dark spots in the pool that do not appear to be stains, they may be areas where the plaster is extremely thin. Thin plaster is relatively translucent, which allows the underlying concrete to show through. Because the plaster is the protective, waterproof layer, it is a major concern when it thins to this point.

The plaster can also come off entirely. This may occur when chips of plaster fall off, or if a crack forms. Some materials are made for fixing small cracks and chips, but if more than one of these occurs or it covers a large area, it may be necessary to replaster the pool. If either excessive thinning or chipping occurs, leaks can be the result.

Loss of Color

Pools plastered in a color other than white may lose color over time. This can be due to water chemistry issues or the material used to create the color in the first place. Many plaster companies will use organic color pigments in their plaster because it’s cheaper to produce, but organic color actually fades faster. The best pool plastering companies use inorganic color pigments in all their plaster, which ensures a longer life for your pool surface.

The Replastering Process

Replastering a pool can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size and complexity of your pool remodeling project. First, we have to remove the old plaster and pour in the new. Once the plaster is poured, it has to cure and harden. Rough surfaces are then smoothed out and finishing touches applied, allowing the plaster to shine to its fullest potential. After this is done, the pool still needs to be refilled.

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What Time of Year Should You Replaster Your Pool?

There are several reasons why you might need to replaster your pool, but no matter what the reason, timing is an important issue. Typically, you want to shoot for an ideal temperature range rather than a time of year because temperatures at different times of the year vary so much across the country. Generally, the ideal temperature for replastering a pool is between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a fair amount of humidity. Crews can definitely work outside of that temperature range, though.

Depending on where you are located, these temperatures might occur in the spring or fall, with some southern areas of the U.S. experiencing them throughout winter. It is generally not possible to plaster when it is a lot colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, although we will work when temperatures dip down into the 40s. If the weather gets too hot and dry, the newly-applied plaster may dry too fast and develop tiny cracks that can affect integrity.

Wind may also affect the timing because it can kick up dirt and debris that may get stuck in the wet plaster. In some areas, certain months of the year that are ideal temperature-wise may be too windy for pool replastering. The combination of these factors makes it difficult to say with certainty when it is best to replaster a pool. Your local professional will make a recommendation based on your specific circumstances.

Cost of Replastering a Pool

The cost of replastering a pool depends on a few variables:

  • Size of pool
  • Shape of pool
  • Colors or finishes

The size and shape of the pool are the two major variables in cost when it comes to replastering. Pools that are uniquely designed and shaped may require more work to replaster, and thus be more expensive. Bigger pools are more expensive because they require more work and more material. The color you choose for your pool plaster will also dictate the overall cost – intense blue pigments are typically more expensive due to the cost of raw materials. For more cost specifics, read my recent article on replastering costs.

Questions? Shoot me a message, and I’ll be happy to help you out.

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