Quick Definition:

Delaminating, or delamination, refers to a process where a material loses its outer layers through external stress.

What does Delaminating mean for swimming pools?

Delaminating, also called delamination, refers to destructive process that can occur to materials exposed to an outside stress.  The stress is often physical or chemical, and commonly can occur in composite materials comprised of layers of differing materials.  Over time, the continual stress can weaken outer layers, working through to underlying layers and cause damage as layers weaken and separate.  This can result in significant loss in the material strength of the structure and cause irreversible damage to the material.  Materials that have an outer layer that is strong, but layers beneath that are not designed to withstand the same level of stress are particularly vulnerable to damage if delamination occurs.

In swimming pools, delamination can occur in a variety of locations.  Slate, stone, tile, concrete, and plaster are all vulnerable to delamination.  Plaster is notorious for delaminating over time.  Imperfections during construction can cause fine cracks in weak areas.  This, coupled with the corrosive and dissolving effect of unbalanced pool water, cracks can widen, allowing water, contaminates, chemicals, and algae to work into the underlying layers.  Pool contractors will call these area plaster pops and edge fragmenting.  Concrete or plaster-based pools are especially susceptible to delamination if they are completely drained and allowed to dry out for prolonged periods.

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