weather icon Clear

Time for a pool renovation?

When Brent and Denice Hermansen looked at their swimming pool and backyard, they saw worn and tired. Outdated and, to be honest, a bit on the cheap side.

You’ve heard of “wow factor?” This was “ow factor.”

“It wasn’t much of an outdoor entertainment area,” Denice Hermansen says of their alfresco eyesore.

The remedy for the Hermansens, who live in the Green Valley area of Henderson, was a sweeping backyard renovation — a $40,000 panacea that included an outdoor kitchen, upgraded landscaping, electric fire bowls, a deck of paving stones, water features and a new white plaster surface, with a soft blue tint, for their 10-feet-by-25-feet in-ground gunite pool.

“Now, when we entertain, it is ‘wow,’ ” Denice Hermansen says of their guests’ reactions.

Usually, makeovers like the Hermansens’ begin with a homeowner noticing a dull, dingy pool surface, according to some of Las Vegas Valley’s leading pool renovation companies.

“That’s what people seem to focus on first,” says John LaBreche, owner of Peak Pool Plastering, which replasters between 1,000 and 1,200 in-ground pools each year. “They see a horrible pool surface, and they want the pool replastered. Then it seems to grow from there.”

The growth can mean all sorts of upgrades and enhancements, including decking, pool lights, water features, landscaping and even kitchens.

Brent Hermansen, 67, chief executive of a Washington, D.C., consulting firm, admits to going big on his renovation because his pool and backyard looked passé.

“We bought the house in 1995 when it was 6 months old, and that’s how old the pool was,” he said. “And the original owners, I think they just skimped on a lot of things. … Everything looked old. It was time.”

So often the driving force behind such renovations is the pool surface, a cement-based coating of about three-eighths of an inch over the gunite structure.

“That’s pretty much how it starts,” says Joe Vassallo, president of Paragon Pools, which did the Hermansen’s 2014 renovation. “You start to see cracks, delamination and discoloring of the pool’s surface.”

Where, when to start

The surface of an in-ground gunite pool can last 20 years or more, but because of Las Vegas’ hard water, such longevity is atypical, says Ron Hair, sales manager for Adams Pool Solutions, which does about 500 replastering jobs annually — 60 percent residential.

Hair says a life span of 10-12 years is more likely because most homeowners pay little attention to water chemistry. When his company is called to estimate a replastering project, usually the surface is long gone, showing delaminating or spalling.

“The No. 1 reason we replaster pools is spalling,” Hair says, describing the crumbling of the smooth pool surface.

At that point, homeowners face choosing between three kinds of new surfaces. The most common is white plaster, a mix of Portland cement and marble dust (and sometimes a dye for color).

White plaster accounts for about 40 percent of Adams’ replastering jobs and about 70 percent of those done by Peak.

Blue quartz, which contains quartz aggregate and polymer-based cement, is a step up from white plaster.

And a third choice, a premium coating, is pebble-based surfaces, which combine tiny pebbles in hydraulic cement.

Think of white plaster as hard and durable, blue quartz as harder and more durable and pebble coatings as the hardest and most durable.

LaBreche and Hair say the spring and fall are the busiest times for pool replastering in the Las Vegas Valley because it’s best to recoat when temperatures are consistently cooler than 85 degrees. Hotter temperatures can cause concrete surfaces to cure too quickly.

What you’ll pay

Most residential pools in the Las Vegas Valley are from 70 to 120 linear feet, and replastering companies use this perimeter measurement to determine cost.

For white plaster, excluding any color enhancements, replastering can range between $3,500 and $5,500. A blue quartz project can run between $4,000 and $6,400. Premium pebble coatings are from $5,700 to $9,000.

Those prices don’t include spa replastering, which generally adds $500 or so more for white plaster, $600 more for blue quartz and $800 more for pebbles.

Each surface is applied with a nozzle-type “gun” that spits out material that is smoothed and shaped by hand.

Prices generally include new fittings — drain covers and eyeball inlets — but tile work is extra.

Expect the job, which calls for a crew to chip out the old pool surface with power equipment, to last a week to 10 days on the short side, two to three weeks and sometimes longer for more labor-intensive projects.

Decking a common addition

Vassallo’s Paragon Pools typically does larger renovations, starting at about $40,000. While only a select number of renovations in the valley reach that level, many homeowners combine their replastering project with deck recoating or a new deck altogether.

Adding a deck, Hair says, means it’s not uncommon for a project that starts out as a small replastering job to grow to an $8,000 to $10,000 price tag.

“The pool surface and the water seem to be the focal point for most homeowners,” Peak owner LaBreche says. “People then see what they’re getting in to, and then with the deck, the tile and the lights, it can become bigger.”

Brent Hermansen said he was glad he turned over his renovation to Paragon because once he and his wife started the project, they found they wanted several upgrades.

“We wanted it all,” he said. “And they did a great job.”

He has some advice once homeowners choose to replaster. Understand a crew is coming to drain your pool and do extensive cement work.

“It’s a mess,” Hermansen said. “So turn over your backyard to the workers and just try to get out of their way.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
John Prine, country-folk singer, dies at 73 - VIDEO
John Prine died due to complications caused by COVID-19 at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee on April 7. The singer-songwriter is counted as one the favorite artists by the likes of Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars furloughing about 90% of US workers
The furloughs come amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted all U.S. commercial casinos to temporarily shut their doors.
Bill Withers, soul legend and 'Lean on Me' singer, dead at 81 - VIDEO
Bill Withers' family said he died of heart complications on Monday in Los Angeles. Withers was a three-time Grammy winner. His other major hits include “Ain’t No Sunshine" and “Lovely Day.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas KatsWalk: From the Mandalay Bay to Excalibur - VIDEO
Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes walks and talks along the Las Vegas Strip, from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur. (John Katsilometes and Kevin Cannon / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Make Ivan Grant's Quarantini - VIDEO
Ivan Grant, a flair bartender at Long Bar at The D Las Vegas, makes his Quarantini. (Ivan Grant)
Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger dies from coronavirus - VIDEO
According to Variety, 52-year-old frontman and songwriter Adam Schlesinger has died, following a short battle with the respiratory illness, coronavirus. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
KATS WALK: A walking tour on south Las Vegas Strip – VIDEO
RJ columnist John Katsiometes takes a walking tour of the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. (John Katsiometes and Kevin Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tiger King character has Las Vegas connection - VIDEO
Entertainment reporter John Katsilometes talks about the popular "Tiger King" and Jeff Lowe, a central figure in the Netflix documentary phenomenon who wanted to do business with the last Las Vegas Strip entertainer to use wild tigers in his act. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coranavirus victim Howard Berman playing the harmonica in April 2014 - VIDEO
Howard Berman, 66, playing the harmonica at a jam session in April 2014. Berman, who was active in the Las Vegas music community, died on March 24, 2020, from COVID-19. (Diana Andriola)
Boarded-up businesses in the Arts District add some color - VIDEO
Businesses in the Arts District have commissioned local artists to paint murals on the boards covering their doors and windows. When the boards are removed, they will be auctioned off to raise money for those affected by the coronavirus shutdowns. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sold-out Electric Daisy Carnival still scheduled for May - VIDEO
In a post on his social media platforms, festival founder Pasquale Rotella confirmed that EDC remains scheduled for May 15-17 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway despite coronavirus concerns that have sideline scads of other live music events. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
City of Las Vegas responds to calls to allow restaurants offering curbside pickup
Alcohol is now allowed in curbside meal pickups in Las Vegas. The city of Las Vegas has responded to calls to allow restaurants offering curbside pickup service to include alcohol in those meals. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lady Gaga delays new album release - VIDEO
The pop star was planning to drop her sixth LP, "Chromatica," on April 10, but she's made the "tough decision" to push back the launch following the coronavirus outbreak. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ways to keep yourself from going crazy at home during coronavirus - VIDEO
Take art classes with your kids. Install a bidet. Practice yoga. Buy houseplants. Catch up your streaming queue. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas nightclub giant Hakkasan Group lays off 1,600 - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Strip’s leading nightlife company has let go of nearly its entire workforce, leaving about 1,600 staffers suddenly unemployed, due to the shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Disneyland closes in response to coronavirus - VIDEO
Walt Disney Company announced the closure of its Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, on Thursday afternoon. Known as the "happiest place on earth," Disneyland has closed its doors only three other times in 65 years. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts to temporarily close buffets amid coronavirus fears - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International will temporarily close its Las Vegas buffets, effective Sunday amid growing coronavirus fears. (Al Mancini and James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morimoto tackles Italian cooking at Eataly Las Vegas
Masaharu Morimoto showed off his skills in a slightly different context Thursday night, when he dropped by Manzo in Eataly to launch the Italian restaurant’s new Guest Chef series. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator leaving Mirage on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
The 11-year Las Vegas Strip headliner is on a venue hunt, confirming Wednesday he is leaving his eponymous theater at The Mirage this summer for parts uncharted. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garth Brooks to play first concert at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Country megastar Garth Brooks is the first non-football event announced for the $2 billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Post Malone reveals his face tattoos are due to being 'ugly' - VIDEO
In a new interview with 'GQ,' the 24-year-old admitted his body art is linked to insecurity issues. [The face tattoos do] maybe come from a place of insecurity, to where I don’t like how I look .., Post Malone, via 'GQ'. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 Las Vegas chefs to watch - VIDEO
If you want to know what’s next for dining in Las Vegas, we suggest paying close attention to these five accomplished chefs. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Slanted Door in The Forum Shops at Caesars - VIDEO
The Slanted Door, Charles Phan's James Beard Award-winning modern Vietnamese restaurant, will open a Las Vegas location on March 2. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas REview-Journal)
Buddy V opens PizzaCake at Harrah’s - VIDEO
Buddy Valastro, aka Cake Boss Buddy V, is in town this week overseeing the soft opening of his new restaurant, PizzaCake, in Harrah’s Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making mist-shrouded tuna poke at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas - VIDEO
E.J. Estrella, banquet chef at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, makes tuna poke by mixing chunks of bigeye tuna with sliced green onions, julienned white onions and house-made poke sauce and serving it on a bed of seaweed salad garnished with lotus chips and suspended over melon-scented mist. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making baked goat cheese at Ri Ra in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Shea Wafford, sous chef and pastry chef at Ri Ra at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, makes baked goat cheese served with honey-nut pesto, pickled red onions, peppadew relish and sourdough baguette. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bruce Kalman cooking at Ada’s - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Bruce Kalman will be cooking at Ada's in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making banana cream pie at Cut in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Nicole Earl, pastry chef at Cut at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, makes an updated banana cream pie by layering banana ice cream, custard and compote with house-made Cool Whip, vanilla wafers and 24-karat gold leaf in a milk chocolate sphere and drizzling it with warm banana-caramel sauce so it devolves into petals. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Chile Colorado at Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas
Javier Chavez, chef/owner of Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas, makes Chile Colorado by braising pork belly with three kinds of peppers and serving it atop stewed black beans with crema and pickled jalapeño, carrots and onions, with flour tortillas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap introduces its vegan CrazyShake - VIDEO
Black Tap at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip has a new CrazyShake that's vegan -- The Black ’N White CakeShake. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Standard-sized apple tree cannot be pruned to dwarf size

Standard-sized apple trees may grow to 35 or 40 feet in height. You might be able to keep a standard-sized tree under 20 feet tall through pruning, but the standard-sized apple tree is just too vigorous for pruning to short heights.

Lack of hot water probably problem with thermocouple

Q: My wife started complaining about a lack of hot water, so I ventured out into the garage to check out the water heater. I took the door off and peeked inside and discovered there was no flame. Following the instructions on the tank, I relit the pilot but as soon as I let go of the button, the pilot light went out. I originally thought a breeze may have blown it out, but now I don’t know what to do.

Rainy conditions can cause diseases in plants

A disease called fire blight might pop up in some pear and apple trees beginning around May. It can be common several weeks after spring rains, particularly if trees were flowering. It can lead to tree death if not controlled when it’s first seen.

Delay grape pruning as long as possible

Delay pruning grapes as long as possible in the spring to reduce disease possibilities and avoid any late spring frost damage after pruning. Immediately after pruning grapes, consider applying a fungicide to the vines if there were problems with grape bunch diseases last year.

Mexican petunia needs to be contained to area

My experience with Mexican petunia is that it grows like a weed, and I consider it the broadleaf version of Bermuda grass, aka devil grass. If it’s contained in an area and prevented from spreading into the landscape, I think it will be OK.

Local pros discuss cleaning essentials

Although the official start of spring is March 19, warmer weather has arrived in Las Vegas and the cleaning season is definitely here.

Check for borers after rainfall

An infrequent desert rain is not a problem. But when irrigation water is applied over and over to a soil that is normally dry, these soils shift, collapse and chemically change. In urban landscapes, this can be potentially destructive.