Max is an animal at removing the old tile. Some came off with just a tap tap... others worked best with a screwdriver as a pry-tool... but it was most fun to just whack at it with a hammer and watch the pieces fly.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Ceramic shards cut skin quite nicely. (We all had our battle wounds from flying tile shrapnel. Wear gloves and safety goggles... also, keep a stack of Band-Aids handy.)
The old tile is gone and all the water has been removed, but it's not ready for new tile yet. The old mud and grout need to be removed!
Note from Steve:
And don't worry about that water... if you look at the large version of this pic you'll see six holes in the wall and I had just taken out one of the plugs. Two are for the current pump system- one takes dirty water to the filter, another shoots clean water back into the pool. When you plug up the return hole that diverts water to the upper pool area and the waterfall. I have NO idea what the other 4 holes are for. I've tried every combination of open/close with them and my best guess is that they're from the old pump system and the pervious owner just left the holes.
We tried scraping, wire brushing and pressure washing... none were successful at removing the old cement and grout. After a quick google search we found that another DIY pool tile person has used a 4.5" grinder with a masonry bit... and YES! It did the trick. It was messy and took Steve one day to grind down the tile base.
We also had to smooth out the lagoon. The plaster surface was installed over the old tiles. Steve cut into the plaster, removed the tile chucks and rounded over the thick part of the plaster. Not perfect, but will work great until it's time to resurface the pool. And a smooth, continuous line looks a lot better than before.
With the surface prepped and smooth, Steve applies a skim coat of cement to the border.
First tiles go up! Yup, that is a very blue/green border. I love it and it really will brighten up the pool.
The transition from the pool to the lagoon was tricky. The lagoon doesn't have the aggregate coping at the top. To keep the visual line of the aggregate we decided to add a dark grey mosaic blend to the top. It works really well and eases the transition from pool to lagoon a little better.
We spent hours laying on our stomaches nipping individual tiles to fit the curve of the pool. This is all under water, but I know it would bug me if it wasn't done right. No one will see it, but we know we like it!
The finished lagoon with grey border. Awwwww. We pre-sealed the tile yesterday and will start grouting tonight. We hope to have the pool filled by this weekend. (fingers-crossed!)