Deciding to paint your swimming pool can be a great project and can save you money!
There are 2 main reasons that people paint their swimming pool:
1. Save Money. Homeowners can paint their own pool without having to use contractors 2. Temporary or Short-Term Resurfacing. Many homeowner or apartment owners will paint their pool right before selling the property.
IMPORTANT! There are a few different kinds of pool paint. You cannot just pick one to paint over an existing painted pool. In general, you will have to use the same kind of paint that is already on your pool shell.
Selecting the proper paint to paint your swimming pool
There are 5 common types of paint to paint a swimming pool with: 1. Acrylic/Latex 2. Chlorinated Rubber-based 3. Synthetic Rubber-based 4. Polyvinyl-based 5. Epoxy
For a comparison on swimming pool resurfacing materials click here
1. Acrylic Swimming Pool Paint
– Economical (low material cost) – Easy and fast to install – Can be applied on bare concrete or over rubber-based paints – Several color options – Lasts 1-2 years
2. Chlorinated Rubber-Based Swimming Pool Paint
– Oldest and most common – Economical (low material cost) – Easy and fast to install – Can be applied on bare concrete or over chlorinated rubber-based paints – Can be installed layer after layer for several layers before sand-blasting is needed – Several color options – Lasts 2-3 years
3. Synthetic Rubber-Based Swimming Pool Paint
– Economical (low material cost) – Durable and can resist algae and chemicals to a degree – Can be applied on bare concrete, chlorinated rubber-based, and synthetic rubber-based paints – Several color options – Lasts 2-3 years
4. Polyvinyl-Based Swimming Pool Paint
– Lasts longer than rubber-based and acrylic swimming pool paint – Durable and can resist algae and chemicals to a degree – Depending on the environment, can apply multiple layers on the same day – Bonds to previous coats well making a thicker finish that can resist peeling – Can be applied on bare concrete and polyvinyl-based paints – Several color options – Lasts 4-6 years
5. Epoxy Swimming Pool Paint
– Lasts longer than rubber-based, acrylic and polyvinyl-based swimming pool paint – Durable and can resist algae and chemicals to a degree – Depending on the environment, can apply multiple layers on the same day – Can be applied on bare concrete and epoxy paints – Several color options – Lasts 6-8 years
Choosing the best time to paint your swimming pool
Common Questions to Ask Yourself When Scheduling to Paint Your Swimming Pool
1. How long can your pool stay drained?
If you have an old plaster finish, the plaster can begin to delaminate if left out of water A water table or underground springs could lengthen your desired project time Be sure to schedule your swimming pool painting well in advance of desired opening dates
2. What will the temperature be during this time?
Most paint should be installed between the optimal temperatures of 70-90f Painting should not take place below 50f and above 95f
3. Is there any precipitation coming in during the project time?
Most paint needs to be applied to a completely dry pool shell. You will also not want any precipitation in the forecast throughout the project from draining thru curing.
4. What will the humidity be throughout the project?
High humidity can lead to moisture in the shell and can lead to blistering paint.
5. Is it fall and leaves will be falling onto your fresh pool paint?
Could you just imagine painting the first coat and leaves start falling into your wet paint? This could spell cause a lot of re-work or a thicker second coat after much clean-up.
6. Is it going to be windy risking dirt and debris to scatter into your wet pool paint?
High winds can blow dirt, leaves and debris into your pool. This can lead to a messy project and more time in clean up.
Calculating how much paint you will need to paint your swimming pool
– smooth surfaces take less paint – rough/textured takes more paint (more surface area)
Approximations: (Manufacturer’s Instructions and Coverage will supersede)
– smooth: 200-300 sqft per coat – sand-blasted or grinded surface: 100-200 sqft per coat – rough/porous surface: 80-125 sqft per coat
Calculating Your Pool Size to Order the Right Amount of Pool Paint
– Rectangle = (L x W) + ([Shallow Depth + Deep Depth /2] X Perimeter Feet) = Interior Square Footage – Free-Form = [(W1 + W2/2) X L] + ([Shallow Depth + Deep Depth /2] X Perimeter Feet) = Interior Square Footage – Roman Style = (L x W x 1.55) + ([Shallow Depth + Deep Depth /2] X Perimeter Feet) = Interior Square Footage – Benches/Steps/Ledges: Don’t forget to add square footage for these – Waste: Don’t forget to add 5-10% of the square footage for waste
Properly Preparing your substrate before painting your swimming pool
– remove all loose substrate (concrete/peeling and flaking paint) – chip out or pressure wash off – if old paint is bonded to the shell you can sand the old paint to allow better adhesion – remove all grease and oils with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) (brush on and immediately rinse off – do not allow it to dry). (8oz/1 gallon of warm water per 200 square feet). Scrub in 10’ sections and rinse before it dries. – acid-etch your surface. Mix 1 gallon of muriatic acid (30%) to 2 gallons of water. 1 gallon of the solution will yield 100 square feet. – repeat tsp again to neutralize pool and allow the pool to dry before painting (water-based paint can be painted on before the pool dries) – Mask-off (tape or tape and paper) areas to protect from paint (red stucco tape typically works well) – Use plastic or other means of protecting paint from pool to get on to the deck from shoes/sox
WARNING!! If you are generally unsure about painting your pool or resurfacing with plaster, keep in mind that once a swimming pool is painted in order to re-plaster your swimming pool with plaster, quartz or pebble plaster, you will have to remove the existing paint by sand-blasting or grinding which can add a significant expense. If you think one day you may want to use plaster, quartz or pebble plaster then you should refrain from painting unless you have accounted for the additional expense in the removal of the paint prior to plastering.
Painting your swimming pool
– The pool shell can be damp or dry to start painting – Apply the first coat (can be thinned 10% with water) – Allow the first coat to dry (4 hours) – Apply the second coat (full-strength) – Let the paint cure 3 days before filling the swimming pool
Rubber-Based (Chlorinated or Synthetic)
– Make sure the pool shell is completely dry. You can use a moisture meter to help determine. – Thin the first coat 20% with No. 1111 VOC Compliant Solvent – Allow the first coat to completely dry (4-8 hours) – Apply the second coat (full-strength) – Let the paint cure 3-6 days before filling the swimming pool
– Make sure the pool shell is completely dry. You can use a moisture meter to help determine. – Apply the first coat – Allow the first coat to completely dry over 24 hours – Apply the second coat (full-strength) – Let the paint cure 5-7 days before filling the swimming pool
– Make sure the pool shell is completely dry. You can use a moisture meter to determine if the pool shell is dry. – Most epoxy paints are 2-parts and are typically mixed together in small batches (follow manufacturer’s directions) – Apply the first coat and let the first coat become tack-free – Apply the second coat when the first coat can be walked out without leaving marks, impressions or removing paint. (typically 4-8 hours) – Do not wait too long to apply the second coat as this can result in peeling – Allow the finish to cure 3-6 days before filling the swimming pool
Common Mistakes when painting your swimming pool
– using a paint on top of an incompatible paint – painting on a pool shell that has moisture – painting when the temperature is too hot – painting when the temperature is too cold – painting when the humidity is too high – painting without checking the weather forecast (temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, etc) – not allowing the paint to fully cure before re-filling the pool – waiting too long to paint the second coat of epoxy paint – improper fill water chemistry and long-term water chemistry
Improper Installation can lead to the following problems:
– blistering – peeling – flaking – stray marks – roller marks – chalking Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly when installing your swimming pool paint.
Painting your swimming pool can be be a rewarding project and can save you money if you paint it yourself. As with most projects, proper planning and particular attention to environmental conditions during your timeline can be the difference in a beautiful pool finish or not. DISCLAIMER: This article is a simplistic summary and opinionated one. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions completely when installing their paint.