by Rob Cox, April 3, 2010
Swimming Pool Painting, a How-To
Painting your swimming pool can brighten up a plaster pool finish by coating it with an almost ceramic like surface. Underwater pool paints have come a long way in the last 50 years, when pool painting was an annual chore. Rubber Based pool paints, not known for durability or low VOC, was lathered on every year.
Now, we have more environmentally sound pool paints, with a wider variety of colors and paint types. We have paint that converts rubber based paint to epoxy pool paint, and you can even paint onto a damp surface. You do still have to drain the pool to paint it, however.
Swimming Pool Paints now can last 5-7 years or longer - when properly applied. This article covers some pitfalls to pool painting, as well as the mechanics of measuring your surface area, surface prep and pool painting techniques.
Choose the right pool paint: With so many options available now, choosing a pool paint can be confusing. Once upon a time, you could get any pool paint you wanted, as long as it was Blue rubber-based pool paint. Nowadays, you can choose from Acrylic or Epoxy. Acrylics are cheaper, and allow you to paint over top of either epoxy or rubber pool paints, and also allow you to paint on a damp surface - but, only have a lifespan of 2-5 years. Epoxy pool paints can last 5-7 years, by contrast.
My advice for a painting a pool for the first time would be to use epoxy pool paint. If you are repainting your pool, if you know the type of paint currently used, (Rubber or Epoxy or Acrylic) use the same type paint, or use an Acrylic pool paint. Rubber based pool paints disappeared for a few years, but now low VOC Synthetic rubber based paints are now available.
Measure your pool surface area: Ordering the correct amount of pool paint is important. Not too much and not too little. We need to add up the floor and wall surfaces to get total area, in square feet. You need to know your longest length and your widest width and the average depth of the pool.
* Multiply Length X Width of pool to calculate the floor area, in square feet.
* Multiply Length X Average Depth X 2 to calculate the long walls area, in square feet.
* Multiply Width X Average Depth X 2 to calculate the short walls area, in square feet.
Add all of these sums together to get total square footage. If your pool is not as rectangular as the picture show, but very free-form in shape, then Multiply your total square footage x 0.9 to take account for the loss in area.
How to "Prep" your pool surface area for painting: This can be the most time consuming part of painting a pool, and the one that should be given the most care. Properly prepping your pool plaster involves cleaning and etching the surface to improve the bond of the pool paint.
How to Apply Pool Paint: This is the fun part.
Time to fill the pool! Hold on, not just yet - most pools need to dry for several days before filling with water. If rainstorms come soon after painting, use a blower immediately after the rainstorm to blow all water to the deep end and then remove with cups/buckets, shop vac or small pump. When you do fill, try to fill without stopping until full, and balance your pool water chemistry as soon as possible.
For more information on pool painting, see our Pool Information Page on Swimming Pool Painting.