Guest Column - October 2004
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Giving Pools a Fresh Look

Aquatic Maintenance

By Pam Keeler


Maintain proper water chemistry

HERE ARE THE RECOMMENDED LEVELS FOR A PAINTED SURFACE:

pH—7.2 to 7.6

Calcium hardness—200 to 400 ppm

Total alkalinity—100 to 150

When water chemistry levels are continually out of balance, the water looks cloudy. If total alkalinity is run less than 80, water can actually "burn" the paint, causing the paint to wear very quickly.

Choosing a paint/paint manufacturer/supplier

Remember, a paint/coating system is not a panacea to cure all ills—paint is not a Band-Aid for a surface that is soon to fail—it will exacerbate the situation.

Choose a manufacturer that specializes in coatings for swimming pools and/or aquatic surfaces. They have paints designed for chlorinated immersed surfaces. Make sure they've been in business longer than any "warranty" they give. Tip: Regarding warranties—check the fine print. Most pool-paint manufacturers will warrant paint only that it is made according to their specifications and have limited warranties beyond that, usually for "good will" product only. Choose a manufacturer with an informative Web site, toll-free help line, helpful application guides and literature, and outside sales representatives for on-site inspections.

Choose a distributor that is responsive to your other paint or pool-equipment needs. Your distributor may also have on-the-job representation. This is why you may pay more for quality pool paint and the advice from an industry professional as opposed to the less expensive paint from the big boxes.

Summary of types of paints/coatings available

Here is a guide to some varieties in coatings:

CHLORINATED RUBBER

  • Will not be available for sale or use in 12 East Coast states after Jan. 1, 2005
  • Not available now in 95 percent of California counties
  • Apply over existing chlorinated rubber systems or bare concrete or plaster
  • Premium chlorinated rubber paints can last up to four years.

EPOXY

  • Coatings of choice for spas, fiberglass slides, koi ponds, aquariums
  • Excellent alternative to replastering
  • VOC compliant
  • Lasts up to eight years

ACRYLIC WATER-BASE

  • Can be used on damp surfaces
  • Can be applied over most types of coatings in sound condition
  • Lasts up to two seasons
  • VOC compliant

Don't forget your concrete decks. Acrylic water-base deck paints can upgrade and renovate your aged, concrete deck.

Pam Keeler is division manager at Ramuc Pool Paint. She can be reached at pam@ramucpoolpaint.com.