Feature Article - April 2017
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Essential Aquatic Maintenance

Facilities Need Planned Maintenance, Energy-Efficient Solutions

By Deborah L. Vence

Spending a little extra time each week caring for your pool deck equipment and inspecting for possible wear and tear can yield big dividends. Not only can you extend the life of your pool accessories, it will also help ensure a safe, fun pool season year after year.

When it comes to repainting and resurfacing pools, facility operators need to keep in mind some important factors, according to Rebecca Spencer, marketing manager for a pool paint manufacturer in Rockaway, N.J.

She recommended the following:

  • Evaluate and consider conditions that may lead to deterioration, such as weather, location, water chemistry, sun tan lotions and oils.
  • Was the pool surface properly prepared previously? Was the appropriate product used to repaint the pool?
  • Was sufficient time allowed for curing before filling the pool with water?
  • What type of pool is it (concrete, gunite, steel, fiberglass)?
  • Is the pool condition sound? Is it cracked? Is there peeling and chipping?
  • It is not difficult to repaint a pool. It is less costly and less time to fix minor cracks and divots than to replaster.
  • Proper surface preparation is paramount to achieving a successful paint finish.

As for how long aquatic facilities can make the paint last, Spencer made the following suggestions:

  • A longer-lasting finish is achieved by using an epoxy. The service life can be up to eight years. Acrylics are best when short downtimes and annual painting must be done, as is often the case in municipal pools.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for preparation and painting.
  • Always select a product that is compatible with the type of coating previously used to paint the pool. For example: use an epoxy over an epoxy; chlorinated rubber over chlorinated rubber. An acrylic can typically be used over rubber or epoxy. However, it will have to be repainted in about two years.
  • Allow plenty of time to dry and cure before filling. If the pool is filled too soon after the final coat is applied, chalking and blistering may occur. Good ventilation is important for an indoor pool to dry completely.
  • Maintain appropriate water chemistry. Poor chemistry negatively affects the water and deteriorates the painted surface.

Spending a little extra time each week caring for your pool deck equipment and inspecting for possible wear and tear can yield big dividends.

Additional information from Spencer's company suggested that with painting being one of the best ways to protect and beautify your pool, you should "Always start your job by purchasing premium tools. Not only will high quality rollers, brushes and products create a better result, they'll make your job easier."

Also mentioned were the three types of coatings that are suitable for aquatic surfaces:

  • Acrylic Water-Base can be applied over most types of coatings that are in sound condition, and can be used on damp surfaces. This is a cost-efficient approach and when done correctly, may last up to two seasons.
  • Synthetic Rubber can be applied over existing chlorinated or synthetic rubber systems, bare concrete or plaster. When properly applied, the finish can last up to three years.
  • Epoxy creates a tough, durable finish with unsurpassed stain, chemical and abrasion resistance. If the pool is currently painted with epoxy paint, you must continue to use epoxy. Epoxy can be an excellent alternative to re-plastering; two coats of a high build epoxy will achieve a hard, abrasion-resistant surface that costs less than resurfacing. With proper preparation, the epoxy finish can last up to eight years.

Not only that, surface preparation is extremely important. Whatever coating you use will adhere best to a solid and clean surface. Inspect the surface condition of your empty pool. Repair minor cracks or chips, and sand down all peeling or flaking areas. Follow this by power washing the entire surface to remove loose paint and other debris. Let it dry, and then sweep away loose impediments.

Moreover, it's important to ensure that your pool surface is completely clean and free of loose paint, dirt, oils or solutions before applying a new coating system.

Marc Sanders, marketing manager at an Ellensburg, Wash.-based company that specializes in commercial pool equipment, said that "For many facilities, on-site chlorine production is the answer. ROI on the units is pretty incredible and units can begin to pay for themselves in a matter of months. Storing chlorine can be problematic, and on-site production alleviates that issue completely."