Painting A Salt Water / Concrete Pool

by Melissa
(Pittsburgh, PA)

I am repainting my salt water pool that is concrete. I am wondering if it matters what color I decide to go with? If I choose a dark color paint will the salt water make the color fade faster? Also will the dark color show any imperfections easier?

I have it drained and pressure washed. I have the muriatic acid. Trying to figure what kind of paint was used before. We bought a testing kit that seemed to take 3 coats of old paint off and stopped at a med blue color.

I am assuming it was painted with a rubber based and epoxy? If that's the case what kind of paint should I use now?

Thanks for the question Melissa

I'll start by saying this. Are you considering any pool painting contractors, pool painters, other kinds of pool remodeling, or swimming pool renovations? You also need to take the proper steps for any kind of pool resurfacing options and painting. Better to be safe than sorry.

Now for your questions. I was the pool operator for the Y (salt pool) for about 4 years and we had to repaint the deck each year, but not because the salt water faded the color, it's because 60,000+ swimming walked on it.

The pool didn't have deck drains because it was an older pool. The splash-out salt water just sat on the deck. We probably lost several thousands of gallons of water throughout the year.

My experience has shown that salt water can slightly fade the paint but not enough to be an eye-sore. The kind of paint I used was AquaLuster Premium Acrylic Paint and Ramuc Type EP High Build Epoxy Swimming Pool Paint. Both of these held up very well. I painted certain deck areas red, right up to the ledge. This was to warn the swimmers that they couldn't dive from that part of the pool.

Epoxy is great for new constructed pools or those areas that have already been painted with epoxy
paints. It lasts about 7 - 10 years.

I've also used chlorinated rubber based paints (CR2600 Series). However, this can only be applied over another rubber based paint. Some say that chlorinated rubber is alright to apply over epoxy but I error on the side of caution. Epoxy should not go over chlorinated rubber because epoxy is more rigid.

I do feel that darker color can show imperfections a little more than a lighter, or white paint. This is why dark color cars, such as black, show up dirt more than lighter color cars. A "dark" color is really a subjective term and should be left up to the pool owner.

Many problems stem from the lack of preparation and rushing to finish the job. Not allowing the normal 7 - 10 days to cure. Pool paint needs preparation and time. If not, you're going to get peeling and blistering problems. Be sure to prep the surface properly.

I've used all three kinds of paint and they work well to varying degrees. Rubber based paints in salt water tend to crack and blister a bit more than epoxy and acrylic.

Your questions says the pool was painted with both rubber and epoxy. As was stated above, try to not to use rubber based paint over epoxy or vice versa. I've have the most success with epoxy and acrylic paints when I painted the Y salt pool.

I also used Olympic Pox-O-Fill for filling in cracks and small replastering areas. It is an epoxy based paint so you'll need to use epoxy paint over it.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Pool Paint" category.

Check back to this post for updates or answers.

If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Painting A Concrete Pool

by Trish
(NS, Canada)

We have a 30 x 60 inground pool that we have drained and cleaned as it needs to be painted. We recently switched over to a salt water chlorinator system and need to find out the best type of paint for this pool.

One type we are looking at is a synthetic rubber based paint however we are told it's designed for fresh water pools only and is also be discontinued.

Do you have any suggestions as to what we should be looking for?

Thanks for the question Trish

The YMCA here in Oregon has an 80,000 gallon salt pool. We need to be careful of the kind of paint we use as well.

I found that rubber based paint, although fine for some pools, is not the best choice for salt water pools. When the salt is added to the pool, it tends to eat away, very slowly, the rubber surface. What we use is either an acrylic or epoxy based paint. Each one has their good and bad points.

Epoxy is great for new constructed pools or those areas that have already been painted with epoxy paints. It lasts about 7 - 10 years. If you've stripped the old paint off the best you can, I'd go with an epoxy paint.

Acrylic pool paint is a good "all-around" pool paint, but it only lasts for 2 - 3 years.

Swimming Pool Paint

Go with epoxy and you should be fine.

Hope this helps and good luck with your pool.


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What Type Of Paint Do I Need?


I have an older gunnite pool. It has been painted twice over the years and needs painting again. the past owners left a couple of gallons of the paint they used. It is chlorinated rubber pool paint. We have sealed cracks, acid washed it with muriatic acid, and now are ready to paint. We have been told we now need to TSP it and rinse it before painting.

We have also been told that since the old paint was chlorinated rubber, that we can only use the same kind of paint that was used previously and cannot use acrylic paint.

We get different answers from every pool company.

Can you give us a straight answer? We would be very grateful!!! It's quite a job to do it yourself!!! :)

Thanks for the question

I don't know the different answers you were given but I can give you my personal experience from taking care of pools since 1999.

The first one is very basic. The paint is only as good as the surface it's put on. If the surface is not prepped correctly the best paint in the world will blister, bubble, and peel.

What I've done is a 3 step surface process. First is to patch any spots that need it.

Then do the surface preparation work: TSP (trisodium-phosphate), muriatic acid, then TSP again. The TSP removes any residual oils. The acid will remove a layer of calcium (plaster). Then use the TSP again to wash off any excess acid.

The area must be allow to completely dry before painting.

That's the prep, now for the kind of paint. I've used different kinds of paint and have had the best success with chlorinated rubbers based paints. I've never mixed chlorinated rubber based with acrylic based paints. If the pool was already acrylic that's what I used. From my understanding they're different compounds that could possibly react differently.

I would repaint and spot paint the Y pool each year with rubber based paint. The only issue I had was the slight fading at the edges of the deck. We also had approx. 5000 - 6000 people on the deck each month and lots of salt water splash out that would sit on the deck.

In my opinion it would be the best course to use the same kind of paint that already exists on the pool surface.

Have a great Summer.


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Paint Cure Time

by James Graves
(Redding, Ca.)

I was reading one of the entries concerning bubbles in the paint. In your reply you said that water based or latex paint should cure in 30 days. I wondered though about leaving your pool empty for 30 days. I seem to recall that an empty pool will likely crack in the weather when left empty for a prolonged period of time.

My pool is an in ground plaster pool. I'm planning on repainting my pool again next year. The reason for that is that I had some bubbling on the walls. I feel sure that I followed all the instructions though so far as washing with acid and TSP and then letting it dry before putting paint on. I think though this time I'll spray the pool instead of rolling it. One thing I thought that might have been the problem was that when I painted the pool three years ago I did it in the afternoon. While it wasn't the middle of summer it was April I beleive and it probably did get pretty warm. So I'll start the painting early in the morning and be finished early. Then I'll follow your suggestion of letting it cure for 30 days.

I would like to confirm though that is what you suggest for latex paint.


Jim Graves

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