Stains On Pool Wall

by Noel
(New Mexico)

I recently built a pool. It has a salt water cholrinator and is 14000 gallons. I recently started noticing some grayish staining on walls and floor of the plaster pool.

I contacted the building and he stated "it's metals from the water that have caused it. You should have added metal out to prevent" I said why didn't you tell me to do that. He said "I'm a builder not a technician".

I've gone to a local pool supply store and they recommened a few products and asorbic acid which were of no use. Could you recommend a product or tool that i can use to remove them.

I really don't want to drain and acid wash plaster and refill. I've found a product called Biogaurd metal stain removal system and a Jandy 1148 stain remover. Do you know if any of those products would work or is there something better? Any input would help so much.

Thanks for the question Noel

First I'd like to ask if the builder did any kind of start up for your pool? Normally with newly plastered pools there's a start up process. This can be using acid, traditional, or bicarb.

These rules apply for any start-up technique:

- No swimming during the break in period
- No heater for at least 3 weeks
- Add a startup dose of sequestrant
- Brush the entire pool often. Once a day is recommended for the first 3 weeks.
- Don't shock the pool for the first 30 days
- For salt pools, don't add salt for at least 30 days after the plaster was applied.
- No automatic cleaners for the first three weeks

Did he mention any of these or is there something else or different that you were told? The start up is normally the responsibility of the builder. You may need to do some maintenance work yourself so he should have gone through that with you.

I presume they have some kind of warranty. You don't want to do anything that might void the warranty. If they give you instructions on something other than what I say you need to go with them so not to void the warranty.

Here's a good link for to look over:

Do You Really Need All These Chemicals For A Pool Or Are They Just Trying To Get Your Money?

Here's another one: It's long but worth the read:

High Phosphates Over 1000 & Cloudy Water

Now for your issue. I'd like to have your complete chemical readings:

Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Metals (iron and copper) and names of any algaecides you may have used along with clarifiers, phosphate removers, and/or flocs. It makes troubleshooting much easier and the process of clearing up your pool will go much faster. You can get this done at your local pool store and they should be able to give you accurate readings.

Ascorbic acid is a good treatment when you have metal staining, but this kind of staining needs to be confirmed. We just can't jump into it. If you're not on well water and the fill water is good through your local water company, you may not have metal staining, but something else.

Here's the link for the ascorbic acid treatment:

Brown Algae Won't Come Off Of A Vinyl Liner

What were the "few products" they
recommended? Grayish staining could be the plaster coming through, which is normal for a newly plastered pool during the proper start up, or it could be algae, or metal staining. It's hard to tell without all of the info.

Without these numbers I'm just guessing at what the problem is. Get back to me with the chemical numbers along with the other questions above and I'm sure I can help.


Comment By Noel
Date: August 10, 2012

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I'll definately get you accurate readings within the next few days. I'm a firefighter and stuck at work at the time. But I can answer some of the questions that you've asked.

I do believe there was a start up process on the pool, since the builder said no swimming, heater was not operating for about 3 weeks, brushing was done very often, they added some chemical that drew metals out of the water-turned them into gel-and got vacummed out, and then salt was added about 30-45 days after it had been filled with water.

As for the warranty, I'd have to read up on it, but it's something like 1 year on work performed and 10-15 years on pool itself. I believe that the builder is trying to get out of it by stating that continuing to add the "metal out" chemical was my responsibilty and therefore i caused the problem.

But the truth is that we were never told to continue adding the product. His company hired a person to give us a quick class on cleaning and operating the equipment and how to test. Then this person gave the option to hire her to clean pool once a week, which i opted not to and decided to maintain it myself. For the most part I've done good, just thought this staining was normal, until a neighbor (on his 5th pool) who had pool built with same person came to see if we were having same staining.

The current readings that I have are free avail chlorine-3, total avail chlorine-3, salt-3400, calcium hardness-220, cyanuric acid-60, tatal alkalinity-200, ph-8.0, acid demand-5, they have the following listed but I believe they dont really test for those and just input those numbers copper-0, iron-0, phosphates-100.

The only chemicals I've added is muratic acid to drop ph and alkalinity, and a product from leslie pool called fresh and clear to shock the pool after heavy use. I use these products on a regular basis.

To try and remove the grayish staining from walls and pool floor i've tried some metal out chemical and i believe that just draws metal out of water and turns it into a gel that gets picked up by vacumm and flitered. I've also tried adding some ascorbic acid. Both did not remove any of the stains on the wall. Perhaps it was not as effective because I couldn't put it directly onto the stains. I found a product "Jandy 1148" which allows you to attach it to a pole and place acid directly on stains or wall. Only thing is this is my 1st pool and i dont know which products work and which are just gimmicks.

If there is any other information I can provide to help you please let me know. Again I thank you for taking the time to help me.

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