Swimming Pool Paint: How To Choose The Right One 

Swimming pool paint. What to look for and look out for when painting your pool and buying the right products.

Swimming Pool Paint

I know that painting a swimming pool is a big project that you want to do right the first time.  I've had my fair share of painting pools.  We also want to choose the right color and type of paint which is the first step to success. It comes in a variety of colors and compared to other kinds of coating, is pretty inexpensive.

However, the most important part of painting a pool is not choosing the right color.  It's the prep work.  Far too often jobs are rushed.  The surface is not properly prepared.  This will lead to many problems down the road, many times within a few weeks.  Here we'll discover the three common pool paint types, what they are, and their advantages and limitations. 

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Swimming Pool Paint

There are three main types:

Epoxy Swimming Pool Paint

Pool epoxy paints are for new construction and pools painted previously with epoxy.  It's long lasting and durable.  It will stand up to UV rays, chemical treatments and will last about 7 - 10 years.  Epoxy can also help smooth out rough surfaces.

Chlorinated Rubber Pool Paint Base

Rubber paint is not as expensive or durable, but is dependable, easy to use, and easy to apply.  It will last for about 3 - 5 years.  One side note about rubber based paints.  Some of them may contain polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which are known to cause neurological, reproductive, as well as cancer and other conditions.  The United States no longer produces PCBs so you'll need to make double sure the point of origin of the paint you're using.  

Acrylic Pool Paint

This paint can be used for swimming pool restoration and swimming pool refinishing.  It's good on any type of surface, easy to apply, and cleans up with water. This type is ideal for commercial applications and fiberglass pool paint that need to be repainted on a regular basis.  It last about 2 - 3 years.

Whether you use a gunite pool paint, concrete pool paint, or fiberglass, it's important to follow manufacturer’s instructions and recommended safety guidelines to make sure you prepare the pool properly.  This is the most important step in how to paint a pool.

Swimming Pool Paint
Swimming Pool Paint

 Without preparation the paint will not bond with the wall or existing surface. If you're unsure what type of paint had previously been used, simply remove a chip and have it tested by your local paint dealer. They can easily determine the type of paint that was used.  A a roller that has a solvent resistant core with a 3/8” nap works best.  Modern pool paints are very strong and will easily chemically bond with the previous layer of paint.  If the surface is not properly prepared the new coat of paint won't last very long.  So remember it's prep work, prep work, and lastly prep work. 

Common Problems With Swimming Pool Paint

Swimming Pool Paint


You can lighten up the surface with a very light acid wash. The acid will remove any dirt that can dull a paint job. After cleaning the pool, rinse well and refill the pool.  A 5:1 ratio of acid and water is a good mixture.


This can result in dull and hazy water. It can also lead to a white powdery residue that easily can rub off. To avoid this, water chemistry and maintenance are the key. Keep your pool total alkalinity between 80 - 120 ppm. If the pool alkalinity is too low the pool paint can rub off. Constant shock treatments will also chalk up the swimming pool paint. Keep your pool chemistry correct. Use liquid chlorine or bleach. 

Bubbles And/Or Blisters

This is caused by improper preparation. For diy pool resurfacing, the paint must be applied to a clean dry surface. If applied too thick, if the surface is too hot, and if the pool is not cleaned properly, the pool paint might blister. The only remedy is to repaint the pool or the blistered spots.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Pool Color Changed 
Last year I contacted you about our pool having a very green tint after it was acid washed by our pool maintenance guy. At this point it is still an aqua …

Milky/Chalky Residue In Pool 
We are going to repaint our pool which is about 25,000 gallon and we know we need to acid wash it before we paint it. We got a few gallon of 14.5% …

Pool Paint Rubs Off? Not rated yet
I am on holidays with friends in Mexico. We love to be in the pool, but the paint rubs off on our skin! The owner of the condo said the pool was not …

Bubbles/Blistering Paint In Swimming Pool Not rated yet
My paint is bubbling /blistering along the walls not on the bottom so far it seems good. I painted the pool last fall the weather was ideal it was sunny, …

Painting A Salt Water / Concrete Pool Not rated yet
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 …

Crumbling Paint From Brand New Concrete Pool Not rated yet
We had quartz and glittery blue colour to finish our new concrete pool. When it is being cleaned there is white powder seen coming from the walls and glitter …