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Pool Paint Buyers Guide

If you own a pool, then you would want it to look charming and clean. After all, you're going to dive in the waters to freshen up. Pools without paint appear bland and unattractive.

Fresh strokes of color can renovate your pool and breathe new life into it. Whether you're looking to make your pool attractive or maintain it, pool paints can be a wonderful addition!

Choosing the paint for your pool is a daunting task that requires a significant amount of consideration. It is not your everyday paint that you apply to houses, walls, and other areas.

The pool paints are more resilient with the capability to withstand sunlight, chemical exposure, and much more!

To help you out with the selection, we are bringing you a coherent guide. This one's hand-tailored with in-depth details to help you become an expert. For DIY (Do It Yourself) enthusiasts out there, this can prove to be a valuable asset, so read ahead!

What are pool paints?

Pool paints are also known as an underwater coating. Like conventional paints, they come in different colors and provide a 'ceramic-like' finish to the surface in general.

They are used for painting pools and fountains, or painting murals and designs, especially underwater. In short, they bring you a method to use colorful paint underwater that would last long.

Advantages of using pool paints

For pool resurfacing, pool paints come with a plethora of benefits. Some debates put pool paints and plaster against each other for comparison.

However, you shouldn't forget that pool paints can be used on the plaster. So there isn't any comparison, pool paints are an excellent asset for the following reasons:

Long-lasting appeal

If you get a high-end epoxy paint, then it can last anywhere between seven to ten years with proper maintenance. Pool paint remains flawless, and cleaning it is easy due to its smooth surface, unlike conventional paint.

Therefore, it makes your swimming pool look great for years to come. Chemical treatment like chlorine, pH balance of the water, and consistent use of cleaning agents may take a toll on your pool's surface.

However, you don't have to worry about that with a layer of pool paint. It can withstand chemical elements and natural ones like ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Durable layer

By adding pool paint, you will provide a durable layer of protection for your pool. Whether you use plaster, fiberglass, or concrete, pool paint has proven to be quite resilient.

It will protect your pool from excessive damage, cracks, wear, and tear, among other factors. If your pool sustains damage, it would most likely be on the paint's layer. Hence, you can conveniently apply a new layer of paint to fill up the damage.

Easy to use

Prep work for pool paint is similar to any other paint. You can dry out your pool within a day or three at best and apply the new layer of paint. Often, you don't have to scrape off the previous layer of paint if it is a similar type.

All you need to do is apply new paint over the previous layer, and your pool will be as good as new. If you want to maintain your pool after it has sustained damage, you can pull out your barrel of paint to refurbish your pool immediately.

It is highly maintenance-friendly, and if your pool starts to wear out, you can apply it anytime.

Highly compatible

You can use pool paints on almost any surface without any problem. Whether you have fiberglass, plaster, new concrete, or old, its compatibility makes it a great choice. You can provide a seamless and smooth finish to virtually any pool type with pool paints.

Economical choice

Let's compare pool paints to plaster for once. Even the most inexpensive paint for a large pool would cost around $1,000 at best. However, plaster, tiles, or any other alternative would require anywhere around $5,000.

Similarly, you can paint the pool by yourself or hire a single other professional. For any other surfacing option, you'd have to call a team of professionals. It is time-consuming as they will first prep your pool, rollout plans, and then start working.

Indeed, a plaster may potentially last around twice more than pool paint. But given the cost and the range of inconvenience it brings, pool paint would be an economical choice at any time of the day.

Freedom of creativity

One of the best things that pool paints offer is the freedom to express your creativity. You can use multiple colors to redefine your pool in a funky style. It is easy to paint in the pool by using pool paints.

Therefore, you can create drawings, designs, or logos for almost anything. It is relatively easy to use different colors and layers for your pool. If used correctly, pool paints are the only embellishment you'd need to make your pool attractive.

Everything you need to consider before buying pool paint

Countless products in the market would claim to be the best. Every company wants you to think that they are the top on the list. Their marketing scheme shouldn't matter to you. What matters is the paint that meets your needs.

There are many things you'd have to consider before you purchase pool paints. After all, it has to withstand harsh chemicals, UV exposure, and regular wear and tear.

Do you need a primer?

The first thing to consider is whether you need a primer or not. If your paint requires you to use a primer, it's certainly not the pool paint you're looking for. However, you might still have to use primer for other surfaces in the pool. Metal, wooden, and other similar platforms and material would indeed require you to use a primer.

Some pool paints work on these surfaces fine without requiring primer, so you can check to see if yours come with the quality. It is a good idea to remove additional equipment like filters, pumps, ladder, jump, and drain covers before you start painting.

Type of finish

The next consideration should be the type of finish you're looking for. Epoxy paints come with the best smooth finish, while acrylics have an egg-shell type finish. Rubber paints tend to offer a glossy appeal.

Beyond these finishes, you have to consider the overall appeal you want for the pool. The available colors would play an important role. Don't check out the magazines or photo showcase of the result. You should try them out to see the type of finish they offer.

Some paints tend to turn into a different tone of the color (usually brighter) than the one you wanted. Hence, it is a good idea to test them before you purchase them.

Contents in the paint

Many pool paints have several different contents that can either make them user-friendly or harmful to the skin. For instance, rubber paint was once popular due to its chlorine content, making it easier to maintain the pool.

In recent years, it declined in popularity because excessive chlorine was proven to be harmful to the skin. Some pool paints contain biocides to prevent the growth of molds and other microorganisms. You may even find a similar protective coating in different paints.

Pay strong attention to the paint contents as there may be irritants or allergens not suitable for everyone. Consider the use of your pool. If it is private, then you may neglect some of the contents.

If it's a public pool, you should go for baseline pool paints instead of the ones that come with different contents.

Extra elemental resilience

Apart from UV resistance, some paints have an extra resistance to humidity, mildew, and other factors. Air circulation may also pose certain challenges, especially when you drain your pool for cleaning.

The right choice for pool paint would be the one that can withstand these changes. Some pool paints don't work well with extreme temperatures and require particular maintenance. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold or hot, it becomes paramount for you to consider this aspect.

Similarly, if you use pool heaters or heat pumps, you should consider your paint's resilience against extreme heat. If you use pool cleaners, then it should be durable enough to withstand scrubbing.

Water compatibility

Now here's the thing, pool paints are resilient and have a specific durability index. But with several companies out there, no two paints of similar categories are the same. Water compatibility makes a huge difference. What does it mean?

The pH level and contents of your water and the impact it will have on your paint. Are you planning on using saltwater for your pool, or will it be the tap water that is usually softer? You won't need to invest extensively in heavy-duty paints if you use tap water that comes filtered or purified.

Correlatively, if you plan to use salt water or water with higher pH contents, then the paint needs to be equally robust.

Drying time

Each pool paint has a certain prep time, and then there's the drying time after application. Some paints take a day or two, maybe three at best. However, others may take up to 10 days.

Drying time impacts the exposure of paint to air conditions, without water. Dust and debris may potentially collect on the paint while it is drying. Thus, it will compromise the paint's performance and integrity.

Therefore, you would have to take different steps to ensure that your paint remains debris-free. This is why the drying time plays a vital role in determining the best pool paints for you to use.

Types of pool paint

Pool paints tend to be more costly than standard paints due to their quality. It has to withstand the harmful rays (UV) of the sun and the chemical composition in the water, along with its pH balance. It is paramount for you to use paint that is compatible with your pool.

There are three types of pool paint available in the market:

Epoxy pool paint

This is the most durable option that you can get for pool paint. It reduces the requirement for pool maintenance due to its thick layer. Therefore, it reinforces your pool's durability.

Additionally, it will refill slight cracks and scratches to make the surface good as new. It is an excellent choice for fiberglass type pools and tends to offer exceptional smoothness.

Epoxy pool paints last around 5-10 years with proper maintenance of the pool.

Water-based Acrylic

Acrylic pool paints work well on pool surfaces that were painted before. It doesn't matter what type of paint was used before; Acrylic will work efficiency.

If you have a pool under regular use, then Acrylic is a great way to maintain it quickly. You can apply it on a slightly wet surface without any difficulty. It will dry down within three days and prove to be a quick fix for your pool.

However, even with maintenance, their life is significantly shorter, around 3 to 4 years.

Rubber pool paint

Rubber pool paints have received quite a heat for being injurious to health. Many will tell you that this type of paint isn't the best option as it carries health hazards. For instance, it has volatile substances with PCB that prove to be harmful to the skin.

However, it is a cost-effective method with better durability than Acrylic, has a standard life of around five years, and high damage resistance. Modern rubber pool paints come with fewer VOC contents and the absence of chlorine, among other harmful agents.

It is a great choice for gunite, concrete, and plaster pools.

Pool paints according to the material of the pool

Epoxy works well with all types of surface, plaster, concrete, fiberglass, or anything else. Water and rubber pool paints are not suitable for fiberglass, but you can use them on any other surface.

Correlatively, you'd have to consider the paint that was previously applied to the pool, if any. You can use Acrylic on any paint. However, rubber and epoxy pool paints will exclusively work with their category.

You can't cross them with any other paint style. Epoxy and rubber pool paints won't work over an acrylic layer either.

Identify pre-existing pool paint.

If you don't remember the type of paint you previously used in the pool, it's no problem. There is a simple method to determine what kind of pool paint you have used previously.

  • Take a chip off the paint from the pool and put it in denatured alcohol. If it dissolves, then it is acrylic paint. However, if it doesn't dissolve, you can get to the next step.
  • Apply xylol to the surface of the paint. If it softens and turns stingy, then it is chlorinated rubber paint. If it softens and dissolves, it might be synthetic rubber paint.
  • Epoxy pool paints would not show any effect from either of the tests. This is a surefire way to know that you have used an epoxy pool paint previously.

Determine the quantity you need

Of course, you wouldn't want to run short on the supply of pool paints in the middle of the job. Different types of pool paints have different densities and cover a certain amount. For instance, rubber type and acrylic cover around 160 square feet of surface per gallon.

Epoxy is an expensive choice in terms of quantity, as well. It covers around 100 square feet per gallon. Overall, for a 1,000 sqft, you will need approximately six and a half-gallon of rubber or acrylic paint, or 10 gallons of epoxy paint.

This is where you can notice a significant difference in quantity, which correlates to the paint's overall cost.

Some tips for using pool paints

There are some common problems you might face when using pool paints. If you decided to do it yourself, and don't have prior experience, keep these tips in mind.

If your paint is chalky

This is related to the content of your water. Either the chemical content or pH balance of your water is too intense for your paint. A good idea would be to test the water quality to maintain it better.

The damage is irreversible, and you'd have to re-apply the paint.

If your paint is too slippery

The waterproof quality of pool paints may make them too slippery for a specific surface. Epoxy paint tends to be the most slippery of all. You might have to utilize a texture method to rectify the problem.

There are anti-slip coating and sprays available for you to use. Make sure to check if the layer has worn out or not.

If you find blisters or bubbles

The most common reason for this is that your pool wasn't dried out correctly, or it was too dry for use. You have to avoid extreme heat or moist ambiance if you want to prevent blisters and bubbles.

There shouldn't be any dust or debris. Make sure that you took care of these things.

FAQs: Best Pool Paint

Q: Do you have to drain your pool before painting it?

A: Yes, you will have to drain and dry your pool before you begin painting it. It will take anywhere around three days to prep your pool as it will take time to dry out. Rubber paint can be used on a wet surface, but it is not wise to do so. You should avoid using rubber paint in general. Go for other alternatives.

Q: How do I prep my pool for paint?

A: To prep, your pool, follow these simple steps:

  • Drain your pool, remove deep end drain covers. Make sure that the hydrostatic relief plug is removed.
  • After this, you will have to perform TSP wash, then an acid wash, and finally, TSP wash again.
  • Leave the pool to dry for around three days. If it is an indoor pool, you might have to wait around five days.
  • Tape off or remove parts that you don't want to paint. For example, ladder and jumping plank.
  • Alternatively, you may apply primer on metal, timber, and other similar materials if you plan to paint them.
  • Your pool is prepared for the paint job.

Q: Why are TSP and acid wash necessary to prep the pool?

A: First, TSP wash removes grease, oil, and other similar coatings from the pool to clear out the way for the acid. The acid will deeply scrub and remove the paint and other elements, which will roughen out the surface. The last TSP wash is to remove the acidic components from your pool.

Q: Would sandblast work to prep the pool?

A: Yes, sandblasting is a good option but usually suitable if you plan to replaster your pool. It should thoroughly remove the paint, so you might have to use powerful sandblasting techniques for it.

Q: Is pool paint toxic for other organisms?

A: No, pool paint is safe for any living organism, including fishes. Pool paints have a vital requirement to be non-toxic as the pool is widely used by people of different age groups, including children.

Pool paint is safe for animals and pets, as well. There is no need to worry. For better safety, eliminate the use of rubber paint as it has VOC and other harmful chemicals. Other pool paints are better.


The use of pool paints can dramatically impact the appeal of your pool. It can elevate the surrounding area by highlighting it or dampen it. Therefore, it is pivotal for you to consider your pool's surroundings before you choose the color.

Similarly, it can either be a very user-friendly approach to maintain the pool or a hectic task. It breaks down to the type of pool paint you plan on using. If you follow the prep work thoroughly and use premium-grade paint, there isn't anything to worry about.

Comparatively to other options, it is a cost-effective method. So, keep your pool fresh and zest it up with the perfect color theme for a year-round swimming experience! / - © Copyright 2020