Pool Painting – The Ugly Story

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Swimming Pool Painting

Many people looking at remodeling their swimming pool think about pool painting. To the inexperienced pool owner this might sound like a great idea. Mostly because they do not know what kind of surface that is in their pool and how they can get it back to a nice white finish with pretty blue water. Many homeowners purchase a new home and have never owned a swimming pool before in their entire life. They see an old, dingy looking pool and quite naturally think that the way to brighten their pool up like many other things that they know about previously is to put a fresh coat of paint on it. Although you may look at your swimming pool and think that it is coated in paint it probably is not. This is a common misconception of many new pool owners.

How much does it cost for pool painting?

Back in the good old days pool owners would apply 2 or 3 coats of paint so that their swimming pool would look pretty and cover the gross looking grey concrete that they used back then. Painting a pool was done about every 3 – 5 years on average. Swimming pool paint by the gallon was fairly expensive as far as paint was concerned. This pool paint had to hold up to the rigors of total continuous submersion not to mention chemical treatment time and time again. The cost for a gallon of swimming pool paint now can range from $45 – $100 per gallon. Depending on the size of the pool, type of paint and needing a primer you could be looking at 12 to 20 gallons of paint for an average size swimming pool. The total cost with labor could range from $2750 – $3500. There are multiple trips needed for applying all the coats of primer and paint. Some swimming pool paint you cannot get wet while dry time which makes it exceedingly difficult in some regions. The time and trouble to properly apply swimming pool paint in a pool became more and more costly. This led people to search for other alternatives.

At some point someone had the bright idea to use plaster to cover the entire floor and walls of the swimming pool. This surface was called marcite. It is basically marble dust. As pool plastering came into the fray more and more people switched from pool painting to pool plastering because of the durability, longevity and high reflective white finish. Swimming pool plaster way back when was also mixed with asbestos to give it the extra strength and durability that the customers wanted. Older marcite surfaces would last 15 years or so. There was sometimes trouble with staining here and there but nothing a good acid wash couldn’t cure. Once asbestos was banned the marcite surface didn’t hold up for the money, lasting maybe 5 – 8 years. Some people turned back to painting for the short term because of that. Then came the surfaces for concrete pools that we still have today innerglass, quartz and pebble variations.

Fiberglass Resurfacing

Innerglass is basically fiberglass sheets that are spread out and applied to the entire surface of the pool. It’s usually white in color and some people can mistake a painted pool for an innerglass pool. The warranty boasted 25 years but it usually was non-transferable and only paid for materials. Making worthless for most people.

Quartz Resurfacing

Next came along quartz surfaces. The hardiness of the quartz stones mixed with the portland cement aggregate gave it strength and a nice look. Now pool owners could choose colors other than boring white. The first quartz product that was available to the Central Florida area was Diamond Brite ™. They are what band-aid ™ is to plastic bandages now. Many other manufacturers produce similar quartz products that are as good or better as some may say. You will have to do your own research. Look for a contractor that has been in business a long time. They don’t want to worry about dealing with bad product because they are the ones who will have to come back to fix it. Should you pay for the brand name or not? Average cost for an average size pool to be plastered with quartz is $3500-$5000. Check this out for our specials until the end of 2016.

Pebble Resurfacing

Still and even better surface in my opinion is pebble. These tiny stones are the hardest things that you could put on your pool’s surface for durability and protection. The textured “bumpy” look is what many decorators choose to have a very classy look to the pool. You will of course pay for that classy look because average costs of a pebble pool is $4250-$5500 To a slight few the bumpy texture of the larger stones might feel rough. Well it just so happens that they have mini-pebble and also the ultra smooth Hydrazzo ™ which is basically grinding the pebbles to a flat surface. Yes the name is close to the old terrazzo and it’s quite similar in many respects. The main player when pebble surfaces first came about was Pebbletec ™. Now there are a host of manufacturers who have pebble products.

When getting quotes for pool resurfacing please make sure and check out the contractors licensing, BBB rating and reviews. You always want to do your research on reputable swimming pool renovation companies out there. Here is an example of a customer that was taken advantage of:

To the right is a picture of a painted swimming pool that was improperly prepared for a new plaster surface. The shady contractor didn’t bother to do anything. He just troweled on a new surface over the painted pool.

One thing to understand about painting your swimming pool. Once it is painted you need to either stick with repainting every 3-5 years or when you finally get ready for a different look the contractor will need to scour pretty much all of the pool paint off the floors and walls. That’s because the paint is so slick that the new surface will not hold on to it well and it will all pull off. You must get down to the rough surface down below for proper adhesion. This additional cost can range from $800 to $1500 depending on the size of your pool. So if you think that you do not have enough money right now to resurface your pool properly try adding $800 – $1500 to the cost of the resurface at a later point.

Check out this short video of the same swimming pool with shoddy prep:

Pool Painting Catastrophe

In conclusion, when considering swimming pool painting in Orlando or anywhere else the only time I would say that it would be a good choice is if your pool is already painted and you just need something to get by to brighten up the pool. Other than that call a contractor for a nice durable quality surface that you will be happy to look at for years to come.