How to Pick Paint for Your Pool in 3 Easy Steps
This post is the first in a three-part series about repainting your pool with the Olympic Pool Paint systems offered at Sunplay.com. Because it’s such a long, involved process, I figured breaking it down into bite sized portions would make it less intimidating. Yes, this is something you can do yourself! To start, let’s help you figure out how to pick paint for your pool.
Step 1: Determine Your Coating Type
If you have a previously coated pool, you’ll need to establish what kind of finish it had previously. If you pick a completely different paint/finish, you won’t be guaranteed the best possible adhesion between the old surface and new paint.
Your surface is probably one of a few types if it’s already coated: epoxy, water-based acrylic, synthetic rubber-base, or chlorinated rubber coating. Some of those are easy to determine, but you may need to figure out if is a water-based acrylic surface or a synthetic rubber-base coating so you can pick the proper paint to cover over the existing paint.
If your pool isn’t coated, it’s likely concrete, bare plaster/marcite/gunite, fiberglass, or a steel/aluminum. We’ll address those a little later.
Step 2: Test a Paint Chip if Uncertain
If you’re not positive which kind of pool coating you have, take a 1” by 1” sample chip and test it to see if you can figure it out. There are a few at-home experiments you can try to give you a hint.
Immerse a small chip in denatured alcohol (available at most home improvement stores). If it dissolves, it’s a water-based acrylic coating.
If it doesn’t dissolve, immerse it into a blend of 75% mineral spirits and 35% of Olypmic’s No. 1108 solvent or xylol/xylene (also typically available at home improvement stores). Wait 30 seconds and rub the chip between your fingers. If the chip starts to break down and dissolve, it’s a synthetic rubber-base coating.
If the chip still isn’t dissolving, immerse it in 100% of the Olympic No. 1108 solvent or xylol/xylene. If it dissolves at this point, it’s a chlorinated rubber coating. If it DOES NOT DISSOLVE, it’s an epoxy.
If you still have trouble figuring out what kind of pool coating you have, you can send a 1” by 1” chip into Kelly Technical Coatings for analysis.
Step 3: Choose Your Coating
Use the same type finish when redoing your pool. Remember: a synthetic rubber base coating can be applied over a chlorinated rubber coating but a chlorinated rubber coating CANNOT be applied over a synthetic rubber coating. You do have the option of converting an old rubber-base to epoxy by applying Olympic’s Fusion Plus conversion coating. Here’s a type-by-type guide for reference.
There are four different kinds of Olympic pool paint carried at Sunplay: Olympic Zeron Epoxy Pool Paint, Olympic Poxolon 2 Epoxy Pool Paint, Olympic Paralon 2 Pool Paint, and Olympic Optilon Pool Paint. We’ll help you figure out which to use (although you're on you're own when picking a color, but there are lots of options)
- Concrete: You can pick any of the available pool coatings from acrylic enamel (lasts 2-3 years) to the synthetic rubber or chlorinated rubber options (2-3 years) but the epoxy paints offer the longest life (5-8 years).
- Bare plaster/marcite: Any of the systems would work well. If the surface is rough, prime with Gunzite. If it’s smooth, prime with Poxoprime II before applying either of the epoxy paints (Zeron or Poxolon 2).
- Gunite: Use an epoxy system—Zeron paint.
- Aluminum/fiberglass/steel: Best to use an epoxy system as well—either Zeron or Poxolon 2 will work well.
- Epoxy: Zeron or Poxolon 2 will work on either a smooth concrete or a plaster surface.
- Chlorinated Rubber: Paralon 2 paint system.
- Synthetic Rubber: Optilon pool paint.
Now that you’ve established what kind of paint you need, it’s time for our next post—preparing your pool surface for painting!
Be sure to also check out How to Paint Your Pool.