Preparing Your Swimming Pool For Painting

How To Prepare your Swimming Pool for pre-season Painting.

This information is intended to provide guidance on Spring and Summer maintenance and preparation for the refurbishment of your indoor, outdoor or covered pool. You should note that up to three months may be required for repairs and re-painting before your pool can be safely used again, so do consider at an early stage of the year when you think you might want to have the pool available for use.

Consider what issues you may have found or did not deal with earlier in the year or what you may have put off the last time it was refurbished.

NB. The use of Shock Treatments in pool water will attack and shorten the lifespan of ALL pool coatings; their use should be avoided.


This is a short guide to the surface preparation of your swimming pool before the application of your pool coating. Remember, the more time spent on surface preparation, the better the result and the fewer problems you will have. Your paint finish will only be as good as the surface you are applying it to. Surface preparation generally takes five times longer than applying the paint, so you will need to plan well in advance. If your pool is outside and not housed, then a good time is early to mid-Spring. It is worth considering how many times the pool has been painted before, whether the surface is suitable to be painted again or it needs to be fully stripped back?

Remember to order the correct paint for your pool, Acid Wash Cleaner, brushes, rollers, sand paper and Two Pack Repair Mortar plus anything else you feel you will need.

Other points to consider:
Do any of the tiles around the top of pool need to be repaired?

Are there cracks in the render that need making good?

Do light fittings and skimmers need replacing?

Do the coping stones need attention?

1 Emptying the Pool:
The first thing to make certain of is that the water table is below the bottom of your pool. If you live in an area where it can be high, you do not want a floating pool with the possibility of it cracking. If you do have one, make sure the hydrostatic valve is working or if the valve is very old, do consider replacing it at the earliest possible time. This is important as the pool could be empty for a few weeks. If your pool does not have a hydrostatic value and the water table is still high, do not empty the pool - you must wait until the water table falls.

2 First clean:

A jet-wash is the best method for initial cleaning. It may be worth considering hiring an industrial version, as most domestic/household jet-washers are only capable of 110psi pressure which may not be sufficient to remove stubborn surface contamination. Use a mild inline detergent to remove surface scum, algae and dirt residue plus anything else sitting on the surface. This will give you a good overall view of the surface condition.

The next stage is very important and should be well planned and not rushed. Please read both the Technical Data and Material Data Sheets.

3 Second clean:
Using a garden spray, apply Acid Wash Cleaner to a lightly damped surface, working on about 5-10 square meters at a time. Depending on the surface contamination, this may be used as supplied or in a diluted state. Once applied, work well in to the surface with a stiff broom and allow the acid to work on the contaminated surface for about 10-15 minutes. A second application may be necessary.

Special attention should be paid to the water line and the top 12 inches of the pool sides, as this is where a lot of oily residue collects and is one of the main causes of blistering and other paint issues. Rinse well with plenty of fresh water then move on to the next section until the whole pool is complete. Once the whole pool is clean, give one final rinse down.

4 Surface Repairs and second stage surface preparation:
Jobs like tiling and crack repairs should only be taken on by yourself if you feel confident. Otherwise find a tried and trusted or recommended tradesman. Repairs in walls and floors are generally easy to fix if they are not extensive. You will normally need to cut them out in the shape of a “V” using either a grinder or hammer and chisel. Once you have done this the repair can be made with a waterproof sand and cement mix providing you have a window of approximately 4-6 weeks prior to re-painting the pool with A148 Chlorinated Rubber Paint. If you don’t have this period available to you, then a Two-Part Epoxy Cement-based Filler will work, and which can be paintable in 24-48 hours using A148 Chlorinated Rubber Paint.

If you are considering using WB148 Acrylic Water Based Paint on a sand and cement based repair, you will require a minimum of 8-10 weeks after the repair before the paint can be applied. If you have bad cracking and render issues, it may be a sign that the surface has become unstable and may need to be completely re-rendered.

When the pool surface is clean, all loose and flaking paint should be scraped back. This should now be more noticeable. Make sure you take time to get every loose edge back to a firm point. This should then be followed with a good sanding to all surfaces using a P80 or P120 Abrasive Paper. Once you are sure that the surface is suitably sanded, wash down with some fresh clean water and allow to fully dry. You must leave the pool to fully dry which can take up to 3-5 days depending on the weather and the surface.

Tape off the tile band and fittings with masking tape to prevent getting any paint on the threads, tiles or fittings. Before painting, sweep the pool out and sweep or blow any leaves or dirt from the pool surround. It is prudent to check the weather forecast for potential rain or high winds (you will need stable, dry conditions of 10C minimum for the application and drying of paint). If there is a chance of rain, you should wait. When you are confident that the weather will remain clement, open the pool paint and mix it well. You may need to use an electric drill with a paddle mixer. Mix for about 3-5 minutes. Apply paint with a short-pile, solvent resistant roller. Start in the deep end of the swimming pool, working your way to the shallow end. Use an extension pole on your roller for the deep end walls.

You should prime with a thinned first coat of your specified paint on to bare, newly repaired areas allowing them to fully dry. Then apply two even coats of either A148 Chlorinated Rubber Paint or WB148 Acrylic Water Based Paint. These should be applied neither too heavily nor too thinly - good even coats are required. It is also very important to allow the paint to fully cure which will normally take up to 7 days depending on climatic conditions. This will allow the paint to fully dry out below the surface (of the paint), allowing any water or solvent that gets entrapped to migrate out of the surface. This is to help prevent the coating from blistering or softening.

The last step is very important. You MUST wait 7 days before filling the swimming pool so your new paint can cure completely (5 days with Acrylic paint). If there is rain during that time, remove any standing water after the rain has stopped. Use a sponge and leaf blower to dry the pool. If the rain lasts more than an hour or two, add a day to the cure time. After the cure time, fill the pool without stopping until the pool is full. When the pool is full, restart the swimming pool filter system remembering not to use shock treatments and adjust the total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels to a minimum of 150 PPM. Resume your normal chemical maintenance programme. This will provide the greatest longevity for the paint coating.

Please study the Data Sheets provided or download them from our web-site before starting the application of the paint finish. It should be noted that the shock treatment should not be used on pools that have been painted as this can and will cause bleaching and caulking along with the possibility of blistering of the surface.

NB. The use of Shock Treatments in pool water will attack and shorten the lifespan of ALL pool coatings; their use should be avoided.

If you have any questions please call 01202 295570 or email. Do not leave a newly painted pool unfilled for over 2 weeks.

You can download the content of this page as a PDF here.

"Which paint do I use for my swimming pool?" For all NEW pools we recommend that you contact our Technical Team who will be able to guide you on surface drying times: 01202 295570 or mail: Email Us Here.