Give your hard-working pool some TLC

Summer’s over and your pool might be looking a little worse-for-wear. Nothing to worry about- this just means you’ve gotten your money’s worth over the hot period and it is time for a bit of good ‘ole pool-lovin’ to ensure it will be just as enjoyable next summer! A fresh coat of paint at the end of the season is a great way to spoil your pool and ensure it stays in tip-top condition.

Firstly, you’ll want to pick the right paint for your pool. If you want the paint to last the distance, preferably a decade or so, then you’ll need to carefully select what’s best for your pool. If your pool was previously painted with Epoxy, you’ll want to choose that again. The same goes for rubber-based paints. If you’re not sure which paint was used last time because it was a long time ago or someone else completed it, chip off a couple of small pieces of paint and rub them with various solvents. The ones that start to dissolve under the right solvents will indicate which paint was used.

If your budget allows for us, you can switch from chlorinated rubber to Epoxy paint. While rubber paint is more budget-friendly and offers good chemical resistance against chemicals, acids and alkalis, it’s not as long lasting as Epoxy paint. If you’re unsure, speak to one of our consultants – it could be worth making the extra investment!

Then you’ll need to plan your painting day. You’ll need to drain your pool and let it dry out completely before tackling a paint job and then give it time to dry out completely before refilling it. We recommend taking advantage of one of those surprise hot days that Autumn blesses us with every year to give it the best chance of drying before those cold, rainy days set in.

So check out our online selection and get ready to drain your pool for a day of painting. We deliver straight to your door so that you can get started sooner.

5 Steps to Superior Pool Painting

Step One: Time your pool painting project

If your pool is outdoors, as most are, you’ll need to time your pool painting project to suit the weather. Ideally, you’ll need a minimum of one week without rain and with at least a few hours of sun to ensure your paint job will be a success.

We recommend painting on a day between 24 and 44 degrees Celsius and avoid extremely humid days and days with high winds – you don’t want any debris attaching itself to fresh paint!

Before and after painting, your pool needs to be very dry (unless you’ve chosen acrylic pool paint or epoxy primer), so you’ll need to be prepared in the instance of rain or wind. Have a leaf blower and clean shoes on hand to clean out the pool of any debris or rain water as soon as possible.

We recommend waiting a few days after a storm to paint, as a higher water table can ‘float’ the pool, which may end up dislodging your pool from the ground. To avoid this, open up the hydrostatic relief caps at the bottom of your pool.

Step Two: Prep your pool

You’ll need to prep your pool for paint. The first step is to drain the pool and open the hydrostats. Ideally, you want to drain the water as far away from your pool as possible.

From there, take the time to scrape away any loose paint and repair or fill any cracks or hollow spots with filler.

Then rinse and scrub your pool with Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP) to remove any excess oils in the pool and acid wash the pool’s surface to roughen it up a bit. Rinse both these products off thoroughly.

Then, pump out any remaining water and let your pool dry completely over three to five days and tape up any lights, tiles and fittings with painter’s tape.

Finally, make sure you follow any manufacturer’s directions on your Surface Prep Kit (such as TSP or acid etching products) to make sure you create the prime surface for your paint to bond to.

Step Three: Painting the Pool

Once your pool is completely prepped and dry, you’re ready to paint it. We recommend adding a primer, especially if you’re pool has never been painted, to improve the bond and extend the distance of the more expensive finishing coat. There are several different types of primers, consult our pool primer chart to choose the right one for you.

Before painting, mix your paint using a power drill with a mixing paddle to ensure that it is mixed thoroughly. Epoxy paints have an additive that begins to react when you mix it into the paint – so make sure you finish each batch within a few hours of mixing.

Start your painting in the deep end – you don’t want to end up trapped there at the end! We recommend investing in a telescoping pole to reach all the way up the walls.

  • A low-nap roller (3/8 nap or less) will created the smoothest surfaces and a 5 gallon bucket with a grid is superior to a low, flat paint pan for this task.
  • Buy a wooden extension pole and screw this into the roller frame to help you roll the paint more easily.
  • Overlap your strokes of paint just slightly and use an even pressure for a superior finish.
  • Use a small cut-in brush to handle the 90 degree corners around steps and swim outs.

Before, during and after painting, blow off the pool desk with a leaf blower or garden hose to stop any debris blowing into your pool. We also recommend tying up your dog – as they seem particularly partial to running circles in a drained pool.

If you need to put down multiple coats of paint, follow the directions on the paint can closely and never rush a second coat of paint if the first isn’t ready. It can take up to 8 hours for paint to dry.

Monitor the amount of paint you’re using – you don’t want to run short, nor do you want to have lots leftover!

Painting doesn’t have to be tedious. Take advantage of the fact that you’ve prepped the entire area for a new coat and add a few fun coloured stencils, splatters or even a complete mural across the bottom of the pool. Remember, it’s your pool – so do what you like!

Step Four: After painting the pool

You’ve done it! Paint job complete! Unfortunately, you can’t just jump right in. Pool paint takes up to five days to dry, so you’ll have to be patient. You also need to keep an eye on the weather outside and get down there with a leaf blower and clean shoes to keep moisture and debris away from your masterpiece.

Step Five: Filling the painted pool

Now the paint is completely dry, fill the pool with water and don’t stop until it’s full. Then balance the pH, alkalinity and hardness levels. Add chlorine, start the filter system and jump in!

Pool Painting Myths: Busted

There seem to be a few strange myths surrounding pool painting that we feel absolutely need to be busted. After all, these have little myths have a nasty habit of making us believe in them…

You don’t have to drain your pool before painting

We’re not quite sure where this doozy comes from, but it’s pretty ridiculous sounding, right? Wet paint and water aren’t exactly known pals… Of course you have to drain your pool and let it dry out completely to ensure the best bond between your pool and the paint.

All paints are made equal

Pool paint has been developed to live happily spending its life submerged in water, so it’s important to buy good quality pool paint. Any standard paint off the shelf will begin peeling within a month of application – what a waste of time and money!

Any paint roller will do

We wish it were so simple! How do you feel about a hairy pool? Yeah, us too. We recommend looking for a roller that has a solvent resistant core with a 3/8 nap. Basically the nap if the length of the fibres on the roller and the solvent resistant core will prevent the roller from falling apart. Most hardware stores should stock these.

It’s already painted so I don’t need to prep

Prepping the surface for painting is the most important step in the painting process. The prep coatings are strong and durable because they chemically bond with the previous layer of paint, so adding them ensure longevity of your paint job.

20 things you should know before buying a swimming pool

Buying a swimming pool is a big investment and it’s not a one off cost: you’ll end up spending time and money on maintenance in the years to come. Not that this should put you off, as a pool can bring so much joy and outdoor family time. But just like you wouldn’t rush into a car or home purchase, we recommend taking your time and doing some thorough research before making a decision. To make the process easier, we’ve come up with a list of things we think you should consider before installing a pool:

Create a wish list

You might have an image in mind – a dream pool you’ve always wanted. But it pays to read up on the latest technology and gather some ideas on modern designs. Once you’ve got together some solid ideas, you’ll be in a better position to start researching styles, materials and a blueprint to make your dream a reality.

Create a look book

A lot of people find it difficult to express their ideas verbally, so gather photos from magazines or online and don’t be afraid to draw your own ideas and take them to a swimming pool builder.

Research the three major types of in ground pools

There are three major types of in ground swimming pools: concrete, fibreglass and vinyl. You’ll want to research which one is the best fit for your backyard. Then you’ll need to think about coping, cleaning systems, filtering systems and finishing touches. Doing your own research and understanding the basic jargon will allow you to better communicate with your builder.

Find a credible pool builder

You’re having a giant hole dug in your back yard, so you’ll want to hire someone credible. Talk to friends, local pool builders associations and don’t be afraid to interview someone before hiring them. A good pool builder will be able to show you examples of their work, provide references and be able to answer all your silly questions.

Think about different pool shapes

We’ve all seen the infamous guitar-shaped pool and dreamed up a crazy shape that we’d love… but to be practical, you’re probably going to go with a kidney or rectangular shape. Both are great options but you need to think about your lifestyle. Rectangles lend themselves better to games and swimming laps, while kidney shapes blend better into existing gardens and suit waterfalls and grottos.

Consider the climate you live in

In Australia, we are fortunate to experience longer summers than most other countries, but you might still want to consider an enclosed pool to extend the swimming season. For those who live in cooler or wetter climates, you may benefit from an enclosure or pool heater. Windy areas benefit from a pool cover to keep debris off. Pool covers are also good for hot climates where evaporation is a problem.

Know how you want to use your pool

What’s the main aim of your pool? Is it for the kids, entertainment or an investment into your home? Do you want to make a dramatic architectural statement or something classic and timeless? Perhaps you want a relaxing retreat? Swimming pools for children might include a wading area or a slide, while something more dramatic may include a water feature or more expensive coping.

Set a budget

You probably have a budget in mind, but it’s important to discuss this openly with your builder to understand what you can get for that budget and if it’s worth readjusting in any way – you may even be able to afford adding to your plans. Be clear and firm with your budget though, to ensure your builder sticks to it.

Consider long term costs

Owning a swimming pool is relatively affordable in terms of actual monetary costs, and if you take the steps to add energy-saving features to your pool, it will cost even less… However, there is still the investment of time in ensuring the pool is full and keeping it clean. Be prepared for this before purchase.

Talk to your local council

While your pool builder should be across any local building codes, it’s a good idea that you also speak to your local council so that you’re aware of them too – as they may affect your designs. This is also a good time to enquire about building permits, restrictions, noise policies and property tax concerns.

Purchase insurance

Yup! There had to be a boring bit and this is it. Owning a swimming pool can affect your homeowners insurance policy, so take the time to talk to your insurance company and ask them if anything will change with the installation of a pool.

Don’t skimp on extras

While sticking to your budget is important, don’t settle if there’s something you really want. Retrofitting a pool is incredibly difficult and expensive, so if you really want the slide or the waterfall or the granite, now is the time to spend the money. If this is going to bust your budget, as your pool builder where you can save on costs elsewhere to help balance out the blowout.

Think green

While people might tell you swimming pools aren’t environmentally friendly, we can assure you that the industry has worked hard to ensure that pools are becoming more green by the year. Today’s pool heaters can be run almost exclusively on solar energy and you can filter your pool using totally natural methods that don’t require a scratch of chemicals. Swimming pool covers also reduce the amount of water lost due to evaporation.

Look for energy efficient options

On the topic of green, it pays to be energy efficient. Enclosures, pool covers and pump and lighting timers all pay for themselves in energy cost savings. In cool climates, it can even pay to shut down your pool for the winter, rather than heat it.

Consider water features

Elegant waterfalls, spouting sconces, bubbling fountains – people love water features almost as much as the swimming pools themselves. If you’re considering anything as grand as a waterfall, or even as simple as a few jets, it’s best to do it during the initial construction. Retrofitting can be tricky (and sometimes impossible) and often costs twice as much than if you installed it in the first place.

Restyle your garden

If you want to keep your maintenance time to a minimum, you may want to take a tour of your garden and consider what you’ve got out there. Trees that regularly drop debris or trees with far reaching, shallow root systems can damage your pool, so consider replacing any high maintenance plants with bushy perennials.

Be smart with safety

Obviously, you’re required by law to adhere to any local safety codes, but you might want to think beyond that – especially if you have children. Consider alarms to alert you when someone or something enters the water, child-proof locks on the gates and security alarms on the windows to the backyard to be extra safe.

Budget for finishing touches

Coping, decking and borders can all give your pool that polished finish, but they absolutely cost. Discuss options and prices with your pool builder before committing to a particular option.

Put fun on the list

If pools were just made for swimming laps, they wouldn’t be half as fun – so go out and buy toys, games, floats and patio furniture to spruce up the fun of your pool area. After all, accessorising is half the fun!

Plan a pool party!

Obviously.

Our Top 10 Pool Maintenance Tips

Skim Debris and Clean out Baskets

Skimming the pool’s surface by hand every few days is one of the fastest and easiest ways to keep your pool clean. Floating debris will eventually sink, making it harder to remove. Use a long-handled net called a hand skimmer or leaf skimmer to remove leaves, bugs and other unwanted items.

Skimming significantly increases the efficiency of the pool’s circulation system and lowers the amount of chlorine you’ll need to add to your pool. Cleaning out strainer baskets at least once a week also helps circulation and lowers chlorine demands. Locate strainer baskets attached to the side of aboveground pools and in the pool deck of in ground pools. Simply remove the plastic basket and shake it out; spraying the inside with a hose can help dislodge stubborn objects.

 

Vacuum the Pool and Brush Walls and Tile

A pool should be vacuumed every week to keep water clear and reduce the amount of chemicals you need to add to it. There are a few different kinds of pool vacuums, although the most common is known as a ‘Kreepy Krauly’ – an automated pool vacuum. If you happen to own a manual one, work it back and forth across the surface of the pool as if it’s carpet. It’s good form to slightly overlap each stroke. Check the filter each time you vacuum, and clean it if necessary.

But vacuuming isn’t the only weekly maintenance your pool requires. Brushing the walls and tile helps minimize algae build up and calcium deposits so they don’t fester and become larger problems. The material your pool walls are made of dictates what kind of cleaning tools you should use:

  • For plaster-lined concrete pools, choose a stiff brush
  • Vinyl and fibreglass walls can be cleaned with a softer brush
  • Use a soft brush to prevent scratching tiles and degradation of grout – you can also use a pumice stone, putty knife of a half-half mixture of water and muriatic acid

 

Clean the Pool Filter

There are three kinds of pool filters: cartridge, sand and diatomaceous earth. While there are different maintenance procedures for each type, all require periodic cleaning depending on the type of filter and how often a pool is used.

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions here, as cleaning the filter more often than recommended can actually hinder the filtration process. This is because a clean filter isn’t as efficient as one with a mild amount of dirt in it to help trap other particles, which removes debris from the water. Just don’t let the filter get too dirty!

Keen at eye on the pressure gauge and flow meter to know when it’s time to clean your filter. The ideal time is when the difference reaches 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms) per square inch.

 

Professionally Service the Heater

Pool heaters typically require the least maintenance of all pool equipment. Gas heaters work fine without being serviced for a couple years, and electric ones can last even longer. You can consult the manufacturer’s manual for specific care instructions, however we highly recommend bringing in a professional, who will be able to disassemble the heater safely and quickly. The most common issue is calcium build up inside the tubes of a heater, which can restrict flow, preventing the water from heating adequately.

 

Check and Maintain Water Level

Most water loss occurs in the summer, largely because of evaporation and normal wear and tear, such as swimming, splashing and exiting the pool. So, when you remove debris with your skimmer throughout the week, take a moment check the water level. It’s important to ensure it doesn’t fall below the level of the skimmer, otherwise the pump could be damaged. If the water is low, use a garden hose to bring it up to safe levels.

If you drain your pool to perform maintenance or once the swimming season has passed, be careful to not let the pool sit empty too long. As a general rule, it’s best to leave water in a pool throughout the winter because the weight of the water counteracts with forces from the ground pressing up against the pool from below.

 

Maintain the pH Level

Pool water should be tested regularly to make sure it’s clean and healthy. The pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity that runs from 0 to 14. A reading between 7.2 and 7.8 is ideal; this range is safe for swimmers and helps sanitisers work at top efficiency.

You can monitor your pool’s pH level with a testing kit. There are many kinds of testing kits available; however, most homeowner versions are either reagent kits or test-strips. Reagent kits aren’t difficult to use. You take a sample of pool water, then add liquids or tablets to it. The water changes colour, indicating its chemical balance.

Test-strips work differently. When you submerge them in the pool for a few seconds, certain dyes they contain cause them to change colour. Next, match up the strip to a colour chart to determine the pool’s pH level. Use this information to gauge what kind and how much of the chemicals your pool needs.

 

Supercholorinate Water

Organic contaminants like ammonia or nitrogen build up in a pool over time. Massive amounts of such contaminants can interact with a pool’s chlorine to form chloramines, which give off that potent chlorine smell that many people associate with pools. To get rid of this harsh odour, it’s necessary to superchlorinate — or shock — pool water back to normal chlorine levels.

While it may seem counterintuitive, adding a large amount of chlorine to a pool can make the undesired odour go away. Some pools should be shocked once a week, while others can go a significantly longer time. Follow manufacturers’ instructions before superchlorinating your pool to get the best results.

 

Find and Repair Leaks

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if low water levels are due to evaporation or a leak. You can uncover leaks in your pool by conducting a simple bucket test:

  • Fill a plastic bucket three-quarters full of water
  • On the inside of the bucket, mark the water line
  • Place the bucket in the pool, and then mark the water line on the outside of the container (If the bucket has a handle, remove it to allow for better stability while floating)
  • Let it float for two or three days

If the water inside and outside the bucket has gone down the same amount, your pool is losing water due to evaporation – simply refill with water from your garden hose. However, if the pool water level has gone down more than the water inside the bucket, your pool has a leak. That’s your cue to call a professional to have it patched.

 

Winterize Your Pool

Where you live determines whether or not you should winterize your pool. If your location experiences temperatures that drop below freezing, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that your pool stays healthy.

Residual pool water left in pipes can freeze and cause damage. To prevent this from happening, use an air compressor to blow water out of the pool’s plumbing when swimming season is over. Also, drain as much water as possible from the filter and heater. Any remaining water can be eliminated using nontoxic antifreeze (caution: this is different from antifreeze for vehicles). Disconnect the heater, pump and chemical feeders, the latter of which should be cleaned and stored.

Finally, clean the pool: skim, brush walls, vacuum, empty skimmer baskets, close skimmer line valve, lower water level to approximately 18 inches (45 centimetres) below the coping and supercholorinate. Lastly, cover the pool to keep out debris.

 

Open Your Pool for Swimming Season

If a pool is properly winterized, it can easily be reopened come swimming season. Firstly, don’t remove the pool cover until you’ve cleaned the area around the pool. Sweep or hose away debris to prevent it from getting into the pool, then use a garden hose to fill the pool to its normal water level. Reconnect everything that was disconnected. Water will need to flow through the circulation system, so open the skimmer line valve. Test the water for its pH level, then shock the pool. It’ll take a week or more before the pool gets balanced and becomes swimmable. Leave the pump running 24 hours a day, and reduce the run by only an hour or two each day until the water is balanced.

Quick tricks to keep your pool healthy

Most pools require the same maintenance schedule, and as long as a pool owner completes the regular maintenance required, such as chemical care and cleaning, it’s easy to keep a pool in clear condition all summer long. There are a number of “unusual” additional activities you can employ to save you time, effort, and money in the long run, which can help you maintain an even cleaner pool. Check out these unique pool care tips and see if they inspire any other out of the box ideas…

 

Add baking soda to your shopping list

Stores that sell pool cleaner will usually offer something called an “Alkalinity Increaser,” which is a simple option for maintaining the pH levels in a pool. Purchasing some inexpensive baking soda from the store accomplishes the same goal for much less money. An Internet search will tell you how much baking soda you will need for a pool your size.

 

Toss in a tennis ball

Suntan lotion and sun block often end up in the pool after they’re applied to a swimmer, and these substances can make the pool dirty quickly. Throwing a standard tennis ball into the pool to float for a while will suck up all those extra oils and chemicals that don’t belong in the pool. It’s fine to leave the tennis ball floating in the pool at all times.

 

Toe the tile line

Residue, dirt, and contaminants form over time and stick along the water line and tile area. Cleaning this area on a weekly basis should reduce the rate at which the pool gets cloudy and dirty since the residue on the tile doesn’t get washed into the pool. Weekly cleaning of this area also reduces calcium build up. It’s also a good idea to clean the cement or walkways around the pool area to reduce the transference of dirt and grime into the water.

 

Don’t let the dogs in

Dogs often love to jump in after their owners and play around in the pool, but chlorine isn’t good for canine companions. Not only will the pool irritate Fido’s skin, but the pool will get dirtier and hairier faster. Keeping up with dog hair in the filters may become a full time job in the summer with dogs in the pool. If the family just can’t stand to let the dog watch the fun from the sidelines, the chlorine levels need to be kept below 3.0 PPM for safety.

 

Keep a cool pool

Pools cost energy to run and maintain, and keeping a pool above 82 degrees may offer a homeowner a much higher electricity bill. Instead of keeping the temperature so high, it’s less expensive to keep a solar cover on the water. There are also options for solar-powered pool heaters, which will also save energy.

 

Track water usage with a bucket

Although environmental factors such as humidity and temperature will impact the rate at which the pool loses water, the average water loss shouldn’t be much more than a quarter of an inch per day. Measuring water loss is easiest by placing a weighted bucket on the stairs and marking the water level on the side of the bucket. Big drops in water levels might signal a leak in the pool.

 

Employing these easy and unique pool maintenance tips will allow you to have a cleaner pool each summer that requires less maintenance and time spent pouring chemicals into the water. A clean and clear pool also offers a much more enjoyable swimming experience for the family and will save you money in the long run.