There are a number of factors to bear in mind before you ever start shopping for paints and primers. First, preparing the surface of the pool is crucial to ensure adhesion of the new coating. Please thoroughly read this reference about washing and acid etching to get a sense of what is involved up front. This will also make the painting process much less tedious and save you time and money. Get it right the first time!
PAINT TYPE BASICS
The chart at the bottom of this page helps spell out the available coating options for each type of pool surface (concrete, plaster, etc.). Please refer to it to see what's most relevant for you.
While the chart lists a number of types of coatings, it doesn't compare them to one another. Here's a quick look at the most common types of pool paints:
Acrylics: Water-based acrylics are often the paint of choice when time is an issue (such as in commercial applications), since they require no primer, apply very smoothly to bare concrete or plaster and dry quickly. They can also be used to renovate a pool originally treated with rubber-based paint. The downside is that they are less durable than the other major types, generally lasting only two seasons of residential use.
Epoxies: This type has increased in popularity in recent years due largely to its durability (up to eight years of home use) and versatility - as the chart above shows, epoxies can be used on every major type of pool surface. However, they're the most complicated to apply, requiring primer and often extensive preparation of the surface before that.
Rubber-based: These are typically less expensive than the other types and are popular for repainting pools because many older pools were treated with synthetic rubber or chlorinated rubber paints. They also require no coat of primer. However, durability is a problem, particularly in warm areas where direct sunlight is plentiful.
If you're looking to redo a previous paint job on your pool, it's very important to know what type of coating was used initially. If you're not certain, Olympic recommends you send a 1-inch square chip to them for a free analysis:
Kelley Technical Coatings P.O. Box 3726 1445 S. 15th St. Louisville, KY 40210-3726
Epoxies and rubber-based paints are very popular for use in pools, so if you're renovating a pool coated with one of these and you're interested in using Olympic products for the job be sure to read this bulletin written by their coating specialists. It provides invaluable information to avoid common mistakes, save time and be much more prepared long before your products ever arrive.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
Finally, once you're comfortable with the full process of coating your pool, you obviously need to know how much paint and primer will be necessary. To determine this you need to know the measurements of your pool (length x width in feet) and how many coats you expect to apply.
Here's a general formula for calculating the square footage of coating you require:
Length x Width x 1.6 x number of coats
For instance, if you have a 20' x 12' pool with a plaster surface and you decide that, based on the options listed in the table below, you want to use chlorinated rubber paint (which needs two coats), the calculation would be this:
20 x 12 x 1.6 x 2 = 768 square feet required
And here is a guide to how many square feet each Olympic brand covers:
Zeron: 125. Paralon 2: 250 Gunzite primer: 100
In this example you would need just over three cans of Paralon 2 (768/250), so obviously four should be plenty for your purposes (Paralon 2 requires no primer).
DETERMINING WHICH COATING SYSTEM IS RIGHT FOR YOU
It's important to realize that different types of pool surfaces have different coating needs. Here's a guide to your Olympic paint and primer brand options based on the surface type of your pool:
Should I Paint or Plaster My Pool?Preparing for swim season but unsure what to do about your pool surface? Painting it might be the best answer. Read up on pool paint as an alternative to plastering to see if it makes sense for you and your pool.
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