So first and foremost is that your pool must be clean and dry as with coating any surface with any type of coating. Second you must use the right coating. By that we mean it should be top quality to start with but it must also be the right type. For bare concrete, gunite, fiberglass you should use a two part epoxy based paint. They have the strongest adhesion and last the longest. If your pool was previously coated you need to know what type of coating was used. There are three types of pool paints, two part epoxy paints mentioned above, 1 part acrylic based paints and chlorinated rubber paints. It's important to know which you have because certain paints are not compatible with other paints.
DO NOT apply a two part epoxy pool paint over a chlorinated rubber paint. You must use another chlorinated rubber paint or upgrade to a less toxic longer lasting 1 part acrylic based paint.
DO NOT apply an acrylic based paint over a two part Epoxy Paint. They are not compatible.
To test if you have a chlorinated rubber coating soak a rag in acetone and rub it on a spot in your pool for 30-40 seconds if it becomes sticky/tacky it means its a chlorinated rubber.
If not a chlorinated rubber paint and you're not sure if a one part or two part paint was used, use a two part epoxy paint.
Two part epoxy based paints are the best pool paint you can use because of their versatility and the fact they're thicker and more durable.
You must prep your pool surface properly no matter which type or brand of paint you're using. Power washing the surface is strongly recommended to remove surface contaminants. A quick rough sanding with a block & pole sander similar to what the sheetrock guys use with 80 grit paper will give the existing painted surface a nice profile for the new coating to stick to. Then do a muriatic acid wash with a 1:1 ratio of water to acid. This is where a hand pump sprayer and watering can come in handy. Be sure to wear eye protection and to wear rubber soled shoes or boots when working with acids. Scrub the acid in with a wide stiff bristles pool brush or shop broom. Let the acid do its thing for 3-4 minutes and then rinse with TSP to neutralize the acid and bring the surface back to proper PH level. Do not try to wash the whole pool at once, better to do in sections, you don't want the acid drying on the surface.
Unpainted concrete doesn't need to be sanded but should be acid washed twice to ensure removal of all curing residues.
You must let the pool dry 100% after acid washing! Once dry tape off any areas that you will not be painting.Use a good quality brush for cut in areas, don't cheap out on the brush, a good 2 part epoxy will pull the hairs right out of low quality brushes. The same goes for the rollers you use, buy lint free epoxy rated rollers preferably in the 18" size. You should also have some 9" rollers for tight areas. A small can of Xylene is also needed for clean up. If you're using a two part epoxy it requires mixing a Part A & a Part B together so having some clear calibrated measuring containers is a good idea to help measure out the components accurately.
Two coats are required and you must follow the coverage rates as precisely as possible. Too thick a coating can result in blistering and too thin will result in sub optimal performance.
We recommend a little Skid Tex anti slip additive by stairs or walk in areas. Simply disperse the Skid Tex into the first coating and let dry then clean up any loos additive and apply the second coat.
When applying your pool paint try not to do it in a direct blazing sun which can affect the curing process. Also do not apply when temperature is under 50 degrees or over 90 degrees.
Try to plan your project well in advance, have your product on hand, don't wait to order till the last minute! Wait for a 4-5 day stretch of good weather and get started which you can only do if you have your pool paint on hand. Most pool paint products have a one year shelf life so don't worry about storing it just don't let it freeze. Another reason to order your pool paint early besides wanting to do your project at the beginning of spring so its ready to enjoy come summer is that during "The Season" pool paints are in high demand and there can be significant delays in getting the product.
And as always if you're unsure about anything contact us via phone or email and we'll be happy to help.