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Why should I paint my swimming pool?
Should I paint my plaster pool?
Is paint better than plaster?
What paint should I use on my pool?
What colors are available?
How do I paint my pool?
Is it difficult to paint a pool?
How long will the complete SAU-SEA paint job last?
How often should I re-paint my pool?
How do I fix cracks & leaks in my pool?
What should I look for what I'm buying swimming pool paint?
Why is pool paint expensive?


Why should I paint my swimming pool?

To protect, beautify and prolong the life of your pool's surface and structure, resulting in long term monetary savings for you!

More Info

Should I paint my plaster pool?

Not while you have a new plaster finish on your pool (ie. your pool is less than 3 years old). Your smooth bright plaster should give you yeoman service for a few years before staining and surface deterioration become noticeable.

However, if you own a plaster pool that is 3 years old or older, and the plaster is getting rough, painting with ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings will eliminate further chemical deterioration of the aging plaster surface. Also, our ECO-CHOICE Pool coatings will reduce staining, acid damage, water/frost penetration and prevent bather abrasion. With ECO-CHOICE Epoxy Pool Coatings for gunite plaster pools, you will save money and protect your initial investment. Use ECO-CHOICE Rubber Pool Coating or ECO-CHOICE Epoxy if your plaster pool is concrete, not gunite.

If you've heard you should never have to “paint” plaster, consider this:

  • Consider the cost! When you paint your worn plaster pool, you'll eventually repaint in 4-5 years! However, If you don't paint, you will definitely have to re-plaster! Considering that the cost of re-plastering far outweighs painting by thousands of dollars, you may want to rethink that “no paint” advice.

  • Consider your pool structure! When your pool was built, the raw concrete or the gunite shell and plaster cured together forming an exceptionally strong bond. When re-plastering, that bond can only be imitated-never duplicated, that is why in re-plastered pools one often sees spalling (plaster separation and lifting). Why not preserve the original plaster, rather than try to replicate it? Why surrender the initial strong bond for one of questionable strength in re-plastering? Use ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings by SAU-SEA now!

  • Consider the job! Re-plastering requires the removal or roughening of old plaster to enhance the bond of the fresh plaster. This means costly sandblasting and/or chopping the old plaster-a large and dirty job. The re-plastering must be done by a skilled professional mason. Painting requires: 1. a sound masonry surface that is free of dirt and oils. 2. an open-faced granular texture on the plaster. 3. a thoroughly dry surface. Anyone with common sense can pick up a roller and successfully paint a plaster pool with ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy or ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber for concrete pools.

  • Consider your plaster! When it is new, your plaster is smooth, bright and beautiful. As it ages, the surface will roughen (scraped knees, elbows and toes will be a common complaint). The plaster will stain and each acid cleaning will cause the surface to roughen more. Now is the time to protect your plaster with ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings! If you do not protect your plaster soon after this deterioration has begun, it will progress through the entire plaster and you will be forced to undertake costly re-plastering. Think of rust and steel: Rust on the surface can be removed and the steel can be protected with paint. Rust throughout the steel panel cannot be repaired--the whole panel must be removed and replaced. Save your plaster with ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy Pool Coating before it is too late!

  • Consider ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings! Not just ordinary swimming pool paint, but rather specialized coatings designed to suit the maintenance needs of the plaster surface on your pool.  Give your plaster-finish pool the insulating protective barrier it needs coupled the sealer benefit of a penetrative moisture barrier.  SAU-SEA’s ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings put a high-gloss finish on your plaster that resists water, acid, stains and dirt!

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Is paint better than plaster?

Paint protects the bare plaster surface from:

  • A mottled appearance that is characteristic of many older plaster surfaces
  • Pitting or etching that is a result of the interaction between the pool water and the exposed plaster.
  • Roughened surfaces that cause skin abrasions on swimmers
  • Stain penetration which requires corrosive acid washing (which roughens the finish) to remove stains

Paint is not better than plaster, rather, plaster is better WITH paint.
Plaster is a masonry finish commonly applied to the gunite concrete pool. PAINT IS THE GUARDIAN of such PLASTER FINISHES.

When your pool was built, the excavator dug a hole, and then the builder put in a rebar (reinforcing rods), the skeleton that lined the hole. Next wet concrete was shot over the rebar using the nozzle-hose assembly (thus the term GUNite). This became the concrete shell of the pool. The rough gunned finished was the base to which the plasterer applied a “whitecoat” (plaster) (commonly, a mix of marble dust particles, white cement, sand and water). This plaster was troweled smooth and your pool was promptly filled with water.

The plaster finish in this new and pristine state is quite beautiful. However, as it does with everything, time takes its toll. Eventually the plaster will start to show its age by roughening, staining and deteriorating.

This is where paint/sealer finishes come to the rescue. In fact, in a study of plaster deterioration, it was recommended that an insulating barrier be placed between plaster and aggressive pool water. Paints and sealers were invented to provide this layer of protection.

Thus, we offer SAU-SEA’s ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy and ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber (also ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber Specialty Colors) for concrete pools.  These are specialized hybrid coatings that offer the protections of an insulating barrier coating along with the waterproofing characteristics of a sealer. These products are designed specifically to save your original plaster finish. Using SAU-SEA ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings protects your plaster from acid, stains, algae penetration, and freeze/thaw damage. You will never have to replaster if you protect your pool with SAU-SEA ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings!

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What paint should I use on my pool?

  • For old, worn, bare plaster: Use ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy, especially if your pool has been built in the past 15-20 years where the concrete shot into your pool frame was diluted with more water than older pools.  Also, use ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy if the ground surrounding your pool tends to be wet frequently or your pool is in a high water table area.

  • For bare concrete: Use self-priming ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber or ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber Specialty Colors.

  • For steel, aluminum, or pools of another finish: These pool types require special primers and finishes and special surface preparation. Do not begin preparation of any kind until you have contacted us.

  • For fiberglass pools, use ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy unless you are re-painting over another paint type like rubber-base or vinyl, in which case you would stick with the previous paint type if the old coat is in good condition. 

  • For repainting: Use high-gloss ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber or ECO-CHOICE Semi-Gloss for recoating a pool previously painted with SAU-SEA Enamel R or Pool Seal or a quality rubber base paint. If the pool is presently coated with SAU-SEA Enamel Type P-V or a good quality polyvinyl chloride paint, use ECO-CHOICE Premium Vinyl. If your pool is painted with SAU-SEA Enamel E or another quality epoxy, recoat (when fully worn away) with ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy. Contact your SAU-SEA dealer if you are unsure what paint type was last used. You may purchase our Solvents Test Kit to determine your pool's compatibility with our coatings or you can order our Express Laboratory Chip Analysis from your dealer. 

What colors are available?

We have a full range of beautiful colors. See the color charts that accompany our product descriptions. Custom colors are available for an additional charge. Cerulean White and Snow White are the most popular choices in our enamels. 
Note: When painting white over white, Cerulean White is most popular because it helps you see where you are painting (it is slightly bluer when it is wet).

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How do I paint my pool?

Carefully follow all the directions on the paint can label. 
For a brief summary:

  1. Drain your pool. (Check your pool owner manual for directions and location of pressure relief plugs.)
  2. Clean all pool surfaces with a powdered cleanser (like Ajax or Comet) to remove dirt. This may be done while the pool is draining. Thoroughly rinse away all cleaning residue.
  3. Wash pool with an acid solution to remove stains and/or etch with acid to roughen slick masonry or masonry repairs. Allow pool to dry out 1+ week(s), preferably 10 dry days.
  4. Remove any debris from pool and wipe off any dust from dry pool. Paint pool following directions on can label carefully. Allow paint to dry thoroughly (7-10 days) before filling pool. Add 1 drying day for each rainy day.
    Note: Drying times are affected by weather conditions like humidity.

Is it difficult to paint a pool?
No-painting is the easy part. If you can paint a room you can paint your pool. If you can't paint, your SAU-SEA dealer can get the job done for you.

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How long will the complete SAU-SEA paint job last?

ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings are specially formulated for years and years of yeoman service on your pool. It is not uncommon for a pool to be painted periodically for 25+ years before the build-up in the paint film requires sandblasting to bare concrete and starting fresh.

How often should I re-paint my pool?

Over a period of years, your SAU-SEA finish will gradually lose its gloss. As the gloss diminishes, so proportionately will staining increase.  Eventually, your pool finish will start to look dingy or dirty. That is when you need to apply a single refresher coat of the same color and type.  For a residential pool, ECO-CHOICE Premium Pool Coatings are normally recoated every 3-5 years, though some pool owners go even longer before re-coating. In commercial service, semi-annual recoating is normal due to heavy chlorine use (usually daily/weekly super chlorination).

  • Hint#1: Always allow the paint to dry completely before you start to fill your pool. Premature filling results in premature aging of the coating and loss of gloss. Remember: SAU-SEA Coatings and Enamels are dry to the touch in 1 hour, however they are not fully dry! SAU-SEA Enamels and Coatings are odorless when dry. Do not destroy your gloss by filling too soon!
  • Hint#2: Maintaining proper balance of your pool water and judicious use of your chemical sanitizers (particularly chlorine which is a powerful oxidizing agent) will prolong the service life of your pool paint finish (as well as the service life of your other pool equipment). For example, paint and products in a pool run at .5 ppm of Free Chlorine will last 6 times as long as the same products used in a pool run a 3.0 ppm Free Chlorine.

How do I fix cracks and leaks in my pool?

For thoroughly DRY hairline cracks
If you see hairline cracks in your wall after painting your pool with rubber-base coating, let the paint dry.  Then brush SAU-SEA Liquid Plastic over cracks and let dry.  Wait 24 hours before painting second coat ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber Coating over entire pool.

For thoroughly DRY larger cracks or depressions or where cement is missing up to a ½ inch deep, such as when a small stone falls out of a concrete wall. Prime crack with rubber-base paint for best results. Apply SAU-SEA Putty Patch with a putty knife.  Allow to set for 15 seconds.  Then smooth over surface with your hand.  Wait 24 hours before painting over repairs with ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber Pool Coating.

For thoroughly DRY cracks or depressions over ½  inch deep, use THORITE*, a product of THOROÒ System.  Follow all directions and allow THORITE to cure 7 days. Then use 1-2% acid etch, scrub rinse and allow to dry 24 hours before painting with ECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber, Epoxy or Vinyl Coatings.

To restore original surface and cover any exposed aggregate (stone) after sandblasting, use THOROSEAL*, a product of THOROâ System.  Follow directions on product. Let cure 7 days, followed by acid etch as above before painting with ECO-CHOICE Premium Epoxy, Rubber, or Vinyl Coatings.

For wet or leaking cracks, use WATERPLUG hydraulic cement, a product of THOROÒ System.  In order to stop water seepage, open crack before applying WATERPLUG.  Be sure to work with small quantities.  Follow product directions before painting with
ECO-CHOICE Premium EpoxyECO-CHOICE Premium Rubber, or
ECO-CHOICE Premium Vinyl.

*Add Acryl 60 to THORITE and THOROSEAL to enhance bonding.

Call 1-800-4-SAUSEA (472-8732) for more info on above products.

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What should I look for when I'm buying swimming pool paint?

In the order of their importance:

  1. Enduring Gloss — Offers the stain resistance that keeps your pool looking good and easy to keep clean.
  2. Fusion Bonding — A “fusion” bond allows fresh coat to melt into old paint, providing ONE single layer of inseparable paints paint film on the pool. (very important under water)!
  3. Film Integrity — long term inner strength of paint film achieved by using super strong resins (and a lot of them) that can resist chlorine, acid swings, submersion, UV damage and moisture.
  4. Experience — A company that has a long history of success in swimming pool paints (not a PO. Box)!
  5. Look to SAU-SEA — For top quality at a fair price.  We specialize in Swimming Pool Paints exclusively—manufacturing and field-testing our coatings for over 3 generations. WE are a family-owned and family-operated company.

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Why is pool paint expensive?

Keep in mind that premium exterior house paints (which are less expensive to manufacture than pool paints) cost $75 to $105 per gallon. They do not require the costly ingredients needed to tolerate swimming pool conditions, i.e., the long-term submersion, extreme exposure to chlorine and acid, continued exposure to sunlight and damaging UV rays, continued weathering from rain, wind and ice, etc.

With ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings by SAU-SEA,  realize that you are buying the "Lexus" of swimming pool paints. Each gallon of paint contains pounds of protective resins (not ounces). We use the best grade of titanium available (the same high, hard-grade type that is used in automotive and appliance finishes). We don't skimp on quality or quantity.

Of course, you can buy lesser-quality brands elsewhere, ones made with an ounce or two of resin and a very soft (very cheap) grade of titanium - paints full of lots of sand (silica) and clay to make them thick and creamy. These lesser paints usually have a flat finish - one that stains very quickly and fails (chalks and powders) readily. Yes, you can buy pool paint for less, but remember:

While you may not always "get what you pay for", you will surely not get what you don't pay for. What's worse, if you buy a "cheap" pool paint and it fails (which it will), you can't return it to a store (like a poor quality pump or filter). Even if you could "get your money back", you're still stuck with the inferior product on your pool. Since each coat of paint is the foundation for following coats, a poor quality pool paint makes a very bad base for all future recoats. Thereafter, even if you switch back to the best quality pool coatings, they may "fail" over your poor quality, chalking, peeling or blistering old paints. In fact, often the only real solution to having applied a poor quality swimming pool paint is to have it removed (by expensive sandblasting). Then, start over (and stay with) a top-quality pool paint.

Does it follow, then, that if you pay top price for a swimming pool paint that you'll get the best product available? Not necessarily!

Some paint manufacturers make lots of different kinds of paint (for houses, boats, etc) and often, they'll "sub out" the manufacturing of a specialty line (like pool paints) and just use their recognized "brand-name" on "their" swimming pool paint. Some paint manufacturers charge a high price for their pool paint to give the "illusion" of quality, or, to make as much profit as "the market will bear."

So how do you, the pool owner, know if you are getting the top-quality for which you paid good dollars?

Trust SAU-SEA ECO-CHOICE Pool Coatings – every time - to give you only top quality for your pool - whether it is our rubber base swimming pool paint, our vinyl base swimming pool paint, or our epoxy base swimming pool coating.

Get saucy and bold! Trust SAU-SEA - a third generation, family-owned and operated manufacturer of swimming pool paints EXCLUSIVELY! We make swimming pool paints right - it's the only thing we do.  It’s how we earn our living. Pool owner satisfaction with SAU-SEA means customer loyalty and repeat business - our future counts on this.

With over 100 years of cumulative experience in swimming pool paints, we've seen it all. We know what works, why it works and how it works. We can answer all your questions about pool paints (and other various pool finishes) and give you honest and workable solutions that will help you get the most out of the dollars you invest in your swimming pool renovation project. Give us a call, give us a try - you'll be speaking to us, not a corporate voice mail - call 1-800-4-SAUSEA today!

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