The Ins and Outs of Pool Paint: A Quick Guide for Pool Owners

Picking the right paint for your pool may seem simple, but there are a lot of factors to consider. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of pool paints, like epoxy and vinyl coatings. Read more here.

Choosing the right paint for your pool can be surprisingly tricky. The best option for your pool could be anything from a basic yet long-lasting latex or oil-based paint to water or chemically resistant coating that will really hold up in the harsh conditions of a swimming pool (such as when pH levels change). 

There are also many other factors to consider, like durability, coverage, and even colors. Today, we’ll dissect the ins and outs of pool paint, so you’ll understand when and how to repaint a swimming pool. 

What Is Pool Paint?

Hand Painting Pool Using Roller

The best pool paint will resist scuffing, scratching, and chipping (primarily when used over other finishes like plaster or aggregate). 

Pool paint is also durable enough to withstand minimal impacts, scratches, and abrasions. The best pool paint effectively covers the surface of your pool and holds up to exposure to water, chlorine, and UV light. 

Different Types of Pool Paint

Epoxy Pool Paint

Epoxy Paint Roller on the Ground

Epoxy is the best option for long-lasting, durable paint that will hold up to impacts and abrasion. Epoxy pool paint creates a waterproof surface that mimics the designs of brick, stone, or wood.

The best epoxy pool paint is typically applied over existing coatings like plaster, concrete, or aggregate.

Additionally, this type of pool paint can be applied to itself (over old coats of epoxy), making it an economical option for owners who want to make their pools look new.

Here’s a quick look at epoxy pool paint:

  • Can last for about 6-8 years
  • Thickest of all pool paint
  • Fills in minor fractures in the pool shell that are visible from the outside
  • Provides a smooth surface
  • One gallon can cover about 500 square feet of pool space
  • The only paint advisable for fiberglass type pools
  • Quite more expensive to different types of pool paints
  • Applying epoxy pool paint is quite complicated than other pool paints
  • Curing takes more time than other pool paints
  • Epoxy paint can be slippery when wet

Synthetic Rubber Pool Paint

Synthetic rubber pool paint is a coating that’s applied to the surface of the pool. This type of paint usually offers versatility, durability, and long-term protection.

However,  most pool owners no longer use rubber paint due to their PCB-emitting properties. These hazardous compounds have been linked to several health problems and are no longer accessible in the United States. However, not all pool paints are manufactured, purchased, or used in the United States, and therefore broad references to rubber pool paint continue to exist.

Traditionally, this type of paint is applied over the surface of another pool coating like epoxy or plaster to last long. Once it’s taken care of, you won’t need to worry about anything other than maintaining your swimming pool.

Acrylic Paints

Different Colors of Acrylic Paint in Bottles

Acrylic pool paint has taken the place of rubber pool paint, which was formerly popular. Acrylic is a versatile medium that is simple to use, inexpensive, quick to dry, and works on various surfaces.

Here’s a quick look at acrylic pool paint:

  • Can last for about 1-4 years
  • No mixing is required
  • Results to a high-gloss finish
  • Can be painted to wet surfaces
  • Can use over other paints and concrete pools or plaster pools
  • Easy to use
  • Cheaper than epoxy paint
  • Takes only 3 days to dry and cure
  • Can’t fill in rough surfaces
  • Doesn’t work well with stains and discolorations

The Best Pool Paint

Rubberized pool paint is one of the greatest types of paint you can use for a pool since it is pretty durable. Because it is developed explicitly for pools, it can adapt to the requirements of pools. It can expand and contract. It’s strong and is resistant to mold, mildew, and fungus. It is also not affected by pool chemicals.

This paint performs effectively on freshly painted pool surfaces as well as on previously painted pool surfaces. It’s also great for painting over existing rubberized paint since the new and old paint chemically bond together when exposed to heat and sunlight.

You can’t apply a coat of epoxy or acrylic pool paint over the top of Rubberized pool paint. Notice that on fiberglass pools or vinyl-lined pool surfaces, it is not possible to apply this paint.

Painting Pool Instructions

Pool Painting Tools - Brush and Roller

Before starting the work, you’ll need to get these tools to apply the Rubberized pool paint in your swimming pool:

  • Roller frame
  • Roller cover
  • Paintbrush
  • Nylon bristle cleaning brush
  • Clean cloth
  • Roller extension pole
  • Submersible pump
  • Dischargeable hose
  • Rope (nylon)
  • Pool brush
  • Shop-vac
  • Tarp or extra plastic
  • Rubber-based pool paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Citrus based degreaser/cleaner
  • Mineral spirits or paint thinner
  • Citrus based degreaser/cleaner
  • 5 in 1 tool

Step 1: Drain the Pool

Drain the Swimming Pool

Make your plans well in advance because emptying the pool will take a long time. It might take as long as 16 hours, depending on the size of the pool. 

  • Manually skim to remove big debris from the pool.
  • Make sure you turn off and unplug the pool filter.
  • Connect the discharge hose to the submersible pump.
  • Extend the discharge hose to a street gutter, sanitary sewer, or an area where you can rinse the water.
  • Lower the pump to the bottom of the pool using a nylon rope, making sure that the pump’s cord reaches outside of the pool.
  • Connect the pump to an outlet equipped with a ground-fault interrupter (GFI).

Step 2: Brush the Pool as the Pool Water Drains

While the pool is draining, use the pool brush and extension pole to clean the pool’s sides and bottom. You don’t have to be constantly at the pool,  but you should be close by.

Scrub downward to keep the debris falling while the pool water is draining. However, some of this material will be discharged by the submersible pump. You should expect the majority of it to be cleaned up by hand at the end.

Step 3: Scrape the Paint With 5 in 1 Tool

Scraping the Pool Ground

When the pool dries, check the pool walls and bottom for paint that’s flaking or peeling. Scrape it with the 5 in 1 tool. 

Step 4: Sweep up the Debris From the Bottom of the Pool

Remove any debris from the bottom of the pool. Using the nylon-bristle cleaning brush, clean the pool with the citrus-based degreaser/cleaner that you purchased. Using new water, hose down the sides and then pump the water out. Make a last sweep with the shop vacuum to ensure everything is clean. Then allow for complete drying.

Step 5: Make Preparations for Painting

Secure the paint frame to the extension pole using the tie-wraps. Place the roller cover. Go at the bottom of the pool, next to the drain, with all the required gear. And cover the drain with a tarp to keep it from getting clogged.

Step 6: Paint the Edges With a Paintbrush

The edges of the pool may include:

  • Under bullnose
  • Up to tile coping
  • Around the ladders
  • Around drains
  • Around steps or ledges

Step 7: Paint the Pool With Rollers

Man Painting the Pool with Roller

Paint the pool with rubberized paint using a roller from top to bottom, starting at the pool’s edge. Do not apply a thick coat. Instead, use two thin coats of paint. Applying a single thick layer of paint may result in the paint failing. Also, it’s not advisable to thin the paint.

Apply the paint in small areas, ensuring a damp edge. If a site has already begun to dry, avoid painting over it since this will result in pockmarks and a rough finish.

Step 8: Cleaning Yourself

Clean yourself up with a paint thinner.

Step 9: Allow the Paint to Cure

Rubberized pool paint, unlike water-based paints, does not cure by evaporation. It may take up to 7 to 8 days for this solvent-based paint to fully cure before you can refill the pool with water. You can use large fans to help expedite the drying process.

How to Figure Out if You Need a New Pool Paint

Drained and Abandoned Pool

If you’re not sure if your pool needs a repaint, these are some of the most frequent paint issues and how to fix them:

You Want to Change the Appearance of Your Pool or Landscaping

If you’re looking to update your design and outdoor décor, pool paint is a fantastic option. Depending on your preferences, you can use various types of paint to bring new pool colors, designs, or even murals into a pool. It’s an excellent method to bring your pool up to date while also giving it a unique appearance.

Your Pool Paint Has Faded, Soiled, or Been Damaged in Some Way

Every type of paint fades with time, especially in the harsh environment of a pool. Before repainting, you may choose to attempt acid washing to clean the pool and remove grime and stains. It may enhance the appearance of your pool and keep you from having to paint for quite a while.

Your Swimming Pool Paint Has a White, Powdery, Chalky Appearance

“Chalky paint is an indication that the chemistry of your pool has harmed the pool paint. It is frequently linked with excess levels of chlorine, low pH, or acidic water.“

Rick Patterson, pool writer at

Repeated shocking of the pool can discolor the paint and leave a powdery residue. When this occurs, you have to repaint the pool. 

Your Pool Is Too Slippery to Walk On

Pool paints are resistant to water, and as a result, they are prone to becoming too slippery. Epoxy paints are incredibly slippery when wet.

Several methods for adding texture during painting, but if your paint has already dried and cured, your best chance is to apply an anti-slip treatment. Surface sprays and solutions can be used to enhance texture and increase grip on a variety of surfaces.

Your Swimming Pool Paint Has Cracked or Bubbled

This is usually often a result of improper pool preparation before painting. The underlying surface was either damp or filthy or too warm or moist to take paint effectively.

Bottom Line

You can attempt stripping and repainting just the damaged area, but many people prefer to repaint the entire pool once it has been drained and adequately prepared for painting. If you have any of these pool paint issues, it’s time to consider pool repainting.

Below are more pool articles that you will definitely find useful. Check them out! To view more pool articles, click here.

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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