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Paints for swimming pools

For Commercial Pools

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An information resource for schools with swimming pools


Having a school swimming pool is both a great resource and a big responsibility.

There are many issues to deal with including:

  • Hygiene
  • Safety
  • Coating Maintenance

In this site we aim to quickly deal with issues covering the most cost effective coating maintenance of the pool and its environs. Those issues relating to safety and hygiene we would refer to other more appropriate organisations.

Asset maintenance:

A swimming pool is a major asset and as such requires careful and thoughtful analysis. This is to ensure maximum performance and value for the pool coating.

The ideal situation is where the pool has a coating that has:

  1. Easy clean surface
  2. Smooth, non-abrasive finish
  3. Attractive colour
  4. Long-lasting performance
  5. Hard wearing surface
  6. Easy to refurbish

The ideal answer is to have the longest life with the minimum downtime and need for recoating.

The paint systems:

  • There are few types of paint systems  for swimming pools.
  • The key facts on a complicated subject are:
  • PVA’s, Paving Paints, Acrylic’s – poor performance
  • Chlorinated Rubbers, Vinyls, Polyurethanes, – acceptable performance.
  • Epoxies: (two pack), – excellent performance.
  • Chlorinated Rubbers, Vinyls & Polyurethanes are readily available and generally used on smaller pools, farm troughs and storage tanks.
  • Epoxy, (two pack), has the best performance, least problems and best value.
  • Fluoropolymers, the best uv resistance and durability. Unlimited choice of colours. Significantly degreasing long term maintenance cost due to its longivity. 

Why Chlorinated Rubber?

When you select a Chlorinated Rubber you will use a solvent based, one pack paint. The material has been used extensively in swimming pools. It offers good chemical resistant and reasonable performance. It will last on average 2 – 3 years.

Why Epoxy?

When you select a 2 pack epoxy for your pool, you will get: a high molecular weight, cross linked, chemically resistant, 3 dimensional structure.

This means its: tough, bonds well and is durable. It will last 7 – 10 years plus.

With any coating, the performance of it will depend

principally on:

  1. Correct surface preparation, before application.
  2. Correct application of coating.
  3. Correct curing/drying of coating.

No matter which coating is to be applied, the surface preparation for existing pools will be the dominant factor for hassle free performance, in our lengthy experience. For new pools, it is still important, though application takes on a bigger roll.

Any contractor who does not understand these issues, or does not follow well established procedures, will leave a brewing problem for your school to deal with.

Why Fluoropolymers?

New system that will take over most of the top quality coatings for commercial pools where long term sustainable solution is required. Without doubt and more especially in Australian climate this product has to be considered by architects, councils and body corporates who look for the surface with characteristics way ahead of any known products, in some ways close to tiles that common in such pools. But with advantage to change colours and easy to repair. With tiled surfaces we found that when the time comes to restore/replace them  will have significant costs even when slight leak developed which hard to detect in tiled surface. With good quality coating such as fluoropolymers this will be easy to find and fix and then restore. Also fluoropolymers are known as the best anti corrosive protection coating. This will allow the concrete shell to be protected from harsh chemical “soup”. It is so obvious that long term advantages should overcome the initial price of such option. 

The product has identical approach to preparation and application to epoxies. It also have much lower low temperature limits than other paints meaning that pools can be resurfaced in winters without compromising its curing. 

Surface Preparation:

Any manufacturer should provide very comprehensive, easy to follow instructions, so that the surface is ready for the application.

For existing pools the biggest issues are to do with removing all body fats and oil based contamination, (sun tan lotions etc). In addition ensuring the existing coating is well adhered, the underling surface is not “drummy” and the surface is dry, are important.

Any contamination that remains on the surface will affect the adhesion of the new paint. Failure of the new paint within a short period can be expected.


All coatings have specific criteria to be followed in regard to application techniques, mixing, dilution, weather conditions, and coverage rates. These need to be completely understood and followed carefully to ensure the best result.

For most coatings, correct film build will determine the length of performance. The greater the film build the longer it will last. There is no free lunch, with this.

Correct drying/curing:

Any coating requires the correct conditions for complete and successful application. Low temperature, high humidity, or sunny and windy conditions will impact on the correct curing. Generally a 4 – 7 day interval is needed before the pool is refilled. Follow the coating manufacturer’s instructions.

Other issues:

Pools are unique:

Each pool should be treated as an individual project as it will have its own characteristics. From design, construction, wear and tear, water treatment, usage profile, ground water / hydrostatic pressure, coating systems and future usage needs.

We would recommend, that for your pool, expert advice be sort if you have any doubts.


Quotations from Approved Applicators, which detail the whole procedure, are recommended.

Proven Service:

The Manufacturer should have a lengthy track record with the products and be able to answer any technical questions, quickly and effectively.


As the labour cost for surface preparation and applying each coating type is about the same, getting the longest life possible should be the aim. Certainly Epoxies have shown the best, most cost effective performance. A decade of maintenance free service is quite feasible with them. With school budgets stretched and unplanned maintenance unwanted, proven long term performance is mandatory.

More info:

We at Hitchins Technologies Pty Ltd trust you have found this introduction useful. We have a 25 year plus record in pool coatings and you are welcome to make use of our knowledge, with out obligation.

Just call us on 0415 171 315