How To Acid Wash, Repair & Paint On A Swimming Pool

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Pool repair can be a hell of a task sometimes, especially if you are new to this job. There are several ways of repairing the pool depending on your need. Acid washing and painting are two great ways of repairing your pool and bring some life back in it.

So let’s discuss on how you can do these on your own and repair the pool and make it like the new one.

What is an acid wash for pools?

An acid wash is a chemical way of exposing new plaster surface by dissolving the top layer of the old plaster layer. This is also a part of pool maintenance.

Why you need to go for an acid wash:

The main reason for going through an acid wash is to bring a new and clean floor surface when the floor is hard to see. This is mainly a process of getting rid of everything that causes scale on the floor. The reason may be the pool is not in use for a longer period of time or maybe you have been neglecting the regular cleaning process for long.

Another reason can be improper winterizing of the pool. No matter what the reason is if the pool is stagnant for long then the algae grow and take over the pool. Also, the organic dirt feeds the algae and helps them to grow faster and build a protective layer which prevents the pool cleaning chemicals from doing their job.

So over time the floor accumulates all types of dirt and become unusable. To get rid of all these dirt and make the floor new again you need to do an acid wash depending on the requirement.

When to acid wash:

Generally, most of the plaster layers have a width of a ½ inch and so you have to be extra careful with acid washing. Since acid washing strips of some of the plaster which is the purpose of the acid wash anyway, washing off way much of the plaster will result in earlier re-plastering of the pool.

So don’t make the acid washing a regular maintenance task. Depending upon the plaster and pool’s condition, doing this once in every five years will be enough.

There are some other factors you need to consider when it comes to acid washing the pool. You need to calculate how old the current plaster is and if this has been acid washed before and how many times.

If the plaster is at the end of its lifespan which is normally 10 to 15 years then acid washing won’t give you any promising result. And if the pool has been acid washed already 2 or 3 times before, then chances are most of the plaster has been stripped off. So you better plan to re-plaster, paint to repair the pool.

The perfect time to do the acid washing is when you can’t see the bottom of the shallow part of the floor. But if you delay the washing process for way too long it is going to cost you even more time and time by the time you decide to do it.

Steps of acid wash:

If you decide your pool needs an acid wash then here are the steps you need to follow:

Drain the pool water:

You can drain the pool with help of a submersible pump and a hose. Take a hose long enough to reach the main drain. But make sure to turn off all the circulation valves at the circuit breaker to avoid automatic startup at any time. Now drain the pool. But if you are as a high water table then avoids draining the pool at a time like this cause it can cause damage to your pool.

 At the beginning watch, the water flow since a clogged drain can flush the water back in the pool after you start pumping. So make sure the drain is clear and capable enough to carry the water flow at the given pressure level.

After you see the draining is going smoothly start to clean the floor and wall and try to get rid of as many algae and dirt as you can. Cause the dried up dirt is even harder to remove. You can also use a nozzle to do so.

Just make sure you clean the pool surface properly and keep all the dirt away before you start the acid washing. At the end of the draining clean the drain as well. Now that the pool is all clean you can start pouring the acid.

Pouring the acid:

Select an acid for the pool. Try your best to stay away from the risky acids and go for something light. Start adding acid in little quantity to water in the equal ratio in a pot with a long spout. Wet the surface first to avoid pouring acid on a dry surface. Keep the water hose going at behind.

Now start pouring acid at the area closest to the drain. Then pour the acid onto the floor and use a pool push brush to brush the floor. Don’t let the acid sit on the floor for more than 30-60 seconds. After being done rinse off the acid and pour a few lbs. of pH increaser to balance and neutralize the floor acidity.

For the wall start from the upper portion and work your way down to the bottom. Work in small sections and don’t let the acid sit on the wall for more than 60-90 seconds. Brush the wall with an acid brush and rinse off thoroughly.

Try not to drain all the acid water in one direction as it will damage the floor and the drain. And constantly add water to dilute the acid and keep moving it from the floor and wall.

If the mixture with the equal ratio isn’t strong enough then you can increase the acid quantity in the mixture by a little bit and test if this will work against the floor and wall.


After acid wash, another very important step is to use neutralizing agents to balance out the acidity of the floor and wall. After acid wash, the floor and the wall will be filled with a foamy acid puddle. If you wash them away like this the wastewater will be acidic as well and cause damage to everything they come in contact with. So you need to neutralize this before starting the pumping process.

For this, you can use 2 lbs. of soda ash for per acid gallon of acid. This works as a pH increaser and balances out the acidity in the pool surface. You need to check whether the neutralizer worked or not with a pH testing kit. You can also go for ‘base Demand Test’.

Pump the wastewater:

All left to do is pump out the wastewater and finish off the washing process. Use a submersible pump to drain the wastewater. But while pumping the water constantly keep adding fresh water with a hose and diluting the wastewater to reduce further damage. For the deeper end of the pool add more fresh water and rinse this part again and again for getting rid of the last drop of acid.

When the acid wash process is completely done, you can begin to fill up the pool again.

Safety measures to follow:

Since this pool repair process is risky and involves acid make sure to take safety precautions. Wear protective glasses, clothes, and rubber boot. Ask for professional help if you feel the need to.

Painting the pool:

What is the painting?

Over here we referred painting to any kind of recoating process over the gunite to prevent any kind of leakage. This is a temporary yet inexpensive way to coat the pool surface.

How to paint the pool surface:

Firstly the surface you want to paint, clean it thoroughly to get rid of any kind of dirt and algae. You can also do the painting process after doing acid wash since this will make the surface rough which actually helps the paint to cling better to the surface.

After proper cleaning and drying the surface, you can paint the surface by following the instructions on the paint itself. The first coat will require more paint then the following later on coats. Wait after doing each coat as mentioned in the instruction. And finally, let the coats dry fully for the time being before filling the pool with water.

Well, now you are done.

Final words:

Acid wash and painting are the two important part of the whole pool repair process. This will make sure your pool is clean and healthy for a longer period of time. You can do this process on your own or ask for professional help, it’s up to you.

But even if you are doing these on your own it’s good if you can find yourself a good helper. This way your job will be a little easier. And don’t forget to take the safety measures before you start these processes.

Acid washing and painting isn’t a daily task. You can perform the regular basic cleaning properly and this will delay the repair process of the pool for you. That will again save you money, time and effort.

James Verner

Hi, This is James Verner. I welcome you all to my blog I have made this blog particularly focused on various indoor and outdoor sports. I always try to stay updated on recent sports news and share them with my visitors through this blog. Along with that I post regularly articles on different sports as how you can play them, what you may require, what are the things you should do or avoid to do such things. I hope you can stay updated about recent sports world through my blog posts. You can contact me through our contact form.
James Verner

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