“Hey, there’s this area of white discoloration on my practically new fiberglass pool. What gives?” I’ve gotten a few calls about this lately, and apparently I’m not the only one. Leisure Pools recently sent out a technical release to their dealers regarding the issue. So what is the problem? Turns out it’s your standard hard water staining/scale. I’ve addressed this before, in relation to using Bead Blasting to clean up tile work and other fixtures, but let’s revisit the topic with a mind specific to solutions pertaining to a fiberglass gel or color coat.
Most pool owners first notice an issue with the finish at the waterline, especially if it happens to be lowered. It appears as an inconsistent white discoloration. This is caused by calcium leeching out the water in the pool and clinging to the walls, steps and/or floor of the pool. It’s especially noticeable when the calcium deposit becomes exposed and dries. This will happen more frequently in some areas of the country than others depending on the hardness of the water in that particular community. If there’s a high amount of calcium in the water it will tend to leech out of solution more than an area with less calcium. Pool water chemistry also plays a part in the ability of calcium to come out of solution. When the PH level is between 7.2 and 7.4, the calcium is in balance. However, if the PH rises above 7.4 the calcium will leech out of the water, and as the PH gets higher the deposits will become more pronounced.
Treating the deposits is easy if the situation is caught early, usually within one to three months of occurrence. At this point they can be treated by a chemical solution: first the PH in the pool is lowered to 6.5 and the pool is treated with muriatic acid or calcium treatments. I would recommend consulting with your pool store guru to make sure it’s done properly, especially as some pool equipment will need to be protected from the chemical treatments. After the treatment is done the PH can be raised back up to 7.2 to 7.4 and if those levels are maintained the deposits shouldn’t reappear.
The the problem is more sever, or the pool has been left with a high PH level for an extended time, the calcium deposits will combine with the chlorine in the pool and create a salt called Calcium Chloride. The salt will attach itself to the pool surfaces and cause areas of the gelcoat to look white. There are two stages of this advanced calcium chloride. The first, and easier to treat, stage is less advanced. If the gelcoat returns to normal when it’s hydrated (or just wet), then you can treat it using the same chemical solution as the less sever case mentioned above. However, it will take up to 6 months for the treatment to totally dissolve the calcium chloride. Due to the time this takes, and the fact that the water will be very acidic in this time, we recommend that this treatment be done in the off season.
If, perchance, the salt deposits are visible even when they’re hydrated, the treatment is not as easy. An effective chemical treatment hasn’t been found or developed so the recommended solution is to remove the salt is to buff and polish the surface to return it to its previous condition.
If your pool needs the gelcoat touched up give Premier Fiberglass a call. We’d be happy to help you restore your pool to it’s former beauty.