What is the Best Way to Clean Tile in a Pool?

A lot of swimming pool owners have beautiful tile surrounding the edges of their pools.  When they get dirty, faded or scaled it can make your entire pool look dingy and dirty–even if the water itself is clean.  Here are some methods for keeping that tile lustrous.

Maintenance

The best practice for keeping pool tiles looking sharp is to start from the beginning.  Including regular tile cleaning every time you clean your swimming pool can prevent future tile cleanliness issues.  You can do this by using a tile cleaner such as Arrow Spark-L pool tile cleaner.  You squirt it on your tile and then go around using your regular brush and brush the tile, preferably in circular motions. Then rinse by splashing up the swimming pool water to remove the cleaner. A tile brush is also a good investment because this is what it is designed for.  They come on their own poles, attach to your pole or are hand held.  One benefit to them being handheld is that you can clean while you are in the pool.  Talk about multitasking at its best!

Mild Calcium Build-Up

Scaling is the number one complaint I get from my swimming pool clients.  This can happen when the calcium levels are high in a pool or if the pH is not maintained.  These clients traditionally had not implemented a tile cleaning maintenance step from the get-go.  There are products you can use such as Biodex 300 Pool Tile Cleaner.  This stuff is a little heavy duty so you’ll want to wear your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as gloves and eyewear.  You apply this gel-like substance onto your swimming pool tile and let it “dwell” for a few minutes.  I am not being cute by saying “dwell”.  It actually says so right on the bottle.  Then use a tile brush or pumice stone to scrub away the calcium on each tile.  This can be an arduous task.  It may be necessary to let it dwell a bit longer if it doesn’t seem to be making a difference.

Heavy Duty Build-Up

If your tiles have gotten away from you and the normal maintenance routines just aren’t making a dent, it may be time to hire a professional to clean your tiles.  Different companies have different methods.  Some use mikitas and a sander-like machine which spins the discs quickly to grind off the calcium.  Some companies use bead blasting which can be a bit more expensive.

Preventative Maintenance

It is much better to PREPARE than to REPAIR.  There are products such as Beautech you can put in the water which are great at preventing scale from sticking.  The only downside is it only treats where the water touches the tile.  It also takes weeks to work and requires an initial dose and a monthly follow up does.  They also make a product called Scaletec which also works where the water touches and helps the build-up from sticking.  This also requires an initial dose and a monthly dose.

The best thing one can do to prevent scale build up is to keep your water chemistry balanced.  High pH causes the water to become scale forming.  This makes the calcium stick.  This gets worse the higher the pH the more scale you’ll see.  You need dry or liquid acid to lower your pH.  Another big part of proper water chemistry is proper circulation.  This allows the chemicals to mix and become effective.  It also keeps the water from being stagnant and leaving a yucky line.  

Don’t run your swimming pool pump as long as you should because it is too expensive?  Then you are probably a single speed pump owner.  You are right.  Running your pool pump is the second most expensive thing to operate after your air conditioning.  I suggest to all of my clients to invest in an energy efficient, variable speed pool pump.  This allows you to run your pump at a lower speed longer.  This means more money in your pocket and better looking water and tile.  Think you can’t afford a variable speed pump?  Think again.  You can get the American made, name brand Black & Decker Variable Speed Pool Pump with a 5 year warranty for about half what you would find in your local pool store.  Check them out. See you poolside!