If your fiberglass swimming pool is showing signs of age, then you can revive its appearance with a few coats of the right paint.
Although many people associate gelcoat with fiberglass, that can be an expensive option compared to using paint.
This is because paint is not only far less expensive, but also because you can change the appearance of the pool to your liking.
You will need the right type of paint along with the painting supplies to ensure that your paint job will work.
A few coats of paint will last from five to seven years depending on several factors.
What to Get for Painting?
The only type of paint that is suitable for fiberglass is epoxy pool paint.
You will need to purchase enough for two coats, so this means you will need to measure your pool.
Include the floor, sides, and steps when you make your measurements.
You will also need the following.
- Paint Brushes, Rollers, Roller Frames, & Extension Poles
- Five Gallon Bucket w/Paint Screen
- Scrub & Sanding Brushes
- Masking Tape
- Tri-Sodium Phosphate Cleanser
- Dishwasher Detergent
- Two Gallon Watering Can
- At Least One Person to Help
7 Steps to Painting and Refinishing a Swimming Pool
Now that you have your materials, the next step is to start the process of painting.
Here are the easy steps you will need to go through…
Step 1 – Weather Check
You will need to set aside enough time to paint the pool and let it dry properly.
This means checking the weather and starting during a dry spell that will last for a few days at least and preferably one week.
This will allow the paint to fully dry without the rain delaying the time it takes to cure.
In addition, a high-water table may shift an empty fiberglass pool out of its original location.
Although the possibility is slight, it may happen if you fully drain your pool and a sudden rainstorm raises the water table.
Step 2 – Drain the Pool
Most pumps will drain most, but not quite all of the pool. If you have a submersible pump, it should take care of the rest of the water.
If not, you can always rent a submersible or sump pump to ensure that the pool is fully dry.
Any standing water that is remaining can be removed using large sponges and buckets.
Or, you can use a wet-vac to dry out any remaining water.
Step 3 – Cleaning
Now you are ready to clean the inside of the pool. This is where the dishwasher detergent come into play.
You will need to clean away the dirt, oil, and scales that have built up on the sides and bottom of the pool.
Start with the following.
- ¼ cup dishwasher detergent
- Mix detergent with two gallows of water in the watering bucket
- Pour mixture onto the walls of the pool, covering every inch
- Scrub walls with scrub brush on pole
- Rinse every 10 feet of the wall after scrubbing
Once you have completed with all the walls, start scrubbing the floor of the pool.
Pour the mixture onto the floor and use the scrub brush on a pole. It takes some good effort, so it pays to have help.
Once the scrubbing and rinsing are complete, pump out the remaining water from the pool.
Step 4 – Repeat with TSP Cleanser
Mix the TSP cleanser with warm water in the watering bucket and repeat the cleaning process.
This will remove any grease that the detergent left behind.
Be sure to scrub and rinse every ten feet along the walls before moving to the floor of the pool.
Once you have completed with the scrubbing, fully rinse the pool and remove the water.
Step 5 – Sand
To improve the chances of the paint sticking to the surface, you will need to sand the inside of the pool.
Use 80-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface of the pool.
Keep in mind that you are not trying to remove the gelcoat.
You are merely roughing the surface area, so one or two passes should work.
Remember to sand in the same direction as this helps with paint adhesion.
Use the poles to sand most of the pool, then switch to sanding by hand on corners, steps, and any curves.
Once the sanding process is completed, rinse out the pool to remove any grit.
Be sure to allow enough time for the pool to fully dry once all the grit is rinsed away.
In most cases, a fiberglass pool will be ready to paint about 48 hours after the cleaning and sanding process.
You can doublecheck by using the masking tape to hold down a few large pieces of clear plastic to the floors and walls of the pool.
This will catch the evaporation process and show if any moisture is remaining on the walls or floor.
When the pool is fully dry, you will need around four days of dry weather to fully paint the pool.
Step 6 – Painting
Before you start painting, attach some clean towels to a sanding pole and dry wipe the sides and floor of the pool to catch any oils, dust, or debris that might be present.
Now you are ready to paint.
Start with mixing a few gallons of epoxy paint as per the instructions on the can.
Be sure to remove any features of the pool that will not be painted and tape off the coping area of the pool as well.
Pour the mixture into a five-gallon bucket that includes a paint screen.
You can start painting once the morning dew has evaporated from the pool area. It is best to start in the morning.
With your helper, start at the deep end of the pool and each person should take one side.
You’ll want to use long, overlapping strokes to fully cover the pool.
It should take no more than a couple of hours to fully paint the pool.
When the first coat is complete, allow for four to eight hours for it to dry.
Once it has dried, paint the pool again with the second coat using long, overlapping strokes. Allow the paint to dry overnight.
Step 7 – Filling the Pool
Although the second coat may be dry by the next morning, you will still want to wait from four to seven days before filling the pool.
Once it is ready, put the hose in the deep end of the pool and start up the water.
To protect the paint, be sure to filter the water so that the pH is above 7.4 and the alkalinity is above 100 ppm.
Let the pool fill slowly and fully before using it.
Once complete, your paint job should last for roughly five to seven years.
Now, get in and enjoy the new appearance of your pool.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.