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.
This type of paint will last up to 7 years.
It is strong, durable, and comes in many vibrant colors.
The downside is that epoxy paint requires a solid 7 days of precipitation-free weather.
Otherwise, it will not stick properly.
If you cannot rely on a week of no precipitation, you may try acrylic paints which can be applied to damp surfaces.
The only downside is that acrylic paint does not last nearly as long compared to epoxy paints.
When buying, make sure you will need to purchase enough for two coats, so this means you will need to measure your pool.
Include the floor, sides, steps or ladders when you make your measurements.
Besides the right paint for the pool, 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 gel coat.
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, slides, steps/ladders, 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 double-check 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.
Can You Paint a Mural Inside Your Swimming Pool?
Given how many swimming pools have the plain, white paint that is so familiar, it can be quite stunning to see a beautiful mural in its place.
Underwater art is more than an aesthetic choice, it can be an expression of your personality that really garners attention from family and friends.
Murals are one of the more popular choices for underwater art because it can convey so many themes all in one setting.
The vivid colors, overall size, and details make the perfect way to decorate the bottom of your pool that will make it really stand out.
Some of the more popular themes for murals include but are not limited to the following…
Flower themes are quite popular to add a natural look to your pool.
You can choose flowers from the tropical variety such as Anthurium or Hibiscus.
Of course, you can also choose whether to use vibrant or subtler colors in creating the flower theme.
If you want to create the illusion of greater depth, then you can use this simple method of painting light blue along the top of the sides and gradually darken the color when you reach the middle.
Creating a deep blue hole will create the feeling of additional depth that will entrance visitors and especially kids.
One of the most popular of all underwater murals is to create a coral reef.
You can populate the reef with tropical fish, grasses, plants, and even a treasure or two.
However, it does require considerable skill, experience, and talent to do the job on your own.
You may want to hire a professional or at least get some assistance.
Put down a base color and then splatter contrasting colors on top using a brush or sprayer.
You can mix and match colors as you choose, but light blue does look stunning over black.
But if you prefer a white base layer, then green or pink may be a great choice.
The characters will naturally be sea or ocean-oriented which often involve mythical figures such as the following.
- Marine Life
These will provide many hours of fun and pleasure for the kids as they play in the pool.
Plus, you can make the designs more appealing to adults by adding mythological figures from underneath the waves.
f) Emblems & Icons:
Whether you run a motel, business, or just own the pool in your backyard, you can employ a simple icon or emblem to put at the bottom of your pool that may include one of the following.
- Logos or Brands
- Images of Products
- Pop Art
How to Prep and Paint Underwater Swimming Pool Murals?
Once you have made sure what theme you would be painting, sketch out exactly what you want before you start painting.
Also, choose the type of paint that works best for your needs.
Remember that you can use acrylic paints which will work on a wet surface.
Plus, you would need to cover the pool to prevent any light rain from getting through.
Also, you need to follow these prepping steps for painting murals inside your fiberglass pool.
- Drain the Pool
- Acid Wash the Pool: Be sure to rinse and let the pool dry
- Check Weather Reports: You should try for a week of dry weather
Now, before you start with painting, make sure you have enough white paint to cover the area properly.
Then, add the paints of different colors based on your sketch to ensure you have what you need.
- Large Rollers
- Small Rollers
- Large & Small Artist Brushes
- Several Painter Buckets
- Mixing Sticks
Once you have the materials, lay down the base coat of white paint.
Let it dry and then start on the mural.
Depending on the complexity of the mural, it may take several days for you to complete.
Be sure to sand the areas lightly on the base coat before you start painting the mural.
When is the Best Time to Paint Your Fiberglass Pool?
For many, it may seem that spring is the best time to paint an outdoor pool.
With the temperatures warming and summer just around the corner, it’s not surprising that spring is a popular season to paint the pool before it is filled.
However, spring in many parts of the country is quite wet.
In fact, spring is arguably the wettest season of the year which makes it much more difficult to paint the pool and have it dry properly.
Add to this the unexpected bouts of cold air and this provides plenty of issues when trying to paint an in-ground concrete pool.
So, it’s not surprising that fall has become more popular in terms of painting the pool.
Once the pool has been drained and cleaned for the year, you can paint it in the fall while the temperatures are still reasonably warm.
Plus, autumn has less precipitation compared to spring which makes it easier to find a solid week of weather.
The best month is probably September.
It’s a month that still has warm temperatures, but the humidity levels are lower.
Plus, there is less rain and precipitation as compared to October.
Also, the leaves have yet to fall from the trees which is one less worry about painting your pool.
The Bottom Line
That is all about how you paint your fiberglass swimming pool and the mural on the inside of your pool.
Remember, the better you plan, the more your pool will turn out the way you want.
While acrylics can be used at any time of the year that is most convenient, if you want the best results choose the epoxy paint for the job and schedule your painting for September.
That should provide enough time for you to paint the pool after the kids go back to school.
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.