If you’ve decided to paint your swimming pool, you’re probably already a little overwhelmed by the task itself. It’s definitely a huge project that you’ll want to do right the first time around.
But aside from the project itself is the daunting task of choosing the paint and getting the right tools. Luckily for you, we’ve been around the block...or pool…a few times.
So to save you some time and headache, we’ve put together this little guide with everything you need to know.
8 Best Pool Paints
#1. INSL-X Waterborne Semi-Gloss Pool Paint
This INSL-X is one of my number one picks for pool paint for both price and quality. It does come in a few different colors — royal blue, aquamarine, ocean blue, white, and black.
Royal blue happens to be my favorite and probably the most popular. But you, of course, can choose whatever makes you happy.
You can’t go wrong with any of the colors, though, because it’s long-lasting and durable in fresh, or saltwater, pools. It’s also fast-drying and non-toxic, making it perfect for weekend projects.
This paint, like most, works best on bare concrete, marcite, gunite, and other masonry surfaces. But it can be applied over existing paint as long as it was pretty well-maintained.
#2. RUST-OLEUM Pool Paint
RUST-OLEUM is a trusted brand for any type of paint, and its pool blend is no different.
This paint comes ready-to-use and dries fast. It’s also cement-based, so it’s incredibly durable and long-lasting, providing an extra protective coating for your pool surfaces.
But aside from the quality, people like it for its striking blue color that’s sort of a medium sky blue.
#3. AdCoat Swimming Pool Paint
- Ideal for Residential and Commercial Pools
- Additional Uses in: fountains, water ladders, slides, holding tanks, aqueducts
AdCoat Swimming Pool Paint is actually a two-part system that creates an epoxy bond with the surface it’s painted on. The most unique component is the acrylic resin that makes your surfaces extremely durable.
Unlike some other paints, this one won’t quickly fade or turn chalky with sun, chemical, or saltwater exposure. It comes in standard white or cool blue, but can also be customized in other colors.
#4. Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant
- PROTECTIVE FINISH FOR - Flat roofs, metal roofs, sloped roofs, planter boxes, foundations, sheds, basements, metal, wood, concrete and more
- HIGHLY FLEXIBLE & DURABLE - Final membrane has over 1000% elongation preventing adhesion failure, and is UV Stable stopping the sun from degrading the product
This product isn’t technically a paint. Instead, it’s a weatherproof, waterproof sealant that will protect your pool surface from any kind of damage.
It’s also environmentally friendly and safe for pets and humans, even when applying. This is a great product for any pool surface, but is highly recommended for fiberglass pools that have started to crack and wear.
It’s applied just like paint and can be applied without special tools or fear of chemicals.
#5. Kelley Technical Olympic Zeron Epoxy Pool Coating
This is another product that’s more than just paint. It’s actually an epoxy pool coating that’s proven to be the longest lasting type of coating you can buy.
What makes this product popular is its easy one-coat process that goes on with a roller and lasts up to eight years. The color also stays brighter longer than some paints because of its glossy finish and extreme durability.
#6. RUST-OLEUM Swimming Pool Paint
RUST-OLEUM makes the list twice because it’s a great, affordable, and readily-available brand. This particular formula provides a super-protective coating and dries within just a few hours.
It’s made for concrete or other masonry surfaces, so it shouldn’t be used on fiberglass.
#7. Pond Armor Pond Shield
- Water proof formula suitable for use in a wide range of climatic environments from hot to freeze/thaw conditions
- Specifically designed for underwater use and to be non toxic and fish and plant safe
This product provides a durable shield of epoxy that stays tough in any climate.
It’s also non-toxic, making it ideal for ponds containing plants or fish. But this also means it’s safe for families or pets.
This particular formula was created with a self-primer, so you can apply it over virtually any surface without much preparation. It’s also fast-drying and easy to maintain.
#8. INSL-X Chlorinated Rubber Swimming Pool Paint
- Not compliant in the following area: VOC, OTC, ladco, SCAQMD & CARB
- Covers approximately 250-300 sq. Ft. Per gallon
What makes this product particularly unique is that it’s formulated to resist algae, fungus, and fading. And if you’ve ever had to fight off any of those things, you know what a headache it can be.
This paint just provides one more barrier of defense against it, as well as keeping your surfaces fresh, clean, and durable for many years to come.
When Should You Paint Your Pool?
When and how often to paint your pool depends on several factors.
One — What type of pool surface do you have? Cement, gunite, or other masonry-type materials are cared for much differently than fiberglass.
Two — How old is the pool and how long has it been since it was last painted and what type of paint was used? There are three basic types of paint — acrylic, epoxy, or chlorinated rubber, and they each have a different life-span.
Three — Is your pool surface starting to fade, chip, bubble, or crack? Some people choose to repaint their pools based on appearance alone, but you can also assess the damage to make your decision.
Peeling and bubbling paint is a sign that the surface wasn’t prepped properly to begin with. In this case, you’ll need to scrub and smooth the surface to repaint it as soon as possible.
Fading and stained paint can possibly be left alone for a while. It’s usually just a matter of appearance unless it is also starting to chip.
Chalky paint is a sign that your pool chemicals are too often out of balance. This will wear down your paint and cause you to have to redo it sooner than you might have expected.
While there are various factors that go into the decision, a good rule of thumb is to repaint your pool every 2-7 years, depending on the type of paint used. Some pool-owners choose to resurface instead of painting, but that is a much bigger and more expensive project.
Determine Your Pool’s Current Paint Type
There’s a reason we tell you to figure out your pool’s current paint type before repainting it. Not all paint types are compatible with each other and trying to combine them can be a disaster.
For example, you can use acrylic paint over chlorinated rubber paint, but not over epoxy. Doing the latter will give you results similar to using acrylic wall paint over oil-based paint. It won’t adhere well or last very long.
For the best results, always try to use the same paint that was previously applied. And to find out what that is if you don’t know, you can use one of the following tips offered by INYO Pools.
One method is to send a paint chip sample to a pool paint manufacturer. They can usually tell you very quickly what it is.
Another one is to put the chip in denatured alcohol. If it dissolves, it’s acrylic.
If the paint chip doesn’t dissolve in the alcohol alone, you can test it again by putting it into 3 parts mineral spirits mixed with 1 part Xylol for 30 minutes.
If the paint chip then dissolves in your hand when you rub it, it’s a rubber-based paint. If not, move on to the next test.
If your paint chip dissolves in 100%Xylol, it’s chlorinated rubber. But if it doesn’t, it’s epoxy.
Types of Pool Paints
Like we mentioned before, the three main types of pool paints are acrylic, epoxy, and chlorinated rubber.
Chlorinated rubber paints aren’t used quite as much as they used to be because there are more environmentally friendly options available now. But they’re still a good choice for durability and longevity.
Acrylic pool paint comes in premium and water-based.
Premium acrylic paint was designed as an alternative to rubber-based paints because it’s more environmentally friendly. It can be used on unpainted pool surfaces or pools originally painted with rubber or acrylic paint.
Water-based acrylic pool paint is the fastest-drying, but has the shortest life-span. It’s a good choice for pools that need to be used soon, but it will have to be repainted every couple of years or so.
Neither type of acrylic pool paint is ideal for fiberglass or gunite surfaces.
Epoxy pool paint is solvent-based. It lasts up to 8 years, which is a lot longer than acrylic paint. It can also be used on almost any surface, including fiberglass, gunite, and plaster.
Epoxy paint can only be applied where there is no condensation and can take up to two weeks to dry.
It also requires a much more intense preparation process on bare surfaces. They have to be roughed up and acid-washed for the paint to adhere well.
Lastly, we have rubberized pool paint. The great thing about this type of paint is how smoothly it goes on, transforming rough surfaces into softer areas.
In this category is synthetic rubber paint and chlorinated rubber paint. Chlorinated rubber paint is not as popular as it once was because there are more environmentally friendly options available.
But chlorinated rubber paint is not necessarily a product we recommend dismissing altogether. It does have it’s advantages.
For example, it provides an extra line of defense against algae and other nuisances. In areas where this is a bigger problem than others, this paint is still very popular.
However, rubber-based paint only lasts about 3-5 years, which is longer than acrylic, but a little shorter than epoxy.
Pool Paint vs Regular Paint: Is There a Difference?
It might be tempting to try to cut corners by using regular paint on your pool surface. After all, paint is paint, right?
First of all, even the most durable paint is not designed for constant contact and abrasion.
Take exterior house paint, for example. It’s designed to stand up to the elements and weather much longer than interior wall paint.
This might not sound much different than what pool paint is made for, but consider the fact that exterior walls are not immersed in water 24/7. They are also not walked on, scraped with pool toys, and dipped in chemicals.
Pool paint, on the other hand, is designed to hold up in all those situations. Not only is it waterproof, but it’s also resistant to chemicals, scraping, and other damage.
How to Choose the Best Pool Paint
In most situations, epoxy paint is the best choice for your pool. It’s the toughest paint on the market when it comes to resisting stains and holding up to abuse by chemicals and wear and tear.
But epoxy does take the longest to dry and requires the most prep work.
The next best and most popular paint type is acrylic. This is because it is non-toxic and fast-drying.
Do keep in mind that you’ll have to repaint often if using this paint, though!
And lastly is rubberized paint. This one’s ideal for rough surfaces that you don’t want to do a lot of prep work on.
As we said earlier, the type you use will depend largely on what is already there. And aside from that, try to go with pool paint brands you know and trust and read up on their ingredients.
5 Tips for Painting Your Pool
- Buy quality paint rollers. We recommend a ⅜” nap to keep the fuzzies out of your paint and get the best coverage.
- Take the time to prep. No matter what type of paint you use, it will always adhere better to a properly prepared surface. This means, scrubbing, rinsing, and acid washing when needed!
- Allow the paint to dry thoroughly. Be patient! Rushing the process will just lead to a botched job you’ll have to repeat.
- Pay attention to the weather. Epoxy and rubber paints will not do well in high humidity, and acrylic will take longer to dry.
- Tape off lights, drains, and fittings. It’s best to avoid getting paint gunked up in functioning pool parts.
Check out this guy’s YouTube video for a great lesson in painting a pool:
Pool Paint FAQs
How many gallons of paint should I buy?
This depends on a few factors, but this site has a great estimator. Basically, you’ll need to determine the square footage of your pool with the following equation: Length x Width x 1.7.
Then you can read the manufacturer’s directions for how much paint is required. Keep in mind that you’ll almost always need two coats regardless of the size of your pool.
How long does acrylic pool paint last?
Acrylic is the pool paint with the shortest life-span of all. It typically lasts about 2 years, but you might get a little more life out of it in an indoor pool.
How long does epoxy paint take to dry?
As long as there’s not a lot of humidity in the air, you can expect epoxy pool paint to dry completely in about 7 days. However, for indoor pools or humid conditions, drying time could be up to 2 weeks.
Can you paint a pool without draining it?
Some pool-owners are able to do small touch-up jobs without completely draining the pool, but for a new paint job, there’s no way around it.
Get to Work!
If all this still sounds a little overwhelming, you can always call a professional. But if you’re not afraid of a little hard work and have the time to spare, there’s no reason you can’t tackle this job yourself.
Just remember to choose the right paint, drain your pool well, and prepare your surfaces to give you a clean slate.