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Steps for a Stain-Free Salt Pool

Plaster in pools is nothing more than cement, usually white cement. And we all know that cement will do 2 things, get hard and stain. So, when it’s white cement and magnified under water, the last thing you want are unsightly stains. Plus, if the stains develop slowly over time, it may be too late to do anything about it when you notice them.

Metals in the tap water you used to fill your pool, leaves from surrounding trees and exposed rebar will all cause stains on your pool’s surface. But, salt pools have other sources for potential stains that traditional pools do not have to worry about. Material in the salt itself present a threat for considerable staining if you do not take steps to avoid it.

Traditional 100% pure salt has the same chemical make-up. But, pool salt is not 100% pure. There are impurities found in pool salt. Where the salt comes from and how it was mined has a lot to do with the impurities found. Iron, copper and Manganese are the most common items that are known to cause staining.

Even if you used the highest purity salt, adding it to the pool improperly will still cause staining, and worse. The impact of salt on plaster is minimal, if any, since the level is only around 3500 ppm. But, if the salt is added to a concentrated area and not brushed around, you can have a concentrated salt level of 100 times this amount! This level is high enough to dissolve the calcium carbonate in the plaster and weaken it. This can cause staining and even compromise the structural integrity of the pool.

Calcium carbonate will return to its insoluble state as soon as it contacts pool water with “normal” concentrations of salt (i.e., 3,200-3,500 ppm). As the calcium carbonate falls out of solution, it attaches to and discolors surfaces. This process is even more noticeable on pools with colored plaster.

In addition to using a high quality pool salt, make sure you wait 4 weeks after plastering and always add salt around the perimeter in the deep end and brush thoroughly. It’s recommended to run the pump 24 hours and add a stain preventer.

Having a high pH reading will speed up the staining process so make sure you are testing your pool’s water weekly and balancing it accordingly.

There are many stain removal products available that can be used in salt water pools. Some of the more advanced salt products also contain anti-stain agents. Make sure and avoid products that are phosphorous based as these phosphates are nutrients for algae and promote algae growth.