A Guide to Choosing the Right Swimming Pool Paint

While there are many ways to protect a swimming pool and make it look aesthetically pleasing, painting offers an affordable and easy way to do so. In fact, painting a pool can even make a good DIY project for more energetic pool owners. Yet before emptying your pool and taking a trip to a paint store, it’s good to understand some essentials about pool painting and the best pool paint to use.

Why Paint Pools?

Basically, a swimming pool is just a hole in the ground with a finish that prevents water from seeping through the concrete or other base material and draining into the ground. That’s the main reason why inground swimming pools need a finish, whether it’s plaster, stone, tiling, ceramic, aggregate or paint. While painting also makes the pool look fresh and clean, certain painting techniques can also make it safer for swimmers.


Like any other paint job, it’s important to prepare the surface. This means heavy cleaning, and possibly even sanding to make the surface smoother. Painting over stains or scaling will only make matters worse; eventually these imperfections will show their ugly face again through the newly painted coat.

Bubbles or Blisters

Pool paint bubbles or blisters when the surface isn’t prepared properly. It needs to be applied to a mostly smooth, clean surface and, unless using acrylic paint, it also needs to be dry.

When to Paint

Timing also plays a part, as the hotter the temperature, the more likely it is to blister. Depending on the climate, the best time to paint is usually fall, or even winter. Painting during dry, cool weather will ensure the best pool paint coating.

Painting for Pool Safety

Pool paints make things slippery, so can cause safety issues. A new paint job can protect swimmers’ welfare.

Resolving slipping issues:

  • Mix some sand or soft rubbery particles into paint, using it on shallow parts of the pool, steps and any benches.
  • Scatter some soft sand over steps or other areas after painting.
  • For paint that’s already dried and cured, use an anti-slip spray or solution that adds texture to improve traction.

If using sand, don’t use more than about a quarter cup (60 ml) in or on the paint, as too much sand can make surfaces feel gritty and even damage skin.

Types of Pool Paints

Swimming pool paint has very specific qualities that allow it to weather water, chlorine and sunlight, while also being tough enough to resist deformation from heavy use. Three primary types of paint used include epoxy paint, enamel paint and acrylic paint.

Enamel Pool Paint

Enamel designates a paint that provides a decorative, glossy or shiny topcoat, designed to produce a durable, hardened finish. Though enamel paints originally were oil-based, water-based versions are now available. Original formulations for enamel paints included a type of modified polyester called alkyds, which have a similar consistency to oil paints, give the coating its hardened finish once cured and make it extremely durable. Because of its durability and aesthetically pleasing look, enamel paints often are favored for pools.

Epoxy Pool Paint

Epoxy coatings have specific chemical resins that form tough coatings that resist chemicals, solvents and abrasions, and which also adhere well to different types of surfaces. As a solvent-based paint, it can be used on pools with varying finishes, including for concrete and fiberglass. However, it works best on bare surfaces, or over surfaces painted previously with epoxy pool paint. The paint curing process also takes longer, up to a full week for outdoor pools and two weeks for indoor pools.

Epoxy pool paint comes in two separate containers that require mixing before use. When looking at epoxy vs acrylic pool paints, the former better withstands automatic pool cleaners like Kreepy Krauly’s, sunlight and pool treatment chemicals.

A brief look at epoxy pool paint:

  • Covers approximately 500 2 feet (approximately 46.52 meters) per gallon (approximately 3.8 liters)
  • Fills hairline cracks
  • Lasts 6-8 years
  • More difficult to use
  • More expensive
  • Only recommended paint for fiberglass pools
  • Provides smooth finish
  • Smooths rough surfaces
  • Takes longer to cure
  • Thicker
  • When finished can make surfaces slick when wet

Acrylic Pool Paint

When it comes to epoxy vs. acrylic pool paints, the latter have largely replaced rubber paints, as they are affordable, apply easily, adhere well to multiple surfaces and dry quickly.

A brief look at acrylic pool paint:

  • Allows for either high-gloss (enamel) or eggshell finishes
  • Can apply on damp surfaces
  • Easy application
  • Works over other paints
  • Does not cover stains well
  • Dries and cures in as few as three days
  • Lasts 1-4 years
  • More affordable option
  • Requires no mixing
  • Will not fill rough surfaces
  • Works for concrete or plaster pools

The Best Pool Paint by Surface

Certain paints work better for different types of pool surfaces, or for painting over pool surfaces that have been previously painted. Not all paints are suitable for every pool surface.

The best pool paints for different surfaces generally are:

  • For concrete pools, acrylic enamel (2-3 years) or epoxy (5-8 years) are the best pool paints.
  • For bare plaster or marcite pools, epoxies offer the best value, though for rough surfaces an epoxy primer like Gunzite is advisable.
  • For fiberglass pools, epoxies are the best pool paints.
  • For steel or aluminum pools, epoxy paints are the best choice, though these require special a primer prior to applying the finishing coat.
  • For sandblasted pools made from either concrete or plaster, various epoxy or acrylic paints work, though choice depends more on specific needs; that said, epoxy pool paints will last longer.

Generally, acrylic-based pool paints should last 2-3 years, while epoxy pool paints should last 5-8 years. This depends on a number of numerous factors, however, such as climate, the type of surface and regular pool maintenance.

Contact Halogen Supply for the Best Pool Paints

With one of the oldest inventory catalogs in the swimming pool industry, Halogen Supply can provide the best pool paints for your needs. For any questions about pool upkeep, maintenance or which pool paint to use for your pool, please contact our knowledgeable and experienced staff today!