As well as sanitisation (i.e. chlorine levels), you also need to chemically balance your pool water. The chemical balance of your pool is made up of:
- pH (acidity/alkalinity level)
- total alkalinity (TA)
- calcium hardness
Obviously your goal is to maintain a pool in which your water is balanced. However, it is important to keep an eye on it as it may be in balance one day and then it won’t be the next (i.e. this could be caused by lots of rain, topping up the pool water with tap water, high bather load etc.). You should monitor your chlorine and pH levels at least once a week, or every day if your pool is in high use. Total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels can be monitored less frequently. You should test for Calcium Hardness levels when your pool is first started up and at least twice a year after that.
Corrosive water – corrosive water is caused by the following factors: low pH, low calcium hardness and/or low Total Alkalinity (TA) or a combination of these factors. Corrosive water will reduce the strength of the grout and tile adhesive which may cause the tiles to fail down the track. Corrosive water also affects the longevity of pebble or render pools. Therefore, regardless of which interior finish you choose, it is important to maintain correct water chemistry, as damage caused by corrosive water can be very expensive to rectify.
Scaling water – scaling water is caused by leaving the pool water with a high pH or high calcium hardness or high Total Alkalinity (TA) or a combination of these factors. As a result a calcium scale can deposit over the pool interior surface and internal pool fittings. If left to harden, this scale can be difficult to remove. Sometimes the only option to restore water balance is to discard some of your pool water and refill with fresh water. N.B. Most home pool test kits don’t test for calcium hardness so you need to take a pool water sample to your pool shop for testing. You should test for Calcium Hardness levels when your pool is first started up and at least twice a year after that.
Maintaining correct water chemistry is essential to maximize the life of your pool interior. Please consult your local pool shop or mobile pool service professional for advice and assistance with rebalancing your pool if the water has become corrosive or scale forming.
A quick internet search will provide plenty of detailed information on pool water chemistry and show you that water can be corrosive, balanced or scale forming. Please also consult your local pool shop or mobile pool service professional for advice and assistance with maintaining a balanced pool.
Yes you can but it is not a good idea to leave a concrete pool with an interior finish empty for lengthy periods i.e. over 3 days as this may expose it to significant temperature variations for which the tile adhesive, grout and pool interior may not be designed to withstand.
The Pool Tile Company recommends that all natural stone be sealed as soon as the stone is sufficiently clean and dry after installation.
Tip: Always consult qualified professional cleaning and sealing company who will be able to give advice on the most appropriate products to use, given that no two projects are identical.
South East Queensland
Here is a listing of cleaning/sealing guys you can contact for a quote:
Area: Ballina, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast
Company: Coast Clean and Seal
Contact Person: John Tindale (0400 828 785)
Area: North of Brisbane
Company: Aqua Finish
Contact Person: Damien Alig (0408 108 407)
Area: Gold Coast, Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast
Company: Aqua Barrier Coatings
Contact Person: Ron Cook (0412 474 874)
NOTE: Customers outside of this area should consult cleaner/sealer manufacturer who will be able to give details of accredited applicators locally.
Using a professional cleaning and sealing company enables you to receive a warranty on the work completed. The length of the warranty varies depending on the products used.
If you’d like to do the cleaning and sealing yourself, we have product information from four of the market providers. Other products/manufacturers are available.
For additional information on the various types of natural stone and their care and maintenance please refer to this guide.
There are many ways you can maximise the longevity of natural stone. The aggressive environment of a swimming pool requires some special attention and consideration:
1. Natural stone should be sealed following installation with the appropriate sealer. All exposed surfaces, including the underside of the coping that hangs over the edge of the pool must have adequate sealer applied, which varies depending on porosity of the stone. All surrounding stone should be grouted. To protect your investment, it is recommended that resealing occurs every 2-3 years to mitigate the water ingress into the stone. Professional approved applicators follow key guidelines to ensure that the stone is correctly cleaned and sealed that may facilitate longer intervals between resealing. Resealing is required when the stone allows water to rapidly penetrate, giving a wet darkened look. Most penetrating sealers are semi breathable thus some water ingress does occur over time, however the water penetration is greatly reduced.
2. It is recommended that pool owners keep the water level 100mm below the pool’s coping. To help you do this, fitting an overflow pipe will ensure the water doesn’t get to high. Some coping that is semi submersed in the swimming pool’s water is susceptible to damaged caused by salt attack. Salt will detrimentally impact all sealer resins allowing water ingress into the stone. If you observe the pool coping appearing damp due to high water level, lower the water level to prevent water wicking into the stone and potentially causing damage.
NB. If you are considering a 'Grande' style natural stone coping, you should mention this to your pool builder in case he needs to revise the height of the skimmer box to enable the water level to be kept 100mm below the coping.
This does not apply to porcelain tiles which, given their negligible porosity, are immune to salt attack.
3. Remove staining matter quickly before it penetrates into the stone. Sealing does not make Natural Stone ‘stain proof’ but it gives a window of opportunity to remove the stain and facilitate easier cleaning of the stone. If stone is not sealed some regular household stains may be difficult or impossible to remove.
4. Use a pH neutral cleaner for regular cleaning and maintenance for the stone. Avoid using acids or strong alkali products to clean as these will reduce the effectiveness of the sealer and may damage the stone.
5. It should never be necessary to Gerni or pressure wash the stone.
6. Hose the stone down with fresh water (mains pressure only) after every session.
Yes, we recommend sealing of all natural stone products. Sealing does not make Natural Stone ‘stain proof’ but it gives a window of opportunity to remove the stain before it penetrates into the stone. Sealing also helps protect it from salt attack and pool chemicals. Also, many types of stone contain small amounts of minerals that may oxidize when exposed to the air and cause small tea like stains on the surface. Although these stains will disappear naturally over time, sealing can prevent them from occurring.
Not really, the most difficult job about sealing is the cleaning prior to sealing. For this reason it is best to stay on top of keeping your paved areas cleaned and sealed. We have recommended cleaners and sealers for each type of paving material we sell.
Absolutely. Sealing is very easy to do. After cleaning the stone and allowing it to dry completely, two to three coats of sealer are usually applied with a garden sprayer or lambswool applicator, leaving a couple of hours between coats. In general, we recommend a ‘penetrating & consolidating’ type sealer that blocks the pores in the stone but doesn’t change the appearance of the product. This product does not need to be removed prior to resealing. Surface sealers are not recommended as they can decrease the slip resistance of the stone and may go milky when wet.
This depends on the type and quality of sealer used. In general, most sealers last two to three years depending on the type and brand. You need to reseal when you notice that it takes longer to dry out after it gets wet and/or water doesn’t bead on the surface.
No, we do not recommend sealing stone on water features as the constant water running over the stone can cause the sealer to look milky (i.e. white in appearance), which is unattractive, particularly on dark stones.
Yes you can but they generally need to be thicker in height than our standard products to stand up to the greater movement. The thicker the product, the more expensive it is to buy but they can be custom ordered if you can afford to wait 8 – 14 weeks. The vast majority of professional layers only pave onto a concrete base. This eliminates the risks of movement and weeds.
This is not uncommon. According to the Australian Stone Advisory Association, this is often caused by moisture percolating through concrete (in this case, the pool shell and/or surrounding slab) from which soluble alkali salts are leached. The salts are then carried by the moisture through the stone, where partially oxidised organic matter is picked up. This is then transported to the surface of the stone, where it is deposited as a stain as the moisture evaporates. It does not harm the stone, and if left alone the stain is removed naturally by the elements, usually in the course of a few months.
This is a natural reaction in a natural product and it is completely beyond our control as to when and where it may occur. If you wish, you can speed nature along by having the stone professionally cleaned and then sealed.