Tips for Sealing Around Salt Water Pools

Salt water pools are all the rage these days for both residential and commercial installations. Without question salt water is an improvement over chlorine, but even salt can have an impact on sealed decorative concrete finishes over time.

Once water splashed on the poolside concrete begins to evaporate, salt crystals form and adhere to the sealer surface. At the microscopic level, salt crystals are quite jagged in shape and begin to damage the sealer finish with repeated exposure. The question is what can be done to prevent the damage? Keep in mind that all our recommendations would also apply to chlorinated pools as well, especially the daily maintenance tips.

Here Are a Few Simple Suggestions That Will Make a Difference During the Summer:

  • Select a Satin Rather Than High Gloss Sealer: High Gloss Acrylic Sealers can create slip hazards when wet and are not appropriate for the pool deck. If you prefer a gloss, our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer is the best choice for the typical rough finished outdoor concrete.  An anti-slip grit product can be added to an acrylic sealer to reduce slip hazards if desired. For smoother concrete that has not been previously sealed, consider our DCI Penetrating Lithium Hardener Sealer. While this provides no gloss whatsoever to accentuate the colors of the acid stain, it is a one-time sealer application that need not be repeated over the life of the concrete. It’s also a highly salt resistant sealer that significantly reduces damage and discoloration caused by salt residues.
  • Having a Pool Party? Rinse Off the Deck Afterwards:  Salt water will damage concrete sealer over time but washing the deck off with your garden hose after extensive use will make a big difference in both sealer appearance and long term durability.
  • What Do I do if Salt Deposits Occur?: First, make sure the discoloration is due to salt water. Irrigation often leaves hard water deposits on concrete and often leaves a milky, powdery-like residue on concrete over time. Apply full strength vinegar to the affected area first to see if the material dissolves away after cleaning. If not, it’s time to get out the power washer to carefully clean off the salt residue from the surface without damaging the sealer finish. Wait until the concrete is completely dry to evaluate whether or not the cleaning was successful.
  • Time for a Reseal?: Most pool decks sealed with an acrylic sealer will need to be resealed every two to three years. Once the concrete is clean and dry, apply the sealer (spraying is always the best method) and allow to dry. Repeat. Two coats is always better than one with acrylic sealers. Most modified urethane, polyurea or polyurethane will require a light sanding before re-application so know what sealer you’ve used in the past before applying anything else.
  • Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space!
Salt water pool deck
Salt Water Deposits Pool Deck

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