REVEALED: Best methods for pool tile cleaning

It's been a scorching summer, and you are having an end of summer party (after all, you do get Monday off for Labor Day). You walk outside to make sure the pool looks good, and you find white calcium build-up all over your tiles. It's Wednesday and the party is Saturday. You call your pool company and they can't get there until Monday. No problem. You run to your local pool store to grab a case of muriatic acid, a pumice stone, wire brush, and figure with a little elbow grease you can do it yourself. After 2 days, you have gotten 60% of it finished (still a little white residue remains), but now realize you need something better. What to do?

First, let me explain that calcium build-up on your tile can be a result of hard water, or high calcium in the water. Have your pool company check the calcium and TDS levels, as well as the water coming from your faucet. 

Second, let me say that while muriatic acid, pumice stones and wire brushes will help in the removal of some calcium, it definitely isn't the best. Trust me on this one...

That being said, at a cost of between $5.25-6 per linear foot, there is a much better, in fact the best, and quickest way to get the tiles so clean that you might just think you had the tiles replaced with brand new sparkling ones.

The 3 best methods I have found are glass bead blasting, salt blasting, and soda blasting. They use high output, low pressure stream to clean the tiles. 

1) Glass Bead Blasting uses a stream of ultra fine, perfectly round glass beads (about the size of a needle tip, 10 microns) to clean the calcium, oil and grit off the tiles and grout. Glass bead blasting is used primarily on Pebble Tec pools. The glass beads are easily cleaned up after the tile cleaning is complete, both on the deck and in the pool. It won't affect the balance of the water either.

2) Salt Blasting - uses Kieserite, (Natural mined mineral salt often compared to Epsom) that is shot at low pressure.  When the salt hits the surface it pops and this force is what frees the calcium from the pool tile’s surface. It is used on ceramic, sand stone and other tiles, (as well as on Pebble Tec, just not as effective). It's all natural and biodegradable and is pH neutral and is considered the new, safer way to clean tile. makes the tiles shine, as it polishes them as well.

3) Soda Blasting -  Soda blasting is similar to glass bead blasting, but uses sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda), a much softer media. Used on stone, ceramic and sometimes Pebble Tec. With the pH level of 8.3 (normal range of pH in pool is 7.2-7.6), it could cause high pH and total alkalinity levels could go up a bit in larger pools.

Companies like North Texas Tile Savers specialize in this type of pool tile cleaning in the DFW area.

My question to you is would it be worth it to spend $500-$750 (average cost) to know that your pool tiles will possibly look Brand New, especially when re-tiling the whole pool could run in the thousands? Let me know...

JT

Pictures supplied by Gary Wiley, owner and operator of North Texas Tile Savers... http://northtexastilesavers.com/