Many clients are devastated after their pool is acid washed because no one told them that the surface would be permanently etched as part of the process. It can also leave blotches and streaks on the surface that nothing can fix.
Remember, acid washing is not ‘stain removal”, it’s ‘surface removal’. It works by using strong acids that etch and dissolve the smooth outer layer of your pool surface! Acid washing removes stains because the colored surface of the pool partially dissolves away during the acid wash. After a pool acid wash, many owners say that this process has left their pool surface feeling rough, blotchy and streaky.
Sadly, most regular pool stores lack experience and chemical knowledge in pool stain removal. Because of this, many pool stores will suggest acid washing when it is not required. In some cases, they even suggest that clients install a new interior to remove the staining! This is often because they simply don’t know what else to suggest. In most cases, we can chemically remove the stains without draining the pool. We are the experts in no-drain pool stain removal.
If an acid wash is not done properly, it is possible that streaks from the flow of toxic acid can unevenly etch parts of the pool surface permanently. Once these streaks appear, there is no way of removing them because the cement has been dissolved. Therefore, it is very important to know exactly what you are doing and be very careful when acid washing a pool.
Acid washing can be an effective way of removing pool stains but it should only be done if absolutely necessary. Sometimes there are situations where there is no other choice. However, if your pool is left empty for an extended period, the pool surface most likely will de-laminate (or separate) from the structure of the pool – particularly if your pool interior is over 10 years old. So if you are going to acid wash your pool, please refill as soon as you can because it may be damaged by exposure to sunlight and temperature differences.
Aside from treatment costs, an acid wash can be inconvenient and expensive. For example, to acid wash a pool alone costs between $650-$3,000 depending on the size of your pool. Also, the price does change depending on the severity of the stains. Importantly, this price does not include the cost of the city water needed to refill the pool. This is often around $100 for 10,000 Gallons of water from most cities. Finally, there is the additional cost of the salt, pool acid, stabilizer, and other chemicals needed to re-balance your pool water after it is refilled.
Remember, be careful with organizations that advertise super cheap acid wash prices. In some cases, these unethical contractors will approach you for more money halfway through the wash if the stains are not releasing easily. They will argue that extra time and materials are needed to remove the stains. A few years ago, we had one client pay over $2,500 for an acid wash when the actual price they agreed on was less than $900. This scenario can be a very stressful and uncomfortable situation for pool owners.
If you must acid wash your pool, we strongly suggest choosing a reputable contractor who has current liability insurance. This is because occasionally after draining the water, the sides of the pool can buckle, crack or lift out of the ground. Importantly, the damage from uplift damage is not repairable. So, to help prevent this from happening, most pools have a hydrostatic valve. This valve releases any water pressure under the pool. However, in older pools, these valves can sometimes seize up completely and block the water flow. This means that the water pressure under the pool becomes very high. So in these situations, when the pool is empty, pool uplift is a real possibility.
If this uplift occurs in your pool it is irreparable and will mean that an entirely new pool is required. This is because you simply cannot push the pool back down. You will require your contractors insurance to build an entirely new pool should this happen to you.
After being drained for an acid wash the hydrostatic pressure pushed this concrete pool out of the ground during refilling