Proper care and maintenance is crucial to the long-term appearance and performance of any tile installation. The following information outlines recommended products and techniques for the cleaning and sealing of most pool and exterior tile and is general in nature. Some projects may require the services of a maintenance professional.
Maintaining proper water balance and chemistry is critical for the prevention of mineral scale build-up in pools and water features. Water balance is calculated via the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI). The water’s LSI is a numeric expression of the water’s balance and takes into consideration multiple factors. When water is balanced the LSI equals zero and variation between 0.0 and 0.5 is considered acceptable. LSI levels greater than 0.5 may lead to water cloudiness and accelerated scaling (mineral deposits). Negative LSI levels may lead to corrosion of cement-based materials (e.g. plaster & grout) and metal surfaces. Pool water chemistry should be measured and maintained by a pool-maintenance professional.
Sealers are beneficial for natural stone, masonry (i.e. coping) and cementbased grouts. To protect porous materials and ease maintenance, seal installations with a high quality sealer. When sealing grout with impervious tile (porcelain or glass tile) use a low-residue sealer, which will ease application and not leave a sealer haze on the tile.
In general, there are two types of sealer: penetrating or enhancing. Penetrating sealers are designed to penetrate and protect porous materials without altering their appearance. Enhancing sealers are also designed to protect but will darken and enrich the color of the sealed material as well.
To help prevent calcium build-up and reduce maintenance on pool tile, apply a surface protectant, which can inhibit the bond of mineral deposits. Application of a surface protectant combined with regular brushing can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for chemical calcium cleaners and aggressive cleaning methods.
Pool tile should be brushed or scrubbed as part of a regular, weekly, pool maintenance program. Avoid the use of pumice stones or 50/50 brushes, which can damage tile surfaces.
To remove waterline scum and grime, scrub the installation with a nylon bristle scrub brush or a 3M White or Blue nylon scrub pad combined with a pool-safe degreaser, which will not promote algae growth.
To remove mineral scale, use a non-acidic calcium cleaner, which will not affect the pool pH. Do not use abrasive or acidic cleaners.
In cases of heavy mineral scale or neglected tile, media-blasting may be necessary. Media-blasting is a process in which an abrasive material is pressurized and shot at a surface to remove heavy deposits. This is generally performed by pool tile cleaning specialists through the use of portable mediablasting equipment. An array of blasting media is available, ranging from glass bead (aggressive) to baking soda (mild). Generally, baking soda or similar hardness blasting media (i.e. kieserite) is aggressive enough to remove scale but is safe for tile (including glass tile). As with all cleaning procedures, this process should be tested in an inconspicuous area to ensure the results will meet your expectations and not damage the tile surface.
Once media-blasting is complete, pool tile installations should be sealed, protected and regularly maintained per the other sections of this guide. NOTE: Always wear personal protection equipment, follow instructions for product use and protect surrounding surfaces when using cleaning or sealing products. Test all products in an inconspicuous area for desired effect.
WARNING Certain acids will damage tile glaze and iridescent glass tile. Consult the tile manufacturer for specific recommendations and warnings. Care should be taken to protect tile surfaces when using acids in the pool finishing process and when adding acid to the pool water. DO NOT allow products that contain hydrofluoric acid to come in direct contact with tile. In the case of accidental contact, neutralize immediately with baking soda and water (1lb: 3 gallons).
Quart Trigger Spray OCG-50-8577
An invisible, non-toxic, easy to apply surface protectant that inhibits the bond of calcium and other material deposits. Protected surfaces are easier to maintain and most deposits are removed with light brushing or scrubbing. This eliminates the need for abrasive or acidic cleaners and keeps your surfaces looking new, longer. Use on a variety of hard surfaces including ceramic tile, porcelain tile, glass tile, natural stone, windows, shower doors, metal fixtures, mirrors, tubs and sinks. Excellent for pools, ponds and rock water features. Dried product is safe for aquariums and marine life.
A low VOC, all-in-one color enhancer and penetrating sealer for both interior and exterior applications. Intensifies and enriches the color of natural stone, grout, concrete and other porous masonry materials. Forms a barrier that is resistant to water and oil and provides superior stain protection.
Through the discovery of a revolutionary water solvent blending process, High Performance Penetrating Sealer offers the convenience and safety of a water-based formula combined with the ease of use and performance of a solvent based formula. Hybrid Carrier Technology® is an evolutionary leap in sealer development.
Penetrates and protects grout, natural stone and other porous masonry materials. Forms an invisible, no-sheen barrier that is resistant to water and oil and provides superior stain protection. Low residue formula is specifically designed to be easier and faster to apply than traditional penetrating sealers. May be applied to dry, damp, cured or uncured grout or natural stone (seriously…immediately after grouting!).
Quart Trigger Spray OCG-50-1007
A 100% natural, plant-derived, citrus-based cleaner that quickly cuts through body oil, sunscreen and makeup, which can accumulate on pool waterlines. Designed for use with all types of pool tile and vinyl pool liners.
Most people don’t think about the chemicals they use to service their pool tile. However, many common pool tile cleaners contain toxic chemicals and aggressive acids, which can damage tile and pose serious health risks to users. At Oceancare we believe maintenance products should do more than remove calcium or prevent stains. With our low VOC sealers and all natural, biodegradable, non-toxic, acid free cleaners, Oceancare Products combine industry-leading performance with the ultimate peace of mind.