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Paint not always best for swimming pools

Q. Every year I repaint my 15-year-old, in-the-ground swimming pool, but within a few weeks it blisters. Then the following spring, when the pool is emptied and acid-bathed, the blisters chip and break. Both blue and white paint have been used. The pool company "rotoscrapes" the area to remove the blisters before repainting, but in this climate it has been unable to follow precisely the paint manufacturer's directions as to drying time. Further, the firm will not guarantee the paint job. I'm told it will cost at least $2,000 to sand-blast the old paint off. Do you have any reasonably priced suggestion? A reader Arlington, Va.

A. A properly plastered pool at the outset needs no paint. (To readers who own or anticipate owning an in-the-ground swimming pool, avoid applying paint over the plaster. It is not necessary and is counter-productive as witnessed by this inherited experience by the reader in Arlington, Va.)

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You have at least three options:

* First, install a vinyl liner. It can be easily placed with extruded strips. Get in touch with a pool-liner company for details and price. A liner is a fairly economical answer to the problem.

* Second, the next time you repaint the pool use a colored epoxy made by the Nelson Technical Coating Company, 2147 North Tyler Avenue, South El Monte, Calif. 91733, or equal.

As a rule, chlorinated rubber-base paint will stand up for two or three years , provided you follow the manufacturer's directions to the letter. Note: Any acid-wash residue must be totally removed by rinsing before repainting or the acid will attack the new paint.

An acid wash and thorough removal of any loose paint below will be necessary before repainting with epoxy.

* And third, the most permanent way to solve the peeling problem, albeit expensive, is to sand-blast the old paint down to be bare substrate. After acid washing and developing more "tooth," apply a swimming-pool plaster coating and leave it unpainted.

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