Rusty Pool Walls
In all, an above ground pool is a very worthy investment. Where else can you have decades of fun for such a small amount of money. However, eventually your investment may need may need some additional help to keep delivering the good times. It would likely last forever if it did not eventually succumb to corrosion, this includes aluminum pools and pool walls too.
Regardless of the type of metal your pool is constructed of, it going to happen to most every above ground pool owner sooner or later. I am referring to the discovery you find when it comes time to replace the liner in your above ground pool. You dig and and upon the liner’s removal you discover rust on the inside of the pool wall. Your heart sinks at the thought of not being able to use your pool again or the possibility of having to spend money to replace it.
Both are very possible conclusions, but more times than not the rust isn’t that far advanced. Lets dive into the various degrees of rusty pool wall and top rails to help determine your next move.
Examining The Rust
Before you spend money on a new pool liner and liner accessories like wall foam, pool floor padding or cove, lets get a good look at the entire pool wall from the inside. The first thing to do is to cut out the old pool liner to you can examine the pool wall closely. You must examine the pool wall from top to bottom and all the way around. It is important to know the extent of the damage. Ultimately this will determine if you can repair the wall or need to replace it.
The tools required for the exam are simple. You will need some type of scraper to remove flaky rust and a screwdriver or pick to poke at the sheet metal wall. Other helpful tools would be a spray paint, wire brush and safety goggles and gloves for safety. The object here is clear away the corrosion to see how far the rust has progressed. Scraping or brushing off the surface so we can get down to the remaining hard metal. From there poke at it with the pick or screwdriver pick to see if it will pass through the pool wall. We are simply trying to find the holes in the wall. In addition, I prefer to spray some paint onto the rusty wall areas as I go. The reason is so I can mark and see more clearly the true extent of the damage.
Summing It Up
Once I have done this it is time to sum up the damage and determine the proper course of action to take. In most cases the rusted pool wall is just surface rust and a simple scraping or brushing will remove the corrosion. This is followed up by repainting the inside of the pool wall with a rust preventive paint for outdoor metal applications. This is usually acquired at any hardware, auto supply or home improvement store and most often in a spray can.
For more severe corrosion this can become a calculated risk. If there are holes rusted through the pool wall toward the bottom of the pool, this is the most dangerous, as the water weight can cause the metal pool wall to rupture and tear open like a zipper. This is especially true with aluminum pools.
Not only can this be harmful to those in or near the pool at the time of collapse, but the water can ruin landscape or even run into a house causing furniture or floor covering damage. Not to mention the wasted expense of the liner and other pieces purchased for your recent liner change.
Wall rust near the top of the wall or around the skimmer are far less serious as there is less water weight and pressure exerted on the pool wall. These holes if small can be taped over from the inside without issue. More severe damage up high can be corrected with small pieces of metal taped or pop riveted into place over the holes. It may sound odd to tape over the holes, but remember that you are simply ensuring that the pool liner does not puncture on the rough edges of the rust hole.
What To Do Next
If your pool wall is rusted but salvageable, please see our detailed blog dealing with that issue. If your wall is beyond repair it will have to be replaced. This can be a complicated affair because your replacement pool wall must be the same exact overall length or within a couple of inches. Not all pool walls are the same length even coming from the same maker. This means if you have a 24 foot pool wall it is unlikely that just any other company’s 24 foot pool wall will be the same length and this is very important. Different makes and pool models even of the same size can vary drastically and purchasing the wrong wall will be an expensive and frustrating lesson. In the case where the wall has heavy damage, you are much better off purchasing a new wall and frame kit. This is simply an entire pool minus pump, filter, ladder and accessories. This may be costly but you are saving many hundreds of dollars by reusing what is still good from your existing pool.
More Rust Prevention Help
Read our blog on installing a new pool for helpful tips on preventing rust on your next pool installation.