How To Remove Paint From a Concrete Pool Deck

Painting a concrete pool deck is an ideal method of protecting the underlying concrete from harsh weather while also boosting the aesthetics of the pool area. However, after some time, the paint can fade, begin to chip or get stained, thus requiring new paint. But how do you remove paint from concrete?

The most effective way to remove paint from a concrete pool deck is by using chemical solvents to soften the paint before scraping it off. To remove paint that’s already chipping away, you can use standard cleaning methods or a pressure washer to scrape off older coats of paint.  

Read further for a detailed description of how to remove paint from a pool deck.

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1. Wear Protective Gear

Before you begin the process of stripping paint off your concrete pool deck, it is advisable to wear protective gear. This is because the removal process involves using pressurized water and chemicals, resulting in the emission of paint and chemical fumes. 

The list of gear you should have includes gloves, protective eye goggles, and a respirator to avoid direct contact with chemicals or fumes inhalation. Moreover, you should wear clothes made from tough material, ideally overalls, but this can also be a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of trousers. 

You should also wear closed-toed shoes with appropriate treading to protect your feet from the stripping chemicals and avoid slipping or falling. Lastly, you should have a first aid kit on standby in case an accident occurs.

2. Empty and Clean the Deck

Once you wear the protective gear, remove everything from the deck that might hinder the cleaning process. This includes deck furniture, pool toys like a mini basketball hoop or volleyball net, and pool supplies like the skimmer net. 

Next, you should clean the pool deck using a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove dirt, dust, and debris like fallen leaves or food particles.

Before resorting to the use of chemicals to help remove the paint, consider using regular cleaning agents. For instance, you can use warm water, ordinary soap or detergent, and a wide-wire broom to scrub the concrete surface. 

Based on the condition of your pool deck’s paint, the scrubbing could remove some or most of the paint, negating the need to use the chemical removal process.

3. Use a Pressure Washer

If the standard washing method does not remove the paint, you can use a pressure washer to loosen or remove the paint layers as follows:

  1. First, you need to attach a 15-degree stripping nozzle to the pressure washer. Any nozzle with a higher degree will not produce adequate water pressure to help strip the paint.
  2. Proceed to spray the parts of the pool deck where you want to remove the paint using the pressure washer. Again, depending on the condition of the paint, the pressure washer can strip it off. If this is the case, continue spraying without applying chemical agents. 
  3. Lastly, when spraying, ensure to use the nozzle to direct the flow of the stripped paint away from the pool’s water.

4. Apply Stripping Chemicals

If the pressure washer does not get the paint off the concrete pool deck, you can resort to using a chemical stripping solution. However, before buying the stripping solution, determine the type of paint used on your pool deck since some stripping solutions can only help remove specific kinds of paint, like water-based paint. In contrast, others remove both water- and oil-based paints.

It would help if you began with the least corrosive and most environmentally friendly chemical solvent, like a citrus-based chemical. Such a chemical will protect the plants and soils around the pool deck while emitting a weak odor. Follow the below steps:

  1. Using a brush or broom, apply a layer of the chemical solvent on the concrete pool deck based on the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  2. Let the solvent penetrate the paint for as long as recommended. Once the time lapses, the paint will begin to wrinkle and chip.

If your pool deck’s area is small, you can use a scraper or wire brush to remove the paint. Nonetheless, you should be careful while scraping to avoid damaging or chipping away some of the underlying concrete. 

For larger areas, use the pressure washer to hose off the paint and the stripping chemical while directing the runoff away from the pool.

5. Solutions for Stubborn Paint

Ideally, the first application of the chemical solvent will soften all the paint around the pool deck. However, there might be several stubborn patches. Reapply the chemical solvent over the said patches and follow the recommended guidelines before trying to scrape them off.

Alternatively, you can use a different chemical solvent to soften the pool deck’s paint. Other solvents you can use include:

  • Turpentine 
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Other chemicals recommended for concrete surfaces

However, you should avoid using methylene chloride if possible. The product is fast-acting and effective but is also highly toxic when inhaled. You can also absorb it through your skin, hence the importance of wearing protective gear. 

6. Contain Run-Off

When stripping paint using chemical solvents, it is vital to ensure the chemicals do not spill into the environment. This is because the chemicals can affect the vegetation in your compound, resulting in discoloration, wilting, or death. Moreover, the chemicals can seep into the water table, affecting plants and other organisms in your area.

Therefore, it is integral for you to read the chemical containment guidelines on your local authority’s website. They will likely include placing a containment dam at one end of your property that is downhill from the pool deck—then directing all the run-off containing the paint, chemical solvent, and water into the dam. 

Afterward, you should neutralize the acid-based chemical solvents using an appropriate compound recommended by the solvent manufacturer. You will also need to seal the containment dam and dispose of the material while adhering to local regulations.

7. Using Alternative Methods

People who do not want a chemical-based paint removal process can consider sandblasting or soda blasting. Sandblasting involves spreading tiny particles over the concrete deck and using a blaster to scrape off the paint using friction. Unfortunately, this can damage the concrete. 

Soda blasting works similarly but uses sodium bicarbonate which is less abrasive and will not harm the concrete.

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Final Thoughts

Paint removal from a concrete pool deck seems like a challenging task. However, following the above guidelines makes the task significantly more manageable. Follow the steps keenly to achieve the desired results.