Remove Calcium Deposits From Tiles & Plaster

Calcium buildups are inevitable, as they can happen to any type of pool, sooner or later. While you can prevent its apparition, the tricky part is how to get rid of it. Depending on your pool structure and texture, the overall work can be tedious and time-consuming, especially if your pool has an inner lining made from tiles or plaster. But fear not, as we’re here to help you out. This article offers information on how you can remove the buildup on your own, without professional help.

What is Calcium Buildup?

To combat it, you first have to know what it is and why it appears. Surely by now, you’ve noticed that white layer – or grey-toned layer – that usually appears right at the edge of the waterline. Maybe you didn’t see it in your pool – good for you! – but at one point even a well-maintained basin will get a visit from this grimy layer.

Although employing the same process as the calcium from bathrooms or sinks, as this tends to happen when the pH concentration and alkalinity levels are not kept stable, the removing procedure differs. Additionally, depending on its severity, you might have to deal with an easier form or with a more serious type.

  • Calcium carbonate is the easy form. It forms fast, but it is also quickly removed. It usually takes a white-ish color in form and reacts with muriatic acid instantly, foaming.
  • Calcium silicate, however, is the serious form. It does take longer to form, but when it appears, it doesn’t stick to one place. If you have the bad luck of seeing this type of scale, it’s not only the pool that is affected – the pipes and overall system has a high chance of suffering from the same problem. It’s easy to identify it, as it has a grey-ish tone to it, and offers no direct reaction when in contact with muriatic acid.

Luckily, no matter which type of deposits you end up with, they can be removed. However, the method will differ according to what lining your basin has.

Tile-Made Pools

On these types of basins, the scale is easy to spot, as the affected tiles will have a paler color than the rest. Thus, you’ll be able to deal with it as soon as it appears, by following just a few steps:

  • Step 1. Prepare your materials. Before you start, ensure you have all the required tools around you, so you won’t have to waste time going after them. You can opt to use a rough sponge or a brush – the brush is preferred as it will ease your work – and a medium that can remove the calcium.
  • Step 2. Choose your desired cleaning solution. There are several options you can choose from.
    • If you’d like to chemically treat the areas, use acid-free chemical cleaners, as the acid might affect the lining in the long run.
    • If you’d rather opt for something more nature-friendly, a solution made from white vinegar and water works wonders on early deposits.
    • If you’re dealing with a hard crust, that won’t get loose no matter how hard you try to get it off, you can employ muriatic acid, as long as you respect the safety protocols for safe utilization of the product.
    • A pumice stone can also dislodge the hardened scale, but you’ll have to put a lot of work into utilizing it.
  • Step 3.Lower the water level, so the affected tiles will remain above water, giving you full access to them.
  • Step 4. Before you tackle the entire pool, try the desired option in a small area to see which one fits your style better. The pumice stone will require both the working surface and the stone itself to remain wet, to prevent possible scratches, whereas the formula might need a few seconds to activate once sprayed on the surface.
If the crust is old and won’t dissolve no matter the method utilized against it, you can try to gently knock it off with a small hammer. Gently tap on it until it cracks, and use a brush to remove the remains.

Plaster Basins

Calcium crystals are harder to see on plaster basins, as the pools tend to have a white color of their own. However, if you own a basin like this, you’ll have to pay close attention to it and inspect its surface regularly, since, on plaster, the calcium tends to spread faster. If left unchecked it can even reach the plumbing system doing severe damage.

  • Step 1. Drain the pool completely. This will ensure that no spots will escape the treatment.
  • Step 2. Depending on how badly the pool is affected, you can either employ an acid washing done by a professional crew or manually remove the spots with a pumice stone.
  • Step 3. If the areas are small, once you’ve removed the deposit, you can smoothen up the zone with sandpaper.
Professional companies utilize a ‘pressure wash’ method that ensures the problem is thoroughly removed and taken care of.

Final Thoughts

All in all, everyone might deal with calcium deposits at one point or another. Luckily, these deposits, if found in early stages, are easy to remove. Even more, if the upkeep is regularly maintained, with the pH and alkalinity levels closely supervised, the situation can be prevented. There are many ways in which you can deal with the buildup crystals yourself but will require time, energy, and lots of patience. If you don’t want to take care of them on your own, a professional team can come to your aid.

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