How to Restore Your Swimming Pool in 8 Simple Steps

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

It doesn’t take much for a swimming pool to look neglected. They require frequent care and maintenance to keep them in top condition, which isn’t always possible. If your pool is a little run down and you want to get it up and running again, you’re in the right place.

If, however, you’ve taken on a new property with a pool that hasn’t seen the light of day in years, you’re safer speaking to a professional. For those who are repairing a year or so’s worth of neglect, it’s possible to do it yourself. But get ready to roll up your sleeves and muck in with the dirty work!

Step 1. Clear out debris

Swimming pools attract all kinds of dirt, like leaves, mud and gravel. You must clear out any debris that won’t go through the filtration system by hand. It’s not the easiest task, especially if you can’t see to the bottom of the pool, but it’s a necessary evil. 

Use nets to remove surface debris and a pool vacuum for anything further down. You won’t get everything, but your filter stands a better chance if you get out as much as you can.

Step 2. Draining

Draining a pool is costly and time-consuming, but so worthwhile. Just make sure you budget for the water bill when you refill! Draining the water allows you to see the whole shell structure, so you can check for damage and carry out repairs. 

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Test the pH level of the water before you drain it. Certain places have laws to prevent you from draining large volumes of chemical-laden water that could cause harm to the environment. Speak to your local water authority for full details. Or, better yet, hire a professional to do it all for you. 

In a few cases, you might be able to salvage the existing pool water with chemicals. Make sure you keep testing the water and only get in when it’s totally safe. 

Step 3. Inspection Time 

If you’re uncertain about the structural state of your pool, seek help from a professional. They can fully inspect the shell while it’s empty to make sure it’s going to hold water safely. 

A stagnant pool can develop all kinds of issues. In some cases, you can get away with minor repair works or even a simple clean if you’re lucky. In more extreme cases, the shell will need replacing or rebuilding. 

Using a qualified pool inspector to determine what’s what requires some initial outlay, but it’s worth it. You don’t want to invest your time and money into restoring your pool only to find out it isn’t going to hold water.

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Step 4. Repair Leaks

For pools that only have a small leak or two, you can patch these yourself. Catching leaks early makes them easier to repair, so act fast when you notice any. They get bigger and more expensive the longer they’re left. Chlorinated water seeping through your surrounding garden is also a big no! 

Keep an eye out for dropping water levels, as this is generally an indicator of water escaping from somewhere.

Step 5. Clean or Replace Kit 

The equipment required to keep a pool running, such as a filter, heater and pump needs to be stored carefully when not in use. This doesn’t tend to happen when a pool is left to sit for a while, so you need to check them all carefully.

The filter is likely filled with junk, so clear it out and run it a little. Keep clearing and running until you establish if it’s salvageable. In some cases, you’ll need to replace the filter with a new one. 

Clean and test other parts to see if you can rescue them. If not, you’ll have to source replacements. It’s worth keeping an eye out for any solar power parts to keep the running costs down. 

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Step 6. Clean the Pool

When you’ve got a safe and watertight pool shell, it’s time for the dirty part. Put on some old clothes, grab a pool brush and get into the pool for some cleaning. 

Good old-fashioned elbow grease is the best way to remove dirt and algae. You want the pool as clean as possible to get the best water quality when you fill it.

Algae is harmless and expected in a pool that’s sat stagnant for a while. It’s when you find mould growing that you’ve got a bigger issue. You need to find the root cause and stop it in its tracks, so it’s best to get a pro in for this. 

Not sure if it’s mould or algae? Various companies offer a free inspection, so sign up for one and find out what’s growing.

Step 7. Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

To keep your pool looking sparkly clean when you refill it, apply a fresh coat of swimming pool paint. It’s important to use quality paint that can withstand constant contact with water and chemicals. 

Check the type of paint you need for your pool. Rubber-based paint has some flex in it, so it doesn’t crack with subtle movements. It’s best for concrete and fibreglass pools. 

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Epoxy paint is hard-wearing, but you need to give it time to cure. It works well on primed fibreglass, primed metal and concrete pools. 

Seeing as you don’t want to paint your pool more often than necessary, choose a trusted paint manufacturer for advice or to purchase products from. 

Step 8. Refill and Relax

The final step is to refill your pool. There’s no quick fix for this, it’s a case of waiting for it to fill. A garden hose is a perfectly good way to fill a swimming pool, but expect it to take anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on the size of the pool.

When it’s full, add your chemicals and test the water. As soon as it’s safe, it’s time to grab your swimsuit, dive in and relax!

Swimming Pool SOS

When it comes to restoring your swimming pool, there’s no magical fix. It requires some serious time and effort on your part, but it’s worth it in the end. 

As you’re looking after a large volume of water and chemicals, don’t take any risks. If you’re unsure about anything, call a professional for help. Other than that, get ready to enjoy a cooling dip on a hot sunny day, and maybe a pina colada to match!

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