How to Remove Calcium Scale from Pool Tiles and Water

Michael Keenan


Pool Troubleshooting

Having a swimming pool is pretty great. But if you own one, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for a few things. When it comes to maintaining a pool, you don’t always need a professional. You can figure out a few things on your own and removing calcium scale in the pool is one such task.

Read on to learn about this type of scale problem and learn how to remove calcium scale from pool tiles and water easily.

remove calcium scale from pool tiles

What Is Calcium Scale and Why Does It Form?

This is the calcium deposit on the tile surface and it can be in the water too. Also called limescale, it is in a shade of white and looks rather chalky. Typically, it’s found on metal surfaces that come in contact with water. It also builds up on the tiles and plaster of the pool. It is also caused due to hard water.

When it starts to form, it looks like white foam on the waterline around the edge of the pool. Not to be confused with real foam – see my article about getting rid of pool foam – obvious surface foaming in the pool.

Act early – that is a good time to get the required equipment and take care of the situation as soon as you possibly can. If you don’t, it gets harder and your task gets all the more challenging.

This layer of calcium can clog the filters, damage the plumbing and erode parts like fiberglass, liner and grout. It also leaves ugly stains. It is a natural thing and there’s not much you can do to avoid it.

But there is plenty to do to keep it from destroying your pool. If you have a small pool and are into the habit of brushing it regularly, you can greatly reduce the amount of calcium in there.

There are two factors that can cause this phenomenon. One of the reasons it happens is because of the issues on the surface of the pool. The other is because of the water chemistry in the pool.

Regardless of the reason, you need to get rid of limescale or calcium scale to have a healthy pool.

How to Get Rid of Calcium Scale?

Thankfully, this is not the toughest thing to do when it comes to the aspects of maintaining a swimming pool. There are three ways to rid your pool of calcium scale.

Option 1: You could use muriatic acid to wash it off the surface of the pool. However, you must use some precautions so as to not damage the surface.

Option 2: You could use white vinegar and a brush and your pool will be free of the otherwise useful mineral. In fact, this is one of the best ways to clean your pool without damaging the tiles. You must remember to drain some of the water in the pool.

Option 3: You could get a pumice stone to get rid of the calcium that has formed on the plaster of your pool.

If you don’t really like your choices and are thinking of skipping the step altogether, remember that calcium, while looking white and harmless, can cause long-term damage to your pool. So, pick the method that is most convenient to you and get started on it.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Now, before you jump into removing the calcium, here are a few things you want to buy. If you already have all or even some of them, well, you’re already doing a good job.

  • A test kit to check the chemical levels in the pool.
  • A brush to clean the surface of the pool.
  • A cleaner or calcium scale remover for the surface.
  • A putty knife in case you need to scrub some of the hard stuff away.
  • A stiff-bristled brush for stains that are not so stubborn.

Types of Calcium Scale

Now, you should know that there is more than one type of calcium scale before you get the acid and spew it all over the pool.

There’s calcium carbonate which is the most common type and messes with the pH levels of your pool. If the levels are high, the calcium goes from solution form to scale form.

Then there’s calcium silicate which looks a bit more grayish and is relatively tougher to get rid of. This is caused by high pH levels.

Calcium Scale Removal

Now, this is not something to lose your mind over. What you need is to keep an eye out for the scaly formations and invest some time into maintenance before any real damage is done. And we’re here to help you with that.

Remove Calcium Scale on Pool Tiles

Removing this scaly stuff is different for different surfaces. So, let’s start with the tiles. You can’t just use any old acid on the tiles because they can be sensitive.

First, you need to reduce the levels of water in the pool. It’s best to siphon some water out with a garden hose. Then, spray some white vinegar on a small area and leave it for about 30 seconds.

Take a scrub and try to get rid of the calcium scale to figure out the amount of effort that awaits you. Ideally, you shouldn’t let it get to a point where the vinegar is not enough. Because then you will need to use muriatic acid on the tiles and it’s not the best way.

Muriatic acid is a chemical sometimes used as an alternative to using cyanuric acid to lower the pH of the water. It is a much stronger acid than cyanuric and for this cleaning purpose is a good fit.

But if you have to, here’s how you do it. The proportion should be three parts of water and one part acid. Mix it in a five-gallon bucket and let it bubble and emit some fumes. That’s just how it works.

So, don’t worry. You can use a watering can to get this solution to the pool and slowly distribute it one section of the pool at a time.

Depending on the stubbornness of the scales, use a brush, putty knife or a pumice stone to remove the scale from the pool tiles. You could also hire someone to do this for you if it gets challenging.

Other elements can cause pool stains. I have a guide on removing copper from pool water – it explains how high levels of copper can cause corrosion and staining in your pool. Have a read when you have time.

Remove Calcium Scale on Plaster

On the plaster, you can pick up the pumice stone and get to work. It shouldn’t be tough to get rid of the stains because here it is likely to form in crystal form instead of scales.

You could also try the acid technique if the stains are stubborn. This is less worrying because the plaster surface is a bit tougher to damage when compared to the pool’s tiles.

In Conclusion

Of all the things you need to do to keep your pool a healthy and fun place for you to hang out, getting rid of calcium scale is perhaps the easiest. But neglect it and you will find yourself floating around in a water body with weird white-ish deposits all over.

There’s nothing more unappealing than an ugly body of water. This is just one water issue you can face – have a look at my guide on how to clean up green pool water for another.

Calcium deposit is just one of the things that must be prevented when it comes to maintenance. And it is actually one of the easier things to do. You can even do it without really draining all the water.

But it is advised that you do with the rest of the cleaning. So that you don’t end up draining pool water multiple times. That’s just a waste.

The best way to keep all of this in mind is to create a pool maintenance calendar and mark out the tasks that you need professionals to help you with and those that you can manage on your own. Pair them up in a way that is most convenient and efficient. Happy cleaning!

Last update on 2024-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

michael keenan author

Author - Michael Keenan

I'm Michael Keenan the owner and creator of the Outdoor Care Guide. I'm a trained horticulturist with over 30 years of experience in pool care, plant care, and landscape care! Seemed like a good idea to share - I think I can make your life easier and save you some time and money!