Mike the Poolman


Subscribe to Mike's Blog...

Protect Your Swimming Pool from the Top Step Pool Stain

January 26, 2017

Top Step Swimming Pool Stain Protection

Do you want to preserve the beauty of your swimming pool? Sometimes a peculiar brown stain appears on the top step or love seat of your pool.  These swimming pool stains are my pet peeve because they are 100% preventable! Top step plaster stains detract from your pool’s beauty. These blemishes are caused by using the wrong type of chlorine tablet floater.  The pool stain can be varying colors but most commonly is brown when it develops on white plaster steps and the stain is dark grey, light grey or rust colored when it develops on colored plaster steps. This stain is not the result of a plaster defect, it is the result of a standard floater resting on the step. If the floater sits on the step habitually the plaster will be severely etched and rough (and even chip) from the damage done by the powerful and corrosive chlorine tablets.

Swimming Pool Stains


Has your pool service allowed these stains to happen to your pool?

I find it especially bothersome when I come across pool service companies allowing this to happen because it is avoidable by using a deep or “tall” chlorine tab floater.” When a homeowner unwittingly does it it’s understandable but when you hire a “professional” pool service to manage your pool and they LET it happen I believe its negligent because they should know better, don’t care or are ignorant. How can they miss this common pool industry problem?! Amazingly, many pool techs still don’t realize that the floater is the cause of the stain! Ive seen thousands of pools since 1992 and Ive seen hundreds (if not thousands) of pools with these totally preventable stains and chips. I’ve seen them in so many pools it seems like it somehow has become an acceptable practice to allow it to occur.

This REALLY bothers me and I’m hoping my post will be shared

to help spread the word because it doesn’t have to be this way- swimming pool top step stains and etching are 100% preventable if you use a deep/ tall floater because it bounces off the top step and rarely gets caught on top of the step.

After twenty four years in the swimming pool business,  I have learned that a little prevention stops these stains before they start. Once these stains appear, it may  not be possible to get rid of them, but swift action prevents further damage.

What Causes Brown or Grey Top Step Plaster Pool Stains?

A chlorine tablet floater causes these stains on the top step 99.99% of the time. Chlorine tablets have a corrosive pH level of 2.8. In deep water this is fine as the chlorine dilutes quickly, but sometimes the floater ends up sitting on the top step and the powerful chlorine and low pH in shallow water is trouble for the plaster . Top steps stains are most common in geometrical pools since the floater gets caught in the corners and edges.  As pool water evaporates or gets splashed out, the floater ends up resting on the step. The corrosive chlorine then “burns” or stains the plaster on the top step.  That’s why you almost only see these unsightly stains on the top step of a swimming pool!


Top Step and Plaster Pool Stains

How to Prevent Top Step and Plaster Pool Stains

When it comes to your swimming pool, prevention is the best medicine. Use a deep or tall chlorine tablet floater to prevent these brown or grey top step stains.

The tall chlorine tablet floater bounces off the top step and rarely gets caught on top of the step (depending on the water level- if you have an auto fill it may be necessary to adjust it). This type of pool floater is a little more expensive ($5?) and saves your headache and money but not having to replaster sooner than needed.

A deep floater usually wont get stuck on the step. The floater bounces off the side of the step and keeps floating into the deeper water. Another option is to tether your floater so it never reaches your top step.


Standard Chlorine Floater That Causes These Top Step Pool Stains

Standard Chlorine Tab Floater

Use A Tall Chlorine Tab Filter To Prevent Top Step and pool Plaster Stains

Tall Chlorine Tab Filter

What Can You Do If You Already Have a Stain on Your Swimming Pool Top Step?

If the staining or etching isn’t too severe, heavy sanding may achieve a satisfactory result.  Unfortunately however, often the only way to fully repair this type stain is to resurface your pool. Sometimes, a patch may provide poor camouflage but the damage is done.  I’ve tried many patches over the years with limited success, I  have yet to see a patch that restores a pool. Short of resurfacing, the best course of action is to prevent further damage.


Protect Your New Swimming Pool From Stains

I hope NEW swimming pool owners will take my advice. A little proactive action will protect the beauty of your pool.
Please feel free to share this article to help other pool owners protect their pools.

Contact Us