The Stainless Steel in Our Pools

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Stainless steel is used in the manufacturing of many pieces of equipment found in institutional pools. Whether for lifeguard chairs, diving board bases, cable supports, ladders or starting blocks, stainless steel is a good choice because it’s strong, durable, and aesthetically pleasing.

Stainless steel is an iron-based alloy whose main property is corrosion resistance. However, although it is described as stainless, it is not free from the possibility of corrosion. Chromium is the essential element which, at levels above 12%, makes steel corrosion-resistant by enabling the formation of a passive chromium oxide film on its surface.

Over time, a layer of chromium oxide forms on the surface of stainless steel. The more polished the steel, the more uniform the oxide layer. Once this protective layer has formed, the metal is said to be passivated, i.e., its surface no longer interacts actively with the environment. As a result, new stainless-steel equipment with an unformed chromium oxide layer will be more prone to corrosion. Proper maintenance of new equipment is essential to avoid the formation of reddish stains, which compromise the chromium oxide surface and penetrate deeper into the metal if they are left to grow. 

Establishing a maintenance program is important to avoid rendering the chromium oxide film ineffective. A dirty surface is often your greatest enemy. All dirt, grease and evaporation deposits should be removed by washing the surface with fresh water (do not use pool water) and then wiping it dry with a clean cloth. Be sure to clean areas that are more difficult to access, such as the underside of platforms, starting blocks and lifeguard chairs.

Recommendations for regular maintenance

  • Plan a frequent maintenance program. For the first three months, maintenance should be performed twice a week.
  • After that, for the next 3 to 6 months, maintenance should be done once a week.
  • From 6 to 9 months, maintenance frequency should be once every two weeks.
  • From 9 to 12 months, the frequency should be once a month.
  • During the following year, the frequency should be once a month.
  • After two years of maintenance, the frequency can be once every three months.

Routine cleaning should be done using clear water, soap, and a soft, non-metallic cloth.

 What NOT to do

  1. Never use abrasives that could damage the equipment’s polished surface.
  2. Never allow stainless steel to come into contact with metallic materials other than stainless steel, such as bolts made of steel, zinc or other metals, as this will lead to contamination and/or corrosion.
  3. Never clean stainless-steel equipment with mineral-based products or bleach.
  4. Do not store stainless-steel equipment near chlorine or other chemical supplies.

 An increasingly popular alternative for our swimming pools!

Nowadays, more and more pool managers are choosing to have their stainless-steel products painted.

Unpainted equipment requires a rigorous maintenance program to prevent and slow down wear and tear. In contrast, the time needed to maintain painted products is negligible since only a simple rinse with clear water is required. This is another argument in favour of painting.

So, when purchasing new stainless-steel equipment, you can ask your supplier about the option of applying a polyester powder-coat paint finish. For used equipment, an assessment is required to determine the extent to which the stainless steel has been affected by corrosion. If the level is deemed acceptable, a thorough cleaning must be done before applying the paint.

It’s up to you to choose the option that best suits your needs!

is a corporate member of Recreation PEI.