Calcium buildup on tiles

BB_Sacramento

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2015
63
sacramento/CA
I've spent days trying to remove calcium buildup from my tile. I used up 2 pumice stones. I tried a mixture of muriatic acid and water in a spray bottle, which seemed to help a little (very little) but also looked like it was eating the grout away too. I went to a Leslie's pool supply and they sold a product to me called Ultimate Rapid Scale Remover, which doesn't list the ingredients on the bottle. I watched a youtube video of someone cleaning pool tile and they used a razor scraper to scrape the worst calcium off, then used a product like Leslie's has, covered it with plastic wrap to keep the product from drying out, then the calcium came off easier when the plastic wrap was removed. I tried that and left the plastic wrap over the wet tile all night and this morning the calcium is no easier to remove. The pumice worked the best but it's ridiculously slow. The razor scraper works but it's about as slow as the pumice stone. I'm about to give up. My pool is about 16 years old and has never had the tile professionally cleaned and the grout is not flush with the tiles. I wonder - should I have the tile professionally cleaned AND have the grout redone together? If so, does anyone know the approximate cost of such a project? Or are those totally separate projects performed by different types of professionals?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,643
Laughlin, NV
I suspect the scale is not calcium carbonate. Have you used dry acid in the pool to control pH?

Soda or Kieserite blasting will take off the scale. Re-grout is also a possibility. Cost, really depends on the area. Call some pool builders and see if they do remodels.
 

BB_Sacramento

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2015
63
sacramento/CA
I've never used dry acid in my pool. I've attached a photo of what the tiles look like. You can see where I've scratched some of the calcium off on some of them. I've never heard of SR3 but I might look into that. I will call local pool companies also and ask them about remodel work.
 

Attachments

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,643
Laughlin, NV
OK -- so not so much on the tile but on the grout. That is evaporite scale. The pool water is wicked up the grout. I have the same issue, poor decision not forcing the pool builder to use Silicone grout.

It is not pure calcium carbonate as MA would readily consume it. Calcium silicate possibly?
 

BB_Sacramento

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2015
63
sacramento/CA
OK -- so not so much on the tile but on the grout. That is evaporite scale. The pool water is wicked up the grout. I have the same issue, poor decision not forcing the pool builder to use Silicone grout.

It is not pure calcium carbonate as MA would readily consume it. Calcium silicate possibly?
How do you deal with this issue on your pool? Do you use pumice stone?
 

wwtennant

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2015
39
Bellaire/TX
I know this is a bit of an older threat but curious if BB_Sacramento ever got any of the products to work properly or decided to get it redone? I have a similar issue on the wall that my waterfall goes over from the hot tub to the pool. I had the calcium blasted off in the past but it just comes back again.

I believe that the grout is fairly damaged and most of the "calcium" / minerals are actually being drawn out of the grout and concrete/cement behind the tiles and grout in the wall. Curious as to whether i should just bite the bullet to get the tiles removed and the wall patched, sealed and then the tiles redone with proper grout??

Photos attached show the calcium and the areas that the grout has pretty much disappeared...

Any thoughts would be appreciated as always from any of you knowledgeable folks!!

Thanks!!
InkedIMG_4552_LI.jpgInkedIMG_4554_LI.jpgInkedIMG_4550_LI.jpgIMG_4551.jpgIMG_4553.jpgIMG_4555.jpg
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,846
Chapel Hill, NC
Unfortunately, the tiles were butted up against each other instead of allowing 3/16" to 1/4" for grout. Grouting is going to be difficult to do properly - you may need to remove the tiles and redo everything.
 

BB_Sacramento

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2015
63
sacramento/CA
I spent a lot of money and time on my tile trying to clean them myself. The thing that worked best for me was using a hand razor scraper I bought at the hardware store in the paint section and manually scraped it off. It really hurt my hands. I got most of it off doing that, and my tiles aren't damaged. They're not perfect but they look good enough for now. I wish there was a power tool I could have used instead.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,571
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I had my waterline bead blasted, removing all calcium scale. Cost in my area is about $4 per linear foot (about $400 for my pool).