paint flaking off ladder


LifeTime Supporter
May 17, 2013
Lexington, Ky

I figure if it is stainless steel, I can/should just strip it & leave it unpainted.
So, how do I know whether it is stainless?

If it is not, what is your advice for repair? How to strip? How to paint so it lasts?

The pic with the exposed aggregate is just showing what it has always looked like there.
The hand rail on the shallow steps is also painted white, but it is not flaking off.
This is my 3rd year with an inherited pool.

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
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TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
Sacramento, CA
I'm not a paint expert but here are some thoughts.

You are going to have a hard time figuring out if its stainless. Quality stainless (304 for example) won't attract a normal magnet. But lower quality will.

I'd go to a couple paint stores and explain the problem see what they recommend and then test it on a small inconspicuous part of the ladder.

Remember when reinstalling the ladder to reconnect the bonding wire if there is one.


TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
western NY
My bet is that it is stainless as it is not showing any signs of rust in the pictures. It also looks like someone painted it without properly preparing the surface. The other possibility is aluminum. I doubt it though based on what the pictures show. As for the grade of steel, I know that pool ladders will use one of 3 or 4 grades of 300 series stainless. A lot of the 300 series stainless steels will not form well. (work hardening and cracking) The "lower grades" that qwegan mentioned are actually not low grade but are in fact a higher grade of stainless. They are just not proper for this application as they do contain a certain amount of carbon for both strength and toughness, These grades are usually in the 400 series range and are actually heat treatable. As such, the 300 series for the most part will not be magnetic and the 400 series will be
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