Polishing a pool ladder

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
0
Benton, KY
#1
The previous owner of my pool used shock to open and close the pool for the 5-6 years before we owned it. There are a couple bleached out spots on my liner, and my ladder has pitting and some rust. Well it had rust. I used a wire cup on my angle grinder and removed the rust and cleaned it up. I contacted SR Smith for part numbers for the plastic pieces and hardware which I will replace before the pool is opened in the spring. Has anybody ever cleaned/polished their ladder? What did you use to do so? I was thinking about getting a grinder/buffer for my garage this Christmas, but that idea has passed. I'm thinking about getting a Mothers Powerball to polish it with. Anybody have any better ideas?
 

Divin Dave

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
Oct 2, 2013
5,184
1
61
Longview, Texas
#3
Once you get the big rust off, 000 steel wool and some elbow grease works pretty good for taking the tarnish off of just about anything made of metal. It does quick work of it. Its pretty amazing how much you can make it shine.

Back in the day, Ive used 000 steel wool on intake manifolds, old dull and rusty motorcycle exhausts and aluminum head covers, and all sorts of stuff that I wanted to look like new... or as new as I could reasonably make it.

If your wire brush left big scratches, then you can get a polishing pad to fit your grinder and metal compound (the red stuff) to try and buff them out. Its a pain gettting big scratches out though.

Wear leather gloves because that 000 steel wool with throw off thousands of tiny tiny splinters and will embed themselves in your hands. Not Fun! Wear old clothes or coveralls as those splinters will get all in them too. A paper respirator is not a bad idea either but ive never had a problem with not wearing one.

Recommend to do the polishing away from anything you dont want rust stains on. Those splinters, if on your patio or driveway, or anything else, will rust when they get wet. Then you have to deal with remedying that!

Once you have it all nice and shiney with the steel wool, final it up with some Turtel Wax brand chrome polish.
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
0
Benton, KY
#4
I used a fine wheel, not the knotted one, and was real sparing with the pressure, so it isn't scratched bad. It just has a matte finish. I have some steel wool; I'll see if it's 000. Then I'll get the powerball and the chrome polish. Minus the pitting around the first step, it should look brand new. I've gotta get my diving board sand blasted and powder coated too. Note to anyone building a pool: get the saltwater compatible diving board stand.


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n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
0
Benton, KY
#7
I just tried the 0000 steel wool I had in the garage. Below the waterline is pretty much a waste of time, but above the water line I could get a good bit of shine. I'll get the powerball and some chrome polish to finish it off.


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Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,810
0
Silicon Valley, CA
#8
If you use steel wool, or even a chemical, you should remove the ladder from the pool. Those thousands of tiny splinters that were mentioned earlier, could rust in the pool possibly staining plaster/liner. Ladder and handrail manufacturers recommend the use of "Brasso" to clean their stainless handrails. I don't know how well it would handle rust. There is also a product, i believe it's called navel jelly that can handle light to moderate rust. Again do this away from the water (if at all possible).
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
0
Benton, KY
#11
The pool is all closed up for the winter. The ladder is disassembled in my garage. I already cleaned up the rust with the wire wheel when I closed the pool. Just looking to polish it now. I may go 000 then 0000 steel wool since I already have it, then the powerball. I have the powerball for paint, and it's a really cool product. Never had a reason to get the regular one, but it looks like now I do. As a bonus, I can use it to polish the chrome on my motorcycle.
 

RangerBob

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2014
555
0
Sanger, TX
#14
I polish stainless steel almost every day on my handmade knives. Polishing is nothing more than reducing the size of scratches in a surface until you reach an acceptable level of reflectance. When I polish steel, I start sanding with a sandpaper grit aggressive enough to remove all surface blemishes. I then progress through grits by sanding at a 45° angle to the previous grit until all previous lines are gone. I usually sand up to 2000 grit and then take my knives to the buffer with a light coloring compound. It's a lot of work but if you take shortcuts you will just have shiny scratches.

Bob
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
0
Benton, KY
#15
Here's another question. Is there anything that will restore the color to the black inserts and end caps on the ladder? They are medium to dark grey instead of black. Would automotive back to black work? If I have to replace the inserts and end pieces it's $110-150 depending on how I order the parts. A whole new ladder is only $190 on Amazon right now.


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n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
0
Benton, KY
#18
So is the bar keepers friend a powder? Like comet or something similar? How is it applied? Would it be the final step after my other attempts to remove the larger imperfections? Most of it is probably fine. I'm probably just wasting time and money even thinking about doing anything to it. Would I use it instead of the chrome polish? I was thinking it might seal it and keep it from dulling much. Maybe it doesn't need that. Stainless should stay shiny, but the steel wool I put to it made it shinier, almost like an oxidized layer was coming off. I didn't know stainless oxidized.


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mas985

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 3, 2007
12,109
1
Pleasanton, CA
sites.google.com
#19
Yes it is a powder and will not damage the surface unlike a wire wheel or steel wool will. Put some BKF on a wet rag and polish the surface.

Are you seeing red rust on the surface? If so, it is probably a low grade stainless but BKF should still take it off.

Stainless steel oxidizes (chromium) and that is what protects the surface from rusting (steel) however, low grade stainless will still rust sometimes because the chromium content is lower.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_steel