Why Steel Pool Walls Rust

structural armor in ground pool

Well we are finally having some nice weather here in northern Indiana.  That being said, new pools are being dug, and existing pools are being opened.  As I have mentioned in past posts, there are several different types of in ground pools on the market.  I want to touch on just two of those today.  The first is the steel wall in ground vinyl liner pool and the other is the composite/ non-corrosive wall in ground pool.  Only Alpha Pool Products manufactures both of these types of pools.  The reason they are both manufactured by one company is to offer customers some options when it comes to deciding on what type of pool to get.  In my opinion Only Alpha’s composite pool walls are the way to go.

It is know secret that steel will rust over time.  That is something that I would almost consider to be common knowledge these days.  On the other hand the composite pool wall is 100% non-corrosive.  So it stands to reason that if you look at two pools that have been in the ground for a number of years you might find that the steel wall pool is showing signs of corrosion or rust.  This is common and inevitable.  The thing is that you will not see any corrosion on the composite pool wall.  That being said, over time the steel wall pool will eventually get to a point in which something will need to be done in order to preserve it.  This could be anything from sanding the walls and coating them with a cold galvanization compound  to covering rust holes with sheet metal to prolong its life.

The steel panels manufactured by Only Alpha Pool Products are pre treated in an effort to prolong their life from the minute they go into the ground.  Like all steel pool walls the steel is galvanized to protect the steel from corrosion.  This means that they are coated with zinc.  The zinc will sacrifice itself prior to the steel rusting out to help make the steel last longer.  In addition to that Only Alpha has come up with a product that is used to coat the steel over top of the galvanization.  This product is basically a proprietary clear coat that protects the galvanization from sacrificing itself.  When it comes down to it the panels have two layers of protection against corrosion.  Unfortunately that does not mean that the steel panels will last forever.  It just means that Only Alpha has taken steps toward making their steel pool walls last longer than their competition.  There are some things that can increase the corrosion process.

For instance, salt cells are being used more and more these days.  They are products that convert salt to chlorine to sanitize and swimming pool water.  With this type of product a good amount of salt will have to be poured into the swimming pool, then through the salt cell that salt is converted into chlorine and then a short time after re-entering the pool it forms into salt again.  This product was made to lower the cost of chemicals for swimming pools and decrease the amount of maintenance for the pool.  It is a pretty good idea but as anyone from a northern state can tell you, salt and metal do not mix.  Every winter after a snowfall or ice storm the roads are covered with salt to melt the snow and ice.  That salt gets on the underside of vehicles and causes significant corrosion.  So salt cells are nice and all but really they should be used on composite wall pools rather than steel wall.

Keeping the chemicals in the pool at their proper levels is also very important.  A pool that is chemically unbalanced can cause some serious problems.  First the chemicals can damage the liner to the point where you will need a new one, and if it gets bad enough it can actually have an adverse effect on the steel walls.  Anything with a high level of acidity or base can cause the panels to corrode faster than they would if everything was balanced and at appropriate levels.

With that in mind it has also been discovered that fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides can increase the

rate at which steel corrodes.  Steel pools that are near ponds that regularly get chemically treated are at a greater risk of rapid corrosion.  Also regular fertilization of a yard surrounding a pool can increase the rate at which that steel corrodes.  Many people these days have an irrigation system in their yard to water the grass regularly.  These can also cause problems.  If the grass is fertilized and then the sprinklers come on that fertilizer can leach toward the pool and cause the steel to corrode faster.

With regard to the sprinkler system itself, if there is a leak in the sprinkler system underground that water can flow toward the pool every time the sprinklers come on.  That constant flow of water can also cause the steel to rust faster.

There are a few other things that can increase the rate of corrosion of the steel pool wall.  Stray electric lines underground can do it.  A pool that is not bonded properly is at risk of rapid corrosion. Also a pool in a low lying area may be at risk.

These are just things that should be considered when purchasing a pool.  Or if you have a steel wall in ground vinyl liner swimming pool with a salt system, you may want to think about removing the salt cell and just using a chlorinator.  If you are thinking about getting an in ground vinyl liner pool you may want to consider Only Alpha Pool Products’ composite pool wall.  They are just as strong as the steel wall but without the corrosive nature of the steel wall.