Salt water pool system problems

You have heard me preach about a  salt water pool system being the best thing since sliced bread right?   Good because it is just that good.  The health benefits of a saline pool are tremendous check out this older post here or as a reminder.  But like anything , you can run into problems with just about anything.  
Fact is like all salt, pool salt is very corrosive.  Many of the modern swimming pools we are building these days have a tremendous amount of stone veneer, rock deck work and Travertine and limestone coping edges.  These softer materials have a very low scratch test rating, Otherwise known as a Mohs hardness test.  Simply put these stone materials I have described are very soft and need to be protected from the harsh negative affects of pool salt. 
Four ways to protect stone materials in a swimming pool environment are: 
  • Protect all surfaces in contact with the pool water by sealing them with a non-gloss penetrating sealer designed to work with a salt water pools 
  • Do not allow salt water to run over stone materials
  • Don't allow standing water on decking or coping for long periods of time.  If you have to, wash down the swim area when your done for the day
  • Check pool salinity for the correct levels.  Anything over 4000 PPM will need to be addressed by diluting the body of water with fresh water. 
The pictures in this post are of a coping edged in Travertine stone.  The disintegration of the stone is due to high levels of salt water being splashed on the non-sealed stone surface.
When I checked the salt level with my electronic tester is was shocked to find the level at 5210 PPM !  All of this could have been resolved by sealing the stone surfaces with Stone Tech bullet proof stone sealer  This would have allowed the salt water from the pool to sit on the stone and not be absorbed thus not eating away the softer material.  Note to te wise.  Chose your sealer carefully and go with atrusted product.  Some sealers will last up to 5 years or more before they need to be re-sealed.  
In the end, Yes there are some pitfalls to a salt water pool system.  but with the proper knowledge and stone protection you can enjoy them for years of trouble free healthy swimming in your pool.  Cheers!
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