There are a few different ways to effectively clean pool tile. The two most popular are bead blasting and soda blasting with high pressure water. The rumors going around about the two need to be understood. In this blog I will try to explain all I know.
As a very reputable pool tile cleaner in southern California I am very well rounded in both ways and would like to clear some air. Both bead blasting and soda blasting have their pros and cons. Bead blasting when done by an average pool guy with less then adequate equipment is usually forced to blast at a low CFM with high psi to get any where with the calcium. This means they will be blasting at arount 80-120psi, a ridicuous amount of presure for tile. This presure will definrlty damage and pit the tile, if the tile has a moderate build-up. I have been doing bead blasting for 4 years now, and i blast at 27 cfm with 38-40 psi, it is literally soft enough to blast your skin with. There is no damage to the tile at this pressure.
When soda blasting with water pressure it requires 2500-3000 psi and a large volume of water to clean. It too is very affective. The only down fall is that this type of pressure is sure to remove tile from its concrete.
We all know that almost every pool after a few years will have loose tile. Somtimes nothing will ever come of it. It may hold its position for years to come. When I blasted pools using this method, I would remove tile on 1 out of 5 pools, and then struggle to convince the customer it exsisted prior to my arrival. The soda material works great on granite or marble but we refuse to use it other wise. It also neutralizes the balance chemically and makes it difficult to maintain a good PH. I hope this clears some rumors about tile cleaning. This site has a video of tile cleaning done to what we consider to be the right way.
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