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Does your salt pool rust your stainless steel handrails?

15 years ago

I'm installing a saltwater pool and have been advised (by people who don't have them) that the salt will rust the stainless steel handrails and diving board stand. I called SR Smith and Interfab and their reps suggested I go with powder coated (painted) parts. Powder coating does not last forever, either, and I don't want to hassle with repainting if the bare stainless won't be a problem.

Anybody out there with real world experience willing to clue me in?


Comments (12)

  • 15 years ago

    Thanks, gg. I've ruled out the powder coated regular steel bases. I'm pretty much locked into a U-stand because I need a ten-foot board to clear the pool cover lid and the colored concrete coping that is already installed. (Don't worry - Type III pool and a relatively stiff board.) I like stainless steel because it is so low maintenance. I'm afraid the if I go with the coated stainless I'll just have to deal with the coating wearing off after awhile. So I'm leaning toward straight up SS.

  • 15 years ago

    Stainless rails will rust period where they enter the water. If you have a saltwater pool it will happen a lot faster. Put in some handrails last year on a saltwater pool and started seeing rust on the rails at the waterline after three weeks. If you can use deck mount rails as they do not go into the water. When the rails do rust at the waterline they can be cleaned up with some wet and dry sandpaper.

  • 15 years ago

    Use a sacrificial zinc anode and ground it,if possible.

  • 15 years ago

    Use the Bronze anchors and clean the rails with Barkeepers Friend and you should not have a problem for years..

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bronze Anchors

  • 15 years ago

    Electro Polishing the rails improves its resistance to rust dramatically. I have seen this on swim ladders on boats and once they are electro polished they last a reasonable amount of time. Aluminum cathodes will also help.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Stainless railing

  • 15 years ago

    Make sure not to use aluminum anchors. Use only brass, or the new SR smith plastic ones.

  • 15 years ago

    We haven't seen corrosion on the handrails yet (5 years) but we have had to replace the skimmer faceplate twice now as the bolts and the underside rust.

  • 15 years ago

    If stainless is not "electro polished" (chemical passivation) then certain grades are more prone to corrosion. If you're seeing actual rust, it's more likely that the stainless steel was contaminated with "free iron" somewhere in the manufacturing process. This could be from machining tools that had also been used on iron or steel, steel wire brush, the drill bit used on the mounting holes, etc. Basically, anything previously used on another metal shouldn't come in contact with the stainless steel.

    The passivation process will remove the "free iron" and other contaminates from the stainless and promote the formation of the beneficial oxide film.

    I suspect that the pool hand rail and diving board manufactures don't use a passivation step on their stainless steel. It makes some sense given that prior to the advent of SWG (salt pools), there was little need. With the SWG, and thus the salt (electrolyte), it would make more sense to have this done.

    I'd ask the manufactures if they are using chemical passivation on their stainless steel products. If not, it may be worth having the process done on stainless steel that's going to live in a salt pool.

    Last but not least, I'm not sure about the use of Bronze or Brass anchors with stainless steel. With the presence of the salt in the pool, would that not promote galvanic corrosion? If the stainless is passive, it's the bronze/brass that will corrode, but with standard stainless, I think it's going to be the sacrificial lamb.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    I make my railings from Aluminum and then powder coat them

  • 3 years ago

    If you have not bought the salt chlorinate save your money. Everyone I know who had it switched back to chlorine. The system works great for about seven years then becomes a money pit constantly fixing it. And if you go with those stupid pop ups get ready to spend $45.00 a valve when they break and they will. Not to mention the actuator that controls them. If I had it all over to do it again I’d skip the pop ups and the salt system altogether.

  • PRO
    3 years ago

    @muddy_water Best bit of advice right there! The Barkeepers friend is a simply amazing product for inside and outside! Good plug and well deserved!