Glass Bead Blasting: the Hidden Danger

Because calcium deposits on pool tile are such a pervasive problem in our Arizona pools, pool industry professionals turned to a common industrial cleaning method: glass bead blasting.  However, this pool tile cleaning method was not designed for your pool tile.

Glass bead blasting was first used – and is still used today – as a substitute for sandblasting.  Why is glass bead blasting a suitable replacement for sandblasting?  Glass bead blasting easily strips paint from steel while allowing new paint to more easily bond with the underlying surface by creating thousands of tiny pits in the steel.  This process is called peening.  By creating thousands of small dimples, there is more surface area upon which paint can adhere.

If glass bead blasting intentionally dimples steel surfaces, then why would you use it on your delicate pool tile?  

Metal is malleable, but ceramics cannot be compressed. A dimple is created in ceramics by removing material.

What is good for malleable (moldable) metals is not necessarily good for non-malleable material such as ceramic tile or delicate glazes.  When a dimple is created in ceramics or glazes, a tiny portion of material is permanently removed – not compressed!

Many companies will claim that glass bead blasting is a safe method for pool tile cleaning.  They base this claim on the visible result which can appear to be free of damage.  Here’s the hidden danger: glass bead blasting damage is not always visible.  How can you see such a tiny depression in a clear glaze created by a particle as small as a grain of sand?  Quite simply, you can’t!

While an experienced and highly skilled glass bead blaster can conceal the visible damage to your pool tile, the fact remains that your pool tile is now permanently etched.  Often times you can feel the damage with your fingers.  If your pool tile does not feel as smooth as your grandma’s fine china, then you know you have damaged pool tile.  What does that etching mean for you?  Etching always creates faster calcium build up – just like paint on freshly peened steel.

Need a professional to clean your delicate pool tile today?  Contact New Tech Pool Tile Cleaning.  James can be reached at 480-710-6989 and Kevin at 480-788-1117.  Feel free to email us at