Blast Master Tile Pool Tile and Fountain Cleaning in Arizona

Happy thanksgiving from Blast Master Tile.  We would like to thank our customers and let you know that we really appreciate you all.  We have been cleaning swimming pool tile, pebble tec, fountains, stone, and all other types of surfaces here in the phoenix area for almost 9 years.  Looking forward to manny manny more!


Maxx strip media swimming pool tile clean

Chandler Pool Tile Clean Before

Maxx strip media swimming pool tile clean after

media blast ceramic swimming pool spillway tile after

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I need my Calcium Removed Today… AND Cheap as possible!

We get this call often.  A home owner has drained their pool, and wants the service completed TODAY.  Today is only one piece of the equation however.  We also want a good job, and we want it cheap.  As a home and pool owner myself, I can definitely relate.  I am a do-it-your-selfer, and that is partially how we got into this industry.

While on a trop to northern Arizona we saw this sign in the lobby to an attraction:


good points to consider with customer service


Right away it caught my eye, and although it is a joke, there are a lot of truths to consider here.  As  service professional, the one resource that we have that is non negotiable is our time.  It is the one part of our business equation that we all all struggle with.  We can add employees to spread our selves further and therefore faster, but that will substantially raise the cost of our business. In doing so, the “employee” needs to understand the amount of responsibility he has, and that will also come at an additional cost.   So to keep there service affordable and keep up with the competition, we stick with the owner/operator format, and then therefore have a wait time in our business transactions.  Swimming pool calcium removal is difficult and requires a fair amount of skill and attention to detail to be accomplished correctly.

One should exercise some level of caution when doing business with a company that just so happens to have the time to show up immediately after the phone call to get the job started and completed.  The industry has several professionals that can do phenomenal work when it comes to the art of swimming pool calcium removal.  Those of us that are good at it have no shortage of work and though some are on a schedule, some are not, and let us come and go as we need to to accomplish the task as required.  The point is we all (industry wide) have work to do, and don’t generally jump at the chance to get to a customer that wants it NOW, and cheap as can be.

The consumer should be on the alert for cheap, now and good work, because like ohms law, they all have a direct relationship.  We are not talking about getting ripped off here, but we are more so pointing out the relationship between quality and quantity.

There are always factors to consider and unfortunately it is often what IS said, but rather what IS NOT said.  For example, it is a mater of Not knowing what questions to ask, and a company will show up and blast tile with sand or slag.  Or they give you a price and add in tile sealant at the end to your surprise.  Its the questions you didn’t think to ask.

From someone in the industry:  Please do not be afraid to wait for calcium deposit removal.  Most of us have recovery equipment and can perform the service with just an inch or two of water absent from your swimming pool, hot tub, spa, or water feature.

Any questions or comments are gladly welcome and will be posted.



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Pool Guys and their iPhones

We are back online after a brief pause in communications.  We lost our iPhone(s) and were virtually unreachable for a few hours this weekend.  So why mention it?  What does the iPhone have to do with swimming pool tile cleaning or general pool care?  The answer is surprisingly: nothing.  It does however have everything to do with small business, and customer service.

In our attempt to try and maintain impeccable communication and maintain all around good business practices, we have learned too many times the damage that can occur when your communications go down and we become unreachable if even for a few hours.  A tough lesson to learn, but we like to practice the following:

  1. Be sure and use great service.  No Cricket or Sprint here for coverage reasons.
  2. Maintain your equipment.  Keep car chargers and phone in good shape.
  3. Buy a good case.  As a pool guy (around water all day) we need to water proof when possible.
  4. Leave your phone in the car when possible.
  5. Dont ignore problems.  Take care of them before they become bigger problems.

To run a good small business, and keep up with the demand, we need to stay on top with our communications.  Lessons learned.  Back to cleaning scum and deposits from tile.


Calcium_removal and_hard_water_buildup_from swimming_pool_tile_in_phoenix_az

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clean up calcium deposits from any surface

In our last post I said that it doesn’t matter what a pool tile cleaner or company uses for material when blasting the unsightly ring from around the pool.  For the most part that is true, however there is a side note to the processes we mentioned back in November.  For an experienced (and good) swimming pool blaster, there is a variety of options for blasting within his arsenal.  You should also note that I have referenced the term “pool blaster”  because the technique of a swimming pool tile cleaner is different than a traditional “sand blaster” and I can tell you from my own experience that I am personally only good at one of them.

As previously stated, swimming pool tile as a whole is generally constant – meaning id really doesn’t matter what is used to clean it so long as the cleaner knows what they are doing and is not in a hurry.  I have spent my time sampling different types of media with different methods on different surfaces (wordy I know) and have my own preferences or guidelines if you will, for what I personally would use.  It is however important to note that these are just guidelines and some of these surfaces will provide wiggle room, where others will not:

Regular good old fashion ceramic swimming pool tile

before and after swimming pool tile clean

before and after swimming pool tile clean

Your basic garden variety ceramic swimming pool tile.  About 60% of the pools in the phoenix metro area are tiled with this stuff, and for a good reason.  It is a very hardy tile, provides a good contrast, and is relatively easy to clean and maintain.  The important thing to note is the ever so subtle texture on the tile.  It is just enough texture to keep your fancy pumice stone that you bought down at the pool supply store from doing what the teenager behind the sales counter said it would do.  This IS the tile I am referring to when I say that it really doesn’t matter what you use on the surface of this tile, as long as the individual doing the blasting is not in a hurry.  This tile can take a beating, or clean up just fine with very little pressure too.  Kieserite works great on this stuff, but glass bead is definitely OK as well.


Smooth glazed ceramic pool tile 

Smooth glazed ceramic swimming pool tile paradise valley arizona

Smooth glazed ceramic swimming pool tile paradise valley arizona

This is the exception to the rule.  This stuff can be finicky and needs to be approached by someone that knows what they are doing.  If there is one tile you want someone to know what they are doing and have some experience behind them, this would be that one tile.  If you run your hand over it you can feel a very smooth an flat glazed surface.  Truth be told, if you are a do-it-your-selfer, your MUCH better off cleaning this tile with a scraper blade and NOT pumice.  It is very commonly installed on back splashes on mens bathrooms (maybe women too, I don’t get a chance to go in those much).  This is the tile that I would accept the statement ” We never clean tile with glass bead”.  With large flat areas and no texture, friction builds up on this tile fast, and unless the homeowner is diligent about keeping the hard water build up to a minimum, this tile will burn very quickly if not handled by an expert.  I would recommend this tile to be cleaned with the media injected water blast method with kieserte pool formula.  If you want a little more bang for your buck, add in about 20% kieserite fine formula to get more cutting power.

Glass Mosaic pool tile

calcium removal glass tile

calcium removal glass tile

mosaic glass tile hard water deposits

mosaic glass tile hard water deposits

Glass tile can be tricky to clean unless you are cleaning with the right equipment.  This tile is a compliment to any pool landscape and is beautiful when clean.  When dirty though, it can become the focal point of your yard, in a bad way.  Note that mosaic glass tile has a lot of grout, and can be almost impossible to get entirely clean if it is a darker color like great or black.  We have had amazing luck with our media injected water blasting system with soda as a media.  Absolutely positively no glass bead to get anywhere near this stuff.

Pebble Tec – Exposed Pebble

calcium pebble tec arizona

calcium pebble tec arizona

Pebble tec should be cleaned with glass bead only for the most effective clean possible.  Glass bead is sold in different sizes so you have options for more or less abrasive properties.  Though it seems like any media should be able to do here, nothing more abrasive than glass bead should be used or else scaring may occur.

Natural stone

natural stone water feature scottsdale az

natural stone water feature scottsdale az

granite fountain with calcium removed

granite fountain with calcium removed


Natural stone is the one thing that you can most likely throw whatever you want at it, and be just fine.  Soda, kieserite, glass bead, garnet, or copper slag.  it really doesn’t matter, but the stone may require some feathering to blend some color variations that may occur during the blasting process.

Faux Rock or Faux Stone

faux rock water feature peoria az arizona

faux rock water feature peoria az arizona

Faux rock or stone is probably the most difficult to clean for any pool company or tile cleaner.  It is cement that has been shaped, molded, and painted.  When dirty it is very difficult to get this stuff clean without removing the paint also, therefore exposing the natural concrete underneath.  The best way to clean this structure is with straight brute water pressure, followed up with soda.  Be prepared to bring in a company to paint the structure after cleaning for the most desirable look.  Absolutely NO acid to get near the stone or you will be left with an unpainted chunk of concrete.


You are now armed with all of the info necessary to clean nearly any surface from hard water deposits, calcium, or any other deposit that may form at the water line.    You may visit to learn more about the correct media type for what surface, or click here.  To learn more about our tile cleaning process visit or click here.  To learn more about our pebble tec cleaning process visit or click here.  Please, we encourage you to contact us with any and all comments or questions regarding this post.  Wether you are another pool professional that cleans tile, or a homeowner we would be honored to field your question or comment.

Posted in fountain clean, pebble tec, swimming pool tile clean | 4 Responses

Tile Cleaning Using Glass bead vs. Kieserite

One of the most common calls / questions we  get from the internet is:

“Do use glass beads, or do you use that other stuff, what’s it called?”

We will take this opportunity to clear up the air on the whole media confusion on which is better.  

First media is Glass bead.  It looks similar to sand but is glass.  Like sand paper there are MANY different grits (sizes) from which to use and each one comes with its own set of properties.  Fact of the day – #2 glass bead is used onto of roadway paint to give the lines their reflective properties at night.  MOST pool tile cleaners use #10 as an overall abrasive when using a glass bead.

The “other stuff” is called Kieserite.  It is a mined mineral that is  similar epsom salt.  It is referred to as several different things including salt, soda, and Maxx Strip.  Again, this mineral comes in several different grits, or sizes. Though it is not soda, I have seen the Kieserite sales material refer to the “fine” formula as as a soda mineral, and there is a regular, or pool formula, and pebble tec formula as well.  

The important thing to know is this:

No matter what media is used for blasting, the person doing the blasting is the key or variable in the equation.  A pool tile cleaner can burn tile with Kieserite, and at the same time can clean perfect spotless pool tile with glass beads (which is the marketing claim).  Do not be fooled into the canard that one is superior to the other. They each have their own time and place for use and it is up to the pool tile cleaner to know the difference.

BOTH media need to be cleaned up from the pool, fountain, or blast area after their use. The glass bead is not harmful, but will reduce filtration and when on a flat surface is VERY slippery, picture thousands of tiny marbles all under your foot at once. The kieserite, or Maxx Strip touts being water soluble, however I would not recommend attempting to leave it in a swimming pool to dissolve on its own. Though it will not change the pH of the water, it can expand and form a cement like state when left in volume under water.

Please click here, or visit for a chart depicting what media we might use on a particular surface. The chart is a general rule of thumb, and is not a guarantee as to our media choice. For instance, when cleaning mosaic glass tile, we would start with soda, and step it up to kieserite if we need to. We can and do utilize many different types of media. We are not partial to any particular media. We utilize the least abrasive media for the surface that we are cleaning, and increase the hardness of the abrasive if necessary.

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Spooky Halloween Stories – Beware of the “Plumbed” Swimming Pool Backwash Spout

Just last week, we were called out to a property in the Phoenix area to perform a swimming pool tile repair.  The tile repair was fairly easy, however as with most tile repairs, some water needs to be drained off in order for the thin set and grout to cure.  This week with the rains in Phoenix,  most swimming pools have more water in them than normal.  Needless to say, we needed to get rid of a good amount of water, quite a bit more than the usual backwash.

This particular swimming pool had a filter that was equipped with a backwash capability automatically plumbed in and disappeared underground and away.  You will see this every now and then on high end homes or swimming pools build by contractors that go the extra mile.  Some are plumbed directly into the sewer line, and others are plumbed to go to a space on the property designated for excess water retention.

It is important to take note that each city town and community within the Phoenix metro area and Maricopa County each have different swimming pool drain and backwash regulations.  I have personally witnessed Scottsdale enforcement officials for instance inform you that you are in violation of federal law and MAY be subject to fines and jail time for your actions.  Though Phoenix requires backwash or pool drain NOT be performed in the street, I often personally witness Phoenix Public Works opening fire hydrants in the street and discharging water from the water system that would put even the longest backwash to shame.  Then there are the east valley cities like Tempe that don’t care if you discharge pool water into the street so long as the owner has left the pool off for 3 or more days to allow the chlorine to dissipate.  The town of Gilbert AZ allows discharge to the street, no questions asked.  One thin to keep in mind is that HOA’s and communities can superseed the city or towns requirements.  For instance Tatum Ranch  or Anthem HOA rules may require you to drain into clean outs even though your property can contain the water.  Or as we mentioned in Gilbert AZ, you may drain into the street, but Val Vista Lakes HOA MAY have a rule against the practice.

We began the draining process and began to gather our things to set up to repair the missing swimming pool tile.  When we came around to the front yard we were met with horror.  The plumbing for the backwash went underground and directly out to the street!  You can guess that we were not in a part of town where draining into the street was an option, rather it is most definitely frowned upon, and even more so strictly enforced by the HOA.  We quickly corrected the problem and continued to drain the pool into a designated area that did not flow directly into the gutter.

The lesson is that just because someone plumbed a conduit into the ground, it does not mean that is the proper procedure to conduct the pool drain or backwash.  More importantly, it does not remove you from liability and you may be subject to monetary discipline for your actions.  Water combined with gravity can do amazing things.  You can very quickly ruin someones property by bot paying attention to where water will flow and ultimately rest.

We have collected the swimming pool drain and backwash requirements for all cities, municipalities, and communities within Phoenix / the valley of the sun / maricopa county and posted a link to them on our website.  You can find them by visiting or to learn more about our tile repair service visit  Please feel free to contact us if you have any information that we could add, or a city or community that we have missed from our list.

We are now beginning the swimming pool draining season and a lot of Phoenix residents will be preparing to do a lot of tile cleaning, acid washing, pool remodels, among other things.  Don’t let your October pool drain become a horror story and financial nightmare.  Play it safe and check with your community and/or municipality prior to beginning your pool draining process.




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Keeping your swimming pool (and) title clean with clarifier… or not.

Recently, though I am embarrassed to say, my very own swimming pool turned green.  in my defense, it hinged for weeks on the cusp of cloudy and green.  Most pool guys would admit that they have been too busy and let their pool go beyond the point they should have and next thing  they know, they have a green pool.  Not to worry though, Swimming pools are very basic and there are just a few factors involved to turn things around and whip things right back into shape, right….

This time however, things were different.  Very different.  No matter what I did I could no get things to turn around.  I tried with all of the basics of pool care and threw what I could at it to solve the problem and nothing seemed to turn it around.  I tried gallons and gallons of liquid chlorine, the different types of granular chlorine, the mineral packs, and whatever else see I could throw at it.  I thought about draining the water, but changed my mind after the water tests came back right on par with all critical levels.  This went on for nearly 2 weeks.

The cartridge filters were only at about a year and a half old.  I would clean them,reinstall them let it run, and they would clog again within about 3 hours.  I would repeat the process, and get the same result.  After calling nearly all of my peers for advice, we came to the conclusion that the filters needed replaced.  I replaced the cartridges and viola – the pool turned around within 20 hours.

My problem is that the filters were of  a high quality and should have lasted much  longer than they did, so stubborn as I am, I did not think new filters were the problem.  As it turned out, the filters were jam packed with gummy dirt and could no longer filter due to the use of the clarifier.  The clarifier causes the dirt to coagulate and get caught in your filters thus cleaning up the particles in your water.  Clarifier can be good, however the overuse of clarifier will have and adverse effect on your filters and cause them to permanently clog with the gummy coagulated dirt.

From a pool tile cleaning perspective,  you want to keep your filters clean as possible.  The less dirt and debris there is in your water, the easier your water should be to keep in balance.  When the water is balanced, it will hold on to the minerals, and the deposits will be minimal.  For more info, please visit our website at

Soon we will be adding a page completely dedicated to water chemestry and keeping your pool clean for the do-it-yourselfers.


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How do you clean calcium deposits from swimming pool tile, pebble tec, or a fountain?

The first and most asked question we get about cleaning swimming pool surfaces to remove calcium buildup “is what media do you use to clean my pool tile?”  The answer is that it depends on the water conditions, the build up, and the surface that we are cleaning.  There is no one size fits all media for cleaning the deposits from your surface.  We always start with the softest material combined with the lightest pressure for the surface which we are cleaning.  Then we can either increase the pressure, or increase the abrasiveness of the media if necessary until we find what works.

I constantly hear or see others in the industry boast statements about the media they use and how there is no damage possible and they never use certain types of media on certain surfaces.  The fact is that it really all just depends.  Every surface, and every deposit are different.   It is possible to damage swimming pool tile with kieserite (salt) just as easily as you can with glass bead if you are not careful.  It is true that it reduces the chances, but it does not eliminate them.


On our FAQ page on our main website, We have developed a table outlining the different types of media that we use on different types of surfaces.  You can find the page with the table by visiting the page  The table is very informative, but if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.  We have knowledge of all types of surfaces and media types.  If it is something they we do not know, or are in doubt, as stated earlier, we will always begin with the softest, least abrasive media, and increase the pressure and abrasiveness as necessary.


No matter what we are cleaning we promise to do the best job that possible.  We will not try to rush anything, and as always, we will leave the area cleaner than we found it.

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Blog posts that are Interesting????

Google.  MOST swimming pool companies, swimming pool tile cleaners, and I would argue even most small business owners blog for one reason:  Google.

We have spent an immeasurable amount of time working on our website.  When you consider the amount of education and understanding that is put into the workings  of the internet and how search engines work, I am in awe with the amount of time I personally have spent on the subject.

Continuing on to the point, I will occasionally peruse the industry’s many blog postings on various websites, and I don’t think many of the companies out there get it.  We are going to do something different here.  We are going to post entries to our blog that help and engage the reader for the reason that they came here to begin with:  getting swimming pool, or even better – swimming pool calcium removal info.  We pledge to make this blog actually useful to the reader, and we intend to help the reader understand and better manage their backyard investment.

This blog feeds an rss to the website, and intern will be sent out to a variety of social media outlets.  We pledge to post entries that will help YOU better manage your swimming pool, and better help you to understand your options so your money is well spent and your pool is in the best condition it can be.


Please feel free to comment or ask if there is a particular subject you would like to know about and we will do our best to cover the subject.

Thank you, and enjoy!



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Hello World

Hola Mundo

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