A short guide to various types of pool finishes

Aug 19, 2015

As you get your swimming pool built or resurfaced, several options are available which we will discuss briefly in this article. The surface or finish will not only determine how your pool looks and feels, but also how much maintenance you can expect and at what cost. There are a number of important decision factors to be taken into consideration, for which additional advice from a licensed pool contractor will be necessary.


A plaster surface is created by combining cement with crushed marble. It is one of the most economic options available and therefore a popular one. Plaster surface is usually white, gray or black. This finish has a decent longevity of around 5-10 years but will need constant maintenance as the porous material of the plaster can stain. Algae growth is also a common issue with plastered pools, a problem that grows with time as algae embeds itself in the structure of the finish. Hence constant maintenance, the need for a good filtration system and the use of algae control chemicals. The cost of plastering is about $3.5 – $5 per sq. ft depending on contractor and location.


Pebbled Surfaces

pebbletec pool finishThe most famous of all pebble finish manufacturers is undoubtedly PebbleTec. The pebbled surface is made by mixing small river pebbles with a smooth finish on a cemented surface. Smooth pebbles give a very natural look to your pool, since its bottom looks like a well-organized river bed. River pebbles are extremely durable and can withstand heavy chemicals. Maintenance costs are limited and this finish lasts for years. It has drawbacks however. People with sensitive feet may not like the way it feels. If this is your case, consider Pebble Sheen. Pebble surfacing is also much pricier than regular plaster, with a cost per sq. ft of $5 – $10 depending on design, manufacturer, contractor and location.

Glass Bead Finish

glass bead finishA glass bead finish is an exposed aggregate consisting in smooth and shiny glass beads. The beads reflect sunshine and give a shimmering effect to the pool. Effects and colors change with the position of the sun during the day. Glass bead finishes rank among the expensive and luxurious choices of pool surfaces. Usually stain free, they also require timely maintenance.



Tile Surfaces

tile pool finishTile is a very durable surface option, which is one of the reasons why it has been widely adopted in Mexico and South American countries. It is also highly resistant to bacteria and easily maintained. From a design standpoint, tile also allows homeowners complete flexibility in the design of their pool. Tile exists in a wide range of colors, shape, patterns and translucence. It is not a cheap option however, with costs ranging between $20,000-$35,000 for a pool where a pebbled finish would cost between $4,000 and $10,000.

Reference Links:

  • http://www.shastapools.com/types-of-interior-pool-finishes/
  • http://www.aquaworldpools.com/Pool_Surfaces.html
  • http://www.sparklingpoolservices.com/pool_finish.php
  • http://www.luxurypools.com/blog/swimming-pool-finishes-plaster-aggregate-and-tile-pool-surfaces
  • http://www.americanfiberglasspools.com/the-ugly-truths-regarding-gunite-or-concrete-pools/
  • http://www.adamspoolsac.com/pool-plaster-material.aspx
  • http://www.orlandosentinel.com/classified/realestate/orl-homesalltile06030605mar06-story.html
  • http://www.pebbletec.com/documents/bead-crete-crystal/brochure.pdf
  • http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_replaster_pool.html
  • http://home.costhelper.com/pool-resurfacing.html