Pool Refinishing: Pebbles Vs. Plaster
The interior of your concrete swimming pool will wear over time, becoming unsightly. Resurfacing a run-down swimming pool can drastically alter your pool’s look for the better. Plaster and pebble finishes are alternatives for redesigning a tired in-ground concrete swimming pool. The type of pool-resurfacing material you select will affect the cost of redoing your own pool. Pool resurfacing isn’t a do-it-yourself endeavor; it is best left to the professionals.
Plaster, also known as marcite, is actually the least expensive pool-resurfacing material. However, additionally, it is relatively short, giving seven to ten years of service if cared for. Pool plaster is made of white cement mixed with marble sand or finely pulverized stone. This material is spread by hand and sets with a smooth, white finish but looks a brilliant light blue when under water. Plaster can also be coloured. A recent edition on pool plaster adds finely ground quartz into the mixture to add a sheen to the pool’s surfaces.
Plaster’s porous surface is its major drawback. The porous surface is vulnerable to staining and readily supports bacterial and algae growth. Porous plaster also absorbs common pool sanitizing and water conditioning chemicals, demanding that you use additional chemicals to keep correct water chemistry compared to if you’d like other, less-porous pool-surfacing materials. There are additives that boost plaster’s resistance to pool chemicals, etching, mottling and cracking, but these add to the cost of a pool-resurfacing job.
A pebble surface is made of pool plaster or Portland hydraulic cement combined with polished stone seams so the pebbles form the majority of the pool’s surface area. It is pneumatically applied, then hand-wiped or even water-blasted to show the upper layer of seams. A pebble finish will last much longer than a plain plaster finish, giving you 12 to 20 years of support. Pebble surfaces are nonporous, meaning they do not absorb pool chemicals and they resist staining and algae growth. And you’ll be able to pick a variety of naturally coloured seams to add visual interest to your pool.
A pebble surface is a costly choice, running about double the cost of a straightforward plaster finish. In addition, it presents a rough surface that could be unpleasant to walk on. And it is hard on automatic pool cleaners that implement any kind of mopping or wiping actions. Some pool companies offer a pebble surface that uses very small pebbles to get a smoother finish.