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Everything You Need To Know About Pool Finishes

Have you ever wondered why pool water can come in a variety of colors? Well, that is all determined by the pool finish that was installed. Originally when it came to pool finishes you were limited in materials and color choices. With the advancements in the pool industry, you can now have control over the color of the water and texture of the pool!


When it comes to pool finishes today we now have access to a variety of plaster and aggregate options. If you decide to pull the trigger on an all tile you just opened the door to having endless choices! Whatever option you decide on will make a huge impact on the look and feel of the outdoor living space we are building for you. Today we will be breaking down the different finish options available to you and the benefits they will offer.


Plaster Finishes

Classic All White Plaster Pool Finish

Before the 1980’s it was common to use paint as the finish for pools. Paint prior to the 80’s was extremely durable because of the copper and lead in the paint (also extremely bad for your health), and it was very cost effective. The government implemented new regulations that removed the copper and lead from paint, eliminating the durability of paint as a pool finish. When this happened, the industry switched to using primarily plaster. This change led to what has become the most common pool finish used today and to the creation of the aggregate pool finish.


Plaster became so popular because it is budget friendly, is smooth to the touch, and provided a Santorini-style look to pools. Since plaster is white, it can also be dyed a variety of colors! This allows homeowners to match the pool water to the atmosphere they are creating with their outdoor space. While plaster is a great option for your pool finish, it does come with some downsides.


If you decide on a plaster finish, you will need to make sure you stay on a good pool maintenance program. The surface is more prone to algae growth and requires constant attention to the PH of the pool. In addition to increased pool maintenance, a white pool finish is going to be more susceptible to showing wear and tear over time. It is also recommended to have your plaster finish acid washed to extend the lifespan of it. Your typical plaster finish should last 7-10 years before it needs to be replaced.


Aggregate Finishes

Aggregate Pool Finish On Waterfront Project

When the pool industry made a hard switch to using plaster on pool projects, this led to people finding ways to improve this surface. Leading to the creation of the aggregate pool finish! An aggregate pool finish is a mix of plaster and concrete with pebbles, glass beads, or quartz crystals. Aggregate finishes are either polished or exposed, both gorgeous choices but with slightly different looks. The addition of pebbles, glass beads, or quartz not only elevated the look of the plaster finish but also improved the durability of the finish as well! Increasing the lifespan from 7-10 years, to 12-20 years.


Island Way Pools almost exclusively aggregate finishes on our pool projects! Compared to a plaster only finish, aggregates have a longer lifespan and offer an elevated appearance to pool projects. The look and texture achieved will depend on which aggregate you decide on but with plenty of options to choose from, you are guaranteed to find a product you love!


Like a plaster finish, you will need to make sure you stay on a good pool cleaning program. The surface is textured which can make it prone to algae growth. The introduction of the aggregate to the plaster though is going to help with the lifespan of your finish. A common misconception with an aggregate finish is that they are going to be rough on your feet. That was once the case but with improvements in the industry this is no longer a worry. Smaller aggregate pieces have been introduced to the plaster, letting you achieve a much smoother surface for your feet.


Tile Finishes

All Tile Pool Finish For Waterfront Outdoor Living

Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass, Stone and almost any shape or color you can think of… the design possibilities are endless with a tile pool finish! Not only are you getting endless design possibilities but you are also getting the most durable pool finish option available. A tile pool finish is going to be the most luxurious option and will take full advantage of the reflective properties of the pool water. If you want a pool that really makes a statement, you can’t go wrong considering tile as a finish.


Tile finish is not all positive though! While you get these amazing perks, an all tile finish is going to be your most expensive choice. Between all the materials and skilled labor needed to ensure it is properly installed expect to be spending a pretty penny. It is important to ensure the builder you hire has experience tiling an entire pool, it is a lot more work than your classic tile line. A poorly installed tile finish is going to be more prone to chips and tiles falling out. This is still prone to happen even when properly installed but this can be easily repaired. Oftentimes without needing to drain the pool.


While you had people in the past complaining about aggregate finishes being too rough on your feet, the opposite is true for an all tile pool. Tile can get slippery when wet but this is more of a concern when you are trying to play games in your pool!


Which Pool Finish Should You Choose?

Mini Pebble Aqua Cool Pool Finish Pool Project

You can not go wrong with any of these options but, Island Way Pools would recommend going with an aggregate finish! The increased durability compared to a plaster only finish, the elevated look brought by playing on the reflective properties of the water, plenty of design choices, and the cost friendliness compared to an all tile finish make an aggregate pool finish our team’s preferred pool finish.


Our design team can point in the direction of what pool finish will help you achieve the pool of your dreams. Schedule your consultation today with our Director of Sales Zach to start your free design, 727-259-5063!



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