Obsessing over pool finishes

megankheapsAugust 17, 2010

Hello all,

I am looking for any and all advice on pool finishes. We will be signing the contract for our new pool tomorrow evening and while I know that we have plenty of time to decide on a pool finish (won't be plastered until spring) we are are still obsessing over which one would be the best for our family. We feel we need to decide now because if we do choose an alternative finish we have to see it in person before we make a final decision on color and people will be closing their pools in the next few months and they won't be open by the time we get plaster. I have read mixed reviews on Pebble Tech with some saying it hurts the feet. I certainly don't want to spend over 9k on a pool finish and HATE it and have my kids (7 and 3) complaining about it as well. We were quoted 9k for PebbleTec (they are running a special now) and 9K for DiamondBrite. As of now the pool is set to be white plaster but we are willing to upgrade if we can find something that would work better for us. The pool will be 1000 sq ft with a 70 sq ft spa, natural flagstone coping, exposed aggregate decking and a natural trim/stair tile. We do not want anything that would make the pool look green or anything that is too dark. We want to go blue. There are so many alternatives to Pebble Tec/fina/sheen that I am not familiar with. I have never been in a pool with Pebble Tec and certainly would not put it in my pool until I got to try it and actually see the color in person that I want. It is not something that a lot of people here in the mid atlantic do I guess. Should I just stick with the white plaster or go with one of the alternatives. I do understand that plaster will not last as long but I can always do an alternative finish sometime in the future. HELP HELP HELP.

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Which PebbleTec surface is 9K? Is that in addition to the cost for regular plaster finish? The three different PebbleTec pebble finishes have a different feel. Regular PebbleTec is the "roughest" (very much like exposed aggregate), PebbleSheen uses smaller pebbles (medium "roughness") and PebbleFina is closest to plaster.

You can also upgrade to a quartz surface if you want a longer lasting finish than plaster. A quartz surface is also cheaper than a pebble surface.

See if your PB can give you some references that you can visit and "try" out their surfaces.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:59PM
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Carribean Blue and Tahoe Blue were both on special for 9K. I was not sure if you thought 9K was high or low for 1000 sq ft plus a 70 sq ft spa??????? Regular plaster is included in the base price of the pool so yes that 9K would be an additional cost. I had one PB quote me 13K for a slightly larger pool for the lowest "grade" (lightest color) of PebbleTec.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 9:28PM
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Don't pay an extra 9k on Diamond Brite if you can get Pebble Tec/Sheen for the same price. The D-Brite should be 2 grand less unless it's a Midnight Blue.
Quite honestly the PebbleTec seems high too. In my area, SE Texas, this would be a 5-6k upgrade for P-Tec on a 1000 square pool.

I'm curious, what part of the country are you in?

See ya,

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 11:57PM
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I concur--seems like it's on the high side for the upgrade price on the PebbleTec unless it was for PebbleFina. But by the sound of your colors, it's regular PebbleTec.

You also mentioned not wanting anything green. Keep in mind that anytime you have tan or yellowish/brownish pebbles in the mix, it will bias the water color towards green. You want white and blue pebbles/plaster to keep the water looking blue.

You can see this effect by simply looking at the PebbleTec color charts on their site. Click the following link to judge for yourself: Sky Blue seems the lightest and bluest in this color chart.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 2:53AM
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@huskyridor-we are in MD. Just between Baltimore and DC. Just from what I have seen on this site, it does seem that alternative finishes are more popular in the south. I live in a neighborhood of 30 homes and when we get ours 16 will have pools. 2 are vinyl/shell and the rest are gunite. Only 1 person has PebbleTec (and that was told to me by another neighbor so I don't even know if it is really PebbleTec-people seem to use that term for all finishes other than plaster). One neighbor does have dark plaster but that is not something I am interested in at all for fear of not seeing a child in trouble and SNAKES. Even the PB said to go with PebbleTec and not DiamondBrite if there is no price difference. It is just that they are running a special right now and that is why those 2 colors are the same price as the DiamondBrite.

@rice rocket-thank you for the tip on the pebble colors. Even if we do an alternative to PebbleTec I will make sure it is blue and white. Is PebbleFina the most expensive of the 3? The fact that it is most like plaster would lead me to believe it is cheaper.

Anyone familiar with anything other than the PebbleTec lines???? There does not seem to be much uniformity amongst opinions of pool finishes. This decision would be a whole lot easier if EVERYONE LOVED PebbleTec or finishes other than white plaster.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Yes--PebbleFina should be the most expensive. It's mainly because the installers have to come back a second day after spraying on the finish and polish it so that it becomes "smoother" like plaster.

And don't let the "feel" fool ya--the pebble finishes will last much longer than plaster. It may be harder to find a PebbleFina--the PebbleTec site says it's only available in limited areas.

You may want to contact an alternative company who's product is more popular in my neck of the woods: Wet Edge Technologies. Their Primera Stone finish should be almost identical to Pebble Fina.

Here's my photo of Blue Pacific Coast sample, the color we chose for our pool:

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Thank you so much. Wet Edge was one of the many sites my husband had sent to me and asked me to look into. Do you have any pics of your pool finished with that color Wet Edge that you would be able to share with me? What part of the country are you located? We did have one PB come in and his base pool price included PebbleFina but he didn't price each base item out so I have no idea what it was running. At least I know it is done in our area so I could find it if I liked it.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 1:50PM
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Here's a pool (in Houston I think) finished in Primera Blue Pacific Coast: Houston Pool Renovations. A couple of interesting photos showing it being applied.

Here's Primera Black Kona in mudn's pool in Nothern California.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 6:29PM
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Wetedge "pebble" finish. Color is Pearl.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 12:17AM
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Your preferences sound a bit like ours. We went with an exposed aggregate deck and wanted a true blue interior without much green. Our pool is much smaller than yours - we're in northern California, where yards tend to be small.

I can definitely recommend the Pebblesheen in Bordeaux, which for us was the same price as the first (lowest) tier pebbletec colors. The Bordeaux has a purplish tint to the plaster which sounds odd, but actually looks great in the water and coordinates beautifully with the plum creek aggregate we used. On the top step it looks almost like a continuation of the plum creek, and in the deep end it's a true blue.

I find it hard to capture the color with my cell phone camera. The apparent color varies not only with the exposure, but also the time of day and how much it's reflecting the surrounding greenery. (You can see from the shadows that we prioritized trees and shade in our baking hot sun.) I tried to choose the photos I think best represent the true color but these all look a little too greenish on my monitor. It's not a vibrant color; the vibe we were going for was more refreshing shady pond than carribean resort, and I think we've achieved that.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 4:31PM
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The bordeaux pebblesheen looks nothing like the color shown on the website. We would never have chosen it if we hadn't seen a pool in real life and fallen in love with the color. Here are shots of our sample, taken against our exposed aggregate as a backdrop. I also took a shot of the other side so you can see the purplish cast of the plaster.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 4:51PM
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Did you have Adams pools do the pebblesheen? Happy with the service, quality of the job?

Thanks Kevin

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 12:55PM
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Have you considered using tile throughout? We remodeled our plaster pool a few years ago and used 1 x1 tile throughout, with a waterline and steps of 4 x 4 contrasting tile. It is the EASIEST thing to keep clean, chemical balance is effortless.

I expect it will last far longer than our plaster finish did, and it looks so much more sophisticated.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Here are some links to tiled pools. Most pools in Hawaii are completely tiled and hold up well with year-round use.


A friend used the pebble tile which was amazing and not that expensive. Don't have a photo of her pool, but check it out here.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:02PM
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That's funny, because I've been in Hawaii 6 years and have yet to see a tiled pool. I actually was considering it since I need replastering, but the pool guy says it's a pain to clean the algae off the grout. The pool builders we're talking to say they're really not less maintenance because you have to drain them every 4-5 years and re-grout. Otherwise the tiles start popping off. I thought it might be a do-it-yourself job since I enjoy tiling, but they have to replaster it anyway before tiling or the tile comes off. So at that point it's just a lot of extra expense.

Anyone cares to dispute this, I'd love to hear your experience with tile! Everyone seems to have different experiences.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 11:06PM
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I hope this isn't finding you too late Kevin, but yes we did use Adams. We were very happy with them; they are completely professional and the pool came out beautiful.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 3:53PM
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Do any of you know about Krystalkrete and the upgrade charge for their midnight blue color?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Beware of pebbletec. If you have a problem with one of their finishes - I have the top of the line BeadCrete, the company absolutely does not stand behind their product . Your emails will go unanswered. Customer service will not help you. They will tell you to contact the installer. If your installer won't return your emails or calls what do you do? What does a warranty mean? Nothing ! Never use this product!!!!

    Bookmark   last Wednesday at 6:11PM
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