pebble tec vs plaster

jmck_ncDecember 6, 2007

I am trying to get my pool within budget and having trouble. I posted a few weeks ago about my pool builder's estimate being high. Well, taking out the waterfall and making it smaller only netted a 10K reduction, so we are looking at other possibilities. The pebble tec we want is 13K...which would be a nice reduction if we will not hate the plaster. We previously had pebble tec in our old pool and loved the water color, lack of maintenance issues etc. Will we hate plaster?

Also, looking at taking out the in-floor cleaning system and going with the crawly thing. Not sure what that will be dollar wise. Opinions?

Thanks for all your help!


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If you were happy with PebbleTec before I would think really hard before going with another product. I hate to see you "settle" for something that you may not be happy with, when you were happy with the PebbleTec. I went with PebbleSheen on mine and am very happy with the results. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 4:20PM
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How big is your pool. 13k seems really, really high, unless you have a really, really big pool. We have ptec and a 18x31 pool. I think plaster was 2500 and ptec was another 2500, give or take back in 2005.

There is nothing wrong with plaster. I simply wanted the look the pebble offered and did not like the possiblity of plaster molting like it often does. Ptec was one of the big splurges we went for.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 10:44PM
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This is for an 18x36 free form pool. The problem is that there is nobody locally who installs it so the pool builder is bringing someone in from 3 hrs away. That adds to the cost. On our old pool 8 years ago it was 3 or 4K to use it. The whole cost is just outrageous here in NC...not sure if it is worth it.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 7:13AM
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Like "pools", I have Pebble Sheen and love it. I would have difficulty going with another finish, but maybe that's just me.

I do not have an in-floor system, just a pressure side cleaner which does a great job. I don't miss an in-floor, but then again, one usually doesn't miss what one has never had.

You might see if your PB can talk a few other folks into a Pebble product so that the Pebble guys can do more than just your pool on that trip, maybe splitting some of that travel cost among other jobs.

Also think about what can be prepped now but installed later, like an SWCG or a heater. I don't remember if you're considering those items, but just prepping them now should save you some $$ and then you can install those items in the future. It won't save you big bucks, like opting out of Pebble, but it will save some $.

Also, if your contract includes any landscaping, you can do that work yourself as time and funds permit.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 12:23PM
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K for pebble Tec even 3 hours away is crazy.whats the credit for standard plaster and add that to the number and your at 15 k to pebble your pool.Pebble-Tec guards their applicators territory and the consumer gets hurt/banged for wanting it. There are so many other pebble surfaces that can be added to your pool that are of the same quality at far less money than that.You can search the National Plaster Councils website for applicators in your area.Pebble-Tec came out with pebble first but remember its only rock and cement. Theirs is no better than anyone else's. Don't skimp on the type of surface you want. Just shop smarter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Applicator locator

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 5:24PM
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There's other options than using "PebbleTec" or "PebbleSheen", like:

- Diamond Brite
- 3M Quartz Plaster
- CrystalStones
- Durazzo

Maybe one of those certified installers is closer??

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 9:24PM
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It's been several weeks since you posted. What is the status?

Couple of points:
- do not sign a contract until you hammer out all costs
- get several bids and make sure each PB knows they are in a competition to get your business
- it appears you have a "wish list" of a pool. And by that, I mean waterfall, in-floor system, pebble-tec, and vanishing edge. All "very very nice to haves," but with a very high cost associated with them compared to their alternatives.

You can nickle and dime yourself and be disappointed... for instance, you scaled down the waterfall to save money and that's fine... but if not careful, you may end up with a pool that has a vanishing edge, pebble-tec, and a bunch of other features that are either missing, or inadequate.

We priced pebble-tec (some whites and the caribbean blue). It was a $4100 upgrade. The caribbean blue would have given the water a warm and inviting color. So we went with a Quartz Aggregate for an aqua colored water instead, and put the $4100 into something that would provide more bang for the buck... like LEDs so we can make the water any color we want (at night anyway), larger decking, and IntelliFlo.

If it were me:
- the in-floor system would be the first to go... costs several thousands of dollars, and a $300 suction-based pump will get the job done
- pebble-tec would be the second thing to go. Quartz Arrgregate is just as good. Read up on both on this forum.
- get LEDs as a compromise for giving up pebble-tec


    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 8:09AM
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Well, thanks for the recent input. We are stalled for the moment trying to decide if it is really worth it to have this pool for this much money. Also waiting for the landscaper's estimate for the heavy work that is necessary to do immediately. My husband really, really wants to have the same "lazy man's pool" we had before. The pebble tec and in floor system make that possible. I don't know about other finishes besides plaster. Will do more research. I think because we want to leave the pool uncovered in the winter (tho we won't use it here in NC) and we are in a heavily wooded area that the pebble and in floor system make sense. It is just maddening to think that it costs so much more here vs. FL or TX.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 5:59PM
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I am on your side jmck_nc. I have an 800sft pool with pebblesheen quoted at $16 a sf. Outrageous I know. I am in NE and waiting for a spring finish. I am thinking alternatives like
ipvfletch suggested, however I don't feel good about anything that our PB will come back with.

Good luck in whatever you end up with but I feel your pain!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 2:53AM
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Our pool is only 800 sf. Pebble Tec was an additional 9K from National Pools. We love it!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 11:13PM
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In the end we just couldn't justify the expense for pebble tec, so we're getting quartz plaster. Hopefully we will be happy with it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:55PM
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Can you go with a pebble tec knock off? There have been many posts about how comperable they are for a fraction of the cost. We chose pebble tec, we never looked at the other options. Its hard to settle for less, but it might be better than plaster.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 12:23AM
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Jmck nc,

We have the quarts finish. We had them add lots of extra blue crystals. I wanted a more traditional white plaster look but still a bit more blue than the aqua color that white plaster can give. I am very happy with it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 2:30PM
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