Last Updated: September 11, 2021

Pool Finishes Compared (Which Type Is Best?)

Written By: Pool Care Guide

When you decide you want a pool in your backyard, you will need to choose a few things. One of the main things you will have to decide is what pool finish you want. 

There are three main types of pool finishes, and each is good in its own way. How do you choose and which is the best for a pool? 

First, you will need to decide if you are going for practicality or if you are going for aesthetics. Tile is a great finish to use because it is one of the most durable options and long-lasting. 

However, that may not fit the theme or vibe of your house. There are plenty of other options to choose from. 

No matter what you are focused on, there are options for your new pool. This guide will walk you through all of your options and the different looks you can achieve with the options. There are a wide variety of options when creating the perfect pool.

The Best Pool Finishes

The final look of your pool will have a lot to do with the finish you choose for the pool. The finish not only provides aesthetics but a protective layer as well. Take a look at the different finishes you can choose.

Plaster Finishes

This is a mixture that is made up of cement, silica, and water. Occasionally you will find a plaster made with maple dust. Plaster finishes provide a classic look to your pool and are the best choice for people who are on a budget. 

It is a good option for big pools that need a lot of material and small pools if you need something easy to apply. 

One of the best things about this type of finish is that it will last between five to seven years before you need to repair it. 

Even after five years, there may be no signs of wear and tear yet because of how durable it is. If you are looking for a bluer-looking pool, you will want to use a medium gray color, which is one of the most popular colors of plaster to choose from. 

There is one major downside to this material. Plaster tends to be porous, which means the water will start passing through the material after a while. It will mix with the water, and you will start to notice subtle changes.

Aggregate Finishes

This is plaster mixed with stones or pebbles and one of the best ones to choose, although it is a newer type of finish. People are falling in love with this style of pool finish because it screams luxury. It comes in different colors, shades, and so many different styles, you can completely customize your pool with this option. 

One of the best things about this specific type of finish is that it is less prone to stains and chemicals. Plaster can stain much easier than this aggregate finishes. However, it is much more expensive than the average pool plaster. 

There are two types of aggregate to choose from, polished and exposed. The polished look is made up of smoothed-out stones like quartz or granite and gives the pool a very sleek look.

The finish that uses polish is a classic and elegant look that is great for anyone looking to extend the life of the plaster. 

On the other hand, the exposed aggregate adds traction to the pool. One of the coolest things about the exposed aggregate is that you can mix and match the colors of the stones used in the pool. 

You can have a naturally color-coordinated yard all the way down to the pool area. However, keep in mind that this is rough on the feet and may not be best for kids with sensitive feet.

Tile Finishes

You will generally see tiles being used on the floor and steps of the pool, and the coolest thing about these types of finishes is they last a while. 

You also have a lot of control over the look and vibe of your pool with the various tiles you can use. Creating extravagant designs is easy with tiles. 

Unfortunately, this is one of the most expensive options because it takes a lot longer to place inside of your pool. While this finish is more expensive, it is also the longest-lasting option. You will not see much wear and tear until the pool is much older. 

One of the best things about this material is that you can choose glass, stone, porcelain, or ceramic. There are many ways to get the most out of tile, and many designs give a luxurious look to your new pool. You can mix and match sizes, shapes, and more with tiles.

5 Tips on How to Choose the Best Pool Finish

Back in the day, most pool owners had very few choices when it came to pool finishes. You got whatever was available, and that was enough. 

Now you have design options, and it could not be more fun to buy a pool and choose a design that reflects your house perfectly. You no longer have to choose a plain white plaster; you can select colors and more. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing the best pool finish.

Look at the Big Picture

If you ever sell your home, this pool needs to be photo-worthy. Look at the landscape of your backyard. Would pebble look better than tile? 

The look of your backyard can help you narrow down your choice immensely and make the design process easier too. You will want something that flows well with what is already in your yard. Imagine your yard with a pool and choose the best-fitting material.

Colors Surrounding the Pool Matter

The finish you choose will affect how blue or dark a pool looks. However, so do the surrounding colors. Certain trees will affect the way the water looks, coping around the pool, and even the color of your grass. Take a look at the colors and imagine what would look best with your yard. Perhaps a darker color would look better than a bright blue with white plaster.

Think About Temperature

The darker the surface is, the more heat it will retain. This happens with most materials, and pools are no different. A lighter surface won’t heat up as quickly. Keep in mind the depth of your pool as well. 

A very deep pool will take a long time to heat up, while a shallow pool will take less time. So, if you have a shallow pool with dark tiles, it may get too hot for your comfort. If you live in a super sunny place, a dark pool finish may also feel just as uncomfortable.

Pay Attention to Depth

Although stated previously in the tip above, the truth is you need to pay attention to how deep your pool is. The deeper a pool is, the darker it will appear. The shallower a pool is, the lighter it will appear. 

Any finish you choose should be fitting with the depth of your pool. If you want a deep pool to look lighter, light stones or white plaster may brighten the appearance. At the same time, dark stones may make it look much darker. It truly depends on the aesthetics you are going for.

The Sun Plays a Role

Any good pool contractor will be able to show you what the end result will look like on a sunny or cloudy day. Your pool may look much better in the sun and make it super luxurious. 

However, if you live in a warm but mostly overcast place, you will want to take that into account. This may change what pool finish you choose. 

There are so many things that you should consider before choosing the pool finish. However, no matter what you choose, you should think about the end result and how it will enhance your yard. 

This is a space many people will see and something that you want to enjoy every summer. Choosing the best pool finish seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Think about the materials, the style, and what you really want the end result to look like.

The Final Verdict

If you are looking for a natural-style pool, the best option for you may be pebble. You can choose between polished and exposed based on your preference or how sensitive your feet are. 

If your budget is a bit bigger and you want to experiment with the pool's look, you should use tile. This is one of the best pool finishes because it is one of the most durable. It will last for years to come, and it can be arranged in a sleek and classy design. 

This is perfect for anyone who hosts pool parties and wants to show off their new pool.

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