Last Updated: August 10, 2021

Pool Plaster Color (What's The Best Choice?)

Written By: Pool Care Guide

So, you want a pool. You've got a whole plan in mind to redo the backyard and finally put in your dream pool. Everything is set. You've thought of everything…or have you?

What color do you want your pool plaster to be?

You may be thinking that it doesn't matter or that you'll just go with the default. Unfortunately, it does matter, and there is no default. The color of your pool is about more than just painting a hole in the ground. If you want to plaster your pool, you need the color to reflect your vision - metaphorically and literally.

Let's start by taking a closer look at why color matters, then we'll dive into how to find your perfect color and even swim by some fun color options. If you're up to it, we can even head over to the hot tub and learn about some non-plaster options.

Ready? Cannonball!

Does The Plaster Color Matter?

Pool Plaster being applied to a new pool

The most obvious and important reason why plaster color matters are how it defines the pool area's appearance. Do you like it? Does it fit the look you envisioned for your pool?

Plaster colors - like wall color, bedding color, and kitchen counter color - should be taken into consideration when planning a pool. Do you want to swim in a marble-white pool that harshly reflects the sun, or do you want to swim in an oppressive obsidian pool that stays nice and warm?

Another key element to factor in when choosing a pool color is how you want the water to appear? Every plaster color will reflect different shades through the water and can significantly affect the water's outward appearance.

Greyer tones will produce more blue water, while yellower shades will make the water look more turquoise. Additionally, different colors of pool plaster show erosion differently. Lighter colors tend to show fading, stains, and scaling.

How to Choose the Perfect Plaster Color

White pool plaster being applied to a new pool

As with any design element, choosing a pool plaster color ultimately comes down to your preferences and budget. In the end, the choice is yours, but where do you start? How do you know if one color is better than another?

Let's take a look at what a difference color can make to your pool and some of the steps you should take to find your perfect shade.

What Is the Overall Look?

You're already spending $35,000-$80,000 on a pool. Maybe you want to redo the garden and build a cabana to go with it. Obviously, you'll want to make sure the pool color matches the rest of the setup.

Imagine this: your garden is lush green with some flowers scattered throughout. There are stepping stones and a small wooden bench in the corner; all of this surrounds your new pool.

But, whoops! You decided that the pool should have a sand-colored plaster, and now your backyard looks like a swamp complete with brackish green water.

Or perhaps you're going for the chrome and wood BBQ and deck combo, but you chose black plaster, and now your backyard looks like a dystopian sci-fi novel.

These may seem like ridiculously overblown metaphors, but the truth is, if you don't take the rest of the yard into consideration when choosing a pool color, you may end up feeling this way.

Pools are enormous bodies of water that most often take up the majority of the yard. If the color isn't in keeping with the surrounding design, it will show.

What Color Do You Want the Water to Be?

The first step in choosing a pool plaster color is to decide what color you want the water to appear. If you want a tropical feel, choose a color that will produce a more turquoise hue. If you water the water to be blue, look for less saturated, greyer tones.

Think of it like basic color theory. If you mix blue and yellow, you'll get green. Conversely, if you add too much grey, the blue will just turn grey.

You need to examine two aspects of color theory to determine what the water will look like: hue and value. Hue is the color itself. Do you want the water to be blue, turquoise, blue-green, or seafoam? Value refers to the color's darkness or lightness value. For example, you can have dark blue, medium blue, and light blue.

These two facets of color will help you determine what the water will look like and which colors you can choose from based on that.

Plain or Aggregate

Most modern pool plasters have a concrete-like appearance. That is, they look mottled and often incorporate large particulates of different colors. These are called aggregates. They are a combination of a plaster base and small rocks, stones, or glass beads.

There are two variants of aggregates: polished and exposed. Exposed aggregates are rough to the touch like brick or stucco, while polished aggregates are smooth like granite and marble countertops.

Plain plaster is also an option. This type of pool finish tends to be duller as it is one solid color. Aggregates add depth to the pool, giving more dimension and changing the colors. Plain plaster, however, is not lustrous.

From a distance, both plain and aggregate plasters seem to be one solid color. Aggregates are the trendier pool finish and can help hide stains and scaling, but they tend to be more expensive.

Price

The cheapest option for pool plaster is a simple, solid white. This type of plaster is the most basic, consisting only of cement and silica sand. It will last five to seven years before needing touch-ups or replacement.

Plain plaster can also be colored with pigments for a more exciting look. It is the cheapest option and best for budgets and large pools. Plain plaster usually costs around $4 per square foot.

Aggregates, while a more expensive plaster option, offer better resistance against staining and chemical damage. Exposed aggregate is rough and bumpy but usually costs less than its polished counterpart. Aggregates also tend to last a bit longer than plain plaster.

Aggregates, both exposed and polished, last around ten years before they show signs of wear and tear. Exposed aggregate costs about $4.5 per square foot, while polished aggregate costs about $5 per square foot. There may also be price variations based on the aggregate used. Quartz, granite, pebble, and glass beads all have significant price differences.

Plaster Color Ideas and Where to Use Them

It can be hard to decide what color to use for a pool plaster, so here are some fun ideas to start you off.

A popular choice for the average backyard pool is medium grey. A light to medium grey can help enhance the blue of the water without changing the overall color of the pool.

If you want something a little more daring, why not try a bright turquoise. This bold color will make the water appear slightly greener without making it darker. It lends itself nicely to a tropical vibe without being obvious.

Plain white is a good option if you want your pool to feel bright and open. The water will appear neither too blue nor too green and will help give it that crystal clear appearance.

If that's not to your tastes, try a dark to medium solid blue. This color will darken the pool's overall look and enhance the natural blue. It is an excellent option if you want your pool to have a magical quality.

Finally, if you want something exceptional, you can order a custom aggregate. Try a white base with blue glass or a green base with black granite for something unique. Many pool finishers offer custom options, so take advantage of them.

Non-Plaster Finishes To Consider

If the plaster is not to your liking and you want something a little more stylish, here are some non-plaster finishes to consider.

Paint

By far, the cheapest way to finish a pool is to paint it. Depending on the type of paint used, the size of the pool, and the amount of time it takes to paint it, the total cost is only around $400-$700. The biggest downside to this is that you need to repaint pools pretty frequently. On average, expect to pull out the paint about every two to four years.

The different types of pool paint include acrylic, epoxy, and chlorinated rubber. Acrylic is the cheapest and fastest to apply, epoxy lasts the longest (about six to eight years). Epoxy also costs the most and takes the longest to prepare, and chlorinated. Rubber takes as long as epoxy to put on but costs less.

Vinyl

Vinyl pool liners are a good option for anyone looking for a relatively affordable option. A vinyl liner can be installed quickly and last about the same amount - if not just a little less - than plaster. While vinyl is often a more budget-friendly option, the price relies entirely on the complexity of the pool.

If a pool is oddly shaped and features steps and seats, it will cost considerably more to have the pool lined than if the pool is a simple shape with no added complexity. Liners also come in varying thicknesses, and this will affect the price as well.

The pool liner itself can cost anywhere from $700-$1,500, but there is an additional $1,000-$2,500 for installation.

Tile

For the most luxurious, customizable, and expensive pool finish, try tiles. Pool tiles come in a wide variety, from glass and stone to ceramic and porcelain. Pool tiles come in every shape, size, and color. They also cost a lot.

Possibly the most notable benefit of tiling a pool is that it will last for at least 20 years before needing to be retiled. Due to the wide variety of tile options and customization, the price range is extensive. It can cost anywhere from $2,000-$70,000 to tile an entire pool.

The average cost to tile a pool falls between $5,000-$15,000, usually closer to $15,000.

Final Thoughts

The color of plaster you choose will determine not only the look of the pool but also the color of the water. Plain plaster is a classic option, but there are also exposed and polished aggregates to select. Choose wisely and be sure to examine every possibility before diving in headfirst.

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