Plaster Vs Pebble Tec

Good Morning my readers!

Today I’ll be speaking a little bit about plaster and pebble pools. I will talk in detail about only these two products to waterproof the pool shell, please note that everything you read here is nothing but my honest opinion after spending over 13 years working in the pool industry. I will be creating more content at a later time of all the other pebbletec products not mentioned here, diamond brite, hydrazzo, quartz and others. I chose these two products today because of their popularity and because I often see my clients debating on whether they should upgrade to pebble sheen or stick to just a regular white plaster.


First I will start by saying, color plasters are very nice (I love dark bottom pools!) they will attract the heat from the sun more than a light liner (as any other dark color material) but they tend to fade away, mottling and bleach spots occur within a few months and that can bother your eyesight in the long run. Knowing this ahead of the game can save headaches and problems with your pool builder. It also requires a professional service company to maintain and help to avoid worsening, we found them very hard to treat when an algae problem arises without discolorating the surface. Most chemicals are safe to use on colored pools but they still have been proven to affect the color. Also, your pool guy might be brushing more on one side of the pool than others and that causes the color to fade away more in certain areas. Plaster is a mix of cement and sand with a certain amount of dye added to the mix to give you a gray color (any shade such as light, medium, dark or french),  your pool plastering company may use liquid or powder pigment. They are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but please know the risks before choosing a gray pool plaster.


I want to start off by saying, there’s plenty of generic rocks in the market that can give you a “pebble finish” look. Most come from Baja California Mexico but they can also come from a variety of places, some places with bigger rock than others, so the consistency of your “generic” brand pebble finish may be rougher than what you envisioned. I know pebbletec materials are a bit more pricey than others, but let me tell you the cool thing about having a company like PEBBLETEC by your side.

Pebble sheen is a material that can only be applied by certified applicators; companies that train their employees with very specific protocols of application and have all the proper tools and equipment to mix your materials, and the best thing, you have a quality control team that will show up whenever you have an issue, this to me is what makes a difference, pebble tec colors, even the darkest one, looks very even after first acid wash before filling the pool for the first time. Another comparable fact is that pebble sheen colors are premixed by the manufacturer, compared to other generic brands that mix the materials based off a formula, so, this is where the discrepancies occur, some builders may add more black rock than others so in times where a repair is needed, it may be hard to match the color. These and many other reasons made us choose pebbletech over others, we are a certified pebble tec builder, which means that we use a certified applicator (a subcontractor) that applies pebbletech only. I will make it easier for you on the mix, pebble tech is a mix of sand, cement and rock so being this said, the material is 2x stronger than regular plaster where only cement and sand are mixed, but yeah, it is rougher on your feet. I won’t get into the details of the “roughness” I learned that pebble sheen is not rough for my feet at all, but some of my clients say it is, so I think we all have different sensibility to it. Pebble sheen colors are listed in three pricing categories, 1,2,3 three being the most expensive one. Pebbletec is the brand name and also the name for the “BIG ROCK”, they named “pebble sheen” to their smaller pebble rock. So it is, “pebble sheen by Pebbletec”.



For those clients that are wanting to stick within a budget, this is the most safe and economical product on the market to waterproof your pool shell. White plasters were probably the first ones to be applied in the first pools many many years ago so that speaks for itself, if properly maintained can last over 10-15 years. White plasters are smooth, and safe to chlorinate and shock, even when problems occur without the risk of discolorating, they are smooth and gentle to your feet while protecting and waterproofing. Commercial pools in Los Angeles can only have white plaster, because most likely high levels of chlorine will be added to the pool, they think is a safe material, and if an object or someone falls in the pool can be seen right away. When having trim tile designs on steps and benches, white plasters help showcase the tile design better than a pebble finish. White plaster gives a sky blue water color, when having lots of shaded areas in your backyard, may look like a greenish blue.


Pebbletech came up with a pretty cool picker tool, click HERE to try it!

If you have additional questions in regards to these finishes and or other ones that come across your web search, please don’t hesitate to contact me I would love to discuss different options for your project.

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