Comparing and Contrasting Pool Finishes

July 15, 2018 Written by: Nick Luisi

Deciding to get a pool is the easy part. Nobody has much trouble determining whether or not they’d like a cool reservoir in their own backyard to help chill out in the midst of the sweltering summer months, but trying to decide what material to use as the finish for that pool is a much tougher consideration. Pool finishes greatly influence the look and feel of a swimming pool, which is what makes choosing the right one such an important decision.

There are four basic surfaces from which to choose: plaster, pebble, quartz, and tile, and each of them comes with their own series of pros and cons.


Perhaps the most common pool surface chosen by customers here at Sunset Pools & Spas is plaster, as it has been used in pools dating back almost 60 years. Part of what makes it so desirable for pool owners is its relative affordability, as it is one of the least expensive finishes customers can choose. Beyond the cost, however, is its durability and clean aesthetic. Since a white plaster pool is so stark in appearance, the water within appears as a crisp, light blue. They are great for pool owners with small children at home and usually last for somewhere between five and ten years.


Another of the more popular interior finishes is the pebble finish, which lines a pool or spa with specially-formulated cement that contains small pebbles and stones in a variety of colors to give the pool a more dynamic appearance. These stones can be selected to match an existing deck or patio, but the texture is a bit rougher, meaning it might not be the most ideal finish for a pool that small children use frequently. They look great and are durable, with many pebble finishes lasting as long as 20 years.


A quartz pool finish combines a quartz aggregate with a polymer-modified cement, which is a combination that holds up nicely to the persistent harshness of pool chemicals. Because a quartz finish is not porous, these finishes do not easily stain, and they offer a nice compromise between plaster and pebbles finishes, as they are more durable than plaster but offer more color choices. These finishes tend to last somewhere between seven and 12 years.


Tile finishes typically are made from porcelain, stone or glass and can be glazed, textured, or hand-painted for aesthetics. They are far and away the longest-lasting and easiest to clean of all the finishes (especially around the water line), but tile also is the most expensive. For those that want unlimited variety in terms of color and design, however, the possibilities are essentially limitless with tile.

Whether you’re choosing an affordable white plaster pool or something with much more intricate tile designs, Sunset Pools & Spas can help you get the pool you want and need to make the most of your summer swimming plans.