Classic white or dyed to suit a mood, plaster is the most common and affordable finish for pools today
Pool owners today have many choices for their pool finishes. Plaster is the most common, and it's still one of the least expensive finishes for an inground pool. Plaster is typically applied over a guinite (concrete) pool shell and can be dyed to suit different styles, surrounding materials and landscapes.
Pricing for plaster varies by region, so be sure to get several estimates, check references and be wary of taking the lowest bid. There are some shortcuts that may result in a lower price but will affect the quality and longevity of the finished product.
Plaster 1: CAVINESS LANDSCAPE DESIGN, INC., original photo on Houzz
White pool plaster is a simple combination of white cement, white marble aggregate and water. It is an economical choice that has a classic swimming pool look.
This is the most common plaster in use today, and in the past it was the only choice. Most commercial swimming pools still are required by national building codes to have white plaster only.
Pros: It is the most inexpensive of all pool surface choices and is easy to install.
Cons: White plaster is a "soft" finish that is susceptible to the effects of water chemistry, compared to the newer options such as aggregates and glass tiles.
White pool plaster should last from five to seven years before any kind of erosion is noticeable. Maintaining proper water chemistry is very important to extend the life of this type of application.
Plaster 2: Ridge Pools, original photo on Houzz
Colored plaster is white plaster with dye added to the mix. The finish shown here has been given an aqua blue tint. Innovative chemical additives have been introduced to alleviate the mottling, etching and cracking that can occur during application.
Pros: A great variety of colors are available, and colored plaster remains an inexpensive choice.
Cons: The color may naturally fade over time.
Black dye added to the plaster gives this pool a dramatic finishing touch, and the dark color can help warm your pool in summer.
If you are planning to have multicolored lighting in your pool, this may not be the best choice, as the lighting colors will not show up against dark plaster. A dark color also makes it hard to see the bottom of the pool, which can be a safety concern when there are small children nearby.
Plaster 3: Lang Pools Inc., original photo on Houzz
The dye added to the plaster for this particular pool is called French Grey.
Colored plaster can be stained by leaves and tree debris, or high amounts of metals in your fill water. Proper water chemistry is the key to extending the life of your plaster pool finish. Maintaining a clean pool to prevent debris from sitting on the floor of your pool will help, too.
Plaster 4: Samarotto Design Group, original photo on Houzz
A medium-gray plaster application in this pool brings a calm mood to this outdoor living space and complements the stone patio.
This pool has a dark-gray plaster application, which blends well with the natural grasses and wood decking.
Plaster 5: Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group, original photo on Houzz
Crushed quartz additives can be added to intensify the sheen and extend the life of the plaster. This pool shows the Diamond Brite Cool Blue color from Southern Grouts and Mortars.
Plaster 6: Platinum Poolcare, original photo on Houzz
Pros: A quartz additive can extend the life of plaster to 15 to 20 years. It also gives the pool owner a variety of colors to choose from, is durable and has a choice of smooth or slip-resistant finishes.
Cons: The quartz additive costs more, and a slip-resistant finish can be rough on the feet.