5 Finish Options for Pools Besides Plaster

Move over, plaster: Pebbles, colors and glow-in-the-dark glass are making waves on the pool finish scene

Long gone are the days when plaster was the only pool finish you could get. While plaster has its benefits, new technology has given pool owners a wide variety of other choices. An abundant number of aggregate finishes and glass tiles gives homeowners more options with distinctive looks and an endless array of customizable features.

Upfront, these new finishes may be more expensive than plaster, but their longevity and style can outweigh price concerns. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each of these finishes, and discover which one is right for your pool.

Browse Pool Design Photos to Find More Finish Options


Finishes 1: BRADANINI & ASSOCIATES, original photo on Houzz


Pebble Tec is made of natural, polished pebbles that create a bumpy texture and a nonslip surface. There are 18 color options to choose from, and it also can be custom made to a homeowner’s preference.


This Pebble Tec finish creates the look of a natural, sandy beach entry and blends in with the landscape’s native boulders and grasses.


Cost estimate: $92 to $105 per linear foot, installed (varies significantly according to region and labor)



○Long-lasting, resilient finish (15 to 20 years)

○More natural looking than plaster

○Color options give homeowners a variety of looks

○Stain resistant

○Nonslip finish

○Low maintenance



○More expensive than plaster

○Needs to be installed by licensed, trained experts

○Non-slip finish can be rough on feet if not installed correctly

○Scale (calcium or mineral buildup) can be a concern

Ask a Pool Professional to Customize Your Design


Finishes 2: Omega Pools, LLC, original photo on Houzz


Pebble Sheen has 16 brilliant color options. Some include small seashell pieces to add glitter and sparkle to the finish. Pebble Sheen incorporates the same technology as Pebble Tec, but uses smaller pebbles for a slicker finish.


Finishes 3: TaC studios, architects, original photo on Houzz


This pool interior has the Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen finish.


Pebble Fina, another product of Pebble Tec’s technology, incorporates the ancient Greek and Roman use of pozzolans (cement additives) into the cement mix, yielding a strong, durable finish that resists etching.


Finishes 4: Bead Crete ‘Caribbean Blue’, original photo on Houzz


BeadCrete pool surfacing is made up of solid glass beads that are locked carefully into a polymer-modified cement. This adds a three-dimensional effect to the finish.


Cost estimate: $92 to $105 per linear foot, installed (varies significantly according to region and labor)



○Creates a smooth finish for your feet

○Glass beads capture light brilliantly

○Highly stain resistant

○Low maintenance

○Long lasting (15 to 20 years)



○Very expensive

○Requires highly skilled installers

○Longer installation time


Finishes 5: Famosa – The Surface Studio, original photo on Houzz


Glass tile is a luxurious pool finish choice. While the initial investment of anywhere from $75 to $100 per square foot (installed) is a jaw dropper, glass tile surfaces can last almost indefinitely if maintained properly.


Cost estimate: $75 to $100 per square foot



○Endless variety of design possibilities

○Longest lasting of all pool finishes

○A shimmering and luxurious effect



○Depending on the glass tile and pattern chosen, can be the most expensive of all finishes

○Requires an experienced tile setter educated in the specific requirements to install glass tile properly

○Long installation time


Finishes 6: Sutton Suzuki Architects, original photo on Houzz


If these finishes don’t quite suit your style, ask your pool designer how you can get really creative and customize your own type of finish. This pool, for example, uses fixed pebbles.

Pool-Friendly Materials for Your Patio

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