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Thread: Pool finishes...pebble vs plaster...opinions?

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    Pool finishes...pebble vs plaster...opinions?

    I'm in the market for an IG gunite pool, probably in the 800 sq ft range. 3 1/2 to 8' deep. SWG. I'm undecided on the finish and am interested in some of y'alls opinions on the standard quartz/plaster vs. the higher end pebble finishes.

    I'd never really even heard of pebble finishes until I got intereted in a pool and started doing my research. They look fantastic, but have heard that they may be rough on the feet. There is also the cost consideration. Does the durability of the pebble pay for itself in longevity? Any other issues?

    The standard plaster finishes always seemed nice to me too, I guess I'm just looking for opinions.

    So what are your thoughts? Pebble or plaster???

    Thanks...
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
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    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The service life numbers I have seen were: plain plaster 10 years, quartz crystal colored plaster 20 years, pebble 30 years. Of course in real life you might get more or less out of any of them.

    There are various kinds of pebble finishes these days. PebbleSheen and PebbleFina were developed specifically because people complained about the feel of PebbleTec. PebbleFina is said to have the same texture as regular plaster. Keep in mind that some people love their PebbleTec and wouldn't change it in any way.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    Also remember that those figures are if you keep your pool water properly balanced. Not doing so will dramatically effect those figures.
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Thanks for the input guys.

    Anybody else love or hate their pebble finishes?
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

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    divnkd101's Avatar
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    I chose plaster over the "Aggregate"/ Pebble finishes. My wife and I could not find a pebble finish light (color) enough for our liking. We truly enjoy the sparkling light blue tint the water shows against the white plaster. However, I must tell you I have seen some beautiful pools on here with many different types of finishes. It will come down to your own personal preference and how much you are willing to pay. The pebble finishes will run higher in cost compared to white plaster. Good luck in your choices and keep us posted. Welcome to TFP.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

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    ktdave's Avatar
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    We have Pebbltec and love it. As far as roughness, we have had no problems with blisters, etc. I actually love the feel. My toddler will spend several hours at a time playing in the beach entry and she never experienced any problems. We looked at Pebblesheen, and although it is "smoother" than Pebbletec, we just liked the look of the larger pebbles. We are very satisfied with our choice.
    11,000 gal. gunite w/midnight blue and white pearl PebbleTec
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    Thanks for the opinions. It will help in my decision making when the time comes. I know the pebble finishes are more expensive, but also last longer. I'll just have to weigh the extra expense vs. total cost of the pool. I'm already past $50K with what I want and am trying to keep it from going much past that point. I need to find someone local with a pebble finish pool and walk around it a bit to see for myself. I do really like the look though...

    Anybody else? Thoughts???
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

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    mas985's Avatar
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    One thing you might want to consider is surface roughness. Pebble Tec is quite rough while Pebble Sheen/Fina is much smoother.

    We went to the show room and they had each surface under about 6 inches of water and they encouraged us to walk around on each surface. I liked the Pebble Fina the best. At the time, I had read a few folks complaining that there kids had bloody feet because of Pebble Tec so I knew I didn't want that and the Pebble Fina was very expensive at the time so I chose standard plaster. It is pretty smooth and I like the white color. However, there are downsides as well. It won't last as long and the light color does not capture the suns heat as well as a darker color. I could have colored the plaster but I had seen what that looks like after a few years and it is not good.

    There are new finishes out there that are probably better and better address the smoothness of the surface. See if you can find a show room that will allow you to walk around on the different surfaces.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    I've never heard from someone with the pebble finish that doesn't like it...that being said we went with just a white plaster because we don't intend to own the house for more than 5 years, I couldn't justify the extra money since we won't be here to enjoy the life of it...having said that I kind of wish we would have done it anyway...we have a lot of large oak trees and are consistantly fighting with natural stains, I not sure if we'd have the same fight with a pebble tec finish.
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    I will probably be in this house for 10-15 years, so it will be more likely to pay for itself...
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    My inlaws have Pebbletec that was just installed this summer. While it is certainly rougher than new plaster, I don't find it abrasive on our feet. Currently, the worn-out plaster in our pool is at least as rough as the Pebbletec.

    One of the main things that appeals to me about the pebble surfaces is the durability when using a cleaner like the Polaris. Our Polaris has worn through the plaster in a couple of places in our pool. I hope and assume that a pebble surface will be less susceptible to the repeated rubbing of the Polaris's tires.
    blubluenoiseise

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  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Personally, I prefer the looks of white plaster in most pools.

    Also, you really cannot be totally guaranteed that the pebble finishes will last longer. Abuse is abuse - if a pool isn't maintained correctly pebble finishes will be affected and possibly if needing patched for some reason, may not be easily unseen. Some original plaster finishes last for years and years. I have a 26 year old pool with the original plaster - which is finally needing to be refinished. I can tell you for a fact, that prior to my ownership, the pool was not maintained well, but still held up. So, if you are trying to save a few bucks, I wouldn't hesitate to go with plaster.
    Buggs

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  13. Back To Top    #13

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    My PB offered the other finishes besides plaster.......at a starting cost of 3k and more! I just couldn't justify that extra cost. Also I have 2 jandy multi colored lights. They look fantastic at night with the white plaster. Having owned a spa for a few years prior I knew that the lighter the color the better the light will reflect. Good luck!
    35,000 gallon 800 Sq. foot gunite, 50 x 22 freeform. 2 sheer Descent waterfalls from 2 foot raised beam wall, Jandy heater, Polaris 280, 2 H.P. pump, DE 60 filter, Nature2, 2 Jandy color lights, 1000 Sq foot of Stamped concrete.

    Master Spa LS850

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    From_Arizona's Avatar
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    we plan to stay in our new house for at least 7-10 years, so we went with a higher end exposed agregate finsih called Beadcrete. We are so far very happy with the product, not the installation. Our last pool was Pebble-Tec and we loved that as well.

    Even though we did not stay in last house that long, we went with Pebble-tec due to the following;
    1) AZ seems to have pebble interior as more of the standard and seems to be viewed as a higher value for reslae than a plaster
    2) we have dogs that love mud and the pool - figured this would hide much of the stains that could be caused by the dirt and dust in the area...I think it worked after seeing a neighbors pool that went with plaster.
    1980's Shasta built 30,000 gal inground diving pool. Pebble-tec interior. Pentair DE Filter. In ground pop-ups. Hayward Navigator sweeper.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Thanks for all the input. I guess I really need to just go find a couple pools with aggregate finishes and check them out myself and weigh the costs. One point for plaster though that somebody mentioned above, the colored lights probably reflect better off the white. I do plan on having a couple color changing lights installed. Not sure which ones yet. I'm sure I'll post that question later too...
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    We went with Pebbletech. Not rough feeling at all and you can get it in very light shades. Ours is a light blue and we love the way it looks and feels.
    IG, Shotcrete, PebbleTech, 30 1/2 x 13, 13000 approx. gals, 1 1/2 HP Jandy pump, 2 1/2 plumbing, cartridge filter, SWG, ozone system, PV3 in-floor pop-up cleaning, Mesa, AZ

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    Re: Pool finishes...pebble vs plaster...opinions?

    Reference post

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    Re: Pool finishes...pebble vs plaster...opinions?

    We are currently under construction and had originally picked out Gemstone Sparkle Quartz on our contract. PB said they have been getting many complaints of mottling(sp) and they are no longer using as a standard finish. so they offered us Micropebble. seems to be much better than sparkle quartz.

    If I had the extra 3K to spend I would have went with the PebbleTech without hesitation, we decided to add perimiter instead.

    I don't think I have ever heard anything negative about PebbleTech seems to be top of line when it comes to pool finishes.

    Let us know what you decide and post pics!
    Completed 38'X21' IG Free form pool approx 18.5K gallons, sports pool w/spa and tanning shelf 3.5-5.5 ft. Jandy Cartridge Filter, Jandy stealth pumps, Jandy LXi Heater, I aqualink, Inline chlorinator. Click to see My Pool Build

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    Re: Pool finishes...pebble vs plaster...opinions?

    Went back and forth on this one. We decided with an aggregate. Smoother finish, great color (my wife wanted a lighter color - not into the lagoon style colors) and there were no installers in our area that work w/ pebble on a regular basis. We are 100% pleased w/ our selection Sunstone select, super blue). The pebble does have a higher end and exotic look but for our needs/wants, the aggregate did the trick.
    15 K gal/gunnite, 600 gal attached SPA, Hayward: ProLogic, ColorLogic LED, Super II pumps, 400k BTU heater, StarClear cartridge filter for, SwimClear cartridge filter . Pentaire: booster

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/detai...l?hilit=corpus

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    Re: Pool finishes...pebble vs plaster...opinions?

    I'll throw this out there just to stir the pot a little. I'm a firm believer that the installer/installation process is the most(maybe tied for first) important factor in how long pool plaster lasts. Water chem is s close second or like I said maybe tied for first.

    I went with plain plaster due to my contractors lack of experience with quartz/pebble. He was willing to do quartz, but it was going to be ~5k IIRC...and I have personal experience with regular plaster pools that still look good after 20+ yrs. (I know they are the exception to the rule). If you do get a "regular" marble or quartz plaster I'd suggest you look at the site http://poolhelp.com/ There's lots and lots of information that is extremely valuable.

    picking your color and material is a daunting task, but do your research and pick the choice that speaks to you.
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

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