Choosing pebble colour for water temperature

AUSpool

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 23, 2015
642
Brisbane, Australia.
Hi all,
We are in the process of selecting tiles and the pebble finish for a new pool. I found the below quote that suggests that the pebble finish can affect water temperature and was wondering if anyone has any experience with this? How dark do we need to go?

I don’t know if our pool be a warm pool or a cold one? It will be a small, ~5K gal, (16.5’ x 10’) shallow (4’ - 5’) pool with 6’ walls on two sides of the shell. One wall will be dark grey, concrete fusion, while the other will probably be the same as the deck tiles, sand stone. We are at ~27deg south which is maybe close to Florida at ~27deg north for general weather conditions.

We are after a deep blue look. Choosing is so hard, we have been told to look at pics of pools with the finishes of choice. We think the one below is our best choice. But can go darker with more black pebble in the mix. The pool below is not ours but is the look we are after with a second wall at the camera position.

Any help, advise or input would be much appreciated.


Choose Your Water Color

To start, simply choose which water color you would like to have in your pool. While this choice is based mostly on aesthetic preference, keep in mind that pools with darker finishes hold more heat than their lighter counterparts. This means that a darker pool will typically warm up earlier in the year and stay warm longer as compared to a lighter pool. However, it also means that a darker pool may feel much warmer on an especially hot summer day, while a lighter pool will likely feel more refreshing. Depending on where you live, a darker or lighter pool may have added benefits or detractions.
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
313
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I did some of the "engineering" calculations for adding solar heat to my pool someday in Tucson, which is probably a bit warmer than Brisbane (but less humid)-- seasons in reverse of course. I'd have to say, that even for "hot climates" except for the hottest couple of months, having more heat entering into the water is a "good thing". So... what I would suggest if you are thinking "will it get too hot?" is that the answer is probably not. So I would recommend going as light or dark as you want.. Go with what looks good to you.

At the cold months here it takes about another whole surface area of the pool in tubing area for solar to extend out the season about 6 weeks (with the cover on)... so.. it takes a lot to make that much difference. Now, leaving the cover off and turning off the solar heat appears necessary here in July and August (like I said in reverse) in most cases. Probably even more in Phoenix. :) You are not talking anything near that for the difference between light and dark...
 
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JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
208
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Funny, I was about to ask this same exact question. My main concern is the pool turning into bath water in August with the heat, since I could use the heater to warm up the water a bit in fall/spring. Does anyone know if the pebble color really plays an impact on water temp in the summer months?
 
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Snikwah

Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2019
114
North Dallas Area
Funny, I was about to ask this same exact question. My main concern is the pool turning into bath water in August with the heat, since I could use the heater to warm up the water a bit in fall/spring. Does anyone know if the pebble color really plays an impact on water temp in the summer months?

Check out this portion of this video. In my research, I've found that a darker pool finish will indeed affect the temperature of the water. I made a timelapse of a sunny day and watched the shadows track over the area where the pool will be. Being here in Texas, I want to minimize the heating of the pool as much as possible...which is why we are going to choose a lighter color finish. This also has a favorable effect on the appearance of any imperfections or mottling. But depending on what kinda sunlight you are going to get, you might actually want to go with a darker color though. Or maybe you just like warmer water.
 
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AUSpool

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 23, 2015
642
Brisbane, Australia.
Thanks to everyone for the input, its much appreciated and for anyone that is in the planing stage I think this is a good discussion to have. First off, I’m thinking that I can use this heat/colour relationship to maybe add some heat but the inverse is just as important, how to avoid excess heat.

Rattus makes a very important point, thank you, go with the look you want first. The heat added from a dark finish will be minimal compared to heat added from solar or electric/gas heater systems, although, you can’t turn off the input from a dark colour. To avoid any perceived effect from colour I think it would be safe to just avoid the very dark to black colours. Thanks for that video Snikwah, I was always going for pebble, we don’t seem to do a lot of plaster in Aussie anymore. The take away for me was that pebbles decrease the amount of exposed cement/plaster.

From real world experience my pool on the sunny coast is, or was, cold until I added solar. Two immediate neighbours with the same shape, size, orientation and prevailing conditions both had very dark finishes and their pools always seemed a little warmer. But there is my question, just how dark does a pool need to be to add a noticeable affect on heat input? I think very dark. And how does heat added from surface colour compare against exposure to wind, pool size, and/or, depth, and amount of direct sunlight?

Three pebble samples below are Arctic, Mediterranean and midnight. Blue, Very blue, very dark. I think the very dark midnight is the only one which will add any significant heat effect. We’ve ruled out the midnight, one pool looked stunning but some in lower light look a bit to grey for us. For perspective the finishes are in 2” bottle cap, the pebbles are tiny and the finish is smooth. Arctic has blue glass and some black pebbles, mediterranean is similar but has a blue oxide and midnight has lots of black pebbles and a dark oxide.

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