This is really a personal choice about which looks/feels better to you. DiamondBrite should be noticeably less expensive and smoother. The general expectation is that PebbleTec will last longer and be less likely to get damaged, but if it does get damaged it will be noticeably more difficult to repair without leaving obvious discontinuities where it was patched.
JasonLion's advice, as always, is to the point and sound.
Here is some info on Diamond Brite that you may not have seen.
Diamond Brite is an exceptionally durable swimming pool and spa finish that is a unique blend of
colored quartz aggregate and polymer modified cement. It was developed to answer both the
consumer and contractorâ€™s demand for a longer lasting and more colorful pool finish that is
resistant to traditional plaster problems. Diamond Brite will stand up to the harshest pool
environments and can be cleaned by acid washing several times throughout its life span, without
sustaining permanent damage.
In the late 1980â€™s spot etching and other plaster problems had reached epidemic proportion
throughout the United States. Traditional limestone-based finishes deteriorated rapidly, even with
reasonable chemical maintenance, leading to customer dissatisfaction and frustration for
contractors. This rapid deterioration was due to the weak, soluble nature of the marble aggregate
and fine cement paste at the plaster surface. The dissolution of the cement paste and
subsequent erosion of the marble aggregate produced unsightly â€œspot etchingâ€ and discoloration.
Minute fluctuations in water chemistry were sufficient to initiate the unstoppable process of
deterioration that afflicted many pools and spas. Typical cleaning methods such as â€œacid
washingâ€ brought only temporary relief and in reality caused accelerated erosion. More than a few
pool builders and service contractors went out of the plaster business as a result of the these
Finally, in the early 1990s, SGM introduced Diamond Brite to the swimming pool and spa industry.
With its revolutionary use of insoluble quartz and exposed aggregate technology, Diamond Brite
quickly took the industry by storm. Pool and spa contractors everywhere eagerly embraced
Diamond Brite as a true advancement over existing pool plaster technology.
In just five years there were over 100,000 Diamond Brite pools, including major water theme
parks, international resorts, competition, commercial and residential pools and spas throughout
There is no secret to Diamond Briteâ€™s success. Quartz aggregate, unlike marble, is completely
insoluble, even in the presence of highly corrosive acid. And, by intentionally removing the highly
susceptible cement paste during the exposure process, a colorful, slip resistant and extraordinary
durable surface is revealed. Finally, polymer modification of the cement used in Diamond Brite,
increases hardness, improves bonding and reduces water penetration.
Careful selection of the finest ingredients available and strict quality control procedures set SGM
apart from all other manufacturers. Every batch of Diamond Brite, about 60 to 80 bags, produced
at SGM manufacturing facilities in Pompano Beach Florida, Dallas Texas, and Corona California,
is tested before shipping to insure our customers receive the highest quality product. Samples of
each batch are stored at the factory for future reference in the event of a warranty claim.
Finally, this manual is intended as a reference source only. It is assumed that the user is
experienced in the application of standard swimming pool plasters and water chemistry. There is
no substitute for hands-on experience in the application of Diamond Brite. Training by skilled
installers is available through SGM and is the only way to acquire the necessary skills. Revisions
will be published yearly as more information is accumulated. For more information or to get on
our mailing list to receive a revised copy each year, contact your local SGM representative or call
us at (800) 641-9247.
Also, if texture or roughness is an issue for you, Pebble Sheen is supposedly a smoother option than Pebble Tec. Even though many pool builders charge more for the Pebble Sheen, I have heard (unsubstantiated) that the cost to the pool builder is the same for Pebble Tec or Pebble Sheen (can anyone prove or disprove this?).
The complaint with regular PebbleTec is that the surfaces is just too rough, I can attest to that.
Check out the finish you want on a actual pool and feel it with your hand, then be sure
the color is what you like and you won't be disappointed. Any reputable company will be more than glad to
show you a demonstrator pool or a completed job.
There are many finishes and all of them are a little different.
Bottom line is that ALL exposed aggregate finishes are plaster finishes no matter what the marketing hype says! You will go through a curing period that will create a large acid demand in the water and water balance will be difficult for the first year. The durability is a bit better than a marcite finish but the cost is higher. The finish can still be damaged by improper water balance, particularly during that first year when scale deposits can be a problem if water balance is not maintained.