Does a pebble refinish get me $2,000 worth of extra anything over a standard quartz?

Skenn81

Well-known member
Apr 23, 2018
145
Florida
I am talking pure technical things here.

Lets say I don't care about what it looks like, I don't care about the color, I don't care about how it feels.

If I spend the extra $2,000 to get a pebble finish over a quartz finish am I getting $2,000 in extra life out of the pool, $2,000 less in maintenance and chemicals, $2,000 in savings on repairs?

I am looking for a financial based decision as the quotes we have been receiving for a pool refinish are on average $2,000 more for pebble. I like to spend more on better quality but $2,000 for something prettier is not worth it when that can be spent on re-doing the pool deck or something else related to the overall pool area overhaul.

I do all my own testing and chemicals, proud follower of the TFP methods.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
651
Katy TX
I did a lot of research prior to doing a replaster back in 2018. I think it comes down to a personal preference & budget because you can review all the videos and commentaries on pebble over quartz and quartz over plaster.
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
212
Byran TX
I've read Pebble Tech has a longer shelf life. Then there's the warranty - Check to verify them. I read Pebble Fina has a 2 year warranty but it must be done by their authorized dealer.
Pebble Tec® -- Life expectancy of this product is 15 to 20 years and comes with a 5 year warranty, with proper start-up, maintenance, and chemical balancing."
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,844
Central California
I chose pebble purely for longevity (over plaster, not quartz). I was doing the same math as you (as plaster is far superior in terms of comfort). As this is my last home, I also factored my longevity into the equation. As in: one long-lasting pebble finish, vs two shorter-lasting plaster finishes, to see me through. Trying also to account for how much more the 2nd plaster finish will cost 10 years from now. All that complicates the results, as do all the variables of finish longevity. Plus the fact that there is no hard data on pebble longevity, that I found. It's mostly marketing and anecdotal evidence. I'm hoping for 30 years, for me and the pebble. That's a stretch for pebble (and me!), but I'm being fanatical about CSI (which I hope equates to some extra years). More so than my diet!! If the pebble outlasts me, I win. If the pebble poops out sooner than I do, I lose, but I'll go plaster next time. If I had gone with plaster, I'll surely have to go another round in 10 or fifteen years, maybe even another after that. So it's a calculated, mostly-unfounded, gamble. But I'll very likely get some number of extra years out of the pebble over plaster, so the difference in cost would have to be prorated somehow to make it a fair comparison. In other words, if I do lose, it will not be by that much.

I'll check back in from the pearly gates with one last post and conclude the experiment!
 
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Skenn81

Well-known member
Apr 23, 2018
145
Florida
For the longevity, that came up a bit, does a pebble finish outlast a quartz finish? Assume all things held constant, both pools would be kept under the same conditions.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,292
Fletcher, OK
just thinking about it I think actual rocks would last longer but what is holding them together is the same in both... So maybe if quartz lasted 15 years maybe pebble lasts 20??? just a guess :)
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
651
Katy TX
In my research back in late 2017, it is stated that pebble finish will have longer life however, there was (is) not enough real data to fully prove that. That being said, everyone that I talked with who had pebble were very pleased with it. If you review the data on quartz, they will discuss its hardness as a positive which is why it is better than plain plaster (uses some type of marbled sand). But the quartz is also more of a sand (size wise - not pebble size) so when mixed into a plaster you have exposure of both the quartz and the cement to the water. In a pebble mixture, the pebble is larger and is the main exposure to the water than is the sand (called the aggregate) used in either standard plaster (marble sand) or in quartz plaster (quartz sand). Hope this helps.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,884
Chapel Hill, NC
Pebble Tec® -- Life expectancy of this product is 15 to 20 years and comes with a 5 year warranty, with proper start-up, maintenance, and chemical balancing."
* I would put very little faith in any pool surface warranty. The manufacturer will blame pool chemistry or the installer, and the installer will blame pool chemistry or the manufacturer. Either way, you'll end up with the bill!
 

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
509
Martinez, CA
TBH I don’t ever recall someone posting here having a pebbletec finish fail if it didn’t in the 1st year or so due to improper application. Maybe I missed them? Ours is approaching it’s 18th birthday and has been acid washed twice in that time (due to miscare by my daughter) and still looks brand new.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,844
Central California
TBH I don’t ever recall someone posting here having a pebbletec finish fail if it didn’t in the 1st year or so due to improper application. Maybe I missed them? Ours is approaching it’s 18th birthday and has been acid washed twice in that time (due to miscare by my daughter) and still looks brand new.
That is encouraging!
 

joepaiii

Well-known member
May 16, 2013
243
Allen, TX
Just get white plaster if you are after best bang for the buck. If you take care of it - it will last quite a while. That said - I have gone with pebble pools twice now as the look is much better. Also any stains/discoloring seems to just blend in vs a plaster/quartz pool. I don't think you can make much of an economic argument out of anything you do involving digging a hole in the backyard, filling it with concrete and then water.
 
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Skenn81

Well-known member
Apr 23, 2018
145
Florida
So for the most part, aesthetics aside, a pool will last if I continue to take care of it. It's not like I will get 5 years out of quartz and then 30 years out of pebble. 15 to 20 on them is almost the same as I will need to get a new pool no matter what then and after that I doubt I'll be sticking around for another refresh in 30 years (bookmark this post now so in thirty years I can look back at when I said I wouldn't). We don't quite like the feel or look of pebble right now so still leaning towards the quartz.

We are done collecting all of our quotes and the price difference between over half a dozen companies are all pretty much the same, a couple thousand dollar difference between pebble and quartz.

What's plaster though? That never even came up in any conversations with anyone.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
651
Katy TX
If you want an overview of plaster, quartz, pebble then look at this video - it is based on Wet Edge Technology who is just 1 supplier of all 3 types of plaster.
Wet Edge Technologies – various types of plaster – overview of all products

 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,844
Central California
So for the most part, aesthetics aside, a pool will last if I continue to take care of it. It's not like I will get 5 years out of quartz and then 30 years out of pebble. 15 to 20 on them is almost the same as I will need to get a new pool no matter what then and after that I doubt I'll be sticking around for another refresh in 30 years (bookmark this post now so in thirty years I can look back at when I said I wouldn't). We don't quite like the feel or look of pebble right now so still leaning towards the quartz.

We are done collecting all of our quotes and the price difference between over half a dozen companies are all pretty much the same, a couple thousand dollar difference between pebble and quartz.

What's plaster though? That never even came up in any conversations with anyone.
Plaster is the foundation of these types of finishes. They mix it with the pebble or quartz. But it is also a finish itself, just without the "rock" added. That's known as a "plaster finish." It is arguably the smoothest feeling finish, and the cheapest. It's believed it doesn't last as long, because the "rock" makes the finish tougher against the elements (water, chemicals, abrasion, etc).

You originally posted that this wasn't about aesthetics, but if it comes down to considering that, then here's a tip. My plaster contractor has an awesome showroom: actual pools. Multiple pools, each with multiple sections of finish. I was concerned about how pebble would feel, so I spent an afternoon "feeling" the various finishes. Walked around on them, rubbed my hand on them, etc. I decided I could live with the slightly rougher pebble (I used to have plaster). Fast forward to first swim and I immediately discovered my mistake. The skin on hands and feet is considerably tougher than elsewhere. What felt OK on hands and feet was not all that comfortable on other, uh, softer areas of the body. Knees, elbows, thighs, tushes, backs are all more sensitive, some more so than others. Sitting on my pebble (au naturale) is not comfortable. To truly test how a finish is going to feel to you, you want to do more than just rub your hands across it.