Pebble tec , pebble sheen, or plaster

ReneeN

New member
Jun 2, 2020
1
Texas
We are in the process of deciding which finish to use on our new pool. I could use some advice, as the mini pebble seems like it would be really uncomfortable on your feet. Is the Pebble sheen better? Or just go with plaster? (We live in an area of Texas with about 4 -6 feet of solid rock. THis pool isn't going to shift haha)
 

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
94
Los Angeles, CA
We have pebble tec and two young kids, and it's not uncomforable in the slightest. You could probably skin a knee on it but you'd have to try pretty hard. "Everyone" says it has better longevity than plaster, but I haven't personally seen any compelling data on this.
 

cwstnsko

Bronze Supporter
Apr 5, 2007
67
Mesa, AZ
If you're worried about roughness, Pebble-sheen is generally smoother than the basic Pebble-tec. I've had it in 2 pools now, but have always wished for a little smoother surface. The pebble finishes are reported to be the longest lived of all the interior finishes at 20+ years. When I looked into it last, the Quartz finishes were reported to have the next best longevity, and are smoother. When we had our new pool built last year, the builder sold me on the Pebble sheen again by claiming that the glass bead and abalone that they add to the mix would make it smoother than our last pool. In hindsight, it has more sparkle and character, but it's not much, if any smoother. I'm still happy with my choice, but someday, if I ever have another pool built, I'll go for something smoother. By then, the interior will probably outlast me anyway, regardless of what I choose :unsure:;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ellsian

ellsian

Well-known member
Jun 26, 2014
230
Peoria, AZ
I have pebble sheen. I think it is a bit smoother than regular pebble tec, but we've still had a few scrapped knees with rowdy kids on the stairs. Nothing terrible though. My smoothest pool was the vinyl pool my parents had :love:
 

kazamali

Active member
May 28, 2020
38
Austin, TX
Did Pebble Brilliance. Love it and nothing matches how the light reflects off of it. Yeah, it's a bit "grippy", but you really have to run your face across it fairly hard to realize any damage. I actually find it to be less abrasive than the plaster in some of the pools I've been in.
 

John_and_Val

Gold Supporter
Mar 30, 2018
303
Sunrise/FL
Here is a sound piece of advice on pool finishes..........

Budget for it early - know what you want before you get to the end of project. I say this because the pool finish is the last thing to be done in the pool build.......
and that usually equals "NO MONEY LEFT"!!!!!
So if you think you want P-Tec Brilliance - you better save that money early and lock it up under key because at the end of the build, you will be looking for it.

And yes, it is a little "rougher" than most finishes - but no one has ever said anything about it.........
 

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
473
Martinez, CA
We’ve had the caribbean green pebbletec for 14 years now. The bottom doesn't seem rough To me and we’ve never had anyone injured by it (our kids were early teens when we built the pool so maybe different for younger kids). As to longevity it‘s Dang near bulletproof. Due to us working out of state for a few years the kids (when college age) took poor care of the pool. We decided to acid wash it to remove all the dirt embedded in the surface. Literally looked as good as the day It was installed. Did it about 8 years later (last year) and perfect again!

personally, I’d stay away from traditional plaster as it will absorb minerals and chemicals over time and stain. Most folks seem to get 15 to 20 years and then time to redo. Almost any of the pebble products (pebble fina for a smoother finish for example) will have a way longer life.E5A13A11-7974-4321-ADFF-90D92D271ED9.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: kevinskii

Locotl

Gold Supporter
Oct 23, 2019
76
Texas
I've done a lot of back and forward on this topic. My wife is very concerned on the texture especially since we have little kids.
Here is my 2 cents...
Pebble sheen (or any mini pebble brand) is the "smoothest" pebble finish. ..
We have decided on WetEdge's Primera Stone is a pebble finish that is buffed smooth like a plaster. Last longer than plaster but is less "forgiving" to water chemistry than pebble.
At the end we had to decide what we could live on in 5 years with worst case scenario.. a rough finish or a mottled plaster. Since the primera stone can be resurfaced "many times" the positives outweigh the negatives (at least for us).
 
  • Like
Reactions: cgtx

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
94
Los Angeles, CA
If you're worried about the rough texture with little kids, do you have a friend with a pebble tec pool that you could swim in? Several of our friends have pebble tec pools and young kids, and it isn't an issue. Same with us. I was a little bit worried about the same thing but now that we have it I'm glad we didn't spend the extra money on pebble sheen. I don't know anything Primera Stone.
 

cgtx

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
28
Austin/TX
I'm still in this quandary as well, with time rapidly ticking on a decision. Builder likes PebbleTec Sheen, and I'd prefer the texture of the Fina or a Hydrazzo or something smoother... not just for our young kids but for me. Our next door neighbors have a pool, and they are older (I grew up with their children) and are never out there and let us swim in their pool. I can not stand their original Pebble Tec finish. My big toes are completely torn up. I hate scraping my elbows on steps, and I hate dragging my kids around or trying to move quickly in it and tearing up my toes. I don't now exactly *how much better* Sheen is purported to be... but I fear that if it not significantly better than Tec, I will be so sorry I didn't do what I wanted in the first place. Builder says Fina will haze and need to be drained and acid washed within the first couple of years AND that it does not last as long as Sheen. Hydrazzo is supposed to be smoothe but have the same issues as Pebble Fina. ACK. @Locotl Did you move forward with the smoother finish? Thanks!
 

HermanTX

Well-known member
May 20, 2020
181
Katy TX
We did a remodel in early 2018. Originally had white plaster. We went with Wet Edge Technologies Primera Stone. We selected Blue Pacific as the color. The Primera Stone is polished (hydro sanders done by hand) once it is set in place. It provides a very smooth finish. We are very pleased with it as no rough spots and it sparkles with the embedded glass.

I considered Hydrazzo and elected to go with Wet Edge Technologies offering.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cgtx

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
445
Dallas, TX
I've got Pebblesheen. I can't compare to anything other than old style plaster, but we love it. Ours is not rough. It gives a good footing. It might be rough if you scrape I guess. I was warned the Pebbles could be rough, but they are not in our case. I've also heard it can be about the installers. They need to work it well to get it to lay down and embed in the plaster well. We are in North Dallas if you are in the area and want to see it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cgtx

Locotl

Gold Supporter
Oct 23, 2019
76
Texas
I'm still in this quandary as well, with time rapidly ticking on a decision. Builder likes PebbleTec Sheen, and I'd prefer the texture of the Fina or a Hydrazzo or something smoother... not just for our young kids but for me. Our next door neighbors have a pool, and they are older (I grew up with their children) and are never out there and let us swim in their pool. I can not stand their original Pebble Tec finish. My big toes are completely torn up. I hate scraping my elbows on steps, and I hate dragging my kids around or trying to move quickly in it and tearing up my toes. I don't now exactly *how much better* Sheen is purported to be... but I fear that if it not significantly better than Tec, I will be so sorry I didn't do what I wanted in the first place. Builder says Fina will haze and need to be drained and acid washed within the first couple of years AND that it does not last as long as Sheen. Hydrazzo is supposed to be smoothe but have the same issues as Pebble Fina. ACK. @Locotl Did you move forward with the smoother finish? Thanks!
My neighbor used to have Pebble Tec on his older pool and had the same texture problems. He now has Pebble sheen and feels a marked improvement on the texture....
We decided on Wet Edge's Primera Stone and after a couple of days in the water we are very happy with the feel of it. One of our kids loves to drag his feet on the bottom of ALL pools and they're always tored up (no matter the finish). This time his toes were red , and we were talking with my wife about how much worse it would of been with other finishes.....
 
  • Like
Reactions: cgtx

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
473
Martinez, CA
We have pebbleTec and ours is smooth under foot. Just like small round pebbles it’s comprised of. in 16 years we’ve had zero problems and acid washed it twice (never let you kids manage the pool while your’e living out of State). It still looks brand new. As to plaster, it likely wouldn‘t have survived the ordeal my kids put the pebbletec through.

5858583B-61BB-40F5-802E-FD63BCFD2BDF.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: GDN

Jbrillo

Gold Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
369
League City, Texas
ReneeN,

We have Pebble sheen and love it. It’s not hard on the feet at all and it looks beautiful. That being said, from what I’ve learned on this website, the quality of your plaster will highly depend on who does the application. Your best bet is to ask your builder to see some pools they’ve done pebble sheen on and see if you like it. In my opinion, I also wanted a pebble finish b/c I’m hoping to not have to refinish my pool till I’m retired in 20+ years(fingers crossed). It’s generally cheaper to pay extra for a pebblefinish that has the ability to last longer than regular plaster(as long as its well taken care of), than to chip out and refinish regular plaster. Just my opinion though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GDN

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
94
Los Angeles, CA
I can not stand their original Pebble Tec finish. My big toes are completely torn up. I hate scraping my elbows on steps, and I hate dragging my kids around or trying to move quickly in it and tearing up my toes.
Interesting. I drag my 7 y/o twins all the time, and I haven't suffered the slightest ding or abrasion, or even slight discomfort from our pebble tec. After reading your post I actually went in and deliberately tried to scrape myself. I wasn't able to do it with any reasonable attempt. Perhaps there are variations within pebble tec? I do remember scraping my knee some years ago in a hotel lazy river that had a pebble tec-like finish.
 

Locotl

Gold Supporter
Oct 23, 2019
76
Texas
My neighbor used to have Pebble Tec on his older pool and had the same texture problems. He now has Pebble sheen and feels a marked improvement on the texture....
We decided on Wet Edge's Primera Stone and after a couple of days in the water we are very happy with the feel of it. One of our kids loves to drag his feet on the bottom of ALL pools and they're always tored up (no matter the finish). This time his toes were red , and we were talking with my wife about how much worse it would of been with other finishes.....
20200704_155504.jpg
Not fully finished but couldn't wait to jump in the pool
 
  • Like
Reactions: HermanTX

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
5,055
Central California
How long do you plan on owning the house? How long do you plan on living? Do you care about what the pool maintenance will cost your heirs? These are the questions I asked myself when I was trying to decide on plaster vs pebble. I've had both now. Plaster is waaaaaaaay more comfortable.

Does pebble hurt my feet? No. But I don't play volleyball for hours in my pool. Those that do might have something to add about pebble. None of my guests or kids have ever complained about the pebble on their feet. No one's been injured by the pebble.

Is pebble uncomfortable on my bare skin? Yes. So if you might find yourself and your SO sitting around in your pool sans suits, you're not going to like sitting on pebble. When I was trying to decide, my plaster guys happened to have an amazing showroom. They had multiple pools, all with multiple surfaces. I got in up to my knees and walked around on everything they had, and I rubbed all the surfaces with my hands. I decided then that I could live with their mini pebble. Fast forward to the first swim in my pool, and I realized what I had overlooked. Skin on feet and hands is way tougher than just about anywhere else. Especially elbows, knees and tushes. Plaster is more comfortable.

Would I do it differently? No, I'd still buy pebble because I'm more interested in longevity than comfort. Here's how I did the math. If I stay healthy I might make it another 30 years. If I do everything I can to care for my pebble (using TFP methods), I'm hoping it'll last that 30 years. Even 20 years will be OK, as I don't think I'll be swimming all that much for the last 10. And I don't expect my kids will be using the pool much in 20 years. My kids won't likely live here when I'm gone. They'll sell the place. They won't care if worn out pebble will affect the selling price, so it'll be the next owner's problem. If I had gone with plaster, I would most likely have to face another re-plaster. That would have been about $5K now. I expect it'll be $10-20K 10 or 15 years from now. So that might be as much as $25K total in my lifetime for plaster. If the pebble lasts, which was about $9K, I'll save up to $16K. Money I'd rather spend traveling in my old age. If the pebble poops out before I do, I'll lose this gamble.

If money is no object, get the pebble and have it polished smooth. Or replace plaster every 10 years or so. If you'd rather spend "pool money" elsewhere, then calculate the years you might be using the pool (or your heirs), and then do the math: how many times might you have to replace the pool surface times what that might cost with inflation. If this is not your forever house, then get plaster: enjoy the smoothness and the savings.

Don't bother considering home resale value. Depending on where you live, pools don't add much to resale, if anything at all. So it isn't going to matter what your pool surface is, or how much longer it's going to last, neither will affect your selling price...
 
Last edited: