Suggestions on plaster type and color please!

GeauxTigerz

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
27
Louisiana
Hey everyone, I’m new to the site and wow what a wealth of knowledge! I have been searching this topic for the past few days on here and apparently I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by trying to choose the best plaster. My PB uses NPT products so I’ve limited my search to these. I’ve decided I definitely want to upgrade from Quartzscapes to at least Stonescapes. Anything beyond that like Puerto Rico blend or Touch of glass will depend on pricing which I’m waiting to find out. As of now, I’m thinking Stonescapes Mini Pebble will be the most realistic choice without breaking the bank. From what I’m reading, mini pebbles will be a little less abrasive to the skin than the regular pebbles but still hide imperfections better than micro pebbles or quartzscapes. Does that sound right?
My pool is 13x28 with an additional 12x8 tanning ledge and 8x8 spa. It is a sport pool that’s 3.5’ feet on each side and 5.5’ in the middle. Im in south Louisiana and it faces north with no nearby trees so it stays in almost full sun constantly.
I had no idea it would be so exhausting picking plaster color haha. From all the pictures we’ve gone through, we tend to like darker blue/turquoise water but don’t like it to be so dark it gets murky or lagoon like. Based on pictures on the NPT website, it looks like Tropics Blue may achieve that. However, going through other pictures, and reading comments, it sounds conflicting that tropics blue will be more of a dark gray blue and less turquoise than some of the others. We love the water color in this picture and would like to achieve as close to this as possible. We’d also like to use a color that will make the large tanning deck a nice gray color and not be too abrasive. Any help or suggestions you all may offer is greatly appreciated!
 

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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
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Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Welcome to TFP :)

Here is a very nice collection of pools and colors :)
Casey posted before he had his coffee... I think this is the link he was going for:

 
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GeauxTigerz

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
27
Louisiana
Haha thanks guys. I figured that was the link he was referring to. I’ve gone through it and it’s actually one of the posts where I’m getting conflicting opinions on whether tropics blue has any turquoise or not. Also, does that sound right as far as mini pebble being a happy medium between quartzscapes and regular pebbles for smoothness while still hiding imperfections?
 

Nikilyn

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Sep 3, 2018
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Gilbert, AZ
I think it’s pretty turquoise looking. Go to Instagram and search for it. I just put in Tropicsblue and then scrolled thru the hashtag options for the pool ones. There are a lot of pictures there that I found don’t show up in a google search. It’s very helpful.
 

GeauxTigerz

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
27
Louisiana
I think it’s pretty turquoise looking. Go to Instagram and search for it. I just put in Tropicsblue and then scrolled thru the hashtag options for the pool ones. There are a lot of pictures there that I found don’t show up in a google search. It’s very helpful.
Thank you!
 

Dirk

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The grey tanning ledge in your pic is a result of light physics. The grey is the color of the finish, and the water turns it blue. The deeper the water, the bluer it gets.

You need to be careful of two things.

(1) Choosing colors off of a computer monitor is asking for disappointment, especially when you're concerned (and picky) about just how light/dark your pool will be, and how blue/green it will be. Don't assume the color your monitor is presenting is what you're going to get. If you looked at the same pictures on someone else's computer, they wouldn't look the same.

(2) As mentioned, depth plays a huge part in how blue it looks. If you settle on a color based on a pic (or even in real life) and that pool happens to be 7 or 8 feet deep, that color won't look the same in your 5.5' pool.

To complicate the matter (sorry!), things like deck color, landscaping, house color, fence color, sun exposure and time of day and time of year all affect your perception of color.

There is no substitute for seeing pool colors in person. My contractor had an amazing showroom of actual pools, and that was hard enough to choose from. Do you have Nextdoor where you live? It's an online social media type deal, where local neighborhoods share info online. Reach out and see if anyone will let you come and look at their pool. I would if someone asked, because I can sympathize with the stress of picking the perfect color!


Have you asked your contractor if he can offer a tour of any of his clients' pools? That would be ideal, because you can see the finishes and get a sense of his work quality and customer service at the same time.

Regarding the type of finish, I've only experienced two: plaster and mini-pebble. The mini was a disappointment compared to plaster. It's fine, and not uncomfortable, but no where near as comfortable as plaster. The smoother the better I say. Here's another warning: if you're comparing finishes, you need to use more than just your hands. I made that mistake in the multi-pool showroom I mentioned. I walked on all the finishes, and rubbed my hand across them all. And thought my choice was "smooth enough." Fast forward to my pool, and the first time I got in, and I was, well, disappointed. What I didn't realize is that hands and feet are tougher skin than anywhere else. When I sat on my new finish, and came in contact with it with elbows and knees and thighs and backside, it was much rougher than I had thought. Those tender areas are much more sensitive to the finish. It's not going to be easy for you to get in at this time of year, but just be aware that what feels smooth to your hand might not feel so great elsewhere on your body.
 

Dirk

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This is my pool. It's a darkened version of Tahoe Blue. Maybe darker than you had in mind. I looked through my pics, the color looks different in every one (proving my point). Look at the bench in the corner: grey. Then compare the shadowed area, and the reflection of my house in the shallow end. There's four colors right there, and that's in the morning! Sorry, probably just making things worse for you. Just pointing out all the factors that can affect color, and your perception of it. Try to see pools in person, throughout the day, if you can...

just filled cropped.jpg
 
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GeauxTigerz

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
27
Louisiana
This is my pool. It's a darkened version of Tahoe Blue. Maybe darker than you had in mind. I looked through my pics, the color looks different in every one (proving my point). Look at the bench in the corner: grey. Then compare the shadowed area, and the reflection of my house in the shallow end. There's four colors right there, and that's in the morning! Sorry, probably just making things worse for you. Just pointing out all the factors that can affect color, and your perception of it. Try to see pools in person, throughout the day, if you can...

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Appreciate it. That’s a very nice color! Seems to have a little hint of turquoise which I like. Looks almost like some of the tropics blues I’ve seen. That’s my goal, a medium to dark blue/turquoise without getting too dark. I’m going to check with my PB and neighbors about possibly seeing some pools in person.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
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Nov 12, 2017
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It does have some turquoise to it, but a deep turquoise, which I really like. I had the contractor deepen their standard Tahoe Blue.

@cowboycasey: sorry, my brain... was that me and you helping someone else here with swatches and samples and putting the samples in a pool? I wanted to share that thread with Geaux but can't find it now...
 

Dirk

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Sorry Casey, it was Herman. Geaux, here's a thread that has some kookie ideas about color:

 
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GeauxTigerz

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
27
Louisiana
Sorry Casey, it was Herman. Geaux, here's a thread that has some kookie ideas about color:

I’ll check it out. So when you mentioned you prefer plaster over the mini pebbles, were you referring to Quartzscapes?
 

Dirk

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No, just plain plaster. The stuff of pools before they started adding pebbles and quartz and whatever else they now mix in. Plaster is what's holding all those bits and pieces to the gunite underneath, so it's the smoothest, and least expensive, because there's nothing added. I believe all that aggregate stuff is added primarily to increase the lifespan of plaster (and for looks), so plaster is one finish that probably has the lowest life span. 10-15 years probably, though we know some here have gotten 30, 40, 50 years out of plaster. All depends on the original make up of the mix, how well it was applied, and how well the water was maintained.

I originally had plaster, and loved it, and only replaced it when it pooped out with pebble because I wanted it to last longer. If you are not living in your "forever home," then plaster is something to consider, because it will be nicest to the touch and will save you some money. It's questionable if a pool will add any value to your home in terms of sale price, certainly what type of finish it has won't. So if you see yourself moving in 10 or 15 years, and want the nicest feeling surface (short of a vinyl or fiberglass pool), the you might consider plaster...
 
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GeauxTigerz

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
27
Louisiana
No, just plain plaster. The stuff of pools before they started adding pebbles and quartz and whatever else they now mix in. Plaster is what's holding all those bits and pieces to the gunite underneath, so it's the smoothest, and least expensive, because there's nothing added. I believe that stuff is added primarily to increase the lifespan of plaster (and for looks), so plaster is one finish that probably has the lowest life span. 10-15 years probably, though we know some here have gotten 30, 40, 50 years out of plaster. All depends on the original make up of the mix, how well it was applied, and how well the water was maintained.
Gotcha! Yeah I remember how smooth the old pools felt!
Although I understand feeling samples isn’t a true comparison, the samples I have of quartzscapes, regular and mini pebbles, the quartzscapes feels just as abrasive to me
 

Dirk

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Installation can make a difference, too. How well it's troweled. How well the acid wash is done, and how well they buff it out. So what you're feeling from the samples, or someone else's pool, might be better or worse than what you'll actually get. My guys ran a grinder type deal over my finish, presumably to smooth out the rough spots. That helped a little. I've read that some finishes can be polished quite smooth, if you care to spend the dough to have that done. And I think is was @onBalance, or maybe it was @JoyfulNoise, that told us that finishes tend to get rougher over time, not smoother. So day one of your finish might be the best it's ever going to feel. You can negate some of that eventuality with diligent maintenance of your water chemistry. So TFPC can not only help your finish last longer, and look better longer, but make it feel better longer, too. Those are just three of the many reasons I'll never let a pool guy or pool store anywhere near my pool...
 
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