Having an in-ground pool added to your yard is a great way to provide yourself with a source of entertainment all summer long. Pools are not only functional, but also beautiful. Both beauty and function are tied to the interior finish that you choose for your pool. There are many finishing options out there, but the three most popular choices are plaster, aggregate, and tile. Which one is the best choice for you? Well, that really depends on your style preferences, budget, and a few other factors. Here's a closer look at each of these options and how they compare.
Plaster is perhaps the best-known and most popular of all pool finishes. If you visit a public pool, there's a good chance it will have a plaster finish. Plaster is made from a mixture of cement, sand, and water. Similar to how plaster is applied to walls in a home, it is spread onto the pool surface with a trowel. Some more advanced pool finishing companies may actually spray the plaster on with a powerful spray tool and then smooth it out by hand as needed.
The primary advantage of plaster finish is that it's cheap. It also has a simple, white look that many homeowners enjoy if they're trying to create a minimalist appeal in the yard. The downfall to plaster finishes is that the texture can be a bit abrasive. If you've ever skinned your toe in the bottom of a public pool, that was probably because of the plaster. You also have to work a bit harder to keep plaster clean because it tends to grab onto algae and mold. Plaster may crack as it ages, but these cracks are easily and inexpensively fixed.
An aggregate finish is similar to a plaster finish, but it has a rougher, more rugged texture because larger stones and pebbles are stirred into the concrete. There are many different types of aggregate. Some have larger, colorful stones, and others have smaller, more uniformly colored stones. You can also find aggregate made with glass beads or even bits of quartz for a shiny look.
Aggregate lets you play around with color a bit more than plaster, so it's a good choice if you want a more artistic pool—yet one that still has a natural look. The texture of aggregate can be a bit harsher than that of plaster, so skinned toes are more likely. Aggregate is quite rugged and lasts a long time. Any cracks or chips are pretty easy to repair.
Another option is to have the interior of your pool surface tiled. Ceramic tile is traditionally used, although some pool owners are now using clay or stone tile for a more natural appearance. You can choose anything from bright red tile to a warm, natural cream color. Some people work patterns into their tile or choose tile that matches the siding on their home.
Tile finishing is a lot more expensive than finishing your pool with plaster or aggregate. Each tile must be laid individually, which is a labor-intensive process. However, tile does last longer than plaster or aggregate, and it accumulates less algae than these other materials because it has a smoother surface. The downside is that when tile does break, replacing or repairing the broken tile can be a bit costly and cumbersome.
To learn more about your pool finishing options, contact a contractor at a company like Kerley & Son's Pool Plastering in your area. They can review your unique pool design and let you know which option is most likely to suit your needs and budget.