Is a pool remodel project on the radar for this year with your family and your backyard swimming pool? If so, you may want to upgrade or update your swimming pool finish. Let’s take a look at the different finishes available to you.

A question you will need to answer, among many others, will be “what kind of pool finish should you have?” Consider too, you will need to look at the interior as well as the exterior finish of the pool as they both work together to form the overall aesthetic of the pool refinishing project.

Let’s look more deeply into the three pool finishes available:

  1. Aggregate
  2. Plaster
  3. Tile

What You Need To Know About Swimming Pool Finishes

outdoor kitchen ideasAggregate

Aggregate swimming pool finishes are a pleasing combination of white or colored plaster and the plaster has pieces of river stones, glass, beades, granite or other materials mixed into the plaster. These finishes and mix-ins lend an aesthetic appeal to the finished swimming pool.

Aggregate is an ideal option when you are seeking a unique, custom-designed pools. Aggregate pretty much guarantees that your neighbors will not have a pool quite like yours!

Aggregate finishes lend an upscale look to the poolscape, both inside and out.

  • Polished aggregate finish consists of colored stones crushed into a fine powder and then applied with a trowel. The colored granite or quartz flecks add visual interest and enhance the life of the plaster itself by up to two decades.
  • Talk to your pool contractor about the option of exposed aggregate that contains glass beads or river pebbles. Consider a pebble finish if you’re aiming for a rustic or tropical look. Glass bead finishes make the pool surface sparkle, and go hand-in-hand with modern pool designs.
  • Aggregate finishes provide a long life to the pool surface and costs less than plaster.


Plaster is the least expensive option and is essentially cement and a mix of marble dust/silica sand. It is the most common pool surface finish and offers myriad options to make it look unique.

White plaster offers a smooth, elegant appearance. It is a timeless classic and is used by owners of modern style homes. It is the most cost-effective option. Plaster has a life span of about seven years before you will notice etching, chipping or staining. Within ten years you will need to replaster.

Ask your pool contractor about adding dyes and pigments to the plaster to achieve the desired color.  A gray/blue hue is a popular option because it makes the color of the pool water “pop.” Darker colors make the pool appear like a natural pond where the water reflects the surrounding landscape. Keep in mind that dark colors absorb the heat of the sun and can help heat the pool water.


pool finishesIf you’re looking for one of the most versatile and durable options, then tile is your best bet. Tiles can be applied to the full pool interior.

Tiles come in myriad colors, shapes, finishes and can be formed into unique one of a kind designs (imagine you could have your favorite sports teams logo in the bottom of your pool.)

Pool tiles are available in a range of colors, sizes, shapes and styles, so the possibilities are endless. Make sure your budget can support your pool tile design taste as it is an expensive option and the installation process takes much longer than does plaster or aggregate.

Tiles offer the best longevity, offering several years of service and beauty with periodic maintenance.

  • Porcelain and ceramic tiles are most sought-after.
  • Bold colored tiles made from these materials are visually-appealing.
  • Glass tiles lend a sophisticated look and are valued for maintaining their sheen. Glass tiles are non-porous and won’t stain or etch or erode. They magnify and reflect light and add a shimmering quality to the pool.
  • Stone tiles are a popular option. Marble, granite, limestone and slate complement natural pool designs and make the pool blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

Take your time. Check your budget. Do online research and check out photographs of pools that you like the look of then talk with your pool contractor to see about having that look replicated for your pool.