by Rob Cox, April 30, 2012
Pool Plastering Options
Swimming pool plaster is meant to degrade over time, and eventually you will need to resurface the pool with plaster, also called Marcite. Some also called the plaster a whitecoat surface, though it need not be white any more.
There was a time when all pools were plastered white. Nowadays, pool owners are given choices of colored plaster, quartz chips and pebbles. There are so many pool plastering choices, it can be difficult to choose.
This blog post will aim to help you sort out the different pool plaster options offered by most professional plastering companies.
Let's start with WHY a pool owner would consider new plaster for the pool.
- Poor appearance that acid washing won't improve
- Rough, Pitted and Etched surfaces
- Bare spots where the gunite beneath is visible
- Hollow spots or cracks in plaster
The plaster is the waterproof layer on the pool, and we want to keep a good layer of it covering the substrate, or the gunite/shotcrete underneath. That's the most important reason to replaster. Other reasons are aesthetic; to improve the look and feel of the pool plaster.
Pool Plaster Options
Basic white pool plaster. This is generally a mix of white portland cement with white marble dust. To this mix various additives are available to add color, texture and increased durability.
Plaster additives. Admixtures they are sometimes called, your plastering company may offer something called Pozzolans or Silicone additives to the plaster mix. These chemicals form other cementitious bonds when added to plaster, making the surface more resistant to pool water's erosive and corrosive effects.
Colored pool plaster. The same mix, with concentrated pigments added to the mix to produce shades of gray or blue, usually. Colored plaster pools are not as popular as they once were, due to their natural characteristic of variations in shading or hue, mottling and streaking. Not usually a perfectly solid and flat color, but prone to some variation. Which can look really nice, adding a deep blue or french grey finish to the pool.
Aggregate pool plaster. The same mix, with bags of ceramic quartz added to the plaster while mixing. The aggregate added to the marble dust mixture gives added strength and durability to the mix - while giving the pool owner a palette of colors to choose from. The aggregate, which is essentially ceramic coated sand, also has the benefit of hiding some surface imperfections or stains within it's patterns.
Pebble pool plaster. This could be thought of as an exposed aggregate plaster. A slightly different plaster mix, using a larger aggregate, about the size of pea gravel. This gives the surface a bit of texture, and endless color variations. Having more rock surface in contact with your pool water prolongs the life of this type of pool surface.
And the options may not stop there! Pool plastering companies have a lot of options to offer nowadays. Replacing your plaster is the perfect time to consider adding tile mosaic inlays or step accent tiles. Adding a Mermaid with your wife's face could score big points ;-) - or, inlay some tropical turtles, or maybe some of Nemo's friends.
Replastering can also be a good time to make larger upgrades like adding handrails or new pool lighting options. Don't be surprised if your pool plastering company offers to replace your tile and coping, "...while they're at it"! Most pools will need new or replaced coping and tile at some point, often every 20-25 years.
Plastering your pool is usually done every 15-20 years, or whenever you feel it's time to renew the surface. Rarely does one 'need' to replaster for non-aesthetic reasons. Do you need to avail yourself of these new plaster options? Don't feel pressured to pay the upcharge for fancy aggregate admixtures in your pool plaster - if you like the simple whitecoat - just ask for the regular job - over half of pool owners do! The additives and aggregates do improve longevity and make your surface better able to withstand poor water chemistry. You decide.
To learn more about the process of pool plastering, see an older blog post on pool plastering as well as a more recent post we wrote on 5 tips to ensure a good plaster job.
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