On a gunite pool, entry steps are built like the rest of the pool using either gunite or shotcrete applied over steel bars. (If you have heard of plastic steps, it would have been in reference to a vinyl liner pool.)
Discerning homeowners appreciate the rich, distinctive appearance pebble finishes create. It is also highly resilient, although it does not withstand acid washing as well as quartz.
Above all, a pebble finish delivers outstanding longevity; lifespans–which vary with water chemistry and conditions–can range from 12 to 20 years.
Learn more about the differences between pool finishes: Pool Interior Finishes: Comparing Marcite Quartz and Pebble
Pebble pool finish is an extremely attractive, high-end product that contains marcite plaster and small sizes of river rock or pebble aggregate. It comes in an array of colors and size blends—as well as choices for the pebble size.
The application is similar to regular marcite plaster or ColorQuartz™ , but involves a second step on another construction day. Of the three pool-surface options, pebble requires the highest initial cost.
Compared to plain marcite plaster, a ColorQuartz™ finish offers superior benefits. It comes in a variety of lasting blues, teals, greens, greys, tans, and other choices that produce a highly appealing appearance.
A ColorQuartz™ pool interior outperforms one that’s plain marcite. The quartz granules help protect the pool finish from chips, chemical etching, ultraviolet deterioration, mechanical wear and abrasion, and erosion from harsh, improperly maintained water.
Because a durable ceramic coating is what gives the quartz finish its speckled color, the color stays true without bleeding, leaching, or diminishing. Ultimately, ColorQuartz™ wears longer than plain marcite; depending on water quality and maintenance, it often lasts 10 to 15 years.
ColorQuartz™ aggregate is an upgraded pool finish that combines a marcite plaster base with small, rounded granules of quartz aggregate with permanent colored ceramics.
While its upfront cost is higher than marcite, ColorQuartz™ has skyrocketed in popularity due to the advantages and long-term value it delivers.
The most common form of pool finish is marcite—a mixture of water, white cement, marble dust, and additives.
Marcite is white. (Some builders will tint it shades of blue or greyish-black, but this approach may pose undesirable consequences.)
Marcite carries the lowest initial price of three kinds of material finishes for a pool interior. However, it requires greater maintenance and earlier replacement—costing more over time.
In a pool with properly balanced water, marcite typically provides a lifespan of 5 to 12 years. However, other factors—such as hard water or improper water chemistry—can cause faster deterioration.
While all three forms of interior finish deteriorate over the course of years, marcite is by far the most vulnerable to a host of factors that degrade its appearance and reduce its lifespan.
Learn more: Pool Plaster Problems: Typical Causes
Pool plaster—or interior finish—comes in three types marcite plaster, ColorQuartz™ aggregate, and pebble. Each carries a unique set of attributes affecting appearance, performance, lifespan, and initial cost.
Learn more about the differences between pool finishes here: Interior Finishes: Comparing Marcite Quartz and Pebble
Pool plaster or marcite (also called white coat) is a kind of interior surface for a pool. The key ingredients in marcite are water, white cement, marble dust, and additives to make it smooth.
The terms “marcite” and “plaster” are often used interchangeably. The term plaster is often used to refer to any form of interior pool finish, such as quartz or pebble.
Specialty tradesmen apply the wet material over the dried gunite shell. Once dry, the layer of plaster performs the critical job of waterproofing the pool structure. It also creates an attractive interior surface throughout the pool.
A form of concrete used for building large structures, shotcrete is a mix of sand, cement, pea gravel, and water. It is similar to gunite, and the application procedure is essentially the same as for a gunite pool. However, water is premixed in ahead of time at a concrete batch-plant facility. Then, this “wet mix” shotcrete material is trucked to the pool site for use.
Learn more about shotcrete and how it’s used with other pool construction materials to: 5 Key Construction Terms for Concrete Designs
A specialty form of concrete, gunite is a mix of sand, cement, and water. To build a gunite pool, crews apply it pneumatically, which means it is shot at high velocity through a high-pressure hose. The flexible, lasting material covers a network of steel bars, forming a thick, reinforced, rock-hard pool shell.
Gunite is similar to shotcrete. It is also called a “dry mix” because—unlike shotcrete—it arrives at the job site in dry form before water is added to make the material wet.
Learn more about gunite and how it’s used with other construction materials to build pools: 5 Key Construction Terms for Concrete Designs