Resurfacing Your Pool: Comparing Four Finish Options

Resurfacing Your Pool: Comparing Four Finish Options

Pool season may be coming to an end in some regions but this might be a good time to start planning your pool upgrade for next year.

Resurfacing your pool is a great way to add pizzazz to your backyard landscaping. Choosing a finishing surface depends mostly on taste, budget, and backyard décor. Even so, resurfacing represents a large undertaking, both in terms of scope of work and cost. For that reason, understanding the differences in each finishing choice, the pros and cons of each, helps enormously when making your decision.

  1. Plaster Finish

Plaster is the least expensive pool finishing option. Another pro is the smooth surface of plaster. Finally, pool owners may choose colors other than white for their plaster finish. Please note, though, that the color you choose mainly affects water color. Lighter colors produce light, sparkling blue water, commonly considered the color of tropical waters, whereas darker plaster colors create deeper blue waters.

There are downsides to plaster finishing. First, it is the least durable finishing option, requiring re-plastering approximately every 10 years. This is due to its porous nature, which leads to cracks, the development of hollow spots, chipping, staining, and wearing away in high-traffic areas such as stairs and swim-outs. The porous quality also requires extra care to ensure proper chemical balance.

  1. Fiberglass Finish

A fiberglass finish is more durable than plaster, but it costs more to complete. For some pool owners, this is mitigated by the fact that fiberglass pools typically require fewer chemicals to maintain proper water balance. This is because the material is nonporous. It experiences less staining and cracking than its plaster counterpart, meaning it lasts longer.

A pHin membership helps maintain proper chemical balance no matter which finishing option you choose. You can also find a professional pool tech with Pool Service on Demand to help with repair, leak detection, and more.

  1. Aggregate Finish

An aggregate finish offers a truly one-of-a-kind look for your pool. Sometimes called a pebble pool, this finish is a form of ceramic-coated stone or sand pre-mixed in a plaster product. This creates the appearance of pebbles worked directly into the pool surface. Color combinations are numerous and, in addition, the color changes over time, becoming richer and deeper.

Besides the beautiful appearance, pool owners appreciate aggregate finish for its non-slip surface and low-maintenance nature. Aggregate finishes also last longer, on average. With proper care, you won't need to resurface for decades. Of course, every silver lining has a dark cloud. With aggregate finishes, this is the cost, which is about double that of plaster. Although the cost stings initially, the fact that it lasts twice as long as plaster helps alleviate that pain.

  1. Tile Finish

Tile finishes offer nearly endless choices in color, style, and design. Pool tiles are not the same as roofing or flooring tiles and, with proper maintenance and chemical balance, require little in the way of maintenance and care. They last a remarkably long time with simple, regular maintenance such as sweeping and vacuuming. Only your imagination limits the pattern and style choices. Due to the incredible versatility of pattern, style, and color, pricing varies widely, but expect to pay at least double what you would for plaster.

Average Resurfacing Costs

Resurfacing an in-ground pool varies widely in price, depending on factors such as size and shape. Of course, finishing material also dictates price. A plaster finish starts at approximately $2,500 and goes up to $5,000 or more, depending on pool size and depth. This price reflects plaster only, not the replacement of waterline tiles. Add between 15 and 25 percent to this cost for a fiberglass finish.

If you choose an aggregate finish such as Pebble Tec, a rough finish runs you approximately $5,000 (depending on size) with a smooth finish coming in at $7,500 or so. In addition to size, another variable is color. As stated above, with so many variables, tile finish pricing varies greatly. Expect to pay at least what you'd pay for aggregate resurfacing, though.

Additional Resurfacing Costs

Numerous factors determine the price of your pool resurfacing; your location is the first of these. One variable here is how many companies in your area perform resurfacing. Increased competition typically equals decreased prices. Another factor is the level of deterioration of your current pool surface, as deterioration determines the amount of prep work needed before resurfacing.

Finally, does your pool require renovation beyond resurfacing? Often, replacing pool decking and coping becomes necessary around the same time as resurfacing. These multiple services may come as a package deal. In this case, your provider should charge less for refinishing than if he or she completes refinishing by itself.


Whether your swimming pool finish exhibits signs of wear and tear or you simply want an upgrade, you have options. Consider the pros and cons of each finishing type while making your decision. And remember, proper pool maintenance helps protect your pool's surface, ensuring its longevity and attractive appearance.

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