Plaster is a term sometimes used generically to describe any cementitious interior finish of a swimming pool. The three primary types are basic or marcite plaster, quartz, and pebble. Plasters have two common ingredients - white portland cement and water. The differences come in the other ingredients
  • Plaster uses marble sand
  • Quartz uses quartz sand plus colored quartz pieces in various sizes
  • Pebble uses very small pebbles in a variety of colors

The method in which the products are applied is the same - the ingredients are combined using a truck mounted mixer, once thoroughly mixed it is poured into a hopper connected to a pump with a hose. The combined material is pumped through the hose to a nozzle where pressurized air is introduced. The nozzleman moves around the pool distributing the material which is then troweled smooth by the rest of the plaster crew. The finishing process is another area where the products differ:
  • Plaster is troweled to a smooth finish, filling with water begins on the same day
  • The finish should feel completely smooth
  • Quartz is troweled to a smooth finish, and then one of two processes can be used to remove the top cream layer and expose the colored quartz - wipe with wet sponges or mist with water. The surface is left overnight until an acid wash is performed the following day to remove the milky film left from the exposure process. Filling begins after the acid wash procedure on the second day
  • The finish will have a very fine texture, almost imperceptible
  • A secondary process can also be performed on Quartz finishes - a heavy polishing with specialized machines which exposes more of the quartz pieces. If this process is going to be done, typically a special mixture which includes larger quartz pieces as well as tumbled glass is used. The finished product is extremely smooth with highly visible substrate.
  • Pebble is troweled to a smooth finish, and then the top cream layer is removed using a water misting process to expose the pebbles. The surface is left overnight and an acid wash and light polishing process is performed the following day to remove the milky film left from the exposure process and clean the pebbles
  • The finish will have a slight texture and is designed to mirror a pebble-bottomed stream
  • Filling begins after the acid wash procedure on the second day
  • Pebble surfaces can also be subjected to a heavy polishing to expose the pebbles even further than the acid wash process

Which surface is right for your pool? Contact our Renovation Department to learn more about these surfaces as well as discuss water color, a topic in next month’s newsletter.