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The Department of The Interior (Pt. 3 - Pebble Finishes)

What is Pebble Finish?

So, now that you know a little more about how marcite and quartz aggregate is created, you’ll be happy to learn that pebble finishes aren’t too different. A pebble finish is basically millions of tiny stones set into a cement base. They’re sorted by size and color (and sometimes refined by buffing them further. Then they’re integrated with marcite, with one notable exception: this pebble aggregate basically takes the place of the marble dust typically used in marcite plaster.

This is what ultimately gives pebble plaster so much strength and longevity.

Also referred to as pebble plaster (because in our industry, if you recall, we have multiple names for virtually everything), there are typically two sizes of pebbles:* standard (3-5 millimeters in diameter) and mini (1-2 millimeters in diameter). Commercial pebble blends can be either all standard, all mini, or a mix of the two.

*Refreshingly, “pebbles” in this case means exactly what you think it means: small naturally occurring stones mined from rivers, lakes and streams.

Why is it so popular?

Pebble’s popularity is due largely to its beauty and its durability. Pebble finishes last exponentially longer than traditional marcite; usually 15-20 years (but up to 30 years, in some cases).

They come in a broad range of colors, from light blues to deep teals, and even natural stone colors (after all, pebbles are simply small natural stones). The textures they create are truly gorgeous, and oftentimes with pebble interiors, the hue changes that occur between direct sunlight and nighttime illumination are striking.

A popular “side effect” of this texture is that it helps to hide small imperfections and stains. Generally speaking, pebble finishes are easier to maintain than other pool finishes. In addition to their strength, they don’t require a lot of brushing, and they repel stains remarkably well. In many cases, the texture of pebble finishes also creates a non-slip surface that some customers value.

However, this same textured feel is also considered by some to be one of this finish’s major drawbacks. Depending on the size, shape and mixture of the aggregate, pebble finishes can have a “rough” feeling on hands and feet that some customers find uncomfortable. We recommend, whenever possible, that our clients spend some time in a pebble pool before deciding on pebble for their own pool.

The other big hurdle for customers when it comes to pebble finishes can be the cost. While there are literally dozens of different factors that can affect the cost of a pebble finish (including the supplier, the product line, and the characteristics of the pebbles themselves), pebble finishes are often the most expensive of the three interior finishes we’ve covered so far.

That’s why it’s important to think about the cost of the overall life-cycle of your pool. As a general rule, the more you invest on your interior finish up front, the less you’ll need to spend on maintenance and repair in the years to follow.

See you next week, when we continue our series about pool finishes -- and be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to speed on our current projects and latest news from the custom pool industry!

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