How to Choose Pool Plaster Colors: What You Need to Consider

This summer, we're going to be doing a ton of exterior renovation at my own home. And I wanted to bring you guys along for every bit of the process. And something that I'm really having a lot of struggle with right now is deciding what colored pool plaster we're going to redo our pool in. There are several pool plaster colors we’re looking at, so we need to narrow it down to just one.

Gunite pool

Gunite pools

Our pool is a gunite pool. It's not a liner. The other option for pools is fiberglass, but the main two that you see around our area are gunite or liner pools. Ours is gunite, and so that means that it has to be refinished every few years with new pool plaster.

Ours hasn't been refinished since it was installed around 1985 or something. It's a really old pool and it's very overdue for a new plaster pool finish. So here we are having to do that job and make these decisions.

If you don't know a lot about gunite pools, the way that they're installed is they dig the hole, put in rebar, spray the concrete in, and then put plaster over it. And the plaster is what you see that has the color or pigment in it. The gunite that goes underneath is gray, just like concrete.

Pool plaster colors

How to refinish gunite pools

So right now, after we choose our color and the contractor comes in, they will sand off everything that's here, wash it, and then put the new layer of plaster over it. There are a ton of options. I'm just holding a few of them on a pool plaster color chart here in my hand, and I've thrown several of them in the pool before.

They all look really similar when they get down to the bottom of the pool. And I think ultimately it's going to be a decision of how it looks on these really shallow steps that I have.

Choosing pool plaster colors

Choosing pool plaster colors

So I've put colors down, like I said, in the deep end, and I've also put them on the shallower steps where you can see these small flecks of aggregate color, and they look really beautiful. Of course, all these slight changes in color change how the water is going to look when it's filled up in the pool.

So in the super deep areas, these colors look very similar to each other, but they look very different when you put them in the shallow area. So that's where I'm really making my decision here. I want to bring you guys over there and show you what they look like when they're sitting in that area and maybe even show you what they look like at the bottom of the deep end of the pool.

Dark vs. light shades

Dark vs. light shades

Ultimately we're going to go with some sort of white or blue shade. We're not going to go dark. If you guys are redoing a pool at your house, and you go dark like this, it's going to make your pool hotter. So if you're living in a more northern climate and that's what you're there for, you need your pool to heat up a little quicker to be able to get in it in the summer, maybe choose a darker color.

But if you're down here in the south where we are, and if you have a smaller pool, you might want to go with something lighter because this is going to give you a little further into the summer before your pool starts to feel like a bathtub.

So let's move over there, and I'll show you guys the different options for the colors that we're looking at. I've moved over to the steps of my pool. You can see the gradient, how it goes from super light here down into the depth of the pool. And it kind of grades to that darker blue. You can also see how much it needs repair from all these chips. This is actually not bad in comparison to the deeper end, where you can see the gunite straight through that gray color.

Different textures of pool plaster


I really like the idea of being able to put the color options in water and look at them and then also to be able to touch the texture that happens on top, because some of them are a little more rough than others. This one is extremely smooth. This is called oyster quartz, and this one is a lot more rough.

So I think about things like babies sitting on this level of the pool where moms are sitting here with their kids. Are they going to pull little holes in their bathing suits and things like that? Those are all kinds of considerations that I take into my brain as I'm considering all these colors.

Ultimately, I think what we're going to go with is this oyster quartz. I know it looks a little boring. I'm completely aware that it's not super fun because it doesn't have flecks of color, but I don't love the way that these flecks of color look on this super shallow surface. I like this very even color that we have here. And of course, it's going to create that same or similar blue to the other one. So I'm very comfortable with this.

It's also got a smooth texture. It's not going to pull on bathing suits. It's not going to make those little wet feet have abrasions and things on them because your skin gets so soft after being in the water for a while.

Plaster pool finish

Pool plaster colors

So just make sure that you guys are kind of taking all these things into consideration if you're considering either getting a gunite pool or replastering the pool that you already have. Color alone should not be your only consideration. Share your favorite pool plaster colors down below and which one you would ultimately go with.

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 1 comment
  • M.ladytate M.ladytate on Oct 16, 2023
    what about using a dark (black or navy, or even a deep orange or forest green), awning over at least a portion of your pool in the south? all one would require are the three or four poles to mount it in place. that sun can be pretty hot on small ones and downright prone to damage even adult skin! with a triangular-shaped awning, one could have an area or two allowing a small patch of sun in on say, one corner or at a sliver partially along one side. but with the amount of light in summer, all that intense heat, and tiresome glare in daylight hours, I would wager that absolutely everyone would be most grateful for the welcoming relief an awning surely provides! I'd definitely be going in that direction! and you might too! : )