Remodeling Pool Finishes

Today’s pool and hot tub owners have a wide choice of interior finishes when remodeling a pool. The right swimming pool finish will make all the difference in the aesthetic quality of your pool. A high quality finish will also affect the durability of your pool investment. There are many choices in pool finishes today, and they vary in appearance, durability and budget. With just the right finish, it’s possible to turn an ordinary pool or hot tub into a virtual work of art. Check out these options in swimming pool finishes to determine which one will work the best for your backyard pool.

Swimming Pool Finishes

Pool Tile

Pool tile has been around for a long time, mostly because it offers a customized look in a variety of colors and patterns. The other big advantage to this material is its durability and low maintenance. Aside from regular cleanings and the occasional re-grouting, this material is built to last with relatively little care. If tile is your choice in a pool finish for your remodel, you will be happy to know that in addition to a rainbow of color choices, you can expand your options even further with a pattern or design. Some pool owners love the look of a random mosaic dotting the sides of the pool. Others enjoy a mosaic filled with dolphins, turtles and tropical fish created with colored tiles.

Pool with Tile Finish

Unlike wall and floor tile, finding the perfect pool tile is no small feat. However, we can help selecting the perfect pool tile a simple process. The best pool tile is characterized by its ability to provide a safe experience for swimmers, an easy to maintain product and an attractive enhancement to your landscaping. Most people are familiar with ceramic tile, the tile that you would find used as flooring. What most don’t understand is that ceramic tile is very porous and not suitable for swimming pools. It can absorb water which will damage the surface of the pool behind the wall. The ideal pool tile will be made of porcelain because it is dense and does not absorb water. 

Because finding the perfect pool tile can be tricky, we’ve researched some of the best pool tile available. What is important to know is that laws actually exist and vary by state and local industry as to the manufacturing standards for each type of pool tile. You will want to purchase a reputable product and the products available from National Pool Tile are among the best in the market. Here are some of the advantages of using National Pool Tile:

  • Variety of colors, sizes and designs
  • Treated not to lose slip resistance
  • Dense, durable product
  • Easy to clean, soft to touch
  • Frost-proof to prevent cracking
  • UV Protection – prevents fading and sun damage
  • Large number of mosaic designs available 

Pool with Tile Finish

The more uniqueness and complexity found in a tile design, the more aesthetic pleasing it is. The process of glazing gives pool tile a unique design and color. There are 5 different types of glazing in the tile manufacturing process and which glazing process a manufacturer chooses to employ depends on how much money the manufacturer wants to invest in the product. Most pool tile manufacturers use the process of spray glazing and flat silk screening – the least expensive and simplest process. These tiles will not vary much from one tile to the other, making them very “cookie-cutter”. Here are more advantages to using National Pool Tile:

  • NPT uses a glazing process that adds more variation to the tile design
  • This creates fewer identical tiles

Selecting the perfect swimming pool tile means making a careful assessment of the quality of the tile as well as its aesthetic appeal. Be sure to check out all of the options National Pool Tile has to offer to give you an idea of the textures, sizes and materials available to you. If you are planning to redesign your landscaping, ask your landscaper for advice on the best colors to blend with your outdoor design before making a commitment. With the vast assortment of tile options available to you, enlisting the help of a professional can help save you time and money in the long run.

Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool

Pool Liner Replacement

Replacing pool liners is part of pool ownership. Depending on the use of the swimming pool and how well it is maintained, you can expect to enjoy your pool liner for many years. However, if you are considering a pool remodel, updating your liner is a great way to give your backyard a whole new look. For a complete list of swimming pool liners, visit NPT Designer Surfaces.

Pool Plaster

Standard white plaster is the original pool surface finish.  White plaster has been around as long as people have been building swimming pools and it remains a popular choice in spite of the myriad of choices that have come into the market in recent years. It is simply a combination of white cement, white marble aggregate and water and that makes for an economical choice that will give you that classic swimming pool look. Many prefer this finish because when filled with water, pools surfaced in white plaster create a brilliant, clean, light blue appearance that is very smooth to the touch.  It also remains the most affordable pool finish product on the market today.  Standard white plaster is a reliable product when installed by a quality contractor and properly maintained. However, it's important to know that white plaster is susceptible to all water conditions especially from attacks of improperly maintained chemical conditions.  Therefore, it is only reasonable to expect that during the life of the product, it will change in appearance.  These changes may be subtle or minor, perhaps slight shading or scaling, or far more dramatic in the form of pronounced staining, etching, cracking, or delaminating in extreme cases.

Plaster Finish Pool

By its nature, colored plaster will accentuate all of the characteristics normally found in white plaster.  Mottling, for example, can be more pronounced in colored plaster than in white.  Colored plaster may also exhibit pigment stains, streaks, unevenness of color and more noticeable checking and crazing.  Also, variations of shade will exist between color sample chips and mixed plaster.  Over time, the color may fade completely or grow gradually lighter and will often not be the precise shade that was anticipated.  It's important to note that none of these conditions are considered a deficiency of the product.

Because many customers want the economy of standard plaster surfaces, but would also like to avoid some of the problems associated with traditional plaster, material suppliers have developed highly innovated chemical additives that can be used in the mixing and application of plaster.  These products alter the physical and chemical composition of the plaster surface increasing its strength and durability - without sacrificing beauty or the smooth texture. These products contain chemicals known as "pozzolans" that essentially take the weakest element in plaster (calcium hydroxide) and make it stronger – making it less susceptible to chemical attacks.  Pozzolan-based products have been proven to reduce etching, cracking, mottling and other problems. If plaster is your surface of choice, be sure to ask your pool professional about adding a pozzolanic additive. We’ve found that NPT's Modifier Azteca is a great pozzolan additive that provides a more dense product with a more uniform and consistent color. We’ve also found that EZ Spred will also improve the pumpability and workability of white plaster pools while maintaining excellent set time consistency and improved hardened properties of the pool finish. 

Aggregate Effects

QuartScapes Finish Pool


Another highly innovative addition to the palette of surface options has been the use of special colored ceramic aggregate products. These aggregates are basically a very specialized form of ceramic-coated sand that comes in a variety of pre-mixed plaster products. When combined with white or colored plaster, aggregates afford a broad range of colors, from vivid blues and reds, to more subtle hues such as beige or soft greens as well.  It also has the advantage of creating, a much more durable surface than standard plaster, and one that is harder and far more resistant to fluctuating chemical conditions. A great option to consider for your pool surface is QuartzScapes from National Pool Tile. The QuartzScapes pool finish is a premium blend of crushed quartz, white cement and color tints. When you choose QuartzScapes pool finish, your pool will be completely unique: the patterns of texture and color, the specific hue of your chosen color, and the way the color becomes richer over time. All this, in addition to striking beauty and long-lasting durability, is a reason we recommended QuartzScapes as an aggregate option for your pool surface.

StoneScapes Pool Finish


Aggregates can also offer the look of a myriad of pebbles worked into a concrete surface. Over the past decade, pebble surfaces have increased dramatically in popularity and come in a broad range of colors and color combinations. The appearance of the aggregate varies greatly based on the color of the concrete and the types of pebbles used. One of the most popular reasons for this type of pool finish is the slight texture that makes for a slip-proof surface. It is also a relatively low maintenance pool finish, although a sealant may need to be reapplied periodically to help it retain its appearance. Pebble surfaces are beautiful, extremely natural in appearance, come in a wide range of colors and they are the most durable surface available.  Because the stone material that comprises river pebbles is “chemically inert", it is unlikely to react with swimming pool or spa water and is therefore less impervious to attack or alterations in appearance. We highly recommend StoneScapes from National Pool Tile to give your pool or spa the naturally beautiful look of a pebble-bottomed stream. StoneScapes combines artistry with durability, comfort and safety to create a perfect finish for a remodeled pool, BBQ Islands, or other outdoor amenities.

JewelScapes Finish Swimming Pool


If you are looking for a smoother alternative to a pebble finish, you may want to consider the look of colorful glass beads for your pool finish. We would recommend that you check into JewelScapes from NPT, which combines the beauty of smooth, colorful glass beads with the highest quality pigments and aggregates for a finish that’s beyond compare. They are available in a range of local designer colors and this remarkable pool plaster aggregate enhances the visual effect that contemporary architecture demands.

Any of the products and surface options listed here can provide years of reliable performance and dazzling beauty in a well-made and well-maintained swimming pool.  The key to enjoying that success, and avoiding unexpected frustration, is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each, and to choose wisely. What is important to note is that in our research of pool surface innovation, we’ve identified that many of the surface treatments on the market use pigments to provide color in their interior pool finishes that were never intended to be used in a swimming pool at all. They are not resistant to UV and are soluble. However when you trust your pool finish to one of the National Pool Tile products listed above, you can be sure that you will get the most inorganic product available; which is insoluble, highly UV resistant, resistant to acid environments and more durable and stable in an aqueous environment.