The Difference Between Painting and Plastering Your Pool


The toasty afternoon sun, the contagious laughter of your family and friends, and the delicious smell of a BBQ signals a day of entertainment and fun beside your backyard pool. Your ability to enjoy the festivities, however, seems to be overshadowed by the fact that the appearance of your swimming area has been deteriorating more and more each year. From stains and delaminations to cracks and a dull surface, you may decide that your pool is ready for a much-needed facelift. The question you’re now faced with is whether you should paint or plaster your outdoor entertainment space. So, which is the better option? We decided to throw paint vs plaster into the boxing ring for a one-on-one battle to see who the ultimate winner is.

Level of Durability

There are a variety of paints available in the market that are created exclusively for pools, fountains, and spas. They were designed for underwater use and are highly durable when pitted against extreme temperatures, low-quality water chemistry, and the standard wear and tear that arises from exposure to pool equipment. Plaster, however, is built to withstand higher levels of distress. Its ½ thickness will outshine a thin layer of paint any day.

Shelf Life

Assuming that the pool’s plaster was accurately blended, applied, cured, and cared for over the years, you can expect it to have a lifespan of approximately 15-20 years. While the longevity of pool paint is dependent upon proper application, what kind of paint was used, and the curing process, it typically lasts between 2 and 7 years.

Visual Appeal

The allure of certain styles or designs can be highly subjective depending on individual preferences. However, both a fresh coating of paint and new plaster are attractive options. Plaster has an earthy luster, while paint provides a glossy, sleek surface. Both choices can also be customized to create different colors and patterns to complement the architectural style and look of your outdoor space.

Price Tag

For pool plaster, the pricing can range depending on your location, the quality of the product, and whether or not you decide to add features like quartz or pebble surfaces. The average cost, however, is around 4 thousand dollars. While the opponent, pool paint, holds a surprisingly expensive price tag, with a range of $50 to $100 per gallon, it is certainly the more cost-effective option from a material standpoint. However, it’s important to take into consideration the shelf life of paint, as it will require you to resurface the area much more frequently.

Probability of Failure

Not every paint application is successful. Pool owners can experience flaking, blisters, or peeling paint due to a high level of moisture in the air, unsuccessful bonding, or defective paint. Plaster can also encounter failure – from delaminations and improper bonding to variations in color and spot etching (pockets or splotches that appear in the plaster unexpectedly). Again, some determining factors include application speed and temperature, curing, the ratio of certain elements in the mixture, and the type of chemical care used once the job is completed.

Now that you’ve watched paint and plaster duke it out for the title, it’s up to you to choose a winner. There are certainly pros and cons to both options that you’ll have to consider when selecting the choice that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Author’s short bio:

Authentic Plaster and tile was founded by Diane Pierce and her family 35 years ago in Texas. Their specialty ranges from simple remodels with pool surface, tile, coping to complete pool remodeling in Houston Texas by adding tan ledge, benches, water features and more. Also their own developed and manufactured pool surface material, Hydra Products, is warranted in-house and gives not only material warranty but also labor.

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