What is Pool Plastering?

Written by Michael Dean
June 22, 2023

man plastering swimming pool

As you look after and maintain your pool, you may encounter the term pool plastering. Plastering is an affordable alternative to painting and tiling your pool. However, if you aren’t sure what it is and if plastering your pool would be the best option, I’ve got you covered. In this article, I will break down pool plastering and everything you need to know about it.

By the end of this article, you will know if it is a good fit for your swimming pool.

Main Takeaways

  • Pool plastering is when a coat of plaster is applied to the surface of a pool.
  • You should plaster your pool because it is an economical finish, provides a watertight seal, and can be easily maintained and repaired.
  • Pool plaster lasts around 10-15 years.
  • Pool plastering costs between $4-$7 per square foot and can take up to 10 days to apply.

What is Pool Plastering?

Pool plastering is the last step in creating a concrete pool before filling it in with water. Pool plastering involves a smooth layer of plaster applied to the concrete surface of the pool. The plaster acts as a final seal to create a watertight coverage between the concrete and pool water.

Pool plastering with unique colors and texture is also a great way to change the appearance of your pool water and match your desired aesthetics.

pool plaster installation

Here is a photo of my team applying pool plaster for a job we worked several years ago.

Should I Plaster My Pool?

There are many benefits to plastering your pool. Plastering your pool adds a protective layer to your pool and will lengthen the lifespan of your pool surface. In addition, it is one of the more economical methods of sealing pool surfaces.

Another reason you should plaster your pool is that the plaster is non-toxic, unlike pool paints which can sometimes contain harmful toxins. Pool plaster is also easily repairable compared to other types of finishes. A final advantage of plastering your pool is the variety of colors and finishes that are available for you to choose from.

Painting vs. Plastering

Pool plaster needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Although it is still one of the cheaper finishes, it is not entirely budget-friendly. So, you may wonder if painting is a good alternative to plastering. When comparing the two, there are four factors you need to consider: durability, preparation, appearance, and cost.


While plaster and pool paint are both designed to withstand harsh UV and extreme weather conditions, plaster lasts the longest, around 10-15 years. On the other hand, You will still need to repaint the strongest pool paint on the market every 5-7 years.


You must drain the water first, whether you are painting or plastering a pool. 

Before painting, scrub the walls with a TSP cleaning agent and dry them. Plastering involves much more work as the pool surface needs to be roughed out and sanded.

While the prep work is faster for painting, the actual application can take a couple of days, depending on how many coats are needed, whereas plastering the pool can take up to a few hours, depending on the pool size.

Check out my complete article on how to prep a pool for plaster for all the steps you should take.


When applied, both plaster and paint finishes look shiny and vibrant. However, only one keeps up this appearance for much longer. Plaster lasts longer, while paint begins to wear thin and fade after around 5-7 years. Sometimes with painted pools, the water becomes murky and cloudy as the paint breaks down over time.


Pool painting is much cheaper than plastering a pool, especially if you have a large pool. However, plastering lasts so much longer than painting. So, in the long run, it is cheaper to have your pool plastered as you won’t need to repaint it as often.

How Long Does Pool Plaster Last?

If you maintain your pool plaster and it has cured correctly, it should generally last between 15-20 years. However, different pool plasters have different lifespans. For example, white plaster and quartz typically last longer than marble or plaster tinted with organic dyes.

Pool Plastering Process

There are four main steps to the pool plastering process.

Prepare the Pool

Before the plaster can be applied, drain the pool water, remove all the debris, and chip away the old plaster. You should also sand down all rough edges and wash the walls with a good cleaning solution.

Pre-Plaster Process

Using a brush, you should acid wash the pool’s surface and rinse it off. When the pool is dry, a bond coat can be applied. You can only move on to the next step once the bond coat is fully dry. This process takes at least 8 hours.

Plaster Application

Mix the plaster according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Begin plastering from the deep end and use your trowel to plaster a layer ⅜” thick. Once that layer is dry, apply another ¼” thick layer.

The plaster should be completely smooth across the entire surface of the pool.

Finishing Up

When you’ve finished plastering your pool’s surfaces, check the entire pool to ensure every inch has been plastered and smooth. Wait until the plaster has dried before filling the pool back up. Check out my guides on filling your pool after plastering and swimming after pool plastering for timing recommendations.

Get My Free Pool Planning Checklist

Download my free, printable pool planning checklist to guide you through the entire design and installation process.

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How Long Will It Take To Plaster My Pool?

The time it takes to plaster a pool depends on several factors, such as the pool size, pool shape, weather, and, most importantly, the type of plaster finish you choose. But generally, plastering a pool can take between 2 hours and several days.

How Much Does Pool Plastering Cost?

The price of plastering a pool varies according to the pool size, the location, and the company used. But on average, expect to pay around $4-7 per square foot. The most common pool size is about 1000 square feet, costing approximately $4,000 and $7,000 to plaster the pool, including labor. The cost can be lower or higher, depending on the plaster finish you choose.

What is the Best Type of Pool Plaster Finish?

The best pool plaster finish is going to depend on several different factors. Climate, the amount of use your pool gets, and your budget are all factors that will help you decide on the best type of pool plaster finish. For example, a pebble finish is more durable than a basic plaster finish, which can be an excellent option for pool owners who use their pool often. Alternatively, a basic plaster finish is the best budget-friendly option for pool owners on a budget. And finally, a tile or marble finish could be the best type for pool owners looking to add a bit of pizzazz to their pool.

Pool Plaster Colors

Pool plastering has come a long way since the 70s when white plaster was all the rage. Nowadays, there are so many different colors you can choose from, each one resulting in a different effect. Pool plasters that are colored can tint the color of the water, changing the pool’s appearance completely. Colored pool plasters can even create optical illusions by making a pool look smaller or larger just by the shade of plaster used.

You can choose to plaster your pool in light shades like grays, blues, and even greens. If you’re feeling bold, darker shades are also available in blue, gray, green, and black.

Let me know if you have any questions about plaster! Check out my related research below for more reading on plaster.

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