If you’re planning on improving your backyard landscaping, a pool upgrade may be a good idea. You have quite a few options when it comes to the renovation types. But your final choice will mostly depend on your taste, budget, and the existing backyard décor.

A pool renovation is a serious undertaking, particularly with time, the scope of work, and the overall cost. It’s why you want to know which finishing to choose. This post compares the popular pool renovation types to find out which one is the most cost-effective in terms of longevity.

 

Plastered

Pool plaster is also known as marcite and is probably the least expensive resurfacing material out there. It is usually white but can also be tinted to produce other hues with the use of pigmented aggregate.

Pros:

  • Plastering a pool reinforces the sealing to ensure that the surface is more watertight than ever.
  • It makes the surface much smoother compared to an unplastered concrete shell.
  • It’s the cheapest option available.

Cons:

  • Pool plaster coats can last only for seven to 10 years, which is probably why it is very cheap.
  • Replastering is required once every 10 years, although it can depend on certain factors.
  • A significant issue with plastered pools is that they are porous in nature, which means they are prone to cracks, hollow spots, staining, and chipping.
  • Plaster is not a good option for commercial or high-traffic pools because it will easily wear away.

Water chemistry has a tremendous role in the longevity of the plastered pool. A low pH pool is acidic and can etch plaster. The result is a rough, bumpy surface that will surely degrade fast.

On the other hand, if your pool has high pH, its alkalinity will cause scaling or calcium deposits to form. Plaster discolouration is the most common sign to watch out for. The water can also have high levels of minerals, such as copper or iron, which then leads to stains. If you frequently acid wash your pool to remove algae, it can quickly deteriorate the plaster.

Longevity: Up to 10 years
Cost: Low to Moderate

Pool plaster - one of the least expensive resurfacing material.

 

Fibreglass Lining

Fibreglass is more durable compared to plaster, but it costs more. One reason why pool owners choose fibreglass despite being expensive is that it requires fewer chemicals for water balance.

Using fibreglass as pool coating is nothing new. In fact, it has been around for more than 40 years, proving that it is efficient. It enhances the beauty of pools with a wide range of colours available, as well as pastel hues and whites. Common fibreglass pool resurfacing cost anywhere from $7,000 to $18,000

Pros:

  • Fibreglass is flexible and can resist shifts in the ground.
  • It can resist algae stains, as well.
  • The material is nonporous, so cracks and stains are reduced.

Cons:

  • Fibreglass is slippery.
  • It is expensive.

To get the full advantage of fibreglass lining, the process should be correctly done. The contractor should ensure everything is as smooth as possible by sanding all cracks and chips and then filling them in. A multi-application process will follow before coating and sanding again. The topcoat will seal the job.

The slippery issue usually happens with poor water quality. Therefore, you should guarantee you maintain good water chemistry and balance. Another option is to apply a slip-resistant coating.

Although fibreglass is thought to be expensive, some offer it cheap. Just remember that the lifespan will depend on its quality. Poor quality ones require resurfacing every 10 years because the gel coat interior and shell quickly degrade.

Longevity: Lasts 10 to 20 years
Cost: Moderate to High

 

Vinyl Lining

Vinyl lines are typically for problem pools. If your pool has cracks or constantly shifts, your contractor may suggest installing a vinyl liner. It does not have the same versatility as the other materials, such as fibreglass, but vinyl can still be customised to complement the backyard.

Pros:

  • A vinyl lining is best for pools that shift.
  • Chemicals stay stable in vinyl pools.
  • Maintenance is generally easy and can resist algae growth.
  • The surface feels smooth.

Cons:

  • Sharp objects can easily tear the vinyl lining.
  • Durability is questionable because a hard thump might damage the material.
  • Exposing the surface to direct sunlight can quickly lead to discolouration and brittleness.

Vinyl liners are not recommended unless you have a pool that’s “alive.” The inert surface prevents the pool from moving or shifting. The material, however, does not last long. It can typically stay effective from six to eight years. Although that’s not bad, it is quite expensive, making this option less than attractive.

Additionally, vinyl does not have structural integrity, which makes it tricky to work with. Aside from the high cost, it is a great challenge to incorporate options because vinyl pools do not provide a foundation.

Longevity: Less than 10 years
Cost: Moderate to High

 

Fully Tiled

Fully-tiled means that the entire pool is tiled as opposed to just the waterline. Pool owners go for tiled finishes because of the endless choices available. They can select the colour, style, and design that they want. Tiles are considered a premium surface. One thing to note though is that pool tiles are not the same as the ones you use on roofing and flooring. However, they are easy to maintain and can last for several years with proper care.

Pros:

  • Tiles are considered luxurious.
  • There are different types of tiles to choose from, including glass, ceramic, and quartz, which can all provide a unique look for your pool.
  • Pool tiles are customisable in design and size. There are no limits when it comes to style.

Cons:

  • Tile installation can take very long.
  • Tiling is expensive and can cost $65 per square metre if you opt for low-end products. For luxury tiles, you could pay anywhere from $180 to $320 per square metre.
  • It may need replacement in less than five or 10 years if the pool is not well cared for.
  • Depending on the tile, it may cause injuries. Glass tiles, for example, are sharp and slippery.

Tiling is also costlier if your pool is quite complicated. Typically, a simple job can be around $65 per square metre, but a challenging pool can be priced at $290 per square metre or more. The shape and size of the pool will determine the final cost. For example, if you have a curved pool, it will be more expensive than working with a rectangular one. If you have old tiles and they have to be removed, they will increase the pricing, too.

Longevity: Can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years
Cost: High to Very High

Tiling is expensive but can last for up to 30 years.

 

Epoxy Paint

Painting pools is probably the first known option in keeping the surface smooth. Epoxy paints are not your ordinary pool paint, however. They have been used for spas, fountains, and commercial swimming pools. Compared to other types of pool paints, epoxy is the most durable and longest-lasting. It is also incredibly thick, so you never have to worry about old or rough surfaces again.

Pros:

  • Epoxy paints are great for people who love to DIY.
  • This type of pool paint is so thick that it can fill in hairline cracks.
  • Once cured, you will have the smoothest surface you have ever felt.
  • Epoxy pool paints are durable, resilient, and even keep pool water algae-free.
  • You can use the paint on many types of pool, including concrete and fibreglass.

Cons:

  • It can take longer to finish painting, especially if you’re doing it on your own.
  • Preparing and curing can take longer compared to other types of paint.
  • Epoxy paints are generally more expensive than other pool paint products.

Epoxy paints are solvent-based and can provide you with a unified, finished pool surface. The painting process is simple, and you can even paint the pool by yourself. It will surely save you money, but you can always look for a professional who can do it for you. The amount you need will depend on how deep, and large the whole swimming pool is. Before you buy a pool paint, it makes sense to calculate how much you need so that the curing process will be even.

We have a 3.5 litre kit, costing $220, which can cover 30 to 40 square metres. If the surface is rough, you may need to apply more coating.

Longevity: 8-10 years
Cost: Low to Moderate

 

Which One Should You Choose?

Renovating your pool varies widely in price. It can depend on different factors, such as the size and shape of the pool itself. The material you select will also dictate the final cost of the project. A plaster finish, as mentioned, is the cheapest, which can be around $5,000 or more based on the size and depth of the pool. For fibreglass, you may want to add between 15 to 25 per cent more to the mentioned price.

If you choose a pool paint, you will need five to six 3.5-litre kits for a 7x4m². Note that you will still need to apply a primer, which should cover 50 square metres for a 3.5-litre kit.

The current condition of your pool will also determine the cost of the renovation. If it has heavily deteriorated, the amount of prep work would be more intense than normal. The process will take longer and will cost more, as well. You may also have to replace pool decking and coping, which can make the whole renovation expensive.

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