Picking the Right Plaster for Every Pool

Pool PlasterThe most elegant pools require the most elegant finishes, and when it comes to plaster, you have TOO MANY options. But one of our jobs is to simplify the complex.

In short, there are four main types of plaster that Absolute Pools uses to waterproof your pool, each of which has many variations. They are marcite, Diamond Brite, Hydrazzo and PebbleTec.  Hydrazzo is by far our most common and popular plaster, and we typically use Hatteras Gray and French Gray.


Marcite is white Portland cement and marble dust with your choice of colorant, if desired. This is the oldest and least expensive option, but, as a result, also the least durable. Marcite will typically last 5 to 10 years, and we generally recommend that you don’t use this option unless your budget doesn’t allow the other premium finishes. Marcite starts out bright white, but with colorant, it can be any shade of gray and even other colors. But with so many other, more modern options available, it just doesn’t have the durability that we insist on at Absolute Pools.

Diamond Brite

Diamond Brite is made with natural quartz – one of nature’s hardest and purest minerals. Diamond Brite’s insoluble quartz aggregate is unaffected by the harshest pool chemicals and resists permanent staining, as well.

Diamond Brite is an exposed aggregate, which means it isn’t smooth. With a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years, and with a stunning appearance, it is an excellent choice for some pools. This option provides the best bang for the buck – it is truly beautiful and durable, but it just doesn’t feel as luxurious as our all-time favorite plaster, Hydrazzo (see below).

For more information on Diamond Brite, visit sgm.cc.


The most beautiful pools in the world are surfaced with the hand-polished magic of Aquavations Hydrazzo. It’s the smoothest, richest and most luxurious surface available, formulated from time proven technology and the earth’s finest raw materials. Aquavations Hydrazzo combines naturally beautiful coarse graded crystalline and colored marble, along with white Portland cement and a host of other performance enhancing ingredients to create the ultimate pool coating.

The secret to the Aquavations Hydrazzo finish is the final step – polishing the surface to a brilliant luster, and thereby unlocking the marble’s natural beauty and its extraordinary strength. The finished color is breathtaking, achieving a soothing and color-intensifying effect. Aquavations Hydrazzo is the “smooth sensation” in exposed aggregate pool finishes, friendly to fingers, toes and swimsuits.

Hydrazzo is expensive, but it’s worth every penny. With an expected life of 15 to 20 years, along with a smooth feel and gorgeous looks, Hydrazzo is the right choice for most luxury pools.

For more information, go to aquavations.com.


At the upper-end of the pricing range, Pebble Tec is for clients who have an over-the-top pool that requires an over-the-top pool finish. The only way you can make the pool fancier is to tile the entire interior (which we have never done but look forward to the day when one of our clients wants the ultimate in luxury pools).

PebbleTec provides a textured finish with large pebbles and stone aggregates. Available in a range of colors, this material provides a great non-slip surface and an earthy look and feel. The company also offers three new varieties – PebbleSheen, which uses smaller pebbles; PebbleFina, which uses exceptionally fine, almost sand-like pebbles and a smoother feel; and BeadCrete, which trades out the pebbles for smooth glass beads that catch and reflect light and offer a crystalline appearance.

PebbleTec will last 20 years or more, and is the most durable finish available. It’s smooth and insanely gorgeous, but we feel it’s generally not the best option for most of our clients.

Visit pebbletec.com for more information.

As you plan your pool, Absolute Pools & Waterscapes can walk you through these and other options to help you select the perfect finish for your pool as part of the design process. Serving Nashville and the greater vicinity, we design and build the best residential pools at reasonable prices. If you are in the market for a custom pool, call owner Brad Shuman today at 615-354-1840.


Long-Term Trends in Pool Design

At Absolute Pools, we aren’t into the trendiest, newest and most whimsical pool designs. We specialize in clean, classic and timeless designs that would look as good in decades past as they will well into the future. Part of our philosophy is that your pool should look great 365 days a year for decades.

That’s where we come in. At Absolute Pools, our expert advice will help you navigate the murky waters of pool design while balancing the needs of your budget, your space and your timeframe.

We have impeccable taste and we give great advice. Owner and pool designer Brad Shuman isn’t afraid to tell you what he thinks, even if it’s not what you want to hear. After all, when you want the best pool for a good price, you need someone with vision who tells it like it is. You need someone to help you figure out if a vanishing edge is worth the money, or if you’d be better off with a more modest pool and an enhanced landscape. You need someone who will tell you all the pros and cons of each decision so you don’t come to regret something that could have been easily avoided.

Building custom pools can be daunting to the uninitiated, which is why you turn to the experts. With all that in mind, here are a few suggestions for some of the hottest long-term trends that will look good now and well into the future.

Infinity Edge Pools/Vanishing Edges

Imagine beautiful crystal water flowing gently over the edges of a pool. A delicious, fruity cocktail with a colorful umbrella in hand. All is quiet as little puffs of clouds pass overhead in a blue sky … Did you picture yourself at a resort by the beach?

Infinity pools aren’t just for luxury vacations anymore. Perfect if you have a backyard with a scenic view, a pool with vanishing edges is a beautiful and elegant option. The perimeter overflow has a hidden basin that recycles water back into the pool – which also helps self-clean debris. Plus, the running water has a calming, peaceful sound, adding serenity to your new outdoor oasis.

Pricey? Yes. Gorgeous? Absolutely stunning. We can help you determine if an infinity edge makes sense for you.

Natural Bio-Pools/Swim Ponds

A bio-pool is designed like a pond or swimming hole, filled with rocks and plants that will naturally clean the water. This option is chemical-free – meaning no chlorine – and with this newly installed ecosystem in your backyard, you can expect to both enjoy wildlife while helping to preserve it.

We’ve been building ponds, water gardens, streams and waterfalls for almost two decades – and we were building swim ponds way before they were trendy. By fusing the building techniques of waterscaping and pool building with the power of nature and some of today’s most advanced pool technology, Absolute Pools can build a stunning ecosystem that you can swim in safely while enjoying the most natural elements of luxury pool construction.

Are they more difficult to maintain? Usually. Are they more environmentally friendly? Sure. Are they as elegant as our most modern designs? Not by far. Are they beautiful? We can create a natural aquatic paradise on your property. Will you have unwanted critters lurking in your pool? You might. (This is the kind of frank advice you need but most builders and designers wouldn’t dare talk about!) Let us help you determine if a swim pond or bio-pool is right for you.

Zero Depth Entry/Beach Entry

Everyone wishes they could live on or near a beach. There is nothing like unwinding on the beach while slowly drifting into the water, starting at your toes and wading in all the way up to your neck. If you’re looking to add a pool this year, why not consider bringing the beach experience to you?

A zero depth entry pool has a sloped floor that mimics that feeling of descending into the water at the beach. A beach entry is a great way to re-create some of the beach experience without the trip. Plus, these sloped pool designs are a great option for families with children who like to play in shallow water, giving you a nice low water level where kids can play without needing to jump into the deeper water of a conventional pool. You can still have a deep end, though – we can go as deep as you want. But clearly, honing in on the exact depths of every part of your pool is something we take very seriously. There’s nothing cookie cutter about any part of our pools.

Spools/Swim Spas

A “spool” is a pool and spa hybrid, and these and other small-scale pools are some of the biggest trends right now. Best yet, they won’t go out of style. This swim spa is ideal for someone who doesn’t have a big yard for a giant pool or is working with a smaller budget. You can switch between a pool or a spa depending on the season or your mood. And, with an automatic cover built in, the energy costs can be far less than one might imagine.

These small footprint pools allow you to take a quick dip, read a book, play with your children and simply relax in a more confined space. Choosing a pool that is also a space saver will save room in your yard for other fun outside additions and activities.

Whatever swimming pool and water features you choose, Absolute Pools & Waterscapes is ready to get started with the finest materials, the best equipment and superb craftsmanship. Serving Nashville and surrounding counties, if you feel like we are a good fit, give us a call today at 615-354-1840 to learn more or to get a quote for your project.