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Resurfacing Your Pool: Detailed Overview of Options, Cost, and Complications

Updated: Mar 7

When you look at your pool, do you see a dull or stained finish? Maybe some tiles are cracked or completely missing. What about the decking around it? Is it worn down to nothing or starting to break apart? If any of this sounds familiar, there's no better time than now to resurface your pool. This guide will provide you with the basic information and resources needed to determine if resurfacing your pool is right for you.

Here we’ll discuss the various options for resurfacing a pool. Inexpensive options, such as painting and resurfacing with a new coating, can significantly change your pool's appearance. However, the costs of any of these options will vary based on the size and condition of your pool. If you have an older pool that needs major repairs to be resurfaced, then a costly overhaul might be necessary.



pool resurfaced with gunite


Pool Resurfacing Options


1. Paint:


Pool resurfacing is a time and money-saving solution to the costly and lengthy process of draining and replacing an entire pool. There are many different options for resurfacing a pool, each with its benefits and drawbacks. For those who have a vinyl liner pool, paint is one of the most popular resurfacing options. Paint has been widely used for decades as an economical option that can help maintain a clean, attractive pool surface.


2. Plaster:


Plaster resurfacing is still the most common choice for many residential pools. However, it may not be the best option these days. Resurfacing over properly installed concrete (gunite) will provide a superior end product that will last much longer than plaster - without any extra effort on your part.


3. Fiberglass:


The most cost-effective and common option for resurfacing a pool is fiberglass. Fiberglass creates a smooth, clean surface that is perfect for resurfacing your pool and will give it a new look. Fiberglass resurfacing is just applying a fresh sheet of fiberglass over the entire surface of your pool, giving it a brand new exterior.


4. Aggregate:


Aggregate pool resurfacing offers a durable finish that can last for decades. As with any pool-related home maintenance, you'll need to decide whether you want to perform the work yourself or hire a pro. If you go the DIY route, be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions carefully. Keep in mind, too, that it's not advisable to attempt any repair work without testing the water's pH level.


5. Tiles:


The most expensive option. Let’s say you just moved into a luxury new home, and it has a pool. You manage to find some time between work and family, and you dive in. It turns out the previous owners weren’t as careful with upkeep as they should have been, and now algae is growing on the tiles. Not knowing how to fix the problem, you call a company and pay them to take care of it.


Other price factors


Budgeting for a pool resurfacing project can be challenging. When you start to look at the various options available, the cost of labor, and other factors, it’s hard to know what you can expect. For example, one basic resurfacing option is to use a concrete overlay that comes in one size. It also requires skilled labor and specialized tools. All those factors require you to pay more, but this specific resurfacing option may be your most practical choice.


1. Location:


Resurfacing options vary based on the location of your pool. Some areas are better for certain types of resurfacing than others. The topography and climate where you live will play a big part in determining what kind of resurfacing you can do if any. For example, decks around saltwater pools should be made out of stone or other sturdy materials. Decks around pools with harsh chemicals or water conditions may require specialized materials.


2. Preparation:


Some areas also have more preparation work than others. For example, a pool that has suffered tremendous damage may need to be dug out. If the shape of the pool is significantly different by the time you are done resurfacing it, you may need to do some additional excavation and fill in uneven areas.


Preparing your pool by repairing cracks, removing debris, and other steps will make resurfacing easier. If you want the resurfacing project to succeed, all preparation steps must be taken before starting.


3. Resurfacing Material:


Another factor that contributes to the cost of a resurfacing project is the type of resurfacing material you choose. Concrete is going to be the priciest option. However, it’s also one of your most practical choices for pool refurbishing. In addition, choosing a less expensive material might bring with it some risks and additional costs. For example, fiberglass and polymers don’t handle cracks, as well as concrete. If you have a lot of cracking with those products, you might need to replace the resurfacing material more often than if it were concrete.


4. Size:


The size of the pool has an impact on your overall costs as well. A larger pool needs more resurfacing material. If you have a large, extensive pool project, you might have to choose between doing the work yourself or hiring out for some labor. However, choosing to do all the work yourself will bring costs as well.


5. Duration:


The final factor related to your overall costs is how long the project takes. The more time you can allow for a resurfacing project, the less it will cost per hour to complete. An extensive job that takes several weeks or months will be significantly cheaper than having to pay someone dozens of hours at a very high hourly rate.


How Much to Expect: Pool Company Cost


When it comes to pool resurfacing, you may be considering doing this project yourself. If so, know that the savings are significant, but the labor is time-consuming and difficult. Some people try to save money by hiring a contractor just for the plastering process rather than contracting with the entire pool company. While this will undoubtedly save money in the short term, this is not recommended due to potential problems that can result.


Other Renovation Options


Replacing coping and the decking is often done in conjunction with other renovation, making the actual cost of pool resurfacing hard to judge. As part, you should pay less for refinishing a larger project than you would if you were having it done individually.


But this is not the only thing that might be done at the same time. A pool company may upgrade your equipment while it takes your existing walls and floor out, for example. If so, while some jobs might be discounted to you, some jobs might cost more because of the additional labor necessary to do them all together.


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