Make Your Swimming Pool a Different Color

Make Your Swimming Pool a Different Color

Swimming pool with earth colors

Dare To Be Different and Make Your Pool a Different Color

swimming pool with light royal finish
Light royal. Simply stunning; this pool was finished using Cemcrete’s Light Royal PoolCrete

Instead of the usual blue-hued swimming pool, introduce color on the inside and allow nature to reflect its own special beauty. That is exactly what the owner of the stunning swimming pool on the left did – and the results speak for themselves.

Located in Johannesburg, the rimflow pool, which features a stunning circular deck, was finished using Cemcrete’s Light Royal PoolCrete instead of the more usual white marble plaster. The effect is incredible. In bright sunlight the water seems to shimmer and shine; on a dull day, there appears to be more depth to the water, but it still looks clean and clear.

Finished with a sandy shade, the water will tend to have a greenish cast, while green or turquoise will emphasise nature and its surrounding colours.

Traditional Color Choices for Swimming Pools

In the early days of swimming pools, new pool owners did not have a whole lot of choice. The pool shell was made from cast concrete and the finish was usually whatever pool paint was available. There was not a huge choice.

In the 1950s gunite opened up new possibilities in terms of swimming pool construction. Nevertheless, in the early days, choice of finish was not varied and most pool floors and walls were plastered in the same way as any other surface. By the early 1970s marble plaster had made an appearance. Essentially a mixture of white cement and granular white marble dust, it produced a beautifully smooth, waterproof finish. Once filled with clean water, the white-skinned pool appeared magically blue and had a sparkle which its predecessors could never have produced.

pool with light royal finish
Light royal. A magnificent effect is achieved with right royal colours and a huge, lavish fountain in the pool at Ceasars Palace

As environmentalists encouraged home owners to mirror nature, more and more people wanted natural colours for their pools. Charcoal was a particularly popular choice in the 1980s although clean vivid blue, which mirrored a clear blue sky, never did lose acceptability.

In recent years, technology has advanced beyond imagination, and you may be amazed to discover that there is now a huge choice when  it comes to the color of your swimming pool.

PoolCrete was developed in 1969 and was the first proprietary marble pool plaster to be manufactured in South Africa. It was designed specifically for local conditions, and has been manufactured in that country since 1973.

Not surprisingly, the product was initially white in colour, and it stayed this way for about a decade.

Pool sandstone finish
Sandstone. Chosen to reflect the sandstone of nearby Table Mountain and to complement the terracotta hues within this Mediterranean-style Cape Town garden, sandstone PoolCrete is quite literally from the earth

Ironically, the development of PoolCrete colors was motivated by a need for a finish that would make plastered koi ponds and rock pools look more natural. Quite simply, marble plaster was too white and the commonly used bitumen products were considered by many to be too black.

In the 1980s Cemcrete developed Charcoal PoolCrete, that was intended for fish ponds. It was only after a few brave people had used it in their domestic pools that it became popular as a swimming pool finish. In fact it is still one of Cemcrete’s most popular colors. During the 1980s they expanded their colour range. However, most people still wanted blue pools and the range reflected this. As time went on, architects and developers began requesting an even broader colour range, and grey, turquoise and green became popular.

Pool Mega blue finish
Mega blue. The combination of painted walls, dark blue tiles and a pool shell plastered with Mega Blue PoolCrete creates a magical backdrop for a sophisticated water feature

Role of the Lodge Market in Swimming Pool Design

The development of the lodge market catering for the burgeoning tourist industry has played a major role, not only in pool colours, but also in pool design.

More and more people started building pools that would blend with their surroundings and sandstone became a popular color. Rock-work was also being included around pools and surrounds were no longer just flat surfaces.

In recent years there has been a move towards building swimming pools that blend with a setting rather than being a focal point as they were in the past. This applies not only to the lodge market, but also to domestic pools. Residential swimming pools have also become smaller and smaller and people generally pay more attention to the total picture created with landscaping, colours and other factors. Today the PoolCrete range includes more than nine colors that vary from White to a very dark Mega Blue.

Pool portland grey finish
Portland grey. Chosen for the natural effect it creates underwater, the grey of the pool shell complements the grey rocks incorporated in the imposing rocky water feature of an exotic swimming pool in Mauritius

Exposed Aggregate Swimming Pool Plaster

Another finish that uses white cement is the relatively new exposed aggregate pool surfacing plaster. Natural quartz aggregate is mixed with the cement and various additives, including pigments which produce a stunning range of colours. Of course there are other options, particularly for those who are not building a plastered pool.

In some areas, chip tile is a popular finish. Even though it  can be relatively costly, color options are unbeatable.

Glass fiber swimming pool manufacturers also produce shells in a choice of colours. The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) lists 24 possibilities including grey, yellow, brown, black and red. Whilst these are commonly used as a finish for hot water spas, blue and white remain the most popular options for swimming pools. Also, not all pool and spa companies have all these choices available.

Swimming pool turquoise finish
Turquoise. Stone and thatch combine with greeny-blue turquoise color creating a natural effect in a very small swimming pool

Nevertheless, the bottom line is, there is a choice, and if you are building a new swimming pool, be sure to explore all the options.

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Swimming pool charcoal finish
Charcoal. A colour developed for fish ponds, charcoal looks natural and produces warmer water
Swimming Pool sky blue finish
Sky blue. The perfect foil for plants, a cyan-inspired blue hue adds the life and sparkle of a sunny day to an attractive residential swimming pool

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