Pebble pool surfaces are becoming much more popular in recent years, and for good reason. They offer a wide range of colors and textures for a beautiful pool aesthetic, and require very little maintenance. The biggest downside is the cost.
If you’re in the market for a pebble pool finish, you’re likely considering the offerings of NPT Pool’s StoneScapes Mini Pebble line and PebbleTec’s finishes. These two brands are fierce rivals, with Mini Pebble being a particularly popular finish offered by StoneScapes. PebbleTec also offers a variety of pebble finishes as well.
In this article, I will compare the Mini Pebble pool finish – arguably the most popular offering in the StoneScapes line – with PebbleTec’s line of pool finishes. I will go over their differences and similarities to help you understand which brand you’d rather go with.
To be clear, this article will compare one single offering from their StoneScapes line, their Mini Pebble finish, to the finishes offered by PebbleTec.
Mini Pebble pools are considered by many homeowners as the gold standard when it comes to durability and aesthetics. StoneScapes was able to replicate the natural colors of the ocean once water is added into your pool better than PebbleTec.
This gap is further widened by the fact that the Mini Pebble can come in a variety of colors and variations, thus giving customers more options to find the right finish for their pool.
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That said, PebbleTec is no slouch. They created the original aggregate pool finish. Their pebble finishes are made with high quality pebbles, seashells, and glass beads to maintain clarity. They are also highly resistant to discoloration due to prolonged exposure to UV rays.
Between the Mini Pebble and the PebbleTec line, PebbleTec has a more modern look whereas the Mini Pebble looks more natural. A recently built modern home would be more compatible with a PebbleTec finish.
One thing to keep in mind is that pebble finishes are much harder than plaster, regardless of which brand or variation you go with. That said, the Mini Pebble is one of the smoothest finishes you will find out of all the pebble finishes.
Most homeowners have found the Mini Pebble to be perfectly acceptable for shorter durations, but can start to feel hard on the feet after a prolonged swimming session.
Let’s look at some of the comparable finishes in the PebbleTec line and talk about some of them below.
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- Their Original finish has the largest pebbles out of the other options, but that gives it a natural feel.
- Their PebbleSheen finish is composed of smaller pebbles that feel more polished and refined.
- Their PebbleFina finish is finely ground to provide the smoothest aggregate finish.
- Their PebbleBrilliance finish is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing due to the use of vibrant glass beads.
PebbleTec have also introduced their PebbleEssence and PebbleBreeze finishes, both of which are sparklier and smoother versions respectively compared to the Original finish.
The StoneScapes Mini Pebble is smoother than PebbleTec’s The Original but loses out in smoothness to the PebbleFina.
Any pebble pool finish, especially those from StoneScapes and PebbleTec, are extremely durable considering they are made from stone. It is not unusual for a pebble pool finish to last for 20 years or more.
Pebble surfaces are significantly more durable and long-lasting than plaster. The icing on top is that you don’t even have to do much maintenance to achieve these results. Just brush your pool surface at least once a week and that’s about all the maintenance your pool finish needs.
With maintenance basically being non-existent for the Mini Pebble or any of the offerings from PebbleTec, they are both tied in this regard. Just install them, admire their beauty, and you don’t have to worry about them until decades later.
Whenever I review any sort of premium product, the elephant in the room is always the price. Unfortunately, you need to pay for quality. Whether you’re leaning towards the Mini Pebble or a PebbleTec finish, it’s gonna cost ya.
For comparison purposes, plaster finishes tend to cost around $4 per square foot. Pebble surfaces can cost as much as $10 per square foot, or around 2.5x the cost.
It’s hard to give an exact cost because that depends on labor, construction costs, and the contractor. Of course, the size of your pool matters as well, with larger pools costing significantly more. Therefore, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 or even more to install a pebble finish for your swimming pool.
So which option should you choose? There are actually many more similarities between the finishes offered by StoneScapes, particularly the Mini Pebble, and the ones offered by PebbleTec.
I think the biggest deciding factors for homeowners are the cost and aesthetics. Whichever fits your budget and looks the most visually appealing to you will probably be the tiebreaker.
As for factors like durability and texture, you can roughly expect comparable results between these options.
When it comes to cost, PebbleTec offers more variety but you are paying a premium, whereas Mini Pebble by StoneScapes is typically more affordable.