When you are creating a custom pool, you are going to hear a ton about companies that offer quality finishes. One of the biggest names in the game is Pebble Technology International, or PTI for short. They’re the gold standard for luxury pool finishes that avoid plaster.
Pebble Technology International has two major pool finish products: Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen. Getting the right pool finish can make a huge difference in how your pool looks, feels, and even how long it lasts.
PTI makes several finishes, including Pebble Brilliance, Pebble Fina, Pebble Tech, and Pebble Sheen. Tec and Sheen are the two most popular. Both Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen are great options, but only one might be right for you. Which one is it?
What is Pebble Tec?
Pebble Tec is the flagship product of Pebble Technology International, and has been around for about 25 years. This is an aggregate pool finish that uses cement, sand, and stones found from various beaches around the world to create a more natural finish.
This blend of ingredients gives your home’s pool a natural beachside look that’s both luxurious in look and texture. People who want to avoid plaster for their pool surfaces tend to prefer this blend of goods.
Pebble Tec and most other products from PTI are mixed onsite. There are multiple distinct blends that give you the chance to add proprietary additives. Different additives can give you an infusion of color and a pop of shimmer for a captivating finish.
Pro Tip – You can use PTI-approved additives to customize your pebble finish. Some of the more popular include Shimmering Sea and Luminous.
What is Pebble Sheen?
Pebble Sheen is one of the newer offers on the market from PTI, and it’s actually fairly popular among new pool owners. The big difference between Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen is the size of the pebbles.
Pebble Sheen is a smaller aggregate, primarily because it uses smaller pebbles. The pebbles are also buffed prior to adding them. This gives your pool bottom a more refined texture while keeping the natural beauty that Pebble Tec offers.
Much like Pebble Tec, Pebble Sheen can also be mixed with additives to get a nice sparkle or color change to your pool’s finish.
Pebble Tec vs Pebble Sheen
Both of these finishes use pebble aggregates to create a uniquely brilliant water color with a natural stone finish. However, they are not the same. Let’s talk about each product’s perks and pitfalls.
Both Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen are known for their long-lasting durability. That’s why they are both considered to be better than traditional plaster finishes. Water won’t change their color, and they both last over 20 years.
The difference here is totally anecdotal. Some people claim that Pebble Sheen lasts slightly less than Pebbe Tec. (It’s said to last only 20 years, versus Pebble Tec’s 25 years.) Either way, they are both finishes that offer more durability than plaster.
Texture is the biggest difference between these two finishes. Pebble Tec has larger stones, which gives your pool a uniform composition that is bold and natural in appearance. Since it’s made with natural stone aggregate, it can feel slightly rough.
Pebble Sheen, on the other hand, uses smaller stones in its aggregate. This gives your pool a smoother texture that looks elegant. While it’s not exactly the smooth finish of plaster, this popular pool finish is more stain resistant, easier on water chemistry, and sturdier.
In a nutshell, if you want something softer on your feet, then you should choose Pebble Sheen.
3. Ease of Use
Both Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen will require a professional installer to finish your pool in most cases. However, mixing this tends to be slightly easier with Pebble Sheen simply because the stones are smaller.
When finishing a pool, we strongly suggest hiring skilled installers who have experience with the Pebble Technology International lines. While doing it yourself is theoretically possible, the results are rarely ever going to be the same.
If you are budget-oriented, it’s good to know that there is a rather large cost difference between these two pool finishes. Pebble Tec is the more affordable of the two, while Pebble Sheen is seen as an upscale version of the original.
Per this article, finishing a 900 square foot pool with Pebble Sheen can cost almost $1000 more than Pebble Tec. Among landscapers and pool designers, that makes Pebble Sheen a luxury item. (But hey, both are really luxury finishes.)
PRO TIP – Though PTI is the “granddaddy” of pebble pool finishes, there are other companies that offer similar finishes out there. If you can’t quite find the right type of finish at PTI, keep calm and check out other brands.
Among people “in the know,” the most common trivia point is the history of Pebble Technology International. Pebble Tec is the original aggregate pool finish, and was the first of its type. This is the product that put PTI on the map.
Pebble Sheen, on the other hand, is one of the (relatively) newer options on the market. This was created after customers mentioned to the inventors at PTI that the finish was a bit rough on their feet.
6. Shades and Color Options
Ah, this is the big divider for many people. Getting that perfect pool color is a must, which is why many people prefer to use Pebble Tec. It comes in more finishes—18, to be precise. These shades include bright greens, crystalline blues, deep navies, and striking greys.
While Pebble Tec has more shades, Pebble Sheen isn’t too far off from Pebble Tec when it comes to shade choices. This finish comes in 16 basic options, including Irish Mist, White Diamonds, and Seafoam Green.
PRO TIP – Don’t let color stop you from choosing the finish of your choice. There are plenty of additives that can help you get the elegant and vibrant color of your dream pool. With that said, the additives can also help you get a little sparkle in your pool.
Both Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen are extremely popular among pool owners and designers. However, it’s worth noting that one of these finishes is more popular than the other. Pebble Tec is the more popular option.
The reason why is simple: it’s more affordable, but it still offers all the perks of a luxury pool finish. The fact that it is offered in more colors than any other PTI product definitely helps, but the truth is that it’s simply more widely carried.
PRO TIP – It’s worth noting that there are other products carried by PTI, including one that is fairly recent. Pebble Fina and Pebble Brilliance are two other finishes. Brilliance, in particular, is known for its lavish texture.
Are you looking for a no fuss, no muss pool finish? That’s great. Most PTI products are fairly low maintenance, but there is still a difference between Tec and Sheen worth noting. Both of these bacteria-resistant finishes need to have maintenance.
However, Pebble Sheen finishes actually require slightly more frequent cleanings. The smooth texture collects more water than Pebble Tec. This means that a Pebble Sheen pool may require cleanings as frequently as every six months.
For reference, a typical Pebble Tec pool will need to be cleaned every 2 to 4 years. If you are not ready to deal with more frequent cleanings, it may be best to stick to Pebble Tec.
PRO TIP – It’s always better to err on the side of caution. If you feel like your pool is getting grimy, it may be time to clean it up.
Both Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen offer a stronger grip on a pool floor than many other types of finishes. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t minor differences in how slip-proof each finish is.
Pebble Tec has a mix of large and small stones that make it less likely to cause a slip and fall. Pebble Sheen has an aggregate made entirely of petite stones, which means that you have a slightly more slippery pool.
PRO TIP – Neither Pebble Tec nor Pebble Sheen is fully slip-proof. Always make sure to keep proper safety protocols in place around a pool. Accidents are often preventable.
Getting the right pool finish can be a daunting task, especially if you are trying to find that perfect look with Pebble Technology products. Both Pebble Tec and Pebble Sheen offer great looks for your pool with even greater durability.
The truth is that both finishes are great picks for just about everyone. After all, this is the brand that people go to for a professional finish with vibrant color. As long as you choose the right additives and color, you should be pretty pleased with either finish.