How To Make A Gunite Pool Smooth

How To Make A Gunite Pool Smooth Via Polished Surfaces or Tile

Depending on the interior finish you have in your pool, you may wish you could make it less rough.  Sometimes the texture of a gunite pool is a little too rugged for your liking.  Sometimes it’s just enough to wear a hole in a bathing suit or maybe it’s rough on the feet when you play volleyball.  Separately, maybe you are thinking of building a pool and realize this is important to you.  Whatever your circumstance, you just want to know how to make a gunite pool smooth.

How To Make A Gunite Pool Smooth

If you are building a pool, you may want to consider finishes that will be softer but just aren’t sure what they are.  Additionally, maybe you have a builder who doesn’t seem to be all that interested in showing you a variety of available options.  Well, here is a quick rundown of the finishes most commonly available, and a few outliers you might consider to make sure your gunite pool feels smooth.

Roughest To Smoothest Interior Finishes

First and most rough is the pebble or aggregate finish.  Some trade names of these are ‘PebbleTec’ which is made by Pebble Technologies, or ‘Signature Matrix’, made by Wet Edge TechnologiesThese are the roughest finishes you can put into your pool, but also some of the most long lasting finishes available.  The finishes are troweled on, then acid washed to expose the aggregate within the finish.


Next are the aggregate finishes but finer.  For example, Pebblesheen, which is also made by Pebble Technologies, is one of the smoother but still exposed aggregate finishes.  This finish is also acid exposed, but is then polished by hand to gain a finish a bit smoother than the larger aggregate ‘PebbleTec’ or ‘Signature Matrix’.

Luna Quartz & Diamond Brite

The next group of finishes are popular because they have the smoother finish like plaster, but still have an exposed aggregate finish.  The finish is smooth however, so there’s not much in the way of sharpness to the feel.  An example of this finish would be ‘Luna Quartz’ by Wet Edge Technologies, or ‘Diamond Brite’ by SGM.  These finishes are troweled on and then are either acid exposed like pebble finishes, or an acid start is completed. In this process, the pool is filled with water, and a lot of acid is added to the water to make the water corrosive enough to eat away the top surface of cream on the finish.

Plaster Finish

This finish is the old standby.  Plaster.  Plaster is most often white unless colors are added.  There are a few ways to add color to plaster.  First you can use liquid color additives.  These are functional but lead to a lot of mottling and streaking.  Next is to use powder dyes.  These also leave mottling and streaking but not quite as much as the liquid.  Plaster is troweled on smooth and when the finish is done, the pool is filled.  Plaster is engineered to cure underwater, so typically the same day the plaster goes on, the pool is filled.

Best Choice For How To Make A Gunite Pool Smooth

The smoothest of all finishes are the polished surfaces.  If you have any of the pebble finishes, you can have them polished.  This is a common feature to consider for your built in spa benches.  If you are building a new pool you might consider using ‘Primera Stone’ by Wet Edge Technologies, or Hydrazzo. Primera stone is troweled on like any other finish, but then after it has set diamond plated polishing equipment is used to make the finish smooth as a terrazzo floor.  

How To Make A Gunite Pool Smooth on the spa bench with polished surface

Consider An Interior Finish Renovation

Whatever finish you currently have in your pool, you can always re-plaster with any of the finishes above.  If you have a pebble finish you can grind down the pebble to make it smooth.  If you want the ultimate in luxury, you can always tile your pool which gives you the smoothest option along with a luxurious look.

Know How To Make A Gunite Pool Smooth Or Rough

Keep in mind there is a difference of opinion with pool owners and pool surfaces. This is depending on how you use the pool.  Sometimes the rougher the finish, the better.  Sometimes when playing volleyball in the pool it is actually advantageous to have a rougher finish than softer.  Due to your buoyancy in the water, it can be difficult to get traction on the bottom of the pool, and smoother finishes like plaster can actually have the effect of a pumice stone, where you can’t quite get traction, and your foot moves across the floor of the pool and sands your skin.  For this reason along with longevity of the installation, pebble finishes remain popular in pool construction. 

Bottom Line

Whatever you choose to do about your finish, there are plenty of options available. Using this guide, you now know how to make a gunite pool smooth. You should consider how you primarily use the pool before deciding if you want a smooth or rough interior finish. The smoothest option for your gunite pool with be polished surfaces.