color pebble pool

What Affects Pool Water Color?

In Ask the Pool Experts by Platinum Pools

There are hundreds of big and small decisions when installing a new pool.  Different surface colors/finishes can affect the color of your pool water, so choosing the surface is an important decision.  There are also many other factors that may affect the color of the pool water. 

As the saying goes, water is clear when it’s clean. Water is (or should be) transparent.  Many homeowners worry about the color of their pool water, but it’s all an optical illusion.  You see how the water refracts the light that enters the pool and reflects off the pool’s surface. When the sunlight hits the pool, three things can happen:

  • The light bounces off the water.
  • The light can pass through the water.
  • The light can do both.

We do not want to sound like a lecture in a school science class, but there is a difference in light.  To be technically correct, some of the light can bounce off, and the rest can go through.  Since we are talking about swimming pools, let us focus on sunlight and other instances like pool size, pool interior finishes, sunlight direction, LED lights, and chemical balance in the water.

How Can a Pool Size Affect the Color of the Water?

An important factor in the apparent color of your pool water is the size and depth of your pool.  The depth of the water affects how much light refracts off the bottom of the pool.  The same pool color will produce a darker, more vibrant hue in a large, deep pool than in a small or medium shallow pool.  You can see this effect when looking at a clear tropical ocean.  The water near the beach is almost transparent.  If you look out, the water turns turquoise.  If you look further out, where the seabed drops away, and the sea becomes deep, the color of the water abruptly changes to a rich, dark blue.

A few ways to achieve a darker color in a smaller pool exist.  The most obvious factor is to use a darker, richer color on your pool’s interior surface. No matter what color you use, you should be aware that a shallower pool will have different hues than a deeper one even if you use all the same finishes.

The Pool’s Surroundings

The apparent color of your pool water is also significantly from the pool’s surroundings.  A pool surrounded by lush greenery will appear greener regardless of the pool’s surface.  If a pool sits in a landscape with bright green lawns and evergreen trees, it will cast a reflection.  However, if your pool is on a stark white sandstone hardscape, your pool water will appear much brighter.  A pool that is the same color can look different when surrounded by other colors.  For example, a single color looks lighter when surrounded by darker hues, and darker when surrounded by lighter colors.  The color of the pool water can change simply by changing the environment.

Shifting Sunlight Affects Pool Water Color

The color and angle of the light coming from the sun can affect the apparent color of the pool water.  The optimum setting to get the full brightness of your pool is direct sunlight on a clear day.  If the sun is low or cloudy at the beginning and end of the day, you will get a much more subdued color.  The water reflects the objects around it and the sky above, so a gray sky means gray-colored water in the pool.  If your pool is sometimes in the shade, you may not get the color you might have seen in a catalog or online.

Pebble-Tec and Mosaic Tiles

Nowadays, tile and Pebble Tec are the most popular swimming pool interior surfaces.  When you choose tiles for your pool, you have options.  Pebble interior finishes have a much longer lifespan than most other pool surfacing options.  It is non-porous, so it does not absorb pool chemicals and is resistant to algae growth and staining. Glass tiles are primarily used for pool surfaces because they have the best esthetics and durability. 

Both tile and Pebble Tec come in many different colors.  The choice of color depends on personal taste and what best suits your backyard oasis.

LED Lights – An Alternative to Change the Pool Water Color

Sunlight is no longer an issue if you use your pool at night.  For truly stunning and unique effects, you can install colored lights in your pool.  You can choose any color or even change colors with artificial lights.  Underwater pool lights can make the entire pool shine in the color you want.

Chemical Balance in the Pool Water Affects Color

As every pool owner knows, water is only sometimes clear.  If your pool water looks greasy or green, you may need help regulating your pool water.  Cloudy water can result from algae or other organic material growing in a pool that is not clean enough.  It can be due to water that does not have enough free chlorine or a problem with the filter system and water circulation.  Another cause of cloudy water is the minerals in the water.  There may be too much calcium in the pool water.  Also, using well water brings minerals and metals that can affect the color.

Our website, Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz accounts provide ideas on selecting the right colors for your backyard oasis. Call us at 281-870-1600 for more information or get a free quote.  Our staff is ready to make your backyard dreams come true.