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Posted by Todd Thomasson on May 31, 2022 9:41:05 AM

Swimming pools have evolved in so many different ways over the years. One thing that means for you is that you have more choices than ever. That means you can make your pool entirely customizable to your specific wants and needs. But it also means that you have a lot of decisions to make—and that can feel daunting.

One of those decisions is amongst pool bottom colors.

You might be thinking, isn’t my choice just “blue” (or at least some variation of blue)? But that’s not the case at all anymore. There are many varieties of pool bottom colors ranging from light to dark shades. Your decision will definitely impact the overall look of your swimming pool when it’s finished.

While many decisions come down to personal preference, we can offer some advice that will help you to better narrow down the option of a dark bottom pool vs. light bottom pool.

When your swimming pool is finished, you want to feel confident that you’ve made the wisest choice.

Considering Pool Bottom Colors

Whether you’ve just gotten started with the swimming pool build experience (and you’re just doing some research) or you already have the process underway, you might be shocked by just how many decisions are involved in adding a swimming pool.

This is especially true with a custom gunite pool where you aren’t limited in any way.

But the pool bottom might have seemed like the simplest decision. You just want blue, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple.

Use This Worksheet to Plan Your Pool Design

First and foremost, you should know that there is science behind the reason that swimming pools always look blue, even when the bottom is white.

That has to do with the fact that with a larger volume of water (as in a swimming pool), the water molecules slightly absorb light from the sun. While sunlight is made up of all the colors of the spectrum, the water absorbs light from the red end of the spectrum, removing it and reflecting a blue hue.

pool with light bottom color

Pool designers capitalize on the already-blue look of the water with blue tile and plaster.

But even within that “blue” spectrum, there is so much variety. Do you want a pool bottom color that is aqua or such light blue that it resembles the waters of a tropical beach?

Or, do you want such a deep and dark shade of blue—or even black—that it looks like a lake?

While some homeowners know immediately what they want, others really have trouble making that decision. The way that the pool water color can vary based on your pool bottom is pretty dramatic, and you want to feel confident that you’ve chosen wisely. Nobody wants to worry about wishing they’d made a different choice once the pool is done. That’s why it’s important to weigh this decision carefully now.

Dark vs Light Bottom Pool

As with any choice that you make for your swimming pool, there are different factors to consider.

In the decision between a dark vs. light bottom pool, one of the biggest considerations is what the space around your pool already looks like. Ultimately, you want your new swimming pool to “fit in” with the rest of your landscape.

pool with dark bottom color

One of the best examples that we can provide is this Warrenton, VA swimming pool, which was designed and built using black plaster that better fit the countryside landscape around it. A pool with turquoise blue waters that looked like it had tropical flair just would not have fit the countryside scenery.

When you choose a darker pool finish, it looks more like a natural lagoon or a lake, and that might fit better with your surroundings.

Of course, dark bottom pools also have quite a bit of variation in terms of how dark you go. Perhaps you aren’t going for a lagoon-style look but you just don’t want something too light. There are many deeper shades of blue that might give you that more sophisticated look that you want to achieve.

custom pool with black bottom

Homeowners with dark bottom pools have also said that their pool seems to stay warm a little bit longer since the darker color absorbs more sunlight (and retains more heat). While we would not advise this to be the reason that you choose a dark bottom, it might be an added benefit.

When considering the surrounding area, for many homeowners, a light bottom pool makes sense. Lighter bottomed pools have a crisp, clean and refreshing look to them that might fit right in with the entire “look and feel” that you are trying to create in your backyard living area.

They have that inviting feel on a hot summer day and can definitely exude more of a “tropical feel” than dark bottom pools. Ultimately, there is a “feeling” or experience that comes from spending time at your swimming pool. You’ll want to consider what you’re aiming to achieve when choosing your pool bottom color.

Additional Factors Affecting Pool Bottom Colors

Of course, it’s not just the pool materials that ultimately impact your pool bottom color. You might be surprised by the way in which other factors (some in your control and others not) also come into play.

One major factor is the amount of sunlight your pool receives on any given day. You’ll quickly notice that your pool looks different on a bright and sunny day than it does on a cloudy day where your pool isn’t getting much sun.

pool with patio and stone walls and pergola

While the weather is out of your control and shouldn’t necessarily be a consideration, you may want to think about what structures or objects are in your yard that could shade your pool and impact its color.

Pools in yards that are heavily shaded will naturally look darker, so that might be an important consideration when choosing your pool bottom color.

black bottom pool with pavilion and fireplace

The depth of your pool will also impact its color. The deeper that your pool is, the darker (or deeper) the color will be. This is also why a pool color looks different in the deep versus the shallow end of the pool.

The flow of the water can also impact its color. If you have pool features like fountains, jets, or waterfalls, the color might appear more vivid in these areas. You might see more color variation in the overall color.

Create Your Perfect Pool in Northern Virginia

At the end of the day, the pool bottom color is just one of many choices that you’ll make for your swimming pool. By choosing a custom, gunite pool you can think outside of the box and create something truly your own. Everything from the color to the style, shape, depth, and so much more is all up to you.

With so many decisions to make, we have written an entire swimming pool guide that addresses other factors you’ll need to consider (and facts you should know) as you begin the process of bringing your swimming pool to life. It’s a lot! But it’s also a really exciting time and one that should be fun for you.

As far as pool bottom colors go, hopefully, this article has given you some considerations to keep in mind as you weigh the choices of dark bottom pools vs light bottom pools.

We understand it’s a big choice and that you might have more questions. If there is anything else that we can answer, we’re always here to help.

As you move closer and closer to making your pool dreams a reality, we are available to be your guide. With a knowledgeable guide leading your pool creation experience, you’ll be able to feel confident that your dream will come to fruition exactly as you’ve dreamed—or perhaps even better.

If you’d like to get started on planning a dream pool for your Gainesville, Haymarket, or Bristow, VA property, talk to an expert, choose a solution that rocks, and then get ready to enjoy your property to the fullest.

Download Pool Planning Worksheet

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.