A guide to house building in South Africa

A guide to house building in South Africa

Finishes: Pool


South Africa’s most loved garden accessory!

It’s become a trend to place water near the house as it brings life to the structure, while the shimmering light reflections create interest.

If the pool is close, it is best to start construction together with the main build. Floor levels can be set and foundations integrated for all retaining structures.

Having said this, it’s still best to use a pool contractor. They know the ins and outs and are able to complete the project from start to finish (unlike a building contractor that will have to subcontract teams in for the finishes (i.e. tilers, marbelite plasterers, electricians for pump).

You generally have two options for a pool in SA:

Fibreglass – these can come in pre-made, factory-moulded sizes and are quick to fit once the pool cavity has been bricked and concreted. These pools come with preprinted edges, as opposed to actual tiles. Existing concrete pools can also be fiberglassed (in the case of a leak). They are generally accepted as a cheaper option, with less maintenance.

Marbelite – concrete and gunite structure, finished with a fine, marbelite plaster and tiling in any areas that remains exposed.

Gunite pool construction

Although this is the recommended route for a beautiful, bespoke pool, keep in mind the following:

  • Whatever colour you choose, it will lighten and mottle over time (even the dark charcoal), but this gives the water a lovely effervescence.
  • The light colours can also stain. Best to choose at least a grey over white.
  • You have to keep pool filled at all times as plaster will crack when exposed to sun
  • The surface also roughens over time
Some of the pool colour options.


If you do choose to tile your entire pool, ensure you use the correct, water proof adhesive mix. Mosaics are lovely, but will require specialist mosaic fix to prevent them popping off over time. There are also some waterproof paint products as a final option.


The pool surround, or coping, will also be completed by the pool contractor, unless it’s already integrated with another surface, for example decking. The trickiest part about this is getting the level correct in relation to the house or pool surround.


If your garden is not surrounded by a boundary wall, (i.e. in an estate) you are by law required to fence the pool (1,2m) and limit access.

Needless to say, it is always a good idea to secure the water from children and animals – easiest of which is a pool net.

For more pool ideas, click here.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest