The Best ICF Pool Coating Options

3 ICF Pool Coatings Options

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) pools provide improved energy efficiency and durability over traditional pool building methods like shotcrete, precast, and cast-in-place concrete. As a result, ICF pools last longer and lessen utility and maintenance costs. Quick and easy ICF pool construction saves builders time and money, and their design flexibility makes them suitable for above- and below-ground pools, unique custom homes, community pools, hotels, and more.

After building an ICF pool, Fox Blocks requires the application of an ICF compatible pool coating an ICF pool coating. The coating will enhance the appearance, performance, and longevity by preventing leaks, mold, and algae that can structurally damage the pool.


Building an ICF Pool


ICFs provide unlimited design potential for shapes, shallow and deep wall heights, accessories and finishes. The first step in building an ICF pool wall involves excavating and installing footer reinforcement to the pool bottom. Workers can then begin stacking hollow-reinforced ICFs to the desired shape and height, adding horizontal and vertical rebar. The next step is to carefully fill the blocks with concrete. NOTE: high walls require bracing to ensure they stay plumb after pouring the concrete.

Next, is the installation of the rough plumbing and electrical.


The pool bottom requires a gravel layer on top of the subgrade. Over that, place 1-inch or more insulation board, topped with a rebar chair. To prevent groundwater damage to the pool walls, install a moisture barrier on the outside ICF wall before backfilling. The barrier will shed water to the gravel or perimeter drain below.

ICF Pool Coatings Options

After installing the pool, Fox Blocks strongly recommends coating its walls and floor to protect the surfaces. In addition, regular cleaning and inspection of the coating for deterioration will prevent severe pool damage and early replacement. Typically, the coatings or liners should last ten+ years.

In addition to a vinyl liner, pool installers can choose from several pool coatings that are compatible with ICFs, including the Basecrete system, Sider-Plast system, Durock Pool-Kote, and Pebble Tec. Check with the ICF manufacturer on other pool coating materials and applications.


Basecrete is a cementitious waterproofing and bondcoat membrane, with tested adhesion to Fox Blocks EPS for flexibility and reliability. It creates a great bond for the application of any decorative pool finishing materials. Basecrete may be applied with rollers, trowels or spray applications.

Sider-Plast System

Cement-based, Sider-Crete pool plaster creates a water-resistant, smooth plaster finish for the walls and floor of an ICF pool, foundations, waterfalls, and ponds, and is applicable to residential, commercial, hot-tubs, chlorine, and saltwater systems. ICF requires a base coat, like Powerbase.

You can easily apply Sider-Crete swimming pool plaster kits with a standard paint roller, and smooth it with a trowel. Polymer-modified Sider-Crete provides added flexibility, superior freeze-thaw resistance, and excellent adherence to concrete surfaces and pool plasters, and it comes in standard and custom colors to fit the style and decor of all pools.

Durock Pool-Kote

Pool-Kote's composition of white Portland cement, quartz marble aggregate, mineral fillers, and additives creates a dense matrix, to provide a high-strength, waterproof barrier for the ICF pool surfaces. It also adds high early compressive, tensile, and flexural bond strength, low shrinkage, and superior freeze and thaw resistance.

Before spreading Pool-Kote on the ICF pool surface, Durock Pool-Kote requires applying two layers of base coat and mesh. Once the base coat sufficiently dries, prime the area per the manufacturer's instruction. After 15 minutes, you can apply the Pool-Kote, which will cure to a smooth, hard surface.

Pebble Tec®

Pebble Tec® is a high-quality, durable pool coating option with substantial longevity (20+ years) and the ability to hide chemical residue. Manufacturers specially formulated Pebble Tec® with cement blended and pebble aggregates, to give it the appearance of the bottom of a riverbed or creek.

Pebble Tec comes in numerous aggregate types and colors, ranging from blue-green to tan. If you find Pebble Tec a little rough on your feet compared to plaster, consider Pebble Sheen®, a slightly smaller aggregate version of Pebble Tec.

Why Build a Fox Blocks ICF Pool?

A pool built with Fox Blocks Series provides consumers, builders, and architects many advantages over conventional pool construction methods: faster and easier installation, enhanced energy efficiency and durability, and low maintenance. These are all features that will save pool owners money during and after building their pool.

However, protecting your ICF pool's appearance, performance, and longevity requires applying a quality coating to prevent leaks, algae, and mold.


The Ranch House Fox Blocks ICF Pool

The design of the Ranch House 382 ft2 ICF pool, located in Mathis, Texas, specified Fox Blocks Radius Blocks. Built as a weekend project, it took 5 days for the ICF installation, at half the cost of a conventionally constructed pool ($19,450).


Fox Blocks Radius Blocks provided an efficient solution to forming a radius wall, in order to create the look of a wine barrel. Constructing a radius wall by traditional methods involves extensive preparation, execution, and labor. Fox Blocks Radius Blocks furnished a time-saving solution for radius walls and created an excellent finished pool.

Contact Fox Blocks today for more information on ICF pool coating options and building a pool with insulated concrete forms. For more detailed information search the Resource Library on the Fox Blocks website.