One of the most recognizable brands in pool plaster has become
the latest casualty of the economic downturn.
3M Co. announced it will discontinue its ColorQuartz
line of plaster additives and exit the pool and spa plastering
business at the end of December 2009.
“The combination of reduced customer demand and the cost
of supporting this business contributed to this decision,”
said Kevin Ries, division vice president at 3M Industrial Mineral
Products Division. “We plan to work directly with our
customers to ensure a smooth transition.”
The brand is not being sold because the proprietary blend in
Colorquartz is used in other 3M products, according to a company
While the company has three months to wind down operations in
the plastering sector, the initial announcement came as a bit of a
surprise to many of its customers.
“We are their largest distributor, so you’d think we
would have heard by now,” said Don McChesney, national sales
manager of National Pool Tile Group, based in Anaheim, Calif.
“[Still], I wouldn’t find it inconceivable, given
Plasterers Council, whose annual conference receives
sponsorship from 3M, also was not given any advanced warning.
While pre-mixed, pre-packaged blends have grown in popularity,
3M had a relatively strong position among additive products for
plain white plaster.
“3M has had a corner on the market for a long time …
as an additive,” said Mitch Brooks, NPC’s executive
The ceramic-coated Colorquartz products provided marble mixes with
both color and additional hardness — advantages that will be
missed by a number of applicators.
“It was always a good product for us,” said Rob
Burkett, owner of Burkett’s Pool Plastering in Ripon,
Calif. “I thought it was the most durable quartz color out
However, in the past three years, permits have plummeted more
than 80 percent in the three counties where Burkett works, and new
construction remains sluggish throughout the country.
Furthermore, many budget-conscious customers have been forgoing
upgrades on their pools and deferring to bare-bones marcite,
according to 3M account representative Luke Crofoot.
“In some ways, the white plaster has taken a larger share
of the lower end of the market, I think,” he noted.
“That’s a symptom of how the economy is pressuring
people and influencing their choices for upgrades.”
3M has trimmed its domestic work force across all divisions by
more than 10 percent this year. The company is based in St. Paul,
Minn., and employs 34,000 U.S. workers.