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How To Choose and Care for Swimming Pool Tiles

Updated on September 28, 2012

Swimming Pool Tiles

A lot of different tile types are suitable for using in swimming pools. They may be classed as floor tiles, wall tiles, bathroom tiles etc but many are still suitable. The main thing is that they have a low water absorbent rate, meaning that porcelain and glass tiles are very suitable for use as swimming pool linings.

Glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles and glass mosaics to name but a few come in a vast range of shapes, sizes and colours. There is something for every artictic creation imaginable and an equally large number of suppliers - either local to your needs or via the Internet marketplace.

When choosing your pool tiles it is important to also consider the depth where they will be used as some tiles are too slippery to be used around the sides of pools or in shallow water where people will be walking. Tiles used at depths between 1mm and 450mm should be at least category B for a wet ramp test. Up to around 850mm should still be slip resistant but also gritted tiles can be used. For deeper water most tiles are suitable. Edges and wet areas should be particularly slip resistant.

Caring for Swimming Pool Tiles

For pool tile cleaning always try to use the recommended cleaning materials advised when you buy your tiles. If this is not possible or the proprietary cleaner is particularly expensive obtain a close match but always take advice from a competent pool maintenance organization first.

The grout between the tiles is usually the area of most discoloration and can be quick to make a pool look ugly. A mild acid cleaner is needed for cement based grouts whereas resin grouts can be cleaned at the same time and with the same cleaner as the tiles themselves.

In normal conditions ceramic tiles need little cleaning, wipe down algal build ups and grease with a soft cloth or you can even use a soft brush to gently scrub - even donning scuba gear sometimes to do the bottom and deeper parts!

Cleaning can be done regularly through the year while the pool is full and if this is carried out can often avoid the need for a complete drain and annual "spring clean". Draining the pool and pressure washing a year's build up of calcium carbonate, grease or algal deposits is not the sensible way to look after your pool and does mean that for most of the year your swimming pool will look and feel dirty!

Prevention is Best for your Pool Tiles

There are two ways that you can go about making your pool look good and stay clean looking.

1. When laying the tiles in the first place make sure that they are fixed properly. This means using the right adhesives for the tiles and base material and expertly laying them so that they fix tight against the walls and floor. This is to prevent not only loose tiles from falling off but also ensuring neat and complete grout lines that will not flake and do not have any rough areas or pits that will attract the grime or prevent dirt from easily being wiped or brushed off.

2. Ensure that the pH of your pool is pretty neutral. If it is too alkaline - above about 7.4 - then any hardness in your water (calcium carbonate) will tend to precipitate out (like the "furring" up of your kettle) and form a hard difficult to remove skin on your pool tiles. many people resort to glass beading their tiles (a very rough form of pressure washing) to get the scale off but this can damage the pool tiles.

A Long Life for your Swimming Pool Tiles

There is no doubt that a beautiful tiles swimming pool is an asset to any household. Fixed properly in the first place and cared for properly the tiles should look good for a generation. An expensive investment does deserve to receive proper care and maintenance, and it will remain an asset and enhance the value of your property in the event that you want to move.


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    • profile image

      Aqua Pools 2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing article of Caring for Swimming Pool Tiles

    • profile image

      Karen Lazarakis 3 years ago

      I am putting 1x1 glass tiles in the 6 " surround of my new pool we are installing quartz plaster as well. Is there any reason the glass tiles will fall out easier than a typical pool tile? We live in Utah and the tiles are marine quality and frost resistant.

    • Mark Jenner profile image

      Mark Jenner 6 years ago

      I guess it is really down to your taste? Pick a colour or finish that you like - but glazed tiles are easier to clean. Anyway thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Carol T 6 years ago

      What is the best choice for an edging tile around a pool? High gloss or glazed matte, Glazed dark/ bright or lighter matte glaze. I am trying to reduce the appearance of the Calcium deposit that, even with our best efforts I am sure will occur due to the Hard water in Arizona,

    • Mark Jenner profile image

      Mark Jenner 7 years ago

      Thanks, appreciate the comment

    • cmuckley profile image

      cmuckley 7 years ago

      I had never given any thought to this subject. Interesting hub. Cheers!