Pool Tiling

Pool Tile

Pool Tile is now available in a stunning array of choices. Let’s explore your pool tile choices in glass to porcelain, from square edged to rounded corners, from earth tones to brilliant jewel tones.

Years ago, pool tile selections were very limited. Today, the choices for new pool tile can be overwhelming. From solid color to designer pool tiles, size choices include 1″ x 1″, 1″ x 4″, 2″ x 2″, 3″x 3″ and 6″ x 6″. Without guidance, you could literally spend weeks trying to decide on pool tile and matching materials.

Similar to the decision process related to pool finishes, first consider your budget. Prices can differ depending on the tile type and the labor needed for installation. For example, a typical 6″ x 6″ porcelain tile can be installed and grouted in the average-sized pool in a day. Glass tile, on the other hand, is installed and left to cure for 21 days before it can be grouted.

As you can see, your pool tile choice impacts the cost of materials, labor, and project duration. Our expert Outdoor Remodeling consultants can guide you through the decision-making process.

Understanding All The Pool Tile Components 

Waterline Tile

Waterline pool tile is the layer of tile at the top edge of pools just below the coping or deck. It’s typically the first design element you see when you look at a pool. The size of pool tile and grout color are equally critical selections. Make sure you understand the benefits of integrating grout color to pool tile – can make for a more blended look if that is your goal.

For cantilevered decks, make sure the mason applies a silicone joint at the top of the waterline tile – this makes for a more flexible interface between the tile and deck to better absorb deck movement.

Waterline Tile allows an opportunity for some fun design ideas – for example, incorporating a mosaic every five or so tiles. Or mixing two different tiles for a “designer” look.

Trim Tile

Trim tile is the tile on the leading edge of steps and benches. While this is required in commercial pools, it is not on residential. This may be a place to save money by eliminating trim pool tile on a remodel. Note that trim tile cannot be saved during the preparation process of pool or spa for a new finish.

Pool trim tile is also considered a safety issue; it’s easier to see steps and bench edges.

While the typical install is 2 rows of 1″ x 1″ tile, there are many alternatives. 3″ tile set on a bias (diamond set) set 12″ to 15″ apart for one. If a smaller tile is not available to match the waterline tile, we can cut the 6″ x 6″ tile in quarters for a 3″ tile installation as a viable option.

Entire benches and steps can be done in all tile for a big wow factor. Make sure you select a pool tile that also is available in a quarter round for the outside leading edge of the step or bench. You should select a trim tile in contrasting color from the plaster finish so it is clearly visible.

Spillway Tile

The spillway is typically the spa dam wall or a notch in the dam wall. Usually, this tile is the same as waterline but can be a different tile depending on your design. Spillway tile needs to be set so that grout lines are not going to be worn, eventually cracking. Again we suggest you select a pool tile that comes in quarter rounds, breaks or surface bullnose for a clean edge and thin grout line. This results in a nicer look and reduces chances of leaking or erosion resulting in grout cracking. Also, this area of the pool is where most children climb to jump in – receives a measure of wear and tear. Typical non-quarter round installation can produce a sharp edge that can hurt little feet or heads.

Raised Bond Beams

The walls of a pool are called Bond Beams. When that wall is higher than the deck level, it is called a Raised Bond Beam. This will typically be tiled or covered by stone, natural or manufactured. On a large raised bond beam wall, consider deco-tiles tastefully placed to upgrade what could be a bland or dull look.