How to Choose Swimming Pool Tiles

A swimming pool in your own backyard can be your luxurious and relaxing escape without going too far. For some people, the design of their pools is a reflection of what an ultimate getaway means for them. Your pool can remind you of a tropical paradise like Bali, the vibrant colors of Morocco, or the crystal blue waters of Hawaii.

Next to your living room, the pool area can be the next best place to gather with friends and family in your home. In most months throughout the year, it can be a place to host birthday parties, barbecues or a simple catch-up dinner with friends.

A well-thought-of design for your pool can make it an instant conversation piece. But choosing tiles for your pool is not as simple as it seems. Even the best contractors might not be able to meet your preferred style, color and design. How and where do you start selecting pool tiles? What are the key considerations in choosing? What are the benefits of a specific pool tile material?

These questions are your essential guide in finding the right tile for your swimming pool, but we aim to give you more insights to help you build the pool of your dreams that will make your pool stay a must-look-forward-to experience for your family and guests.

1. Budget

​Going to a pool tile dealer can be overwhelming with the thousands of options to choose from. Establishing and sticking to a specific budget can help you narrow down your choices. It is ideal to select a pool contractor, discuss your needs and wants for a pool and get an idea for your budget before checking your tile options. That way, you can realistically set your expectations right before you step in a tile store.

​2. Material

​There is no golden rule in choosing a tile material for your pool. The variety of options await you and something will surely fit your style and your budget:

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Swimming pool

​Ceramic and porcelain tiles are probably the most popular tiles for pool use.
It comes in a wide variety of color options, designs and styles. Ceramic tiles are fired clay – built to withstand high temperatures. Although it is important to note that not all ceramic tiles are intended for pool use.

Since tiles to be used on your pool will be exposed to sunlight, chemicals, alkalinity and is submerged in water almost 24/7, ceramic tiles for pools are not similar to those that are used in our bathrooms, although they may look similar. The water absorption of ≤0.5% means that the tile is water resistant and will retain the bond with the pool tile adhesive for a very long time.

The tile glaze is also a consideration. The quality of the glaze must also be acid-, alkali-, and fade-resistant so it will not harm and it will be easy to clean and maintain.

The best feature of a high-quality ceramic tile is that it is anti-slip regardless if its wet or dry. A high-quality ceramic tile will also not crack or break despite hot or cold seasons.

Glass Tile

​The sparkle, the elegance, and durability. These are among the top qualities of glass tiles. It comes in smaller sizes than ceramic tiles making it a more versatile option for specific pool designs. If you are looking for a pool tile material that can best execute intricate mosaics and pool art, glass tiles should be your top choice.

Glass tiles give such allure and feeling of luxury because of its iridescence. It can be applied in almost all areas of the pool, from the waterline, walls, floor, steps and other water features.

Although glass tiles are known to be durable, make sure to get your tiles from a trusted brand and supplier. High-quality glass tiles can withstand sudden shifts of temperature while substandard ones can easily break with these changes.

Your tile contractor must be experienced in installing glass tiles, to maximize use of glass tiles for your swimming pool. Glass tiles are too beautiful that even the slightest imperfections in the installation are noticeable.

Stone Tile

​You can achieve a rustic, earthy, zen or spa look for your pool when you use stone tiles. Stone tiles are usually utilized for coping and pool deck applications. It is highly durable, low maintenance and blends well with both the natural surroundings and the modern twist from colorful pool tiles.

The texture can go from matte to rough with enough grip for floor applications and enough depth and character for wall applications. If you are looking into incorporating a water feature in your pool, stone tiles will step up your game.

It has a wide variety of earth tones to complement any pool tile color, material or design you choose for all your pool surfaces. Here’s a quick guide for stone tiles:

•    Finishes: polished, honed and tumbled – according to the varying degree of roughness.
•    Color: Gold, brown, light brown and ivory
•    Characteristics: absorbs water quickly, perfect for decks to keep it dry

•    Finishes: rough
•    Color: brown, red, rust, green, purple, gray
•    Characteristics: heavy and durable

•    Finishes: honed and natural
•    Color: Bluish-gray
•    Characteristics: non-slip, water-resistant

•    Finishes: honed and natural
•    Color:     ivory, tan, brown, pink, gray and blue
•    Characteristics: can be sourced locally and is easy to cut in different shapes and sizes

•    Finishes: polished, natural and honed
•    Color: various shades of gray, brown
•    Characteristics: elegant, versatile and durable

Regardless of the material and budget, always make quality your top priority. Even the most conservative budget range will have a good-quality tile to meet it. Smaller tiles are definitely more beautiful and versatile, but in terms of quantity, they can be pricier.

Natural stones can be locally sourced or imported and this will also affect the price of your stone tiles. Depending on the state you are at, there are natural stones available that might be a good alternative if your first choice is too expensive to acquire.

3. Style

swimming pool tiles

Choosing tiles for your pool can also be based on your style. Building a pool is a costly investment, but it will surely be a long-term one, it is just wise to make sure that it satisfies what you want to see on a daily basis. Like fashion, styles for the pool may come and go, but these are the ones that will never go out of style:

Some people say your swimming pool must be an extension of nature. That’s how the Greeks and Romans intended it to be when they first built their own luxury pools.

For a natural look for your pool, using natural materials like stone tiles for the deck and coping can give you the feel you want to achieve. To match that, you can find glass pebble tiles that will make your pool look outstanding in the many years to come. With ceramic tiles, it will be fun to get them in gradient colors of blue or green to blend well with your stone tiles.

What’s great about choosing a modern design pool is the wide variety of materials that you can put together. Granite and limestone can be the safest materials for the deck and coping because of its color and smoother texture. You can choose between glass and ceramic for the steps, walls, and floor and add an attractive mosaic as a center of attraction.

Modern pools can now have the most intricate designs that can give your pool a touch of a luxurious underwater art piece. You can request your pool tile supplier to create a personalized mosaic tile design for your pool although this might require you to get their accredited contractor for customization and proper execution.

Some people seek the ultimate relaxation from their pool area. Zen is among the most popular style for pools. With materials that exude calmness, serenity and relaxation, zen swimming pools let you become one with nature without the heavy and bulky looking stones and materials. It gives you the light and modern feel without too many bright colors.

Zen pools highlight the use of stone, landscape, wood and greens. Choosing these materials or colors in these hues can let you achieve a relaxing that zen pool style.

​4. Color

Choosing a pool tile color doesn’t stop just by looking at the catalogs or stopping by a tile store and seeing actual samples. Color changes subject to lighting and when it is submerged in water. Most tile suppliers have scale demos of applied tiles in, or they can show you photos and videos of previous applications.

It is important to remember that it is not about your favorite color. Your pool tile color choice must be as natural as possible – white, light blue, dark blue, light green, green. The tile color helps you see the clarity of the water and helps it achieve the style you like to follow.

Accent colors are beautiful but at particular locations of the pool or where the pool art is. Not sure what color to pick? Why not go ombre? The same color with different gradient can add more character to your pool.

​5. Application

​Pool tiles have different areas of application. To better understand these areas, these are the primary and most common pool areas:

Waterline tile. These are the tiles placed under the coping that marks the ideal water level for a pool. Decorative tiles can be used as water line to add accent to your pool.

Coping. Coping is the edge or border of the whole pool and is extended over or above the water line. Coping usually has discreet tile materials like stone but can be versatile and make use of mosaic glass tiles to add a touch of luxury.

Steps. The access to the pool can also be an accent piece. Steps can be lined with iridescent tiles or glow in the dark ones to make it more appealing and can serve as a guide at night.

Walls. Pool walls are the sides and curves of a pool. This is where non-porous tiles start. A combination of white and dark shades of blue or green will bring out the beauty of your pool without being too dark.

Floors. Can sport plain or decorative mosaic tiles to add artistic effect and statement to your pool. Whether you are appreciating your pool from the balcony, garden or while swimming, a floor mosaic art will definitely add charm to your pool. It can showcase your creative side or an expression of your style.

Deck. Your deck is the area that surrounds the perimeter of the pool. It needs anti-slip tiles or materials with better grip. Stone tiles prove to be the top choice for decks because of its versatility. It is also easy to clean and is low maintenance.

Water features. These are areas in the pool that are meant to add elegance and create a more natural look, feel and sound to your pool. Nothing beats your own waterfalls.

Conclusion :

Choosing your pool tiles can be as enjoyable as swimming, but it can also be as challenging to learn if you do not know the steps in selecting the right ones. The most important thing to consider in choosing your pool tiles is YOU. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your pool to reflect? How will you best enjoy your pool?

Answer these, and the rest will surely follow. And choosing the right tile for you will definitely be an enjoyable journey. Never settle for less and put all these things in your consideration – budget, material, style, color and application.

Lastly, find the best and most reliable tile contractor you can get, the success of the tiling process is in their capable hands.