Also Known As: Ceramic Tile, Glass Tile, Porcelain Tile

Manufactured from ceramic, stone, metal or glass, tile is a popular finish for pools and decks. Because of the differences in sizes, colors and shapes, pool tiles can be used to create a dramatic design on the pool floor, deck or wading area.

Depending on the materials, tile prices can start at $1.50 per square yard. The labor involved in installation may increase the price considerably. A larger tile requires less grout, which also lowers maintenance costs down the road. Because calcium build-up is damaging to grout, it may need to be replaced. But when grout joints are minimized, repairing and replacing grout is less expensive. Calcium deposits can be removed by a pool professional, via pressure blasting with a light abrasive.

The finish of the tile is another important factor. More abrasive finishes are harder to clean, while glossier finishes may not be non-slip. Because swimming pool tiles can develop build up, an abrasive cleaner may be necessary. Be sure to choose one that will not damage the tile finish and can be introduced to the pool water without changing the water’s chemistry. All swimming pool tiles should be waterproof and protected against ultraviolet (UV) rays as well as doubled glazed. In colder climates, these should also be frost-proof.

Maintaining balanced water is important in extending the life of swimming pool tile. When the water’s pH is too alkaline, tiles can develop a tough skin that is difficult to remove.