5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pool Tile

5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pool Tile
by AquaBlu Mosaics

Tiles have long been regarded as a premium finish for swimming pools.

On an aesthetic level, pool tiles showcase your swimming pool with compelling colors and designs that beautify and express creativity.

On a practical level, tiles offer superior durability and are easier to clean than cement-based or semi-porous surfaces.

For new pools, tiles are generally used as waterlines or for covering the entire surface. Pool waterline tiles provide the finishing touch as a six-inch band at the top of the pool just under the coping. Waterline tile colors allow you to match or contrast your pool’s surroundings. They also prevent your pool from having a dry, washed out look between the coping and water.

The benefits of fully tiling your pool are also considerable. An all-glass pool looks fantastic, is easier to maintain and is gentler on your feet due to the smoothness of pool tile. A fully tiled pool will also increase the value of your pool and resale value of your property in general.

For refurbishers, you know it’s time to retile when:

  • Pool tile is cracked or chipped

  • Pool tile starts to turn dull

  • Tiles are literally falling off the pool walls

  • Acid washes will no longer remove white deposits

Waterline tile should last 5–10 years if you maintain your water chemistry and maintain the pool properly. Glass tile is more durable and will last even longer.

Getting in the mood? Here are five pool tile ideas to keep in mind when looking for pool tile for sale:

1. Budget

Budgets are an essential tool when planning. Designing and building a basic swimming pool will cost you $25,700 – $29,600 on average.  Obviously it will cost less to do a pool waterline than an entire pool in tile. Costs also are dependent on the size of your pool and materials used.

As far as tile goes, expect to spend at least $5 to $30 per square foot. The tile material you choose makes a big difference here. From least to most expensive:

  • Porcelain Tile -- $2 to $30 per square foot

  • Natural Stone -- $5 to $30 per square foot

  • Glass Tile -- $7 to $50 per square foot

2. Material

If you’re like most of us, your budget will go a long way in determining the type of tile you go with.

No doubt about it, glass pool tile is the preferred material these days. If your budget is willing, consider glass tile waterlines or an entire pool covering of glass mosaic tile. The internal glow of glass tile is like a spellbinding jewel that provides a serene feel to the pool. It also is very low maintenance and has an extremely long life span. Additionally, glass tile resists UV rays and heat and withstands sudden temperatures as well.

Porcelain pool tile is still a popular choice. It’s soft to the touch yet a tough material that resists scratches and stains. And, while less expensive than glass, it does tend to be labor intensive, which adds to overall costs.

Natural stone tiles come in granite, marble, travertine or limestone. Stone pool tile is favored by those who prefer an earthy feel. While beautiful, designers say be sure stone units are no larger than 2 inches wide in order to fit pools accurately.

3. Color

Without question, blue tile (both blue glass mosaic tile and blue porcelain tile) is the most popular pool tile color. The primary reasons:

  • Blue is a relaxing color

  • Blue mosaic tile reminds people of the ocean

  • Blue tile contributes to blue pool water

That said, blue isn’t the only color with attributes.

A balance between blue and green is also alluring. A blend for example is not too dark or light and has more of a natural feeling. A combination of hues is also enticing. The vibrant art of mosaic tile offers depth and great flexibility with patterns, materials and color.

And don’t overlook grays or even cream colors.  Gray mosaic pool tiles have become fashionable because the combination of gray and water equals a beautifully harmonious shade of blue -- one that’s esthetically integrated into the environment. Cream or taupe-colored tile are great waterline colors for those who love muted or earth-tones.

Colors can further be enhanced with eye-popping epoxy grout. AquaBlu offers a wide selection of colors and special effect color packs. 

4. Shape/Style

For the most part, the shape and style tile you choose is a matter of taste. Tile for pool waterlines comes in many different chip sizes such as:

There are designers who believe smaller chip sizes give a more luxurious feel to pools. Others swear by the standard 6” x 6” pieces, which can conveniently be installed with fewer grout lines.

The offset brick pattern of subway tile is just as popular in pools as it has been for decades in home interiors. The subway tile pattern offers a clean, classic look that just keeps on giving year after year.

The mixed shapes of modular designs as well as the mesmerizing design of fish scale tile have also been highly regarded over the past few years.

5. Safety/Ecology

In addition to the migration toward using recycled glass tile, antislip tile has also come into its own. Pool owners are choosing to have antislip tile installed on swimming pool steps. Antislip tiles have a higher coefficient of friction than standard tiles to ensure everyone’s safety. Slip resistant tiles are an especially good idea if you have small children or older individuals using your pool.


Want to learn more about selecting pool tile? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind. Talk to one of our experts. You can call us at (800) 971-1442 or fill out our contact form. You can visit our website at https://www.aquablumosaics.com/.