Pool Waterline Tile: Options and Recommendations

Pool Waterline Tile:  Options and Recommendations
by AquaBlu Mosaics

You would be hard-pressed to find a plaster pool without a waterline.

Waterline swimming pool tiles do more than just add style to your overall outdoor aesthetic. They play a vital role in the upkeep and maintenance of your pool. Usually installed as a 6-inch band, waterline pool tile follows the perimeter of your pool to help prevent pollen, sunscreen, body oils and other substances that enter the water from creating a yellow, scummy line at the pool’s waterline. Think of it as a “bathtub ring” only on a larger scale. It’s much easier to remove from the waterline tile than trying to scrub it off the bare plaster. 

pool waterline tile

While waterline pool tiles serve this important purpose, we can’t ignore their value as an effective design element. With many color options, textures, and formats, the possibilities are endless. From subway tile to blue mosaic tile, there’s something for everyone to create their personalized paradise. A new trend has become increasingly popular and provides a sleek, modern look to any area: glass mosaic tile. When installed properly, glass pool tile is the most durable tile you can use. Moreover, it provides a unique, almost glistening look that cannot be recreated by any other material.

Porcelain Versus Glass

Aesthetics aside, there are several other significant factors to consider when deciding between glass waterline tile versus porcelain waterline tile. 

Porcelain pool tile is still the most common choice for swimming pools. It’s a dense, durable swimming pool tile that’s easy to install and easy to clean. Soft to the touch, porcelain pool tile is available in a wide array of styles and colors, which helps make it easy to find the perfect tile to match the rest of your pool colors and features.

Another advantageous quality about porcelain pool tile is that it offers intricate sketch patterns, such as that in Terra Blue, Mosaic Pool Tile. Porcelain waterline tiles are the perfect choice for someone wanting to maintain a classic, traditional look in their pool and backyard.

porcelain waterline tile

Glass Tile Waterlines 

Glass pool tile is the latest, most fashionable pool tile trend. Glass tile provides a luxurious, visually appealing style to your pool and will increase the resale value of your home. For waterlines (as well as all-glass tile pool finishes) glass mosaic tile is surging in popularity because of its dynamic, transparent body and wide variety of rich colors, which perfectly reflect sunlight and mirror the movement of water.

Take the Murrine Mosaics Glass Mosaic Tile Collection. Featuring various sizes, shapes, layouts, colors, and even levels of transparency, this glass tile collection alone will elevate your pool’s style to all new levels. 

Glass Pool Waterline Tile

Until recently, glass pool tile has seemed out of reach for most people due to its price. The lack of tile installers with experience installing glass, coupled with the additional costs of installation has kept some buyers away. However, prices for glass pool tile have been falling in recent years; so much so that there are many options available under $10 per square foot.

In fact, we offer our Shell Series glass swimming pool tile for under $9 per square foot; our Colors Series is under $8 per square foot! Glass pool tile is no longer just a luxury afforded to the wealthy. Anyone on any budget can indulge in its beauty and adorn their home with it!

Sizing Things Up

While normally sold in 12-inch square sheets, waterline pool tile is available in an assortment of chip sizes, including:

Can’t decide on a specific size? Try using a mixed format mosaic pool tile available in both porcelain modular designs and mixed glass tile designs. 

mixed format waterline tile for pools

The size tile you choose is mainly a matter of taste. However, keep in mind that smaller tiles are preferred with irregular pool shapes (free form, kidney) because they are easier to wrap around corners. Some designers also feel that smaller chip sizes give pools a more opulent feel.
For a 6-inch waterline band, the 12-inch square sheets can be conveniently cut into two equal halves to provide two linear feet of waterline swimming pool tile.

It's important to note that the smaller the tile chip, the more grout lines you will have running through the waterline. If this is something that clashes with your ideal design, consider using a larger format tile instead. 

The Color Factor

Waterline tile is normally half submerged in the water allowing for the top 3 inches to be visible. That top 3 inches can have a powerful impact on your overall landscape design.

blue glass tile for pool waterline

Many pool owners like to use waterline tile colors that compliment other aspects such as the coping, deck surface or the trim colors of their house. Other pool owners prefer to make the waterline the focal point. This is where glass mosaic tile is an especially good choice because of its eye-catching allure.

Consider an iridescent glass mosaic tile, which changes tones based on the angle of light. This ever-changing appearance adds a glimmering beauty and enticing appeal to your pool and entire landscape.

Also note, the color of your waterline pool tile has an impact on the visual perception of your pool water. Luxury hotels and spas often use white mosaic pool tile because white denotes purity and relaxation and tends to make pool water appear sky blue – a favorite color of travelers looking to take it easy.

white waterline tile

Still, the favorite among pool owners is blue mosaic tile. Blue swimming pool tile makes the water look blue. If you plan on using your waterline as a focal point, you can turn the color of the water into a rich ocean blue by using a darker blue mosaic tile such as you will find in our Caribbean Blue and Cobalt blue mosaic pool tiles for sale.

No matter what your color preference, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re more inclined towards the classic, traditional look porcelain pool tile provides, or if you favor the sleek, modern elegance of glass pool tile, there is a tile just for you and we’re happy to help you make the most of your space.


Need help with figuring out waterline tile? Or maybe you have other questions? The experts at AquaBlu Mosaics are here to help you! Call us at (800) 971-1442 or fill out our contact form.