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

Waterline swimming pool tiles are important for both aesthetics and maintenance. They are mounted at the top of the pool below the coping (protective cap). 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. It also takes on the calcium deposits and minerals that buildup around the perimeter of your pool due to hard water.

It is much easier to remove this “bathtub ring” from waterline pool tile than if you had to scrub it off bare plaster.

Waterline swimming pool tiles also serve as a design element. There’s everything from subway tile to blue mosaic tile to set your pool apart from the crowd. The surface of waterline pool tile also affects the overall visual impact. If you want a pool that is extra shiny and luminous when the sun reflects off the surface, glass mosaic tile is a better choice over porcelain tiles.

Porcelain Versus Glass

Besides reflective properties, there are several other significant factors to consider when deciding on the two most common waterline pool tile choices.

Porcelain tile is still the most common choice for swimming pools. It’s a dense, durable swimming pool tile, 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 the blue mosaic tile, Blueberry Mosaic.

Glass swimming pool tile is the latest, most fashionable trend. Many feel it’s a more luxurious, visually appealing pool tile that will increase the resale value of your home. For waterlines (as well as whole pool coverage) glass mosaic tile is surging in popularity because of its beautiful transparent body and wide variety of rich colors, which perfectly reflect sunlight and mirror the movement of water.

The drawback has been the pool tile price of glass tile. The generally more expensive pool tile cost of glass tile as well as additional costs to install it have kept some buyers away. However, prices for glass pool tile for sale have been falling in recent years to the extent that many beautiful glass tiles now cost 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!

Sizing Things Up

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

A popular trend is using the larger brick-shaped subway tile or even mixing shapes in modular designs.

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.

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.

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-popping allure.

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

Also note that 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.

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.


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.


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