Nothing is forever, short of a diamond perhaps. But there isn’t any reason that you can’t make your pool tile last for as long as there are kids in your backyard looking for refuge from the hot summer afternoon. Take care of the delicate balance that is your pool and you can enjoy that pool tile for a long, long time. Here’s how.
Pick Suitable Materials
Picking the right tile makes all the difference in the longevity of your pool tile. Most glass tile works for pools and even some ceramic and porcelain tile is recommended for pool lining.
Check on manufacturer specifications to ensure you get a tile that is approved for pools and will stand up to the water, chemicals, and wear that comes with a pool.
The First and lAST dAY OF pOOL sEASON
Getting your pool up and running in the spring or shutting it down in the fall is probably the most labor intensive part of owning a pool. When it comes to your pool tile, a slow fill or drain is ideal so the pressure change on tile is gradual rather than sudden.
A one-inch per hour fill or drain will help you avoid damage due to expansion or shrinkage. Installing movement joints and sealing your tile will also help protect tile and grout during this process.
Get a Jump on Maintenance
Pool maintenance is key to keeping your tile in excellent shape. If you don’t stay on top of it, you’ll introduce bacteria, algae, and scaling that will compromise your pool tile.
Once you’ve opened for the season, schedule a date with your pool once a week to test the water. It should have a balanced pH, calcium and chlorine levels. Without the right balance, you’ll experience cloudy water, scaling, algae growth, and unhealthy swimming conditions.
Improper pH levels can cause cement-based products, like grout, to etch, erode, fade, and/or stain when the pH is too high, and scale and algae formation if the pH is too low. Keep your pool balanced to protect your tile and grout.
Skimming, sweeping, brushing, and vacuuming can be done weekly or daily depending on how much time you have in a stretch to get the job done. On average, you should clean the whole pool about once a week.
Any out of the ordinary events, like storms, a big pool party, major temperature changes, etc., warrant a bit of extra maintenance. Give your pool extra attention if you notice unusual odors, murky water, algae growth, burning eyes, or irritated skin.
Hard water is especially hard on pool tiles and pool equipment. If your pool is filled with hard water, it may need some extra TLC. The calcium and magnesium builds up as scaling as the water evaporates. You can use pool additives to soften the water and manage the calcium levels. There are also scale and stain control products that combat the formation of calcium buildup.
It’s never a good idea to let repairs slide, even for a little while. If one element of this sensitive balance is upset, it could be a problem for your pool tile. If a pump goes out or a skimmer basket is full, problems multiply—double time.
Broken tile or grout can spread if you don’t address the repairs quickly. Tile and grout repairs should only be attempted when the tile and grout are fully dry. Be sure that the tile and grout has been allowed to set and fully cure before water is introduced.
Making your pool tile last does take lots of time and care, but it pays off in endless days of enjoyment in the pool. Check out long-lasting tile options and start out on the right foot.