Lyon Financial

Miles of Pool Tiles: Which to Choose?

Pool tile

Like everything else in modern pool design, you have millions of choices. Styles and trends designed by imaginative architects who engineer pools for luxury resorts and high-end homes have woven their way into our single-family residences.

These pool fashions are not just about unique shapes, and the tiny pool trend, and all the incredible extras like outdoor kitchens and fire pits. Another tangible aspect is the tile that surrounds your pool. The surface that will imprint it with personality!

Waterline Tile

As the name implies this is the tile inside your pool that is right above the water and right below the rim.

Inlaid tile is the tile that is under the water’s surface. While providing a beautiful effect, this drives up your installation costs. If your concrete pool is painted (perhaps in the newer deep blue-lagoon shade) you can opt to instead tile your pool’s steps and seats as accents. Tiling the floor or walls can eventually mean expensive repair or replacement as well as of course the need to drain the pool to do the work.

So, focus on making a big impact with waterline tiles. Typically, they’re a 6-inch band that bridges the surface of the water and the deck with a ring of design.

For its durability and affordability, porcelain tile has long been the popular choice. Easy to install and clean, you can’t go wrong with this material.

Glass tile – available in every possible shape and hue and even texture – is a choice that will elevate that space. Its reflective nature adds another dimension to your already sparkling pool. Depending on the color selection and pattern, glass tile can really make a statement that is elegant or bold… or both!

AquaBlu Mosaics offers another excellent reason for installing waterline tile: “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.”

When an element provides form, fashion, and function, it’s hard to argue NOT to add it into your pool budget!

Tile for Pool Decks

Depending on the square footage, this is a line item on your pool budget that can balloon quickly.


However, if you keep in mind that you can enhance even the simplest deck with chaise lounges, colorful umbrellas, and buckets of vibrant plants, there is no reason to say that a simple palette can’t be made beautiful.

The other compelling aspect of a simpler, more affordable pool deck is that you can easily change it up as your tastes change.

For example, if you do install an ornate tile pattern, you may over the years want an overhaul, which is an expense. If you originally opted for a concrete deck, you can re-decorate it with furniture and textiles to your heart’s content; consistently reinventing it!

Poured-in-place Concrete

This is a mixture poured at the job site. There are a few things to be wary of according to Paradise Concrete, because there are conditions that “can affect the outcome and the workmanship of the product.”

  • Making concrete in hot weather can result in adding too much water, which can change the color and make mismatched pieces or over troweling.
  • Over troweling is caused by site conditions (contractors trowel to smooth out concrete or level it), which can cause small cracks and roughness.
  • Some contractors then use heavy amounts of sealer to cover up the flaws created by over worked concrete.
  • Sealers are less durable than concrete and are best applied thin. This is sometimes not possible when at the job site.
  • Conditions such as heat, cold, wind, and onsite application methods can give poor results.
  • If you choose poured-in-place concrete, be sure to select an excellent and skilled contractor, because their technique and talent will produce the best results.
Precast Concrete

An interesting and perhaps more reliable alternative is a mixture that arrives at the site ready to be poured. According to Paradise Concrete, when this blend is created ahead of time in the factory, they can “control the temperature and use a tested and proven proprietary mix. The result is concrete that is nearly perfectly poured and hand worked by an artisan. The concrete is polished at high speeds to close the capillaries (much like pores in skin) that make the concrete smooth and non-porous. This less porous concrete is more stain resistant.”

At the end of the day, putting your pool’s deck in the capable hands of reliable contractors will produce desired results. For flexibility, affordability, and low maintenance, concrete is an excellent solution. It can be colored and stamped and stenciled or engraved to look like stone or tile too!

Pavers, Stone, Brick, & Tile

The decision to use any of these materials is going to take some more contemplation. As you know, tasks requiring more detailed labor will cost more. Additionally, if you are purchasing individual tiles as well as special decorative ones to form a specific design, the pricing will be more on the premium side. At the risk of making these options sound even less compelling, the more tiles you have, the more grout lines you have, the more places that will need repairs.

The huge caveat is safety first. Whatever surface surrounds your pool must be the most slip-resistant possible. You’ll want to make certain that your pool surround is designed to stay as cool as possible and to be barefoot-friendly so you don’t have to feel like you’re facing a hot coals walk every time you make your way back to your lounge and shade umbrella!

If you decide to go with pavers, you can really create a one-of-a-kind sensation. Zillions of combinations fusing styles and types and colors will add a major wow factor to your outdoor entertainment center.

Interesting trends of late include fusing hard and soft by digging down into lush sod to purposefully place flat tiles to create checkerboard or circular patterns for a Zen effect.

For pavers and tiles, according to the experts:

  • Choose concrete pavers that are protected with a UV-resistant sealer to resist fading.
  • Keep your pool deck cooler by avoiding the use of dark-colored pavers, which will absorb more heat.
  • To prevent tripping hazards, be sure to use pavers with beveled edge.
  • Concrete pavers may settle in spots over time if they aren’t installed properly over a stable subbase. However, they can easily be reset with no noticeable patchwork. Simply remove the affected pavers, regrade and recompact the subbase, and reinstall the pavers.

When you’re creating an oasis, it needs to take every detail of safety, comfort, and wellbeing into consideration. If this is to be your heaven on earth, then it should feel like a paradise.

Providing pool and home improvement financing solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial absolutely loves backyard pools. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information.