How Long Should Your Pool Tile Last?
Relaxing by the pool with friends and family by your side, having a backyard barbeque, and jumping on to a swimming pool on a hot summer day are just a few staples of summer. Adding to this ambiance are swimming pool tiles.
The pool tiles create the look and feel of a private oasis in your backyard. The tiles add shine, brilliance, and eye-catching designs to make the water look fresh and inviting. Yet, are pool tiles and regular tiles the same thing? Are they interchangeable if you find an indoor tile you want to use in the pool and vice versa? How long should swimming pool tiles last?
Pool Tiles vs. Regular Tiles
Swimming pool tiles are very different from traditional tiles. Pool tiles are more durable than tiles found in your kitchen or bathroom. This is because pool tiles are constantly exposed to sunlight and chemicals regularly, so they need to be stronger. A glaze coats the pool tiles so they can withstand this extra stress. The glaze also makes the pool tiles more fade-resistant than regular tiles.
Types of Pool Tiles
Ceramic, glass tile, and stone tile are the three most popular choices when it comes to pool tiles. Ceramic pool tiles reflect light, which makes your water look bluer, and shine more when the sun hits them. These tiles are also easy to maintain and do not require a lot of maintenance. Ceramic pool tiles come in many different colors and designs, so you can create a look that is unique to your backyard.
Ceramic and Porcelain v. Natural Stone
Glass tile is another popular option because it is eco-friendly, durable, and the most non-porous choice of the three. Glass tile can be curved so the surfaces of your pool can be covered completely, such as the ledges or the stairs. It also gives off an artistic look, which is one of the many reasons why it is rising in popularity.
Stone tile is another great option. Stone tile creates a natural look with a soft textured feel in your backyard. If you are looking for a Mediterranean style oasis, then the stone tile is a good option to complete that look.
Caring for Your Pool Tiles
Your pool tiles will last longer depending on the type of care you give them. The more care, cleaning, and maintenance you provide to your pool tile, the longer it will last. For example, replace cracked or broken tiles immediately, so the broken tile doesn’t damage the tiles nearby. Broken tile or cracked grout spreads quickly to the areas around it, which can lead to more problems or a bigger repair job. Therefore, it is best to repair any broken tiles as soon as you spot them.
Remember, only repair the tile when it is completely dry. Furthermore, the tile and grout should be properly set and fully cured before introducing water again.
Preparing Your Tiles for the Season
When preparing your pool for the season, either opening or closing it, take care to slowly drain or fill the water. By going slow, the pressure change is gradual and easier on the tile. This helps prevent damage to the tile due to expansion or contraction. A good guideline is to fill one-inch per hour when you are filling, or draining, your pool.
While you are getting your pool ready for the season, check the tile grout. Sealing your pool tile grout will keep your tile looking nice and well-protected. The grout around your pool tile should be resealed every three to five years.
Maintain Pool Chemistry
To keep your pool tile looking like new, it is important to keep the chemistry of the pool balanced. To do this, perform regular maintenance on the pool, and keep the pool clean. In addition, check the chemicals regularly to ensure the pH, chlorine, and alkalinity are within appropriate levels.
If the pH is too high, the grout can erode, fade, or stain. On the other hand, if the pH is too low, then scale or algae formation can occur in your pool. Chlorine and pH levels should be checked two to three times a week. Other chemicals should be checked within the following guidelines:
- Total alkalinity (TA) — one time a week
- Calcium hardness — one time a month
- Total dissolved solids (TDS) — one time a month
- Salt (if you have a salt pool) — one time a month
Prevent Scale Deposits
Lime, calcium, and other minerals deposits are common when pool chemistry is out of balance. To prevent buildups, clean your pool once a week with a soft brush. Make sure the brush is soft enough because a hard bristle brush can damage the tiles by scratching them. If the scale buildup becomes too much, and you can’t remove it yourself, then you may need to call a professional to clean your tiles for you.
Take Care of Waterline Tiles
It is common for leaves and other debris to attach to tile at the waterline. This can lead to oil, dirt, and scale buildup. To remove the buildup, clean the tile using a nylon scrubbing sponge or a nylon-bristled brush.
Cover Your Pool
A good pool cover will help protect your tiles. Be sure to cover your pool when it is not in use. This helps to keep water from evaporating. The amount of evaporation depends on the pool temperature, wind speed, and humidity. For example, if the pool temperature is higher, the wind speed is high, and the humidity is lower, then the evaporation will be greater. By covering your pool, not only will you keep your tile looking great, but you will also reduce heating costs. Depending on the type of pool cover, you could save up to 70% when covering your pool.
Take Care of Your Pool Tile
By cleaning your pool tile regularly, and providing routine maintenance, your pool tiles will stay looking nice for many years. In fact, ceramic pool tiles can last up to 75 years if it is properly taken care of and installed by a professional.