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How to choose pool tile: everything you need to consider

Pool tiles are the foundation of the swimming pool. They create beautiful designs to make you feel like you’re at a spa, sitting next to the ocean, or help you express your artistic creativity. However, if you have never picked out tile before, it might feel overwhelming. 

If you are installing a new pool, renovating an old one or you are trying to design the perfect backyard oasis but don’t know where to start, here we break down the different factors you need to consider before choosing the right pool tile to make your decision easier.

woman sitting on edge of swimming pool

How to choose the right pool tile

Shiny glass or natural stone? Vibrant colors or soft neutrals? Eccentric mosaics or elegant monochromy? There are many different factors you need to consider when picking the right pool tile, but the three most important ones are: safety, durability and attractiveness. 


These are a great starting point to ensure your swimming pool will be a happy and joyful place for the years to come. Once you’ve got this figured out, then you can get creative with all the different colors, designs, styles, and finishes available.

  1. Determine the part of the pool you want to tile: waterline, underwater or both

There are two places tiles go in your pool, either the waterline or underwater: 

  • Waterline tiles run along the waterline of your pool and serve as the finishing touch. They are a good design element and make your pool complete. Typically, three inches of the waterline is underwater and three inches are above water. 
  • Inlaid tiles are underwater and recessed in the pool mold. This is so the tiles are equal to the pool’s surface. You will find these tiles on seats, steps, floors, and walls of pools. 

If you want to make an existing pool more attractive and inviting, you can achieve this by refreshing the waterline with new tiles. Mosaic tiles with eye-catching designs work wonderfully to add an extra touch of style to your swimming pool.

If it’s the entire pool that you are looking to tile, remember that waterline and inlaid tiles don’t have to be the same color. For example, you can accent the inlaid tiles with a complementing waterline tile, creating a stunning effect.

  1. Decide your budget

Choosing the right tile for your swimming pool also depends on your overall budget. If you are planning on tiling a larger pool for example, then going for more affordable options such as ceramic pool tiles, might sound like a better option. 

  1. Put safety first

A beautifully colored, glossy tile might be attractive but safety comes first. Opting for anti-slip pool tiles is the best option to ensure your family, friends or clients can enjoy the swimming pool without worrying about accidents.

  1. Prioritize tile quality and durability over cost

When it comes to choosing the right pool tile, it’s important to focus on quality instead of price. High-quality tiles are worth the upfront cost because they are durable and low-maintenance, thus they will make your swimming pool last longer and will save you money in the long run.

 Pool with dark blue mosaic tiles
  1. Compare different pool tile types and materials

The best tiles for swimming pools are those that are made from ceramic, porcelain, stone, and glass. Each one of these materials has its pros and cons:

Ceramic pool tile 

It’s strong, affordable and comes in every color, texture, and design you can imagine, which is why it has grown to be so popular over the years. If you are trying to stay within a budget, ceramic tiles are a great option. However, they do not reflect light as much as glass tiles.

Porcelain pool tile

It’s durable and can mimic any look you want. If you are after a natural, stone look but don’t want to splurge on stone tile, porcelain can do that for you. If you choose porcelain tiles, make sure that they are rated for full submersion in a pool.

Stone pool tile 

Stone will give a natural Mediterranean or Classical feel to your swimming pool. It’s slip-resistant and durable, but also an expensive option.

Glass pool tile 

Glass tile is classy, luxurious and shimmering, creating dazzling reflections in the water. Although it’s on the pricey side, it’s totally worth the investment because it’s durable, low-maintenance, and beautiful. 

Glass pool tile creating reflections in the water
  1. Choose the right tile size for your pool

Size matters when it comes to choosing pool tiles. Larger tiles can cover up more space but are less stable and may crack over time due to temperature changes. Smaller tiles on the other hand are more break-resistant and can last longer.

  1. Be creative with the pool tile color

Choosing the right tile color will make a big difference in your swimming pool. Bright-colored tiles will make the pool more inviting and vibrant. If you are after a luxury look go for white mosaic tiles that make the pool appear larger and the water look sky blue. Blue is another popular choice; dark blue tiles will turn the water a deep ocean color whereas aqua tiles will give a playful and cheerful vibe to your swimming pool. 

Pool with white waterline tiles
  1. Add character with mosaic pool tile 

Mosaic tiles can give your pool character. They can be used as accent pieces or on the entire pool for a dramatic and alluring effect. You can find them in glossy, iridescent and matte finishes, as well as vibrant color combinations.

  1. Learn about maintenance requirements

Your swimming pool might require more maintenance depending on which tile type you choose. Ask an expert about the different tile materials, learn which one is low maintenance and which one needs special care and determine what you are willing to commit to and pay for over time. That will help you make an informed decision, save money, and ensure a longer lifespan for your pool.

  1. Look for tile samples

Asking for samples or visiting a trustworthy pool tile supplier near you is an efficient way to get an idea of how different tiles will look in your backyard. This can be particularly helpful when looking to decide which colors and styles will match best with the rest of your outdoor space.

  1. Ask for installation information

An important step when choosing the right pool tile is asking an expert about how long it will take to install your new tiles and how much it will cost. Although it is possible to turn pool tiling into a DIY project and avoid the extra installation costs, hiring a professional can save you from potential mistakes that can cost you a lot of money to repair later on.

Create a stunning swimming pool with Oasis Tile

Whether you want a natural, stone look or a bright, light-reflecting look, Oasis Tile has everything you need. Think about the look you want, how inviting you want the pool to feel, and the overall decor of your backyard. This will help you narrow down your choices so you find the perfect tile for your project.

Find what speaks to you and let out your inner artist. Shop Oasis Tile and see all the swimming pool tiles available for your pool!
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