25 Jul 2022

Take a Deeper Look at Swimming Pool Tiles

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For self-builders looking to refurbish or install a pool, getting the right balance between style and safety can be a challenge. Using tiles both in and around the water can provide the perfect solution. Still, as Sean Lane from leading tile supplier CTD Architectural Tiles explains, it’s essential to gain a deeper understanding of what’s required before jumping in.

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If you’re working on a swimming pool project, chances are both your plot and your budget will be sizeable. Where other elements of your build may be more dictated by costs, when it comes to creating a perfect pool package, safety must come first. As well as ensuring that the tiles used within the tank are fit for purpose and suitable for complete water immersion, you must pay attention to the tiles on the walkways around the pool. From cracked or damaged tiles that can cause injuries to swimmers to outdoor flooring areas that can become dangerously slippery when wet, getting the best finish for your pool requires starting with all the information you need. So, what are the most important factors to consider?

Suitability

Tiles used in and around water are exposed to so much more than the tiles in your kitchen or even your wetroom. Exterior pools will be at the mercy of the elements and damaging UV rays, while all pools, including those inside, will need to be treated with chemicals, such as chlorine, which can have a detrimental effect on the appearance of your tiles. Similarly, pressure from being submerged in water can affect the integrity of the grout and tiles, leading to the formation of unsightly cracks and expensive repair bills.

It’s important to find tiles that are fit for purpose, choosing only those that have been specifically developed and tested for use in a swimming pool environment. Fortunately, ticking all these boxes doesn’t mean you have to compromise on choice. Specialist swimming pool tiles are available in a wide range of materials, including porcelain and glass, and a selection of styles from mosaics to stone-effect and even wood-inspired finishes. Choosing a glazed finish will not only ensure that your tile is strong and water-resistant but will also be far easier to clean.

Slip-resistance

The tiles you choose for the areas around the pool are just as important as the ones inside it, and again, working with a specialist supplier means that you can find a safe and stylish solution. Here, the slip-resistance of the chosen tile is key, but it’s important to remember that you’re looking for a tile that performs well when both dry and wet. There are many floor tiles on the market that are referred to as being ‘anti-slip’, but the level of protection will vary from product to product. Such tiles need to undergo a specific test known in the industry as the pendulum test. This provides a score for the level of slip resistance a tile can offer and is not only the standard test in the UK but is also recommended by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Replicating a human heel (Slider TRL 55) – made from a rubber sole – the pendulum test measures the resistance of a floor surface when under foot, in both wet and dry conditions. A score is then allocated, from 0 to upwards of 36, with the smaller numbers highlighting that a surface is slippery and the higher values denoting a reduced risk of slips and falls. Expressed as a PTV (Pendulum Test Value), the best anti-slip flooring tiles are those with a rating of PTV36 or above and are the only ones to consider for a swimming pool project.

Style

After considering all the technical and practical considerations, you can start to explore different design options for your swimming pool and surrounding areas. Here, you’ll find different solutions to fit your specific budget and your personal taste and style.

Glass mosaic tiles are popular as they create a real impact, particularly when different colours are used. To make the perfect finish in and around a pool, it’s important to carefully plan and install mosaic tiles, which is why here at CTD Architectural Tiles, we work closely with designers and professional tiling contractors to offer a bespoke mosaic design and assembly service. Our Aqua glass mosaic swimming pool tiles can be ideal for creating modular or single-panel compositions.

With the growing trend for creating seamless pool installations, where the pool and the surrounding outdoor area blend into one, the use of larger tile formats has also become more popular. The size of tiles you choose can also have important cost implications as often, the larger the tile, the fewer you need.

There are many beautiful tile collections now available that take inspiration from nature and, indeed, our most popular tiles for residential swimming pool projects are the wood-effect Natura range, the elegant stone look of Petra and Roca Polar, and Alboroc, which is itself inspired by the hard dolomite stone found on the Mediterranean coast. Choosing a tile range with coordinating coping stones and stair-fitting pieces will create a uniform look that will help ensure the design of your swimming pool enhances rather than dominates the surrounding area.

Talk to the experts

Installing or renovating a swimming pool is no mean feat, but when done well, it can become a beautiful feature that is also a joy to use. It’s not a job for self-builders to tackle solo but working with a reliable contractor and experienced tile supplier can ensure it all goes swimmingly.

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