Why fully tiled?

Beauty, endless choice of colour and finish, silky smoothness, prestige, longevity, durability, resistance, maintenance… These are some of the advantages when deciding whether to fully tile your swimming pool.

When installed properly, the glass or ceramic mosaic provide the best swimming pool interior option. It offers a beautiful finish with unlimited colour and design choices but also a surface that is highly resistant to chemical corrosion and other types of damage. The colour of the mosaic is contained within the glass itself and will not fade. This is not the case of other pool interiors like fibreglass swimming pools or epoxy painted concrete pools. 

Another benefit of a fully tiled swimming pool is its easy maintenance. Because of the smooth finish of the glass mosaic, algae will not be able to stick to the surface. During extended periods of lower pool maintenance such as holidays or inclement weather, leaves and other organic material can build up in the pool and stain the surface. With pebble-creete, these stains are hard to remove, as they get deep into the cementitious surface. Glass mosaic is impermeable to any of this therefore the surface will not change. The use of epoxy grout can also help to keep the water cleaner and assist with chemical stability.

 

Fully tiled pool will protect the concrete shell against ageing and extend the life of your pool significantly. No other interior finish comes close to the durability and longevity of a fully tiled pool. Only important part of this process is to use highly skilled professionals. We have fully tiled over 200 swimming pools in Sydney and can help with even the most demanding applications.

I always ask the owners: Can you imagine pebble-creete in your bathroom? This usually answers the question.

What is the price difference?

The cost of a fully tiled pool is higher at the beginning but future maintenance is minimal because the glass or ceramic surface is easier to clean. It does not change in appearance compared to other swimming pool interiors. When epoxy grout is used, there is no porous surface in the pool for the stains and algae to adhere to and therefore maintenance cost is even lower. The water quality is higher giving you and your family peace of mind.

What are the stages of pool tiling?
  • First the pool shell is constructed by pool company or builder/owner. We can help you choose...

  • During our free quotation we assess the pool shell and make sure there are no issues that need to be addressed such as structural cracks, ground water penetration or steel exposure. If any problems are found, we will inform you with remedial options. There are usually no major problems with newly build pools.

  • We provide you with a firm quotation with a price breakdown for each step ie waterproofing, quantity, material cost, labour cost, type/brand of adhesives and grouts used

  • When the quotation is accepted/signed we will schedule our works in following order:

  1. Any repairs, cleaning, acid-washing if efflorescence is present, pressure cleaning, sealing pipes with epoxy, blocking negative water penetration

  2. Bedding under the coping

  3. Pool rendering

  4. Bedding inside the swimming pool to match full tile height

  5. Waterproofing (not always needed)

  6. Coping installation 

  7. Pool tiling

  8. Final polish and cleanup

  9. Filling the pool with water, adding chemicals and balancing the water chemistry.

 

  • Filling of the pools installed on cement based adhesives/grouts can commence earlier that for pools that have been grouted with epoxy 

Can I tile over marblesheen or pebblecrete?

Most of the times Yes. Swimming pools are very easy to renovate and fully tiling them is the best choice. We often find that old pools come up as good as new. They have settled and concrete has fully cured so all possible faults are there to see meaning that there will be no surprises in the future. These usually minor issues such as cracked skimmer box bridges and minor rust marks are easily fixed.  Other common issue with old swimming pools is delamination of the interior on the floor. This is also an easy fix, we don't even charge for small repairs because they can take less than few minutes to repair. There are cases where the old shell is loose everywhere so the whole pool needs tho be stripped and re-rendered again. Check out our picture gallery for some of the swimming pools that have been restored to their former glory. 

Why epoxy grout?

We still recommend glue/grout system as our preferred method of installation but there are few advantages to consider. Epoxy grout is the ultimate choice for the top end of the market where there is no expense spared. The advantages of epoxy grout in swimming pool application are following:

  • Non permeability, the grout has no air pockets for the stains to get into. It is the next thing closest to the glass that the mosaic is made of. This results in ease of cleanup and resistance to staining.

  • Flexibility, although the amount of flex is limited, it is enough to provide better longevity and durability in harsh conditions such as exposure to sun, weather, hot/cold overnight cycles and negative water pressure.

  • Uniformity of colour. When installed correctly, epoxy will have uniform colour throughout the whole job. 

  • Wide temperature range at application. Cement based grouts will not develop full strength when application is done on hot days or in full sun exposure. Epoxy grout curing is different and even though working time is shortened, it will not "flash dry" and crumble like a plaster. Please make sure your tilers cover their work against the sun. 

  • Epoxy grout outperforms cement based grouts if everything except price and installation process (gets easier 200 pools later)

  • Inhibits bacterial growth due to its antimicrobial content.

How long does it take to tile a swimming pool?

Minimum time to finish a small fully tiled swimming pool is 1-2 days for rendering and 3 days for tiling . Normal size pools (8x3.5) take about a week to tile and larger pools (15m+) can take up to three weeks to finish depending on job difficulty and weather. 

Should I waterproof my pool?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether your new or old swimming pool will need waterproofing. From our experience,  basic in-ground swimming pools do not always need waterproofing. However pools with exposed external walls, raised spas, infinity water edges, old pools with rust marks or other issues will most likely need to be waterproofed. Upon our visit, we will explain pros and cons and give you all options.  

What are the benefits of waterproofing?

Main reason is to stop water from leaking out of the pool shell. But there are other benefits such as isolating the concrete shell and cement render from the water chemistry. Water is always changing. Ph and hardness levels can go up and down so with waterproofed pool you will minimise the risk of calcium/efflorescence showing on the surface. Another benefit of waterproofing is that during tiling application, the glass mosaic adhesive cures slower , stronger and tilers have more time to adjust the mosaic to make the overall job more seamless and beautiful.

The flexibility of the membrane will help with structural integrity in exposed areas that experience thermal difference during day/night cycles. We recommend all external areas (mosaic that is not submersed) that are subject to negative water ingress to be waterproofed with negative waterproofing systems. Especially on dark tiles with dark grout. We have measured dark mosaic surface in summer with infrared camera and the temperature can climb up to 80 degrees. 

Infinity overflow walls used in modern swimming pools need waterproofing to stop the walls from warping. This is caused by difference in temperature and moisture levels between outside and inside. Moisture and temperature differences can trigger minor movements and over time cause the mosaic to fall off on the outside wall. 

Another benefit of swimming pool waterproofing is that when done correctly, it will extend the life of the pool shell by isolating the steel bars from possible corrosion. When the pool shell is being sprayed, shotcreeters might miss a spot and leave the steel too close to the surface which can't be seen until rust develops in the future. This is where waterproofing helps. 

Can I use any mosaic in the pool?

The answer is no but all it takes is to give us a call and we will help you decide. Try to avoid any mosaic that has mesh on the back that holds the mosaics together. New systems that are pool safe have either small dots in the middle of each side or clear polyurethane strings that cross the mosaic piece through the middle. Another safe system is paper face mosaic or clear plastic face. Large format ceramic tiles (very popular in Melbourne) have mesh backing but since the tiles are much bigger the glue coverage achieved is good enough to avoid delamination in the future. We prefer the smaller mosaics as they give you more sophisticated look and copy the round sections in the pool nicely to give you smoother feel under your feet. 

Ceramic mosaic vs Glass mosaic?

Ceramic or as they should be called porcelain tiles are commonly used in public swimming pools due to their thickness and durability. They are very dense tiles that have been fired at high temperature. This melts the material to a density that doesn't allow water to penetrate the body of the tile. Not all ceramic tiles can be used in swimming pools. The manufacturing process is different to glass mosaic production and cannot achieve the same vibrancy in colour.  Please give us a call if you need help with choosing the right product.

Glass mosaics are very popular since they produce much nicer texture and colour. This doesn't change with time since the colour is molten into the glass. Glass mosaics can achieve pearl look that acts as little mirrors. The mosaic then reflects the light back into the water. When this happens light scatters multiple times into the blue spectrum and produces more vibrant and beautiful look. At night, the smooth shiny surface of the glass mosaic will help in reflecting the LED light. 

© 2017 by Miro Stork

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