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Things to Know When Hiring a Contractor to Install Tile in Swimming Pool

10 Aug
Posted by Ron Sheldon Tile Installation Expert
Things to Know When Hiring a Contractor to Install Tile in Swimming Pool

If you are a homeowner looking into glass tiles for your pool, here are five things to keep in mind when hiring a contractor to install tile in your swimming pool.


       1. Evaluate the structure of your pool

The first step in helping ensure a successful tile installation is to have a pool substrate that is flat and contaminant free. Waterproofing the pool substrate is a critical step before installing tile.

A secondary waterproofing and crack isolation membrane should be installed over the primary waterproof membrane on the shell of the pool just below the tile. That helps prevent water from leaking into the mortar bed and to help prevent problems associated with saturation and moisture expansion. After the membrane is properly cured, your contactor should test for leaks.

Once the structure of your pool is properly prepared, it’s time to bring your pool to life by installing the tile.

       2. Selecting the Right Tile

Manufacturers often create sheets of tile by either bonding individual tiles to a paper or plastic facing that is removed before grouting, or to mount the back of the tiles to an open weave mesh that allows the tile bonding mortar to come in contact with the back of the tile and develop a bond.

It is important that your contractor ensures that the tiles, as well as the method used to mount the sheets, are suitable for your pool environment in order for the bonding mortar and adhesive to function properly.

       3. Setting the Tile - Selecting Mortar and Grout

Once you’ve selected your tile, your contractor can start to spread the mortar onto the pool substrate and can immediately begin to set the tile. It is important to set the glass mosaic tile in a polymer-modified mortar designed for use in wet areas. The mortar’s color can affect the appearance of clear or semitransparent glass mosaics. White mortars typically produce the most pleasing and consistent appearance – allowing glass tile to maintain its natural brightness. It is also important to consider mortar ridges, as they may be visible through clear or semitransparent tiles. After troweling the mortar, make sure the tile contractor uses the flat side of the trowel to flatten mortar ridges before setting tile. In addition, the contractor should apply a thin layer of thinset adhesive to the back of the tiles to achieve a uniform appearance and proper coverage.

Once the mortar is completely cured, it’s time for your contractor to apply the grout. Lowe’s offers a variety of grouts in various colors for you to choose an advanced-performance cementitious grout like Power Grout that specifically can be used in submerged areas like pools, available at Lowe’s.

Make sure your contractor maintains a minimum of 1/8” grout joint between the tiles to allow for movement. Saltwater pools require a grout that can be fully exposed to water and that has chemical resistance, such as an epoxy grout. Proper pool water chemistry is essential for the future condition of the tile and grout.

       4. Wait Time

Although you may be tempted to jump right into a new pool, refer to the advised grout and mortar manufacturer wait time before filling the pool with water; allowing the tile grout and mortar to fully cure before being exposed to water.

       5. Tile Maintenance

Generally, glass mosaic tile is very low maintenance because of its natural stain-resistance. The use of a high quality grout can additionally help to maintain the appearance. However, even in the cleanest pools, the tile will eventually lose its appearance. Cleaning techniques will vary depending on the tile system and condition, but always test the cleaning product in a small area to determine the best procedure.


Regardless of the type of tile used, fun in the swimming pool begins with a successful tile installation. If you and your contractor follow these simple tips and manufacturer instructions, your tile glass project will make a splash for a long time after your work is completed.

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