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Take a Deep Dive Into Swimming Pool Tile

By Ted Ryan

Take a Deep Dive Into Swimming Pool Tile

Whether it’s the middle of a chilling winter or the dog days of summer, sooner or later our minds start to drift to the edge of a crystal clear pool, where if we wished any harder our toes might get wet. But you don’t have to dream about far-flung vacations. A getaway-worthy pool could be in your future and with Fireclay ceramic and glass swimming pool tiles decorating the oasis, you may never need a vacation again.

Handsome Salt Koi Pool

Tile: 4x4 in Koi // Design: Handsome Salt // Image: Jenny Siegwart

A tiled pool is both timeless and enduring. Both Ceramic and Glass Tile can withstand the elements year after year while providing unparalleled tile designs. Whether your pool design calls for waterline pool tile or a full glass mosaic, there is a wide range of tile options. With over 100 colors of ceramic and glass tile to choose from, there is no limit to your tile ideas.

desert swimming pool tile

Tile: 6" Triangles in Milk Way + Sand Dune // Design + Image: Rich Combs and Sara Combs

Benefits of Ceramic Pool Tile

Ceramic pool tile gives you limitless possibilities to design the pool of your dreams. Recreate a hotel pool from a memorable vacation or draw up a design from your own imagination. From intricate mosaic tile and custom depth markers to commercial approved slip-resistant glazes to decorate your pool deck, ceramic tile lets you put your personality into every detail of your pool.

joshua tree house swimming pool tile

Tile: 6" Triangles in Milk Way + Sand Dune // Design + Image: Rich Combs and Sara Combs

Handmade ceramic tile is durable and in swimming pools, it’s no different. Resistant to frost, fading, and chemicals* a ceramic tile pool will retain its luxury resort luster year after year. Ceramic pool tile is easier to clean than other pool surfaces so you can spend more time enjoying your pool and less time keeping it clean.

Click here to view our pool-safe colors on our Guide to Fireclay Pool Tile.

Tile: 2x8 in Magnetite // Design: Amber Interiors // Image: Jess Isaac Photography

Benefits of Glass Pool Tile

Our glimmering glass tile collection is a natural choice for outdoor pools, reflecting the sheen of sunlight on the pool water and your own unique style. Made by fusing ceramic glazes at high temperatures, our glass pool tile is available in 48 colors from cool blues to tropical sunset reds to neutrals that match the natural stone in gloss, matte finishes.

A properly installed glass tile pool will outlast just about every other pool material. Glass tile pools are non-permeable and water-resistant, freeze-proof, and can withstand sudden temperature shifts, adding to their outdoor suitability.

1x1 Dove Gloss Pool

Tile: 1x1 in Dove Gloss // Design: Becki Owens // Image: Rebekah Westover Photography

Caring for Ceramic and Glass Pool Tile

Caring for ceramic and glass pool tile is easy, and the better you take care of your pool Tile, the more years you can count on your pool looking like the day it was filled. Whatever tile you choose, start by thoroughly cleaning your pool tile of grout and other construction material immediately after installation.

teal ceramic swimming pool tile

Tile: 2x2 in Neptune

To help prevent staining and algae growth on your tile, we recommended cleaning the waterline tiles before the start of every swimming season. This can be done by reducing the water to expose the tiles and giving them a thorough brush-down as stain and algae growth can damage your waterline.

Tile: 2x6 Skipping Stone and 6x6 Tusk

For mild dirt and grime, you can use mild dishwashing soap with water and a clean rag or mop OR any neutral pH cleaner specified for tile. If you find you must use something stronger, a mildly alkaline detergent.

For any cleaning product, test a small amount on your tile to make sure it doesn’t affect the glaze (an area that is hidden or out of sight is best). Use cleaning products that don’t contain phosphoric acid.


Tile: 3x6 Oyster Shell, Rosemary and Salton Sea

Avoid cleansers that contain acids such as vinegar or lemon juice, as some of our glazes are acid-sensitive. Stay away from using harsh cleaners on a regular basis. The effect of using cleaners with a high pH like bleach – alkaline or low pH like vinegar – acidic over and over is that they may break down some sealers which are there to help prevent soap scum, oils, and dirt from penetrating into the grout.

Tile: 4x4 Koi

If pool scum, algae, or grime does not come up after cleaning, you can try pressure washing your pool tiles. You will have better results by choosing a steam pressure washer with a PSI of 2000 to 2600 that can reach a temperature of at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Stand at least 3 feet away and spray the area for 30 seconds as a test.

Tile: 4x4 Koi

Pool Waterline Tile

Tiling just the waterline of a pool is an easy way to increase the design impact of your pool without a lot of tile.

pink pool waterline tile

Tile: Desert Bloom 6x6 // Design: Cassandra Winslow // Image: Nicholas Winslow

Even if you're using tile on other elements of your pool, the waterline is a great place to feature a specialty shape of tile since it's noticeable from anywhere in the pool.

jade ceramic swimming pool tile

Tile: Jade Mini Star & Cross, Jade 2x2 Sheeted // Design & Image: Airey Baringer

An elevated spa can also elevate the prominence of the waterline tile like Star and Cross clad pool.

white pool tile

Tile: White Wash Mini Star & Cross // Design: Jessie Lane Interiors // Image: Jess Isaac

Pool Stair Tile

Pool stairs are the first impression of a pool but also a functional element that must be safe and practical.

swimming pool stair tile

Tile: Dolomite & Quartzite 2x6 // Design & Image: Lindsey Hanna Design

You may wish to specify a matte tile or a tile with a textured additive applied to the surface. Smaller mosaic tiles will also increase the number of grout lines which will increase grip underfoot.

checkerboard swimming pool tile

Tile: Carolina Wren Matte & Rosy Finch Matte 3x3 // Design: Samantha Klein // Image: Marj Cruz

Trim Options Available

If your pool installation requires a finished edge for a waterfall, step, or corner, we’ve got you covered. Consider a bullnose or quarter round to soften transitions on edges where the tile body may be exposed.

Due to the complex nature of calculating trim needs, trim isn't available for purchase through our website but our design assistants would love to help you find the perfect trim for your project. Contact us to get your order started, and learn more about trim details and options in our Trim Guide.

Tile: 2x8 in Magnetite with Long Edge Bullnose Trim // Design: Amber Interiors // Image: Jess Isaac Photography

Ready to get started? Sample any of our ceramic or glass swimming pool tiles.
Need more info? Check out our free downloadable Complete Guide to Pool Tile.

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