9 Tips to Choose the Right Tile for Your Pool


Designing a pool is an exciting undertaking, but it can also be stressful! With so many types of pool tile out there, choosing the best one for your budget and preferences is often challenging. In this blog post, we’ll offer up nine helpful tips to help you select the ideal tile for your pool.

Tip #1: Know the difference between indoor tile and pool tile.

Pool with yellow pool float

Before you start shopping, being aware that pool tile is not the same as your typical bathroom or kitchen tile is extremely important. Using indoor tile for your pool will not get you the results you’re looking for because it’s not meant to be completely submerged in water. Indoor tile is intended for use in an area with mild, steady temperatures and soft lighting.

In contrast, pool tile is specially treated to withstand pool chemicals, intense sunlight, rain, and fluctuating temperatures. If you use regular kitchen or bathroom tile for your pool, it’s much more likely to need frequent repairs and replacement down the line due to the increased risk of cracking, fading, and corrosion.

Pool tile is built to be highly durable. It’s non-porous and has a special glaze that protects it from fading and cracking. This glazed coating is formulated to make the tile water-resistant and easy to clean.

So, when you’re shopping for pool tile, ensure that the tile you’re looking at is specifically meant for pools or has the qualification of “pool-rated.” This will help you find a tile durable enough to stand up to the elements and retain its high-quality look for years to come.

Tip #2: Set a budget before looking at your options.

Paper, calculator, and pen set up to determine budget 

It’s always wise to set your budget before finding the tile of your dreams. And it’s especially smart to have a bit of a cushion as well. As anyone who’s done home improvements and renovations knows, the original budget always seems to grow as the project goes on.

Once you’ve figured out how much you can realistically spend on pool tile, it’ll be easier to narrow down your search to options that fit within your budget. Remember to factor in the cost of professional installation, especially if you’re planning on creating an intricate design that may take a lot of time and money to complete.

Tip #3: Research the pros and cons of various pool tile materials.

Next, you’ll want to learn about the various tile materials and their respective advantages and drawbacks. Here’s a brief overview of the most common pool tile materials.


Glass is a highly popular material, thanks to its dimensional, dramatic, and luxurious look. It’s currently extremely trendy and is known to increase a home’s resale value. A glass-tiled pool shimmers in the sunlight and has a very opulent look. This is especially true of glass mosaics along the pool’s waterline. There is also a wide variety of glass pool tile colors and designs to choose from.

However, the dazzling look of glass pool tile comes with a very high cost that isn’t always budget-friendly. Still, the price has dropped notably in recent years, and you can now find some types of glass tile for less than $10 per square foot.

Another potential drawback is that glass tile can be more slippery than porcelain and stone, so it’s not ideal for pools that children frequently use.

Kendra White Shining Arabesque Glass Tile
Vanguard Penta Borneo Glass Pool Tile 


Stone is another popular pool tile material due to its natural look. There are many variations of stone in different colors and designs, and they offer a lovely organic aesthetic. Plus, they’re much more resistant to slipping than other pool tile materials, so stone tiles tend to be a safer choice.

Nevis Pecan Pebble Mosaic


Porcelain tile is the most common material used for pools. It’s classic but can still have a modern look, and it comes in unlimited shapes, colors, sizes, and patterns. Porcelain is a durable and dense material that’s easy to both install and maintain. Although soft to the touch, it’s relatively resistant to slipping and is less slick than glass tile.

Antigua Cool Gray Fishscale Porcelain Mosaic

Tip #4: Learn about each material's price point and upkeep.

When comparing your budget to your favorite tile choices, try to tailor your selection toward quality rather than appearance. Of course, everyone wants to have a beautiful pool, but what good is a beautiful pool if the tile needs to be replaced shortly after its initial installation? Selecting a high-quality, durable tile rather than a flashy one that sacrifices quality is always the better choice because it will last longer.

Porcelain is often the best choice when keeping both quality and aesthetics in mind. This is especially true if you’re working with a limited budget. In comparison to stone and glass, porcelain is generally much more affordable and readily available. Plus, if you work with an expert, you can create intricate porcelain mosaic designs for incredible visual appeal.

Nevis Whisper White Porcelain Pebble Mosaic

Another tile characteristic to think about when making your decision is required upkeep. For example, small tiles are more difficult to maintain than larger ones due to the number of seams between tiles. When you have small, detailed patterns, you tend to get more dirt buildup in the tile seams. Larger tiles typically come with lower cleaning costs. Still, additional maintenance may be worth it to have the captivating designs you envision. A pool can truly be a work of art, especially with beautiful tiles like the Newport Loft Leaf Glass Mosaic Blend below.

Newport Loft Leaf Glass Mosaic Blend 

Tip #5: Consider the size, color, and layout.

In terms of size, many of today’s pool designers are choosing to use large format tiles. These allow them to span large areas with fewer grout lines. To create an attention-grabbing focal point, you can intersperse large tiles with decorative accents, especially at the pool’s waterline. Conversely, you could choose to utilize decorative accents throughout the entire design of the pool. This gorgeous Newport Beach Wave Chevron Glass Mosaic Blend works terrifically as an accent piece.

Newport Beach Wave Chevron Glass Mosaic Blend

If you have an irregularly-shaped pool, you may have to stick with smaller tiles rather than large format ones. This is because, with free-form and kidney-shaped pools especially, it’s much easier to wrap small tiles around curves and corners.

Of course, color is one of most significant choices you’ll have to make as you’re selecting your ideal pool tile. Many pool owners love iridescent tiles that appear to change color depending on the angle at which the sunlight and water hit them.

Hot Long Clear Blue Glass Linear Brick Mosaic

A common choice for luxury spas and hotel pools is white tile. White exudes a sense of relaxation, and it makes the pool water appear sky blue.

Wilmot Coconut Milk Picket Mosaic

For many pool owners, though, blue tile remains the color of choice. It makes the water look bright blue, creating that classic pool look. There are unlimited shades of blue pool tile out there, along with mosaics and various designs to choose from.

Vanguard Navagio Glass Pool Tile

Something to remember is that it’s not always a good idea to use a dark color for the pool’s base. This is because deep water can distort tile color and make it difficult to tell how deep the pool actually is. In some cases, this can become a safety issue. If you’re set on using a dark color, you might consider designing the pool to have contrasting bands of multiple shades. This can give the pool users a better idea of how deep the pool is.

If you don’t want to stick to the traditional blue or white tiles, bright colors and eye-catching patterns can really add personality and character to your pool.

Another thing to note is that you can combine various types and colors of tile to create a one-of-a-kind pool design. For example, you could use ceramic tile for most of the pool, but add glass mosaic tiles at the waterline. This also enables you to save some money in comparison to using glass tiles for the entire pool.

Tip #6: Get samples of your favorite options before purchasing.

If you’ve ever purchased paint before, then you know just how different colors can appear under multiple types of lighting. The same concept holds true for pool tiles. As you narrow down your favorite options, order samples so that you can take them outside and see what the colors and patterns look like in the sunlight. You can also play around with different designs and see how various tiles look together. This can save you from having to deal with the hassle of returning a tile that doesn’t look the same as it did online or in the store.

Tip #7: Design the pool with the intended user in mind.

 Child playing in pool

Designing a pool involves aesthetics, but it should also consider utility and practicality. Who’s going to be using the pool the most? If the answer is children, then stone or ceramic tile will be better than glass since glass tends to be much slicker and prone to slips and falls. Meanwhile, a pool mainly meant for adults to relax in may benefit from the luxuriousness of glass tile.

Tip #8: Don’t forget about safety!

 No Lifeguard on Duty sign

In continuation of our last tip, remember to prioritize safety! The area immediately outside of the pool must have slip-resistant tiles. Although it’s most common to worry about kids slipping and falling, adults can potentially hurt themselves as well. Choosing tiles with surfaces meant to prevent slipping can minimize accidents and ensure everyone can safely get into and out of the pool.

Tip #9: Hire a professional to install your pool tile.

Tiling a pool should not be a DIY project unless you have the experience and skillset to do so. Although it may sound appealing to tile your pool yourself and save money, you could end up spending a lot more if you make mistakes the first time around and have to turn to a pro to help you fix the problems. If you can, find a professional tiler that has great references and glowing reviews. It’s also good to do some research regarding adhesive and grout beforehand so you’ll have an idea of whether or not the tiler is going about the project correctly.

Shop for Your Pool Tile at Tilezz.com

At Tilezz.com, we have a gorgeous selection of pool tiles in multiple colors, materials, and designs. And we’re not limited to pool tile–if you have any other tile needs indoors, you’ll love our product range of stone, porcelain, ceramic, and glass tiles. From your pool’s waterline to your kitchen backsplash, we’ve got you covered. Take some time to browse Tilezz.com today!