Pool tile is a specific type of tile that is manufactured to withstand exposure to sunlight, temperature variation, prolonged submersion in water and the chemicals used to maintain swimming pools. The main difference between pool tile and regular household tile is the durability, as indoor tiles will not be fortified to resist the damage that an aquatic situation is likely to cause. Pool tiles are non-porous and will have a glaze that protects them against cracking, fading and wearing. This also makes them easy to clean.
Pool tile is not the only option to protect your pool. Some opt for a cement based rendered surface such as pebblecrete, the most popular choice for cement pools. While concrete pools have a similar durability, they are much harder to clean and require more maintenance. For this reason, tiles are heavily regarded as the premium choice for swimming pool design. However, they do tend to be more expensive than the beforementioned option.
Pool tile is available in a huge range of styles and materials. This is because they are often also used for the tiles around pools (known as coping or waterline tiles), so aesthetic appearance is something that many homeowners look for when browsing pool tile options for their renovation/pool installation. The most common types of material used for pool tile are ceramic and porcelain, though other materials such as Sukabumi stone, travertine tile, and even glass.
There is a huge variation of style within materials, with some of the most popular styling options at the moment including mosaic and modern tile cuts with bullnose pool coping. Popular pool tile colours at the moment seem to be leaning towards a monochromatic colour scheme, with grey, white and black taking center stage. Pool tiles come in many other colours as well, including rich colours such as yellow or blue, but the most abundant shades are understated variations of the monochromatic colours.
Which tile is best suited to your pool will likely be influenced by the size of your pools. Different materials have different standard sizing. For ceramic pool tiles, the dimensions for each tile are usually 95 x 45 mm (23mm square). This is the most common size of pool tile, with averages ranging from 20mm – 58mm. Crystal glass ranges from 20mm – 48mm in tiling size. Tiling a pool with a larger size than 100mm is difficult and rarely done.
The cost of tiles for pools will vary a little depending on your location, and a lot depending on the material. For larger cities like Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, prices will likely run a little higher than less populated areas like Adelaide or Perth. Generally, however, tile prices can range anywhere between $15 per square meter (for the low end options – be wary of quality assurance) to $95 per square meter for high end luxury tiles. On average NSW is the most expensive state in which to buy tiles, followed by Victoria, Queensland, and WA.
Affordable pool tile is readily available in Australia and you are highly likely to find exactly what you need in a chain store such as Bunnings or Ezarri. To help with inspiration, here is a list of some of the best swimming pool tiles designs and brands available across Australia.
Pool tile ideas: the best styles of pool tile Australia
Travertine is a type of natural stone which has a similar durability to materials like marble and granite, except it is much more affordable. Travertine is a type of limestone created by the mineral deposits of natural springs. Travertine tiles are easy to cut, shape and install and has a non-slip texture perfect for poolside use. It also has a lovely, understated aesthetic appearance. However, it is somewhat porous and may be susceptible to damage.
You can purchase travertine pool tiles similar to the ones pictured above here from National Tiles for $49.95 each.
Commonly associated with resorts and luxury pools, Green Sukabumi stone is a rare stone found in Indonesia which is in high demand across the world. Sukabumi stone is made from a mix of sandstone and quartz. It comes in many different types of green and is a gorgeous material. You can purchase swan cut sukabumi stone tiles here from TMS traders for $89 per square meter.
Ceramic is a very close second to porcelain when it comes to the most popular choice of swimming pool tile. This is because it is affordable, durable, and water resistant. Ceramic tile can also be painted or made into a mosaic shape by the homeowner / contractor as desired. However, ceramic will absorb slightly more water than porcelain as it is not quite as water resistant.
Porcelain is without a doubt one of the best and most practical choices of pool tile. You can find porcelain pool tile at just about every major homeware store and it is available in abundance, as well as many different styles and colours. Porcelain is actually a type of ceramic tile which has been fired at higher temperatures to make it stronger and more damage resistant. Porcelain is extremely durable and its non-porous abilities make it a standout choice for aquatic settings.
Glass mosaic tiles are manufactured by taking thin pieces of glass and firing translucent glaze onto the back. Glass mosaic pool tiles come in many different designs and are highly customizable. They are one of the most beautiful options of pool tile. They are non-permeable and damage resistant, as well as low maintenance. Glass pool tiles are a more expensive option than many others in this list, but that is one of their only drawbacks.
You can purchase mosaic glass pool tile like the one pictured above here from The Factory Outlet for $29 per square meter.