How Do I... Choose the Right Tiles for Around My Pool


How Do I... Choose the Right Tiles for Around My Pool

What should I look for when choosing pool tiles?

The tiles you choose for the area around your swimming pool should be:
  • Slip-resistant: Most outside areas require tiles with a P4-P5 slip rating, depending on the application.
  • High wear rating: Poolside environments can be quite harsh given the exposure to chemicals and the changing weather. Make sure your tiles or pavers are strong enough to cope (and protect your safety) by choosing a style with a high wear rating.
  • Water-resistant: Any area near a swimming pool will be exposed to water. Make sure your tiles or pavers won’t be damaged by regular exposure.
  • Comfortable: Some materials are hotter underfoot than others when the sun beats down on them. For comfort underfoot, opt for light pavers or tiles in natural materials such as travertine, limestone or sandstone – they’re up to 30 percent cooler than other types of natural stone or concrete pavers.
  • Low-maintenance: Sealing tiles and pavers makes them much easier to clean. Alternatively, consider pre-sealed tiles such as porcelain. Size also counts; larger slabs have fewer grout lines than small tiles, which means less elbow grease is required to keep them pristine.

Which styles work best around pools?

If you want something low-maintenance, textured 20-millimetre colour-body porcelain tiles are a great choice, in my view. Porcelain is pre-sealed and it has a smooth, easy-to-clean surface.

Bluestone pavers are a perennial favourite for pool areas as they combine anti-slip properties with a smart, timeless look.

What’s good to know when choosing natural stone for around a pool?

  • If you’re considering tiles or pavers in a natural material such as basalt, sandstone or marble, it is important to speak with a tile retailer to ensure they are suitable for your pool or alfresco entertaining area.
  • Tiles made of natural stone are generally porous, and if they’re installed in wet, high-traffic or cooking areas (such as near a barbecue) they will require sealing upon installation to protect against oil, liquids and dirt.
  • Depending on the natural material you’ve chosen, you’ll need to reseal them at least once a year to keep them protected.
  • Unsealed natural stone will darken in colour when it gets wet. Sealing it with a good-quality stone and tile sealer will help repel water, prevent it from absorbing into the surface and changing the stone’s colour when wet.


How do I make sure my pool tiles suit the space?

When choosing tile colour and material, consider the tones, textures and materials in your backyard, on your deck and in your swimming pool.

If you’re looking to combine stone with timber decking, opt for a warm, neutral-coloured material such as travertine that will harmonise with the browns in the timber.
How do I choose the right tile size?

Be led by the size and architecture of your home – you’ll want to choose a tile size that complements these.

In general, traditional and period homes are best suited to small cobblestone pavers or classic French laying patterns. Contemporary homes, on the other hand, suit large-format or slab tiles with a streamlined appearance.
What’s trending?

  • Timber-look tiles: These have been gaining traction over the past few months because they combine the beautiful aesthetic of natural timber with the ease and practicality of tiles. Timber-look tiles are also cost-effective because they don’t warp, dent or chip like real timber, which will eventually need replacing. The latest styles allow for tile-to-tile variation for a truly natural timber look.
  • Terrazzo tiles: A popular choice for interiors over the past couple of seasons, terrazzo is now being used to add poolside drama. Similar to timber-look tiles, expect to see tile-to-tile variation in the latest releases for a unique appearance.
Tip: Is your backyard or poolside area uneven? Consider using DIY-friendly adjustable pedestal tile supports, which will level tiles and pavers for a smooth, flat finish.
  • Luxe natural stone: Natural stone pavers will never go out of style for poolside areas. Travertine and limestone are particularly popular right now; they have an elegant look, while maintaining an on-trend raw, organic feel.
  • Colour: 2019 and beyond are all about brights – from aqueous blues and emerald greens to cheery yellows. If you like the idea of incorporating colour into your poolside area with tiles, aim to pick up or harmonise with a colour that’s already there – such as the colours in the garden or your pool’s mosaic tiles.


Source: Georgia Madden, Senior Writer, Houzz Australia, Houzz