How to Tile Pools and Fountains – Installation Tutorial

This section will provide you with an overview of the installation of ceramic or stone tile in and around pools and fountains. This section is general in nature due to the enormity of a pool construction process.

Both ceramic and stone tile can be used to tile pools and fountains. However, certain types of tile and stone should not be used inside pools or fountains. There are types of tile that are manufactured specifically for use in pool linings. At The Tile Doctor® we recommend Starlike Pool Tile Grout for your pool and fountain grout needs.

Please note: Federal, State, and local building codes should be addressed in the design of these projects. Generally, architectural drawings for pools are a must.

The figure on the left shows you a very general concrete tank tile installation. This illustration is helpful for describing the construction process for pools and fountains.

The concrete tank is constructed and finished with a medium-rough bush-hammered finish. The dimensions of the tank must be under-sized 1 ½ to accommodate the thickness of the tile-work in the finished dimensions. Also, no deviations exceeding ½ in slope, contour, or dimensions should be present.

The concrete tank should be watertight. It should be filled and tested for water tightness. This is especially important for indoor pools and fountains.

This detail is similar to roman tubs. The key difference is the waterproofing. The waterproofing in interiors can be accomplished by the Hot Mop method or, for interiors and exteriors, using liquid applied waterproof membranes. Be sure to follow closely the Manufacturer’s recommendations for the use of these products.

Note that the middle part of the illustration is tile applied directly to the concrete tank. For the upper and lower illustration, a scratch coat of wall mortar is applied to the tank on the pool walls followed by a brown or finish coat of wall mortar 1 ¼ nominal thickness.

The pool floor mortar is applied on a Portland cement slurry. Tile can be applied using a Portland cement paste on a mortar bed that is still workable or with dry/latex Portland cement mortar on a cured bed. Other types of tile bond coats, like epoxy, can be used. The Manufacturers recommendations should be followed.

Caution: Some latex modified mortars used in pool linings need ample time to fully cure prior to being exposed to water saturation. Again, the Manufacturers recommendations should be followed.

Expansion joints in the tile-work are mandatory over joints in the concrete tank and in exterior pools on 8′-12′ centers.

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