Whilst pools are functional and provide a place for the kids to play, a cooling dip in summer or for daily exercise, they also enhance the appearance of your property. By selecting the right tiles and looking after them properly, you can ensure your pool continues to function well and look great for as long as you need it.
The tiles for your pool are in different areas — along the base and sides of the pool, along the waterline where the water rises and falls, and around the top of the pool where they provide a neat edging and a surface for swimmers to get into and out of the water.
Prevention and Maintenance Measures to take
Tiles within the depths of the pool are difficult to clean thoroughly. However, you can protect them by removing leaves and other debris from the water to prevent cloudiness and dirt on the tiles. A thorough cleaning can be undertaken at the end of the season if the water is drained and again before the pool is refilled. Always drain and refill slowly so pressure changes are gradual and damage by expansion or shrinkage is avoided.
The best way to protect your pool tiles is to ensure there is the correct balance of chemicals in the water. One way of measuring this is the Langelier Saturation Index, which takes into account the general hardness and alkalinity of the water. Acceptable levels are +0.5 to -0.5, with lower levels tending to corrode the grout and higher ones leaving mineral deposits on tiles.
The biggest problem is scale, which results from hard water and causes an unsightly film to develop on the waterline. You can test the alkalinity level with a kit available from a hardware store or your pool supplies dealer and need to achieve a pH level of 7.2-7.4. Higher levels can be resolved by adding muriatic acid diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This can be poured directly onto scale deposits along the waterline and rubbed off with a rag or brush after saturation.
Established build-ups of scale are difficult to remove and may require the pool to be drained to a level below the affected area. Use a suitable cleaner recommended for the type of tile you have, typically a calcium scale remover for either chlorinated or non-chlorinated pools. Apply the cleaner to the affected areas and leave for the recommended period, then either scrape off with a blade or scrub off with a brush. Try to avoid too much going into the water.
If the scale build-up is not too severe, it may be dissolved once the pH level is reduced to the correct figure. Alternatively, use an equal measure of white vinegar and water that can be sprayed onto the tiles.
Total Pool Care
The area around the pool should have non-slip tiles for the convenience and safety of swimmers. Caring for this is a much simpler task and normally requires just a high-pressure spray of clean water and a stiff brush. Stubborn stains can be removed with an application of sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine).
Ensuring the long life of your pool normally starts right at the beginning by selecting high quality tiles suitable for the pool itself or the surrounds. These need to be properly installed and both the tile cement and grout allowed to set and cure fully before introducing water.
Keeping the chemical balance right and regular maintenance are the keys to ensuring your pool has a long life. Apart from cleaning, this includes replacing broken tiles and repairing defective grout as soon as problems are detected rather than waiting until they get worse.
With the minimum of care, our pool tiles will give many years of enjoyment with their good looks and extreme practicality.