Pool tiles

From stunning glass, to subtle earth tones, from a simple waterline, to a raised spa wall, your tile is a focal point of your poolscape.

Dolphin Pool is proud member of National Plasterers Council Association

national plasterers council

Why are pool tiles important?

pool tiles

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Waterline swimming pool tiles are important for both esthetics and maintenance. They are mounted at the top of the pool below the coping (protective cap). Usually installed as a 6-inch band, waterline pool tile follows the perimeter of your pool to help prevent pollen, sunscreen, body oils, and other substances that enter the water from creating a yellow, scummy line at the pool’s waterline.

From stunning glass, to subtle earth tones, from a simple waterline, to a raised spa wall, your tile is a focal point of your poolscape. Dolphin Pool Services, LLC offers a wide variety of tile options and will help you discover a pool tile that’s a reflection of your own personal style.

pool tiles

New pool deck(travertine), coping stones(travertine), waterline tile, resurfacing – Burke, VA

Waterline tile

This is the row of tile directly above the pool finish and just below the deck. Typically, waterline tile is 6”x6”. The water level of the pool is usually halfway up the tile. The reason tile is necessary in a pool and spa is because plaster or other pool finishes are not meant to be exposed to the sun and elements.

Raised bond beam

The raised bond beam is the part of the pool wall that is elevated above the lower level of the decking. This is where homeowners tend to get creative, since it the most visible tile in the pool. Consider installing smaller 1”x”1, 2”x”2, or 3”x 3″ tiles on the raised area for decorative appeal. This is also a common area to install accent tiles.

Spa walls and spillways

Another focal point of your pool is the face of the spa walls. When water flows from the spa to the pool, it pulls attention to the spillway and spa wall. Pay careful attention to the grout and tile colors you select, so that they don’t clash. Spillways are another opportunity to get creative – from widening an existing spillway, to creating two spillways, to covering the top of the spillway with coping.

Trim tile and spotters

The trim is a small line of non-slip tile at the outside edge of steps and seats that help swimmers see their depths. This option also adds a decorative detail to the pool and spa. Spotters are a diamond set tile that are typically set about 12” apart.

Pool tile material selection

When the time comes to choose the tile for your swimming pool, it can get a bit crazy. With tons of different pool tile options ranging from porcelain to glass. All different types of pool tile look great. But, which tile option is the best one for you and your pool? This will come down to your personal preference and the overall design of your outdoor oasis.


Negative-edge pools, spa spillways, tanning ledges and complex water features, are parts of pool designs that serve as inspiration for a stunning tile. The most commonly used types of tile in swimming pools include glass, natural stone and porcelain.
1. Glass tile

In recent years, the popularity of glass tile on swimming pools has continued to rise. Glass tile is the most expensive tile option, and that’s for a good reason. Since it is made from recycled glass materials, it’s the most durable and non-porous of all pool tiles. Glass tiles go great with the transparent nature of water.

Glass tiles come in a small – mosaic tile format. It has the advantage of being able to cover curved surfaces completely. Pool designers can also mix different colors of glass tile, creating a customized color scheme and thus, form an artwork. Quality of glass tile ranges from low to high, and like most things in life you get what you pay for. With lower quality glass tile, you still get reflections that can be brilliant underwater. Some other glass tiles have an iridescent coating that shimmers with the change of light and water flowing over the surface.

On the other hand, the artistic look and feel of a finished installation are more significant and dynamic with an upscale glass tile. It has a better optical quality, and its shine, color, and depth are more exciting than the look of small mosaic designs.

2. Stone tile

If you are looking to have a Classical or Mediterranean style oasis, a stone tile will give you just that. A natural look and textured feel that goes perfectly on a patio or deck. When combined with coping, the appearance is more unison. Stone tile design elements include flagstone, travertine, slate, sandstone, bluestone, and semi-polished granite tile that displays a pepper tone look.

3.Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles have been staples of pool finishing for decades. Contrary to glass tiles, these are hand-painted with exciting designs, or they are also available in a mosaic mode. Nowadays, you can find porcelain tile in a textured version that goes well with the surrounding landscape. Also, there is a textured-glazed porcelain tile that is bolder and more exciting, giving a punch to any swimming pool border.

It’s interesting how some designers prefer to mix glass, stone and porcelain tiles. With the right balance of color, texture, scale, and detail, tile can create a beautiful and continuous design.

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Our process

Pool tiles waterline

Waterline tile, resurfacing – Woodbridge, VA

  • Chip away and remove old tile; ensure that the surface is clean and free of all debris.
  • Create an even surface by grinding down the area under the old tile, or building up areas that are not even with a mortar bed. This preparatory step ensures that there are no high or low spots that the tile will be laid against. We want the tile to be flush with the plaster.
  • Cut tiles for detail work around curves and on spillways. This is where the true skill and craftsmanship is very apparent.
  • Spread out a thin set bonding agent (adhesive) where the tile will be placed on the waterline. The thin set must be a swimming pool specific product. This is the “glue” that holds the tile to the edge of the pool.
  • Lay porcelain pool tile on the thin set. It is important that the tile is a pool specific, porcelain tile. The tiles are individually pressed into the thin set by hand or rubber mallet. It is important to let the tile set until firm.
  • Once the tile is firmly in place, we now spread our grout using a rubber floating tool. We will then sponge clean all excess grout.
Pool tiles waterline

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Our trusted manufacturers

We only purchase highest quality products from certified pool suppliers and distributors.