A pool is one of summer’s most simple pleasures – a cool and irresistible escape from the heat. Of course all pools are fun and refreshing, but a thoughtfully designed pool can transform a landscape from a typical backyard to a true oasis, and the right pool tile can elevate your pool into something spectacular.

Available in a near-endless selection of materials, colors, and formats, swimming pool tile options are as limitless as your imagination. Whether it’s a classic bright blue, an earth-toned stone tile, or a sleek and modern colored glass, pool tiles provide an opportunity to get creative with your landscape design. So just in time for summer: let’s take a deep dive into everything you need to know to find the best pool tiles.

What Are the Different Types of Pool Tiles?

When it comes to planning your swimming pool, tiles are a vital part of personalizing your design. The swimming pool is your landscape’s focal point. Different types of tiles can embody various distinctive styles, turning the swimming pool from a recreational element to an architectural piece that interacts or even drives the outdoor décor.

Several different types of pool tiles are commonly used for their durability and performance in outdoor and underwater conditions. Below are the top 3 types that make for great outdoor pool tiles: 

For a Glamorous Look: Glass Mosaic Tiles

Swimming Pool Tiles on submerged sunbed in pool

The most glamorous player in the pool tiles market is glass mosaic tile, and it’s no surprise. There is nothing more alluring on a hot summer day than the swimming pool’s water shimmering gently under the sun. Glass’s reflective quality creates a dazzling result fit for luxurious outdoor decor. 

Traditionally, glass pool tiles have always been considered a high-end product due to the careful craft involved in the manufacturing process. That is changing, however, thanks to significant technological developments in manufacturing and new and innovative players entering the market. Luxury glass tiles can now be found for much more affordable prices which have allowed for the glamorous glass look to gain even more popularity.

Today, glass mosaic pool tiles come in different finishes, textures, and colors, each achieving a mysterious sparkle that is truly transformative.

For a Timeless Simplicity: Porcelain Tiles

Swimming pool tiles example in the pool with marble look floor tiles around

Thanks to their durability and versatility of design, small format porcelain tiles remain the most popular choice for pool tiling. Made of high-fired clay, porcelain is a dense material that provides a tough, water-resistant, and affordable option.

In recent years, as ceramic printing technology advances, porcelain tiles allow for more intricate and artistic patterns. Alongside the iconic solid blue pool porcelain tiles with visible grout lines, decorative pool tiles allow for more creative expression. Easy to clean, porcelain tile is available in a wide array of styles and colors, making it a great option for water line tile.

For a Natural Feel: Natural Stone Tiles

Natural look swimming pool tiles outdoors

Always in style, natural stone pool tiles provide a timeless and even sometimes rustic look. Mostly made of granite, limestone, or slate, stone pool tiles introduce an earthy aesthetic, preserving the organic textures and rich tones of the natural landscape that can create a clean modern look or a more rugged visual. 

Strongly associated with a West Coast design aesthetic, a stone tiled pool encompasses a warm and cozy ambiance. Strong, durable, and slip-resistant stone pool tiles are a classic option for both modern and rustic styles.

From Outdoor to Indoor: Where Can You Use Pool Tiles?

You might not think of your shimmering, fresh swimming pool as a challenging environment, but there are undeniable conditions that require pool tiles to have specific qualities that other tiles don’t need. Pool tiles are designed to endure being submerged in water, exposed to direct sunlight, and in contact with chlorine and other pool chemicals. Pool tiles offer both a creative and a practical solution for water-heavy areas and are suitable for various applications. It’s time to dive into the details: What are the different uses of pool tiles?

Waterline Tile

Waterline swimming pool tiles side of pool example

Waterline swimming pool tiles are mounted at the top of the pool below the protective coping, usually as a 6 to 8-inch band that serves both an aesthetic and a practical purpose. A waterline pool tile delineates the pool’s perimeter and helps prevent external materials from tainting the pool’s waterline and making it easier to clean. A waterline tile can also serve as a stunning design element, using everything from iridescent glass mosaics to ceramic subway tiles.

Pool Liner Tile

Pool liner tile lining

There is no denying the beauty of a pool that is entirely tiled. Glossy mosaic tiles shine and reflect the sun even from the deepest parts of the pool, making it glow with a luminous shimmer. Tiling an entire pool also holds a maintenance benefit: glass and porcelain tiles are resistant to stain, mold, and mildew, making them easy to clean and potentially longer lasting than plaster or other pool liner materials.

Water Features and Other Tile Accents

Water feature tiles hot tub example

Pool tiles can also be used on water features such as fountains, waterfalls, and even hot tubs to add some exquisite elements to your outdoor space. Water features provide an excellent opportunity to play with the color, texture, and pattern of tiles, creating a decorative focal point in your outdoor space. You can also use your favorite outdoor tiles  for areas like outdoor kitchens, decks, and showers. Don’t forget that if a tile can be used outside, you can also use it inside to bring your favorite exterior design elements to indoor areas like showers, kitchen backsplashes, and fireplaces.

Beyond the Blue: Selecting the Right Pool Tile Color

The color of your pool tile is one of the most important decisions you can make as you plan your outdoor oasis. An amazing waterline tile can add the perfect accent line or a natural stone can bring in earthy elements for a rustic retreat. The color becomes especially critical, however, when you decide to use a tile pool liner. The color of your water and your entire outdoor style will be determined by the color of your tile. Let’s walk through some popular choices for pool liner tiles and their benefits.

Blue Is Still the Most Popular Pool Tile

Pool tiles with colour and glass finishes

Pool tiles come in an extensive range of colors and finishes, but blue is still the favorite color among pool owners. Research shows that blue has a calming effect, and it’s hard to deny the serene ambiance a bright blue pool can imbue. With its continued popularity, the nostalgic solid blue pool tiles are now getting a 21st-century update with newer finishes and more variety of tones.

Bring on the Bling

Bring on the bling iridescent swimming pool tile

Iridescent pool tiles create a dazzling and reflective effect both inside and outside of the water. Most commonly found on glass mosaic tiles, an iridescent finish emulates the movement of the water and then amplifies it with brilliant colors. Bejewel your pool with this dynamic visual that exudes glamour.

Bold and Beautiful

Bold swimming pool tiles small orange tile

Looking for a bolder statement? Explore a color palette beyond the range of blues. Black pool tiles can introduce a sleek and elegant visual, making a contemporary design statement. Shades of coral and red introduce a soft yet impactful contrast, setting a unique and colorful atmosphere. Color can be incorporated in an eye-catching waterline or dare to tile an entire pool, providing a one-of-a-kind perspective.

From a glamorous vision of a shimmering pool to a bubbling spa and beyond, make a splash with your tiles to turn your landscape’s focal point into your dream oasis. Whether you’re renovating or starting a project from the ground up, the right tiles can reflect your character and style and elevate your pool to be the destination you need this summer.