Pool Tile or Regular Tile

Choosing the right tile can be a difficult decision. Not all tiles are created equal for all applications. That means it’s important to choose the right tiling for your home projects. Do you need pool tiles or regular tiles?

Where Do You Need Tiles?

The first step to choosing the right tile for your needs is to consider where it will be used. For example, pool tiles need to be extra durable because they are exposed to the elements. In contrast, indoor tiles do not need to be as durable if they’re used in your kitchen or bathroom. However, floor tiles can quickly become cracked or worn if they are not created with the right strength and protection. 

Pool Tile Basics

When it comes to choosing between pool tiles or regular tiles, here is what you need to know about pool tiling. Pool tiles need to be able to withstand continual sunlight and weather conditions, as well as chemicals like chlorine. All of these factors need to be considered when creating a durable pool tile, as well as basic wear and tear. 

Problems With Using Regular Tiles Outdoors

If you choose regular tiles over pool-specific tiles in an outdoor patio or pool space, there are a few possible consequences. First of all, the tile’s lifespan will be significantly shortened. Usually, within half a year of initial installation, tiles will begin to fall off because they can’t withstand the outdoor factors. Plus, the tile can easily become grimy. In the outdoors, regular tile use can be hard to properly clean as glazes are not durable. Even professionals can struggle to properly clean regular tile used outdoors. Finally, the glaze itself can fall off due to corrosion, especially in heated spas or pools. 

Misconceptions About Pool Tile or Regular Tile

Many people think that regular tiles designed for use in the bathroom or areas of a home that might get wet can also be used in outdoor settings. After all, they both get wet, so aren’t they created equally? However, this is not the case. Unlike pool tiles, regular tile is not intended to be fully immersed in water. Plus, regular tiles are not designed for drastic temperature differences or exposure to harsh lighting.  

Other Differences 

There are other notable differences between pool tile and regular tile. Water absorption is the measurement of density, porosity, and specific gravity used to determine the degree of maturation of a tile. Pool tiles have a water absorption rate of ≤0.5% which provides a firmer bond for pool adhesives. As a result, cracking and fading is minimized. In contrast, regular tiles have a higher water absorption rate, making them susceptible to falling or peeling off quickly. 

Secondly, pool tiles are designed with anti-slip properties. This is known as the “R” value, with pool tiles ranking at R11 or R12 anti-slip resistance, in contrast to lower numbers for regular tiles. Pool tiles also have a much higher durability rate for breaking strength. Pool tiles have a minimum breaking strength of at least 250 lbs. This makes them perfect for outdoor applications in patio, pool, or spa settings. 

Lastly, abrasion and chemical resistance is an important aspect of long-lasting pool tiles versus regular tiles. The more resistant to abrasion and chemicals a pool tile is, the better investment a homeowner is making in the longevity and beauty of their outdoor space.

By Charles R. Zimmerman

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