All plastered pools, and most painted ones, feature waterline tile-bands as pool plasters are made to be fully submerged at all times. Copings are the stones or tiles that decorate the flat upper edge of the pool.
Glass Pool Tiles
As the name suggests, glass tiles are made of silicate glass material, which manufacturers use to create a variety of products. Glass tiles are generally smaller than ceramic or stone options—typically measuring two square inches or less—but the pint-sized tiles pack a punch, coming in a seemingly infinite range of colors, textures, and transparency.
When installed properly, most types of glass tile represent the most durable of all swimming pool and spa surfaces; they offer sturdy resistance to chemical corrosion and other types of damage. Compared to other interior swimming pool and spa surface materials—such as plaster, exposed aggregate, or fiberglass finishes, which typically last anywhere from five to 25 years—glass tile surfaces can retain their appearance and surface integrity almost indefinitely.
For decades, ceramic and porcelain tile have been staples for pool finishing. They are the least costly and can be handpainted with intricate designs or formed into a mosaic. Textured porcelain blends well with the surrounding landscape, while glazed porcelain offers bold, striking accents.
Ceramic and porcelain tile are a great option for pool owners looking to add a custom look or waterline accent without extending their budget too far.
Many designs mix glass, stone, ceramic and porcelain tile; the assortment can create a surprisingly unified theme. A positive outcome will be a balance of scale, color, texture and detail. The choices are endless.
Stone tile, such as granite, marble, slate, and limestone, is popular for finishing natural pool designs because they help blend the pool with the surrounding landscape.
Stone tile will also complement pools or homes with a modern architectural style.
Stone tile finishes are often used to lend a natural look to beach entries and tanning ledges.
Coping, the material that is affixed to the top of the pool wall, visually ties the pool to the decking materials. Blending the coping into the design is paramount.
The coping should be smooth and free of sharp, jagged edges that may scratch or scrape bathers or snag their suits as they slide into the pool. Slightly overhanging the material will create a defining shadow line under the coping, and it will provide a handhold for small hands to grasp.
The coping can be a formally cut and processed stone, such as a 2- or 3-inch-thick bullnose—a curved semi-circular side. On larger projects, a thinner material could look insufficient or unsubstantial as it may be out of scale with the entire venue.