Things to Consider When Choosing the Waterline Tile for a Pool

The choices are endless, deciding on the perfect color, texture, and size of tile for our pool is mind boggling.

The waterline tile adds a beautiful finishing touch to a pool. The tile we choose can be eye catching or subtle, blend into the pool or into the surroundings. Besides being decorative, the tile protects the pool from waterline staining and mineral build up.

Usually installed as a 6-inch band around the pool, waterline tiles follow the perimeter of the 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. It also takes on the calcium deposits and minerals that buildup around the perimeter of the pool due to hard water. It is much easier to remove this “bathtub ring” from waterline pool tile than if you had to scrub it off bare plaster.

Building a Pool and Pool House

As many of you know, we are building a pool and a pool house in our backyard. Selecting a waterline has taken me a long time and has been very frustrating. I can make other interior decor decisions very quickly, but this one had me stumped!

Selecting Waterline or Pool Tile

If you prefer to watch a video on Selecting Waterline Tile, and see our completed pool please do so! Or continue reading this post.

Selecting the Interior Finish of a Pool

Choosing the interior finish of the pool is important as well, I go into depth about the different types of options available on my Youtube channel.

What Options are Available in Waterline Tile?

Waterline Tile-1After months of being closed, due to the pandemic, our pool tile store reopened in the knick of time for me to make my final selection. Trying to find the right tile from a catalog was painful. Tiles look so different in person than they do in a catalog.

Waterline TileThe look and feel of the tile is very important to me. Tiles I liked in the catalog looked very different in person and vice versa. We even noticed how pixelated some of the tiles look up close. Obviously made from a printer, some tiles look cheap when seen in person.

Waterline Tile-3I gathered additional samples from my travertine stone manufacturer. These tiles are of superb quality and obviously well made compared to tiles from our local tile store. Price point is important too, these tiles are much more expensive than our local tiles, is it worth the upgrade?

Deciding on Texture and Size of Waterline Tiles

Waterline Tile-4Waterline tiles come in a variety of sizes and finishes. Porcelain tiles are the most popular and common. They are durable, easy to clean and install. A very popular style is mosaic, which is typically a sheet of tiles made up of small 1″ x 1″ tiles. Personally, I am not a fan of mosaic tiles as they appear a bit too busy for my taste, so I didn’t get any samples to bring home. But if you like a dramatic look, mosaics may be a good choice for you. There is an example of mosaic tiles in the first picture of this post.

The blue green tile pictured above on the top right, is as small as I would consider. It’s approximately 2″ x 2″ inches and very pretty. All the tiles pictured above have a glossy finish and will give the pool a real pop of color.

“Stone Look” Waterline Tiles

Waterline Tile-5The most popular size of water line tiles is the 6″ x 6″. Tiles that have a “stone look” blend seamlessly into the surrounding area and look very natural. This aspect makes stone look tiles an easy and popular choice. These tiles are available in a lot of earth tones and blend superbly well with a natural stone patio.

I chose samples in dark and light colors. My choice was between wanting the waterline tile to blend into the patio, or blend into the water, which will be dark (more on that later). Two very different looks, both pretty.

Waterline Tile-2Presently, I am really digging the contemporary style of this porcelain veneer tile. It is a combination of black with white veining. I also like the longer tiles and the way these tiles connect together, giving me a seamless look with fewer grout lines. On the other hand, this tile may be hard to clean and get dirty more quickly.

Glass Waterline Tiles

Waterline Tile-6No doubt that glass tiles are stunning! They have a shimmer and reflective quality that look beautiful in the water. The clarity of glass captures and reflects natural light offering an iridescent quality to the pool. They are sized at 1″ x 2″ and are more beautiful in person than pictured above. These tiles are a more expensive option so that is something to consider.

Waterline Tile-7So many choices! Which did we choose for our pool?

Waterline Tile-8

Searching for a Tile Installer

You need to remember that choosing tiles is only half the battle. What about a tiler? The perfect tiler can be hard to find, given the sheer variety of options out there. Turn to Jooble company – their job aggregator will find a good specialist for you.

Final Reveal of Our Pool is Here!

Check out the final reveal of our waterline tile and our new pool HERE on YouTube!

Final Reveal of Pool House is HERE!

Check out the Final Reveal of the Pool House on Youtube HERE, or read about it HERE.

If you are not doing so already, you can also follow along on Instagram HERE and Instagram stories HERE for daily updates and happenings at Happy Haute Home.



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16 thoughts on “Things to Consider When Choosing the Waterline Tile for a Pool

  1. First – how did I miss this post?! Second – I’m hanging here on the edge of my chair! I’m dying to know what tile you chose!

    I hope you get to enjoy your pool very soon. Just let me know when it’s done, and I’ll be over with my floppy hat and margarita! 🙂

    1. LOL! No pool work going on over here!! 🙄 Hope to make some progress soon😒 would be nice to use it before the end of summer!

  2. What did you choose? I am having the hardest time with this decision. I found a frost proof tile from floor and decor that I really like but the pool guy is discouraging it. Any info would be helpful!

    1. Hi, I chose the darker tile with the white veining. The pool guys definitely scare us into not choosing anything besides pool tiles. Our tile was installed last year and the pool is still empty as we are concurrently building a pool house. SO I am not able to offer a pic of the tile with water…sorry. Hopefully the pool will get filled in April!

  3. Hello – Your article on water tile selection is so helpful! Do you have a picture of what you selected with water? Thank you!

    1. Hi Christina, so glad you found it helpful. No, not yet. We are currently building a pool house as well, so the empty pool is still sitting there. We hope to have the pool filled in April and I will post a pic probably on Insta.

  4. It is April :). Even if your pool hasn’t been filled, could you tell me what pool finish did you selected? Love your inspiration photo!

    1. Hi Sarah, it is April and we get plastered tomorrow! I selected a dark blue plaster with a River Rok finish.

  5. Trying to pick tile right now and your article was a HUGE help. Any pics yet? Even of just the tile you went with? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cynthia, I chose the black tile with white veining. We just filled our pool this week, you can see a pic on my Instagram page.

  6. If I send a photo of my existing pool tile can you let me know if you have the same tile or a close match??

    1. Hi Matt, are you looking for a similar pool tile to the one we have? If you need help in selecting a pool tile, I offer consultations. Visit my blog and look under design services for more details.

  7. Hi! We just finished our pool and I SO wish I’d seen this prior. I don’t like how my water line turned out. I went with the 6×6 bluish/grey/green tile. The grout line is much wider than I’d thought they’d make it. Looks a bit 80s. Wondering how hard it would be to change it out?

    1. Hi. I’m sorry that happened. I know the dissatisfied feeling afterwards. Depending on the type of climate you have, I would wait until it’s warmer to attempt a change. If you have water in the pool, it would have to be lowered hopefully not completely drained. Can definitely be done and hopefully won’t cost an arm and a leg. Good Luck!

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