Pool Tile vs. Regular Tile

From multicolored glass mosaics to rugged stone-look ceramics to low-key basics, the right tile can take your pool design to the next level and make it a true showpiece. But not all tile is created equally. If you want durable tile that will ensure your pool stays beautiful for years to come, it’s important to choose tile that’s purpose-built for swimming pools.

If you’re new to swimming pool design, this might come as a surprise. On the surface, pool tile and “regular” kitchen and bathroom tile appear to have a lot in common. But dig a little deeper and you’ll learn why pool tile is the best choice for a beautiful, long-lasting swimming pool.

What is “pool tile”? How is it different?

Your sparkling, sun-bathed swimming pool might not seem like a grueling environment, but consider this: The tile and other surfaces in your swimming pool are outdoors and submerged in water. They’re exposed to the sun and the rain. They come into contact with chlorine and other pool chemicals. And, depending on where you live, they may also have to withstand drastically changing temperatures.

In short, your swimming pool tile has to be ultra-durable. And tile designed for swimming pools will give you the most durable bang for your buck: Pool tile is non-porous and coated with a specially formulated glaze that prevents cracking and fading. The special glaze also makes pool tile water-resistant and easy to clean.

Why “regular” tile isn’t pool tile

One of the biggest points of confusion about the “pool tile vs. regular tile” question is bathroom tile. After all, shower tile comes in decorative designs and colors, and it’s engineered to get wet. Same with the tile on your bathroom walls and kitchen floors.

Is “regular” bathroom or kitchen tile really that different from pool tile?

In most cases, yes. While bathroom tile is designed for some contact with water, it’s not intended to be submerged 24/7. Regular bathroom tile designed for soft lighting and steady, mild temperatures. Same goes for the tile you find in your kitchen or other areas of your home.

Put simply, most “regular” tile isn’t built for outdoor use. It’s more likely to fade, corrode, and crack than purpose-built pool tile -- and that means you’ll have to pay for repairs or replacement sooner.

Pool Tile FAQs

Q: How much does pool tile cost?

A: The exact price of your swimming pool tile will vary depending on several factors, including size and shape, material, and, of course, the amount of tile you need to buy. The pool professionals at your local NPT showroom can help you choose a tile that fits your style and your budget.

Q: How is pool tile different from “regular” tile?

A: Pool tile has been specially manufactured to stand up to sunlight, changing temperatures, an aquatic environment, and constant contact with the chemicals in swimming pool water. Regular household tile -- such as bathroom and kitchen tile -- isn’t designed for outdoor use and may not offer the same durability.

Q: How long will my pool tile last?

A: With proper maintenance, your pool tile can last decades. You can help ensure a long lifespan by keeping your pool tile clean, staying on top of maintenance and repairs, and keeping your pool water properly balanced.”. And, of course, make sure that you choose tile that was manufactured specifically for swimming pools! If you use “regular” indoor tile, it may need to be replaced within a few years.

Pool Finishes
Outdoor Elements
NPT Showrooms