Expert Advice

Four Tips for Successful Saltwater Swimming Pool Tile Installations

19 Jul

Posted by
Tom Plaskota
Technical Support Manager

Saltwater Swimming Pool Tile Installations

According to the Salt Institute, there are approximately 1.3 million saltwater pools in the United States today, and almost 75 percent of all new pools use saltwater systems. Instead of traditional chlorine additives, saline pools use large amounts of salt to produce natural chlorine, which kills germs and neutralizes contamination. Home owners and property managers increasingly opt for saline pools because they can be used by swimmers with sensitivities to traditional chlorine systems and can be less expensive to maintain over time. Follow these four steps to make sure your customers get the most out of their saltwater pools.

1. Select the Right Tile: Opt for porcelain or glass tile for saline pools, and steer clear of natural stone. The chlorine produced by saline, like the chlorine in traditional pools, can discolor natural stone. Salt presents an additional challenge because it will cause many slates to rust. Similarly, salt water and salt deposits may discolor travertine tile and mosaics. With that in mind, encourage pool owners to use glass or porcelain tile, recommended by suppliers, in their saline pools.

2. Choose a Premium Mortar: A mortar used in a salt-water pool must not only withstand the demands of immersion, but it must also be well-suited to the type of tile used. TEC® Super Flex™ Ultra-Premium Thin Set is perfect for bonding the glass or porcelain tile that should be used in saltwater pools.

3. Use a Chemical-Resistant Grout: Because saltwater pools produce natural chlorine, like traditional pools, they require fully submersible grouts that also offer chemical resistance. Epoxy grouts are chemical resistant and can be used in swimming pools—particularly those that are at risk for becoming imbalanced chemically. Be sure to consult with the tile manufacturer to make sure it is compatible with the tile used.

NOTE: Follow industry standards for placement of movement joints in saltwater pools.

Educate Your Customer: The key to long-lasting tile installations is proper chemical balance. If a pool is out of balance, it can corrode cementitious grouts – increasing the risk of cracking – and discolor tile. Explain to your client the importance of frequent testing to maintain the proper alkalinity and pH balance. That way, they’ll be able to maximize enjoyment of their pool – without having to retile.

To learn more about the products and techniques that you can use for saltwater pool installations, send us an email or call 1-800-832-9023, Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST.

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