What you should know about tile repairs

The “perfect” tile repair.

We want you to know up front that with any type of pool “repair” you should never expect a flawless look. There is nothing more disappointing than paying for something that you may feel looks just as bad, or worse than what it was before. Whether it is replacing a slab of concrete decking, patching paint, or plaster, replacing a section of coping, or replacing a section of tile, it will never blend in perfectly with its surroundings. Your friends and family may not even notice a repaired area when they come over and swim. It’s completely human to know that a repair was done; even if the difference seems negligible to others, you may think of it as an eyesore every time you see it.

Information to know before planning to repair or replace pool tiles.

  • You may not be able to find new tiles to match the tiles on your pool.
  • Pool tiles fade in color and texture over time.
  • Batches of the exact same tiles from the exact same manufacturer can vary in color.
  • Pool tiles become discontinued regularly.
  • Discontinued pool tiles are often reproduced in a newer tile series at a slightly different size. A 12” x 12” sheet of tile may be turned into a 12.50” x 12.50” sheet.
  • Newly applied tile grout will not match existing tile grout.

A professional should rarely re-use tiles that have fallen off the pool that you may have saved. Tile that has been re-used will generally fall off again in a year or two. If you are okay with a temporary fix, this is fine. A permanent fix is not for everyone and it’s not in everyone’s budget. We would suggest that if you are handy at all, don’t let someone charge you to put back on the same tiles. Most likely, you can easily do it yourself for a lot less money and it will probably look just as good.

Standard pool tile (unless it is a solid 6”x 6” tile) comes on a mesh backing. This mesh backing provides the uniform spacing between the tiles for grout and acts as glue for a stronger bond between the tile and the surface of the pool.

You may have leftover tile from when the pool was built or from the last time the pool was renovated. This tile should still be on its mesh backing. Physically take a piece of the left over tile and line it with the tile on your pool so that you are aware in advance of the difference in color and texture.

If you do not have leftover tiles, you can look at various tile manufacturers by using a search engine on-line for pool tile. You can expect to spend a good amount of time trying to locate your tile, particularly if it has been discontinued. If you cannot find your exact tile, you will want to find a tile that is similar in color or a tile that matches one of the colors of your existing tile if your tile has multiple colors. An experienced installer should be familiar with what tiles have been discontinued and should be able to tell you upon seeing your tile. Sample boards of tile colors may not exactly match the color of the tile ordered for your repair.