Pool Renovation Basics – Water Color and Tile

Pool Renovation Basics - Water Color

Did you know that water in your pool is actually clear? With multiple wavelengths of light, some are absorbed and others are reflected off the pool water to create the color we see! Simply moving to different locations around the pool changes the water color due to the angle the light hits the water! The photo receptors in our eyes process light waves to produce electrical signals in the brain. Water color is unique to each of us, so how one person sees the pool will be different than the next. Additionally, 50% of women have an extra photo receptor that gives them a heightened color sense and the ability to see rare subtleties of color. How do you choose what is right for your pool?

In addition to understanding how we see color and that each person viewing your pool will see it differently, there are several questions that should be considered. Are you more concerned with the water color at a distance or close-up? Some of the most striking blue waters are achieved using gray pigments. However, up close in the shallow areas of the pools, such as steps and sun shelves, the grey finish will be more prominent. Additionally, the pebbles, quartz, or glass in the finishes are only seen when up close to the pool. Next, do you want your pool to really stand out against the surroundings or be more subdued and blend with the areas around the pool? Once you have those questions answered, there are five key variables that influence water color:

Five Key Variables

  • Size/Depth - the deeper a pool the more refraction resulting in richer and darker water color.
  • Surrounding materials - the color and quantity of hardscape and foliage/landscaping around the pool affects water color.
  • Sunlight - pool water changes color throughout the day depending on the amount of sunlight. Full sun refracts more light enhancing the water color, while shaded pool water via trees, structures or clouds makes the water appear more clear.
  • Water Chemistry - water color will fluctuate based on the balance of the water. Additionally, if well water is used in the pool, metals in the water will affect the water color.
  • Preconceived Ideas - when you view photos of pools or see a pool in person, keep in mind these factors and how your pool compares - amount of sun/shading, size and color of hardscape/landscape, size and depth of the pool.

Keep in mind, once the new surface has been installed, your pool will not match any other pool you have seen. Every pool is unique in color based on all these factors. Since the surface is hand-troweled during the installation process, each application will likely be a little different than the one before.

To learn more about pool finishes and how to select the right color for your pool, contact our Renovation Department.

Pool Renovation Basics - Tile


As discussed last month, the best time to replace the pool tile is while the surface is being replaced. Waterline tile is typically six inches in height positioned above the plaster and below the coping and can be done in several ways - one 6” tile, two 3” tiles, two 3”, six 1”, or a range of mosaic or combination of sizes or designs. Tile can also be on raised walls, around the outside of spas, on negative/infinity edges, and several other locations in and around the pool.

There are many options with tile ranging from standard porcelain and affordable glass to custom glass. Based on the design of the pool and the amount of tile that will be visible, the tile choice will vary. Waterline tile is normally half submerged in water, allowing only the top 3 inches to be visible. Tile on a raised spa or raised wall will always be visible. If the pool only has waterline tile, an option is to select a tile that will blend with the water color so it almost disappears or be a similar color as the coping for the same reason. Another choice would be to let the tile be the item that really pops out visually to grab the eye when looking at the pool. When there is tile that will be always visible, that wall of tile becomes the focal point so selecting a tile that enhances your style and the entire outdoor living area is key. There are many glass tiles that have a iridescent effect which changes based on the angle of light. The ever-changing appearance adds additional beauty to your pool area!

Bottom line - select a tile that enhances the pool environment and provides a base for all other outdoor living items.

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