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Swimming Pool Tile 101: Glass Pool Tile

Among some of the most popular options for swimming pool finishes is glass swimming pool tile. Many are drawn to glass tile when they are making choices about materiality in their new swimming pool. After all, plaster or concrete is functional and durable, but at face value, it isn’t great to look at.

It’s easy to see why so many people love the idea of glass tile. From its sparkling finish to the wide variety of size, color, and design options on the market, there’s something for every taste and every project. But as is the case with any other outdoor living space, choosing the finish for your pool should not be a choice you make in haste.

Glass pool tile may have plenty of benefits. But glass tile might not always be the right fit for your particular swimming pool. We’re here to answer the question—What are the pros and cons of using glass swimming pool tile?

What are glass swimming pool tiles?

As you likely could deduce from the name, glass swimming pool tile is made from silicate glass material. This is the same silicate glass that manufacturers use in a variety of other applications and products.

Unlike their ceramic or stone counterparts, glass tiles are often small. Most samples contain tiles that are two square inches or smaller. These small tiles knit together to create bright, sparkling, colorful designs, all in different textures and opacities. This action of many small tiles coming together to create one large effect is often why many contractors and marketplaces refer to glass tile as glass “mosaic” tile.

Pros of Glass Pool Tile

The benefits of glass swimming pool tile are notable. Not only is this material beautiful, but it boasts great durability, versatility, and lower maintenance than other pool materials.


When you're spending a chunk of money, you want to be able to feel confident that your purchase will last you a long time. There’s nothing worse than spending a chunk of change on a project that falls apart in a few years time. Luckily, glass pool tiles are incredibly durable.

Glass is a naturally non-permeable material. That means it does not absorb outside elements such as water or chemicals under normal circumstances. In a pool, which is naturally a site of constant moisture, this is huge. The more water resistant your pool tile is, the longer it will hold up.

This durability also stands up during weather extremes. Glass tile performs well in both hot and cold temperatures. It also holds up fairly well in climates where the weather can switch on a dime. Glass pool tiles are with you for the haul, sporting an indefinite lifespan when installed and maintained correctly. 

Low Maintenance

Raise your hand if you love cleaning your pool! We can’t imagine that many hands just went up. For a space you live in, practicality matters. And if you’re anything like us, the required upkeep of your pool is just as important to you as the way that it looks.

It’s hard to enjoy a beautiful pool if you find yourself constantly scrubbing it just to keep it looking great. Thankfully, glass pool tile is a relatively low-maintenance material, and cleans easily.

Because of its impermeability, glass tile is naturally hard to stain. The residue that does build up on its surface can easily be wiped or scrubbed away with mild cleaning solutions and a sponge or cloth.

Highly Versatile


As we mentioned, many designers and homeowners alike love glass pool tile for its versatility. MOre than any other kind of material, glass lends itself to the highest variety of colors and opacities. From classic, translucent blues and green, to striking, opaque blacks, you can achieve almost any look with glass tile.

Furthermore, glass tile can be used all around the pool. It is most commonly seen decorating waterlines, borders, or water features, but can be applied nearly anywhere pool tile is desired.

Undeniably Beautiful

At the end of the day, many homeowners have been sold on glass pool tile purely by falling in love with the way that it looks. Glass tile offers endless colors and patterns, and shines in a way that materials like ceramic or stone simply cannot. Watching the sun shine off of a beautiful glass mosaic feature wall will make almost anyone fall in love with the material.

People may, in fact, be so enraptured by the beauty of glass pool tiles that they forget to weigh the other side of the spectrum. While glass pool tile is great, it isn’t perfect, and there are cons to think about before you dive into the design process.

Cons of Glass Pool Tile

Whether you’re looking to cut costs, or don’t have confidence in your contractor, glass pool tile can present complications if you aren’t aware of potential issues.

Glass Pool Tile Is Really Expensive

More than anything else, the biggest deterrent when finishing a new pool with glass tile is the cost. No matter which way you cut it, it’s simply more expensive to use glass tile in your pool than it is to use stone or ceramic materials. Glass is often regarded by swimming pool contractors as a luxury material. For clients on a budget, it may not ever be suggested by their builder.

Just how expensive is glass pool tile?

Still, there are many companies who produce glass swimming pool tiles which makes for a competitive market. If you’re interested in the material but don’t believe you can afford it, talk to your contractor. They may have a resource that can accommodate your needs.

Complicated Installation

Like we said earlier, glass tile is sometimes considered a luxury material by builders and not just because of its quality. It can also become finicky to install. All tile laying should be done by a qualified professional, but some materials are harder to get right than others.

Intricate tile work done using small glass tiles can be a painstaking process. It may take longer to complete your pool, and finding someone qualified to do the work can be difficult. If you’re dreaming of an intricate glass mosaic for your new swimming pool, make sure you hire a company you trust. Incorrectly installed glass tile can result in breaking, chipping, or design inconsistencies that are not worth the headache, or the impact on your wallet.

Sharp Edges

Glass isn’t known for it’s smooth edges. So it shouldn't come as a shock that cut glass tile doesn’t have a reputation for smooth edges, either. Of course, when properly installed and grouted, glass tile is as smooth underfoot as any other material. However, if cut poorly, or installed incorrectly, you can find yourself with a less than comfortable finish.

This is yet another reason you should take your time before hiring a pool contractor. What seems like a small headache of hunting down a reputable company now can save you a lot of time, money, and heartache down the road.

Glass Swimming Pool Tile—Beautiful, Durable, Expensive

If you’re in the market for a new pool, you will at one point have a discussion about that pool’s material finish. At this point, it’s in your best interest as a consumer to understand the pros and cons of all of the options available.

Glass tile has only grown in popularity for pool constructions over the last few decades, and it’s easy to see why. This material is versatile, durable, and beautiful to look at. Even so, it’s not right for every project.Glass tile doesn’t fit the aesthetic of every outdoor space. Maybe you like the more rustic look of stone, or you appreciate the affordability of ceramic. Whatever your reasons for preferring one or the other may be, making sure you have all the knowledge when picking pool tiles will help you make the right choice for your space.

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