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Swimming Pool Tile 101: Stone Pool Tile

In our introduction to swimming pool tile, we briefly mentioned the three most popular kinds of pool tile on the market—glass tile, ceramic swimming pool tile, and the focus of this article, stone pool tile.

Stone has been popular for outdoor hardscaping for years. From patios to walkways, homeowners have loved the upscale, organic look of stone for as long as landscape design has existed. So, when residential pools came into fashion, it’s logical that stone pool tile became popular as well.

While it is true that stone tile offers most projects a far more organic look, the variety of stones used mean it can flex from modern to rustic designs. If you’re deciding whether or not stone pool tile is right for your swimming pool, consider the following.

What is stone pool tile?

Stone pool tile is any swimming pool tile that is manufactured using a natural stone type. Types of stone can vary widely, but popular choices include granite, limestone, sandstone, marble, slate, and quartz.

Depending on the cut of stone, a wide range of finishes can be achieved in stone tile. While most ceramic and glass pool tile is created in geometric shapes, stone tile is often found in more organic cuts.

Shape and finish of the tile varies depending on their application. For example, stone pool tile used for the waterline will differ from that used on a pool deck. Some smaller tile options may come attached to mesh.

Pros of Stone Pool Tile

Highly Durable

One of the main benefits of using stone pool tile is the durability of the material. Depending on the stone chosen, this option can be highly durable when well taken care of. Stone options such as slate, granite, or even some specially treated cuts of travertine are water and chemical resistant enough to be used inside and around the pool.

Great for organic designs

Stone can give a natural look that doesn’t come as easily with materials like glass or ceramic tile. More rustic designs lend themselves to the look of granite and slate. Whether you’re looking to finish a natural pool, or have opted for more of an organic, freeform shape, stone pool tile is a perfect option.

Versatile

Although natural stone is most often associated with more organic or rustic designs, the versatility of stone pool tile lends itself to many different designs. Depending on the stone of your choice, you can make stone tile details fit well in almost any landscape design aesthetic.

Not only can the look of stone pool tile flex to fit your needs, but it is a material that is applicable in many different areas of the pool. Great for waterline tile, pool steps, and beach entries, stone tile can be used across the board.

They Retain Heat

One of the last benefits to using stone pool tile is that the material retains heat. If you don’t want to spend extra money to heat your pool, using material that retains heat can help to make your pool more comfortable for use year round. When working in conjunction with a quality pool cover, you can work to circumvent some of the expense of heating your pool.

Cons of Stone Pool Tile

stone pool tile

While stone tile is solid, dependable, and shines in organic and roman style pool designs, it does have a list of downsides that prevent it from becoming more popular with pool builders and homeowners.

Need More Frequent Upkeep

While some stones are more impervious than others, all natural stone has some level of porosity. In order to use stone pool tile, the tile is sealed after installation. To prevent water damage or staining, these tiles need to be resealed every couple of years, unlike glass or ceramic.

If you fail to reseal, the tiles can become vulnerable to staining. The longer this goes on, the harder they may become to clean. This is a downside for homeowners who don’t like the idea of continuous tile maintenance.

Price

Natural stone is expensive in any application. From indoor countertops, to patios and flooring, natural stone can be pricey depending on what you buy. While not as expensive as luxury glass pool tile, stone pool tile is nothing to scoff at. Pricing estimates for stone pool tile ranges from $5 to $30 per square foot, depending on the exact material.

Less Comfortable Underfoot

In many ways, a tile that retains heat is great to maintain the temperature of your pool water. But when stone is used on the pool deck, it can begin to retain too much heat, and become uncomfortable underfoot. Also notable is that unfinished or more rustic cuts of stone may remain rough. This can be uncomfortable to walk or sit on.

Stone Pool Tile—Natural, Durable, More Difficult to Maintain

Of the three main pool tile varieties available on the market today, stone tile stands out for it’s unique finish. Offering versatility and natural appeal that isn’t accessible with glass or ceramic, stone is a great choice for those looking to add a more organic touch to a modern backyard space.

While there are a lot of good things about stone pool tile, there are drawbacks to consider. From more frequent maintenance to less comfort underfoot, make sure you research what type of stone you are interested in before committing.

Looking to learn more about swimming pool tiles? Check out our other articles on the subject, here.

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