Please help me choose my tile, coping and stone (pics included)

dprorie

Active member
May 18, 2020
41
Texas
Are you happy with your selection? What could you have changed?
The tiles I chose have a blend of turquoise and deep blue and every tile is different (some have more blue, some have more turquoise). I'm happy with my selection; however, I'm not happy with the placement of the tiles. We're having them replace about 7 of them to create a more cohesive look in one section where the tiles all look the same. If I could do it again, I would have gone through the boxes and placed them in the order I wanted them installed. Seriously... 😅
 

dprorie

Active member
May 18, 2020
41
Texas
And to reiterate what Kim said above, when the time comes you'll want to be all over the installation. Be sure you don't get a batch that doesn't actually match your selection. Color lots can vary wildly with stone. That happens a lot. They may even ask you to sign a release about it, in advance. Be careful of how that might read. Don't give up your right of refusal. Sort out the ugly ones. The installers might not care to do that. I've advised some, who were like me and hypercritical, to actually set out the stones around the pool in the way they want them installed. Making sure two together don't look weird, or variants in colors aren't bunched together, etc. Putting the nicest looking ones in the high-vis areas, and the lesser ones where they won't be seen as much, etc. A craftsman setter would be doing all that for you, but that's not likely what you'll get now-a-days. It's a lost art now that profit is king. Don't be shy. Make sure they do it the way you like. Ignore the dirty looks you might get. Ply them with snacks and drinks: "Keep the talent happy." Remember, they'll be done and gone and forget about their workmanship, good or bad, about five minutes down the road. You'll have to live with their work for years and years. That one ugly stone they might slip in will drive you nuts forever!! (Sorry, I'm projecting! ;) )

When I had my pool redone, I picked out all the little step markers. Rejected all the ones I didn't like, and worked right next to the setter, placing each one, one by one, exactly how I wanted them. I was super polite, and he was nice enough about it. I kinda had a feeling he appreciated at least some of what I was doing, because I couldn't later come back and complain, and it alleviated him from the decision making process. Plus, it was fun having a hand in my pool resurface design!

It's supposed to be fun, by the way!! :)
Yes, this, exactly.
 

dprorie

Active member
May 18, 2020
41
Texas
@Dirk I wish I had read this on Friday, the day before you wrote it. I thought I was crazy for wanting to do that this past weekend, and it would have saved me a lot of headache, issues with the mason thinking I was crazy, and now what will be annoyance with myself that I did not do it, because I have to look at it forever. I had 2 ugly sheets sitting on top and outside of the box that I wanted the mason to use for my samples which he'd promised to do first thing Monday morning. I was on some calls that morning, and I walked out and he'd already tiled the most prominent parts of the pool that we see from our windows and our porch, right in the middle of our yard, in the spa, with the ugly stuff!! And still had not done the grout samples (which he'd promised to do last Friday). ARGH. I tried explaining the issue (also those tiles had been left out in a surprise rain shower over the weekend, because I'd had them sitting out on the spa ledges so I could see them). In front of me, he called the foreman, and told him I was a lady who was crazy in the head (and I always speak Spanish to him, so he couldn't have thought I wouldn't know what he was saying).

Wish I had been reading the forum this weekend and seen these comments here. They are exactly how I felt about the coping and the tiles, and I am a perfectionist with myself... I would have felt so much more reasonable if I had known that others actually do this. I told my husband that I bought 40 extra square feet of tile and wanted to spend the weekend going through it and setting bad ones aside. I wish I had now; in fact, i wish I had replaced individual squares of the one color in the blend that I don't like. ARGH. I could have easily done that. Now I will kick myself forever. They have not grouted yet, but we are already weeks overdue and want it done. Would you have them replace them every few feet throughout? I just posted about grout and think I remember that you are the grout expert. Is there any chance you could take a look? The pattern is very big... not even always repeating every square foot.
I’m right here with you! Like Dirk suggested, I’ve asked for things to be changed. I’m always polite, but the foreman knows I’m not taking no for an answer. We’re spending way too much money for it to have flaws that will bother us every time we look at it. I’m having them replace tile for the second time because I don’t like the placement. I tried to ignore it and my husband tried convincing me that it wasn’t a big deal, but it is a big deal to me. If I ever build a pool again, I will do what Dirk did and be more hands on when tile and stone is being installed.
 
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cgtx

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
33
Austin/TX
On the flip side, you have to also manage your expectations. Don't make yourself crazy, as likely only you will see a lot of what you think is glaring. But that's OK, it's your pool and you don't want anything etched in stone (literally) that is going to drive you nuts.

And just to pile on, this is a little obscure, but something to consider as you ask for tile swaps. When a pool is still and you're back a ways (like looking from the house, for example), you don't see the entire waterline tile. You only see the top half of it, and it's reflection in the water. So if you have something off-putting going on above the water line, you'll see it twice: half the tile on top and its reflection below. For some tile patterns, this is a non-issue, for others it can make for some weird effects. So there's that.

Just be reasonable, and if you can't get the setter to work with you, I'm with Kim and think you can ask to work with someone else. Who cares if these "strangers" think you're crazy. You're holding the money which means you're holding the cards.
Thank you so much. I was just feeling like I should settle and leave it, but I think it would be worth it to switch out about 7 tiles already done. ALSO: I have been wondering how significant the tile below the waterline will be. This is helpful. You read my mind! I am doing a white bottom pool, as light as they offer, Arctic White in Pebble Sheen, so I have felt that it will likely hide fewer issues than even a moderately blue pool, and that it also made my tile selection in general much more crucial. There are many more tiles I’d have considered had I done even a light blue pool, but as white as they come feels like there is more perceived “pressure.” Does knowing that change anything about what you said regarding waterline? Thanks so much! I can’t believe how helpful you all are- I am so grateful. Off to jump on school Zoom and work more sheets. :).
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,164
Central California
I don't think the color of the pool matters per se. It's how you feel about the end result collectively that matters, not just about tile or stone. Little flaws, in whatever shape or form, can haunt you, and now's the time, before your PB is done (and more importantly before that last installment is paid) to ask for corrections. And that covers "flaws" that the PB did correctly but you just don't like. Ones that you might/should pay for.

That said, no pool will be perfect. It's such a huge job with so many moving parts that 100% perfection is a somewhat impossible expectation. Be fair, and expect to have a few things that you'll have to live with. Every pool, like every person, will have a "birthmark" or two. It's part of their character! You don't love your children or spouses any less for theirs, same with your pool! Even having arranged the step markers myself, there are a couple now that stick out to me that I would have done differently. Oh well, birthmarks!
 
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Watershow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
109
Riverside County, CA
Hi Dirk,
Are you familiar with Davis colors for colored concrete and coping? I’m having a hard time choosing the right gray color for my tile/ledger selection. There seems to be so much color variation depending on the finish that I can’t seem to figure out what the true color will be without a sealer/finish. I would like a light gray color but their light gray is more of a dark gray. My PBs doesn’t have most of the gray color samples so I’m kinda stuck comparing them to the chart, and online for samples and pictures.

On the flip side, you have to also manage your expectations. Don't make yourself crazy, as likely only you will see a lot of what you think is glaring. But that's OK, it's your pool and you don't want anything etched in stone (literally) that is going to drive you nuts.

And just to pile on, this is a little obscure, but something to consider as you ask for tile swaps. When a pool is still and you're back a ways (like looking from the house, for example), you don't see the entire waterline tile. You only see the top half of it, and it's reflection in the water. So if you have something off-putting going on above the water line, you'll see it twice: half the tile on top and its reflection below. For some tile patterns, this is a non-issue, for others it can make for some weird effects. So there's that.

Just be reasonable, and if you can't get the setter to work with you, I'm with Kim and think you can ask to work with someone else. Who cares if these "strangers" think you're crazy. You're holding the money which means you're holding the cards.
 

Watershow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
109
Riverside County, CA
What was their reaction when you wanted to change the placement of tiles? How did you go about asking? Need some tips just in case this happens.

The tiles I chose have a blend of turquoise and deep blue and every tile is different (some have more blue, some have more turquoise). I'm happy with my selection; however, I'm not happy with the placement of the tiles. We're having them replace about 7 of them to create a more cohesive look in one section where the tiles all look the same. If I could do it again, I would have gone through the boxes and placed them in the order I wanted them installed. Seriously... 😅
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,164
Central California
Hi Dirk,
Are you familiar with Davis colors for colored concrete and coping? I’m having a hard time choosing the right gray color for my tile/ledger selection. There seems to be so much color variation depending on the finish that I can’t seem to figure out what the true color will be without a sealer/finish. I would like a light gray color but their light gray is more of a dark gray. My PBs doesn’t have most of the gray color samples so I’m kinda stuck comparing them to the chart, and online for samples and pictures.
Hmm, sorry no. I always caution folks, though, not to try to pick out colors from a printed chart or online. That's a sure fire way to get stung. Especially on a computer monitor. I design on a computer and I've spared no expense to color-calibrate my monitors. I even work in a totally grey environment to minimize the influence any surrounding colors would have on my eyes. And even then I only get an approximation. Most computer monitor colors are off a little, some by quite a lot. When I was picking my pebble color, I went to my contractor's show room. This after she came to my pool with color samples (I was redoing existing plaster.) They had a dozen pools and each of those had an assortment of finishes. Very cool. The woman helping me with color selection brought even more samples outside, by the water, and wetted them down (that's where I learned that trick), but it was still a struggle. In frustration we both gave up, she goes "I know what you want." and I left it at that! And she nailed it. Which is a long lead in to the only other advice I can offer: find a pro that understands some or all of the concepts I've been sharing: about the way color is affected by surroundings and conditions and let that pro help you translate your vision into your back yard. They're supposed to know how to do that, after all. To others I've suggested bringing to such a person some objects that convey your vision. It might be a photo, or a magazine page, or a fabric or whatever. You hand it over and say "Make my pool feel like that!" You might get a blank stare, but you might find someone that really knows their stuff and can help you decide. That worked for me.

Regarding the samples and the sealer... I have a stone guy that works for very high-end clients. He'll prepare a sample board of a number of stones, each treated differently with various stains and sealers, to present his clients with some options, and also to satisfy himself how his chemicals are going to affect a given variety of stone. That's high-end service, and that's the right way to do it. Not sure if PBs ever go to those lengths, but it's possible I suppose, if you ask.

Sorry, not much help...
 
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dprorie

Active member
May 18, 2020
41
Texas
What was their reaction when you wanted to change the placement of tiles? How did you go about asking? Need some tips just in case this happens.
This is the second time I’ve had them change out tiles. They’ve been great about it both times. I’m sure they’re talking about me behind my back but that’s ok. I’ll give them a case of beer next week. 😁
 
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