Waterline tiles - keep level, or marry with coping?

tomfrh

Well-known member
Jan 30, 2018
541
Australia
I am about to retile our waterline with black mosaic tiles. The pool is 12m x 4m (40ft x 13 ft). Three sides are straight, and one long side has curves.

Due to the existing concrete structure levels the pavers/coping are 10mm (3/8 inch) higher at the shallow end. I am wondering how best to align the waterline tiles so as to absorb this 10mm.

If I keep the new tiles dead level there will be an extra 10mm grout width between tiles and coping at one end of the pool. Alternatively I could slope/transition the tile levels in some way so as to eliminate some (or all) of the 10mm, to maintain a more consistent gap between coping and tiles.

I may be overthinking it, as the existing waterline tile lines have up to +25mm differences in some areas! (e.g. the tile lines between the weir and the coping). I never noticed until we drained the pool and I got my laser level out! Admittedly this occurs in curved sections where it's less obvious.

Any advice would be helpful!
 
Last edited:

jp4LSU

Active member
Jun 22, 2021
38
DFW, TX
Was this very noticeable before with the old tile? The PB initially should've done a better job at leveling that. I'm building a new pool (gunite) and tile and coping went in this week. I might need to double check this.
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,715
West Palm Beach/Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I would keep the tiles level with the coping. Make sure that the tiles extend at least 3 inches (or even deeper) below the waterline. You are less likely to notice the unevenness below the waterline than above it.

But this is just my very personal opinion. This opinion will vary on the size of the tiles as well.
 

tomfrh

Well-known member
Jan 30, 2018
541
Australia
Was this very noticeable before with the old tile? The PB initially should've done a better job at leveling that. I'm building a new pool (gunite) and tile and coping went in this week. I might need to double check this.
It’s not that noticeable because the wall is curving around in that area.

See the old tiles here. The lowest tiles occur at the top of the step. The tile line ramps up quickly by 25mm to match the weir level, as presumably the tiler didn’t want to leave half tiles at The weir.

There’s up to 10 mm difference along the straight runs too, which again I never noticed until I got the laser out.

E4AA73DC-680E-4702-B46B-55EEA9DAF09D.jpeg
The spa tiles and the weir tiles are new, which I’ll be continuing into the pool.
 

tomfrh

Well-known member
Jan 30, 2018
541
Australia
Tiles should be laid level with the water level. Anything else will look absolutely awful!
I guess my question is how level is level? Should I really be aiming for 1mm level accurate over 12m? Seems a bit overkill when I could be absorbing some of the 10mm difference and leaving a more consistent gap.

I suspect I’ll split it half way, and add an extra 1-2 mm here and there in corners/transition zones. As noted above the old tiler got away with 25mm and I never even noticed!
 

tomfrh

Well-known member
Jan 30, 2018
541
Australia
I’ve subsequently retiled the waterline. Kept it within +/- 2mm, which in retrospect is plenty accurate enough over 10+ meters.

my neighbours just had their waterline professionally retiled and it varies 10mm over 10m. It looks fine.