Every year at Danna Pools Inc. we get a ton of people calling because they need their tile replaced. This is a very common problem because the tiles are made out of porcelain or glass and not made out of concrete like the rest of the pool (Click here to see all our Swimming Pool Tile options). Over time these tile will wear away and crack (just like anything) and they will need to be replaced. There are a few different procedures that swimming pool companies can follow when replacing tile, I am going to discuss the procedure that we use. We can break it down to 3 different steps. Each step has its own set of activities to perform. Step 1 would be to remove the old tile, step 2 is to prepare the walls to put on the new tile, and step 3 would be to actually put the tile on the pool.
Removing the old tile is quite easy but can be tedious. First, we start to break any existing tile off of the walls with a chipping hammer. We could use a traditional hammer and chisel to do this but that would take much longer. The only time we would use a traditional hammer and chisel is if we don’t have enough chipping hammers for all the employees on the jobsite. As we are removing the tile, we make sure that all of the original adhesive has been removed as well. When we are done removing the tile, there should be no jagged edges or bumps in the area we need to lay the new tile. We want this area to be as flat as possible.
Next we have to prepare the surface for the new tile. This is a very important step because if the surface is not prepared properly, the new swimming pool tile will not stick and bond correctly to the surface. To begin the prepping, we do a quick check to make sure all of the bumps and edges had been removed during step 1 of the process. Then to finish the prepping process, we use a bonding agent to assure that the mortar will stick to the old surface and keep the tile in the proper place for years to come.
Finally we can set the new tile. We begin by framing the area with 2×4’s. These pieces of wood are in place so that we can set the tile in a straight line. When we start to set the tile, we put some mortar onto the surface of the pool and place the tile on top of the mortar. We then carefully place the tile with a rubber mallet so that the mortar is evenly spread out along the backside of the tile. As we are doing this, we make sure that each and every tile is placed exactly at the level of the wood so that they are all even and straight. If we don’t set the tile properly there are a few things that can happen. First, you could get air pockets behind the tile which would cause moisture to build up. This could pop the tile off of the wall. Second, if we don’t set the tile to the wood line, we could end up setting the tile crooked and that would not look very nice when your pool is all said and done.