Swimming pool tiling

New Bremnes Ungdomsskule pool delivers a complete tile concept using Rako’s Object collection.

By Ann Simms, Annagram for Rako.

Tiling of swimming pools requires the same skills, techniques and, generally, product types, as tiling any other type of floor or wall. The obvious exception to this is the importance of waterproofing and, here, correct preparation is absolutely vital.

Before tiling begins, the shell has to be watertight, which means that it needs to be designed and installed in accordance with BS 8007: 1987. Timing will be important, to avoid being affected by the shrinkage that occurs as concrete or screed dries. If tiling directly onto new concrete, this base material will need to be at six weeks old before work begins. If tiling is not to be direct, the surface must be readied for a new screed, which should be applied when the shell is a minimum of six weeks old. The screed will then need an additional three weeks to dry and cure before tiling can begin.

There will not usually be a need for priming, unless the surface is very porous. However, the concrete surface will need to be mechanically keyed and thoroughly cleaned to ensure that it is free of any contaminants. T hese could include laitance or concrete curing compounds.

Their removal may require pressure washing or even shot blasting.

In general, a polymer-modified adhesive is recommended for pools. When choosing the adhesive and grout, consideration needs to be given to the pool water and any cleaners that may be used during the pool’s lifetime. If it seem likely that there will be consistent use of chemicals that are aggressive to cement-based compounds, specifiers should always seek professional advice from the adhesive manufacturer.

If the pool water is likely to be hard, a polymer-modified cementitious-based grout may be used. Movement joints, in accordance with BS 5385: Part 4 ,should be fitted, with their location having been finalised before tiling begins. Once the pool has been tiled and grouted, it should be left for at least three weeks before being filled slowly with water and heated.

Swimming pool tile specification
The selection of a suitable ceramic tile for any swimming pool depends on the location and application. For swimming pools and interior pool sides Rako recommends two solid ranges (Pool and Color Two) and two vitrified tile ranges (Taurus and Kentaur) which should be specified according to the selected design and projected load.

For outdoor swimming pools, tiles with a high degree of frost resistance must be chosen. For step-down baths, Rako’s Pool range of ceramic tiles are suitable. For pool sides, Rako recommends Kentaur vitrified glazed tiles or unglazed Taurus tiles. For walls and floors of pools deeper than 1.35 metres, glazed solid tiles with a smooth surface are ideal.

For poolside floors, it is essential to select floor tiles with specific anti-slip properties. In public swimming pools, water parks, rehabilitation centers, spas, saunas, showers, etc., it is necessary to respect the requirements of standards and regulations set out in EN 13451-1. This sets out the general safety requirements, test methods, and recommended uses for swimming pool equipment.

Installation instructions
Pools installations present specific challenges, particularly in the areas of insulation and ceramic tiles fixing, because they are exposed to constant water pressure, and have to be able to withstand periodic sanitation. To deliver a successful solution always requires expertise and professionally prepared design documentation. Heavy demands are put on every component of the pool structure, starting with the preparation of a base structure, and ending with the final surface finish.

The base must meet the characteristics required by design documentation and relevant standards. The base must be allowed to dry fully, with a maximum residual moisture of 4 %.

In addition, the tear-off resistance value must be 1.5 MPa as a minimum. The flatness deviation of the base must not exceed 2mm across a 2 metre straight edge. In the case of uneven surface, the surface must be leveled using a suitable filler (such as LE 21), followed by a surface sealant (such as EM 10) for layers from 1 to 15mm thick. For surfaces exhibiting greater deviation, from 2 to 35mm, a suitable repair compound (such as MO 50) should be used. MO 35 Quick can be used for fast local repair. Prior to apllication, the concrete surface must be treated with PE 201.

Rako recommends that insulation is carried out using SE 6 material in three layers, with a total thickness of 3mm. This material creates a permanent flexible insulating layer that is resistant to the water pressure. The time interval between application of individual layers is 4 to 6 hours. A SE 5 bandage should be inserted into the insulation layer in order to reinforce internal corners and other surface details.

Leakage and flood tests should then be performed prior to further work. The insulation system is ready to undergo the flood test after seven days, although if SE Mach 3 insulating material is used, this can be reduced to three days.

UK agents
Annagram International Trading Solutions
T: 01803 315520
Graham Simms
M: +44 (0) 7780 000713
Ann Simms
M:+44 (0) 7815 852286
E: admin@annagramits.co.uk