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Mosaic Tile Care

How to: Cleaning and Maintenance

The waterline of a pool is an area which needs regular cleaning and maintenance. This area is where the dirt, debris, body oils, sunscreens etc. settle if they aren’t removed. If there is a chemical imbalance in the pool, then the waterline is also where these chemicals can become baked on by the sun onto your waterline.

A glass or ceramic mosaic waterline tile has practical benefits; protecting the pool interior render from staining in the waterline area and facilitating greater ease of cleaning. However, unless regular attention is paid to maintaining this area, a build-up of calcium deposits and/or dirt will occur. To avoid difficult to remove marks, regular cleaning and accurate chemical balance is necessary.

TIP: Always start your cleaning in an affected but inconspicuous area of the waterline, as trial and error may need to occur.

Regular cleaning with a soft cloth is recommended when you see a scum line appearing. It is easiest to do this whilst you are in the pool!

If you notice a white or light grey deposit forming (in all likelihood it is calcium scale), the sooner you clean it the better, as it is quite difficult to remove if it hardens. We also suggest that this is a good time to contact your pool shop/ pool maintenance service to check your pool’s water chemistry as ordinarily calcium should stay in solution. If it has hardened a little, you may need to use a green kitchen scourer to gently scrub the waterline. Specific tile and grout cleaners (check with your Pool Shop) can also be used.

If a hard, white/grey crust has already formed along the waterline, it is quite difficult to remove and you should consult your pool maintenance shop, as they can help with determining what has caused this to form by conducting a pool water test and therefore provide advice about the appropriate removal technique. The unfortunate truth is: there is no super easy solution and it requires a little ‘elbow grease’. Some items you may find useful to have on hand: 3M plastic scourer, plastic or nylon brush, magic eraser, soft scrub pad, specialised erasers. If in doubt, get your pool water tested and ask your local pool shop/pool maintenance service to advise the best course of action based on your unique circumstances.

What is the chemical balance of your pool made up of?

As well as sanitisation (i.e. chlorine levels), you also need to chemically balance your pool water. The chemical balance of your pool is made up of:

  • pH (acidity/alkalinity level)
  • total alkalinity (TA)
  • calcium hardness
How often should I check my pool's chemical levels?
Testing pool water with a test tube and reagent

Testing pool water with a test tube and reagent

Obviously your goal is to maintain a pool in which your water is balanced. However, it is important to keep an eye on it as it may be in balance one day and then it won’t be the next (i.e. this could be caused by lots of rain, topping up the pool water with tap water, high bather load etc.).

You should monitor your chlorine and pH levels at least once a week, or every day if your pool is in high use. Total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels can be monitored less frequently. You should test for Calcium Hardness levels when your pool is first started up and at least twice a year after that.

What are some symptoms of common pool water balance problems?

Corrosive water – corrosive water is caused by the following factors:  low pH, low calcium hardness and/or low Total Alkalinity (TA) or a combination of these factors. Corrosive water will reduce the strength of the grout and tile adhesive which may cause the tiles to fail down the track. Corrosive water also affects the longevity of pebble or render pools. Therefore, regardless of which interior finish you choose, it is important to maintain correct water chemistry, as damage caused by corrosive water can be very expensive to rectify.

Scaling water – scaling water is caused by leaving the pool water with a high pH or high calcium hardness or high Total Alkalinity (TA) or a combination of these factors. As a result a calcium scale can deposit over the pool interior surface and internal pool fittings. If left to harden, this scale can be difficult to remove. Sometimes the only option to restore water balance is to discard some of your pool water and refill with fresh water.  N.B.  Most home pool test kits don’t test for calcium hardness so you need to take a pool water sample to your pool shop for testing. You should test for Calcium Hardness levels when your pool is first started up and at least twice a year after that.

Maintaining correct water chemistry is essential to maximize the life of your pool interior. Please consult your local pool shop or mobile pool service professional for advice and assistance with re-balancing your pool if the water has become corrosive or scale forming.

Where can I find more information about pool water chemistry?

A quick internet search will provide plenty of detailed information on pool water chemistry and show you that water can be corrosive, balanced or scale forming. Please also consult your local pool shop or mobile pool service professional for advice and assistance with maintaining a balanced pool.

Can I empty my pool?

Yes you can but it is not a good idea to leave a concrete pool with an interior finish empty for lengthy periods i.e. over 3 days as this may expose it to significant temperature variations for which the tile adhesive, grout and pool interior may not be designed to withstand.

Are chipped glass tiles considered defects?

Slight chipping in glass tiles is inherent of the product and not considered a defect. These chips normally get filled with grout and are barely noticeable once laid.

Are cracked glass tiles considered defects?

Some glass mosaics exhibit hairline cracking on the surface of the tile. This is not considered a defect, provided the crack does not go through the body of the tile causing the tile to separate into two pieces. This effect is a result of the manufacturing process and is most prevalent in tiles with a pearl effect. When made, the molten glass mosaic is sprayed with a titanium dioxide solution. As the titanium dioxide solution is significantly cooler than the glass mosaic, hairline cracks will occasionally form in the surface layer of the mosaic. This is common and inherent in all pearl glass mosaics sold the world over.  Similarly, marble look glass mosaics can also exhibit hairline cracks where two different colours of glass meet at the surface.  All hairline cracks will become more pronounced over time as the crack collects dust and sunscreen.

What is Meshless® technology?

 The Pool Tile Company’s Meshless® technology is a state of the art tile sheeting system that the swimming pool tile industry has needed for decades.

What is Meshless® technology?

Each mosaic piece is joined to the next with polyurethane adhesive that will not re-emulsify in water. This means that our Meshless® sheeting system will help to hold the tiles in place even if insufficient tile adhesive is under a tile.

Why use Meshless® technology?

Adherence: The glue pattern and quantity of the glue in the sheeting system is designed to provide adequate open area of glass in line with AS 3958.1 2007 PART 1. This will ensure that the mosaics are able to be held in place by the tiler’s adhesive and grout.

No Residue

There is no residue from adhesive on the face of the tiles as there often is with paper faced mosaics once the paper has been removed.

You will notice that minimal polyurethane adhesive protrudes into the grout joint. This means that our Meshless® system will not have problems with grout breaking down or falling out which can occur with the silicon dot system.

100% Grout Area

The grout joint is set at 2mm, which is the perfect size for pools as the joints remain wide enough when the sheets are laid into the floor to wall joint.

No Istallation Issues

The advantages of this Meshless® system is it substantially reduce installation issues and ensures that our mosaics are suitable for use in swimming pools, spas and other areas where mosaics are submerged in water.

The Pool Tile Company offer a wide range of stunning colours and blends in glass mosaics to cater for everyone’s tastes.

Wide range of colours available

For further technical information about our Meshless® system please email