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Tiling swimming pools

Swimming – and other types of pools are the ultimate wet areas for tiling. It is important to specify the appropriate materials to achieve a durable installation. Once filled, it is not easy to make significant repairs without taking them out of service for long periods.

Problem

Immersion in water requires adhesive unaffected by water

In a pool, water is almost certain to penetrate the grout joints. Cement-based grouts are porous and allow water to soak through. Even when an epoxide-resin grout is used, it cannot be guaranteed that all of the joints are perfectly filled.

The consequence is that:

  • The bond strength of the tile adhesive must not be affected by continuous immersion in water.
  • The pool must have a waterproof shell or layer behind the tiles.

Initial movement due to weight of water and heat

The pool will be tiled when it is empty. Once the pool is filled there will be some movement due to the effect of water pressure on the walls and the overall weight of water in the pool. After filling, the water will be brought up to normal pool temperature and this will cause some further movements in the overall structure.

The affect of pool chemistry on the grout

Chemicals added to the pool water tend to degrade cement-based grouts. This is minimised if the pH balance is maintained at the ideal levels but the choice of grout and its chemical resistance are important factors for the durability of the installation.

Certain areas are exposed to additional wear and tear

Certain parts of the pool are exposed to more aggressive conditions than others. The grout on the pool sides at the waterline may be exposed to greater erosion from water movement. Pool surrounds may undergo stringent and frequent cleaning regimes. Walls in rooms containing pools will be exposed to constantly high humidity and also need to have good water resistance.

Solution

There are several solutions depending on the level of durability required and these are outlined as a hierarchy below. Of course there are intermediate levels, for example using weber.set Wall ‘n Floor WB11 and weber.grout Acid-resistant Grout WB235.

Preparation

The pool shell must be allowed to cure for at least 6 weeks before rendering/screeding and then at least another 3 weeks must be allowed before commencing tiling. The pool shell must be watertight in its own right by priming with weber.prim Plaskey WB250 and weber.ad Key-it WB117. Ensure that the surface is sound, clean, dry and free from dust, laitance etc.

Standard solution

Fix the tiles with weber.set Ceramic S or weber.set Ceramic L mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183. Allow the adhesive to cure for at least 3 days, then grout with weber.grout Tile grout WB33 mixed only with weber.ad Bond-it WB183.

Improved-resistance solution

Fix the tiles with weber.set Porcelain Rapid 12 mixed only with weber.ad Bond-it WB183. Allow the adhesive to cure for at least 3 days, then grout with weber.grout Acidresistant Grout WB235. Fix the tiles with weber.set Quick Set 6 mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183. Allow the adhesive to cure for at least 3 days, then grout with weber.grout Acid-resistant Grout WB235 mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183. When fixing sheets of mosaic tiles, it is also possible to fix and grout simultaneously.

Putting the pool into service

Allow at least 3 weeks after finishing grouting before filling the pool. Fill the pool at a rate of no more than 0.75 m of depth per day, to allow any movement to take place slowly. Bring the pool gradually up to temperature, at a rate of 0.25ºC per hour.

Solution with the following weber products

Solution 1

weber.grout Acid-resistant WB235

A cement-based chemical-resistant grout. (4 -15 mm joint width) for walls and floors.

weber.set Ceramic S

A cement-based tile adhesive for small format Ceramic tiles (smaller than or equal to 420 x 420 mm)

Weber. set Multi fix

A cement-based, thick and thin (3-20 mm) bed tile adhesive for the fixing of ceramic and hard body ceramic tiles to walls and floors.

weber.set Porcelain Rapid 12

A high strength, rapid setting tile adhesive for Porcelain tiles.

weber.set Quick Set 6

A high strength, quick setting cement-based tile adhesive for all tiles.

weber.ad Key-It WB117

A latex-based liquid primer and keying agent specifically formulated for use with weber.prim Plaskey WB250 onto gypsum and cement surfaces.

weber.grout Tile Grout WB33

A cement-based grout for tile joints on walls and floors. (2 - 8 mm joint width)

weber.prim Plaskey WB250

Cement-based primer and surface preparation.

weber.ad Bond-It WB183

A latex-based liquid additive specifically formulated for use with Weber’s cement-based adhesives and grouts.