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Who's Making the Pool Tile Selection?

Generally speaking, an owner’s representative such as a designer or architect will bring material selections to an owner, particularly on larger estate projects, but on occasion an owner will be more directly involved by shopping on their own. As it typically goes, the client (owner or owner’s representative) will bring pertinent information to the vendor, such as, “We’re looking for a tile that’s approved for swimming pools,” and the vendor will point them to a multitude of possibilities. Selections are made and, assuming the tile is approved for submerged applications, all is good.

Vendors make their living by supplying and selling material and responsible vendors do their best to point customers in the right direction but who gives them their information? Technical information that comes directly from the manufacturer is without a doubt superior to what the vendor might hear from a broker who may not really understand the physical properties of the material they are selling. But even when the vendor is using manufacturer data to advise the customer, a prudent buyer must still be cautious in obtaining enough discernible information to hand over to the installer. Quality tile installation systems are numerous, but any deviation from what a manufacturer recommends can mean forfeiting a warranty, even if the system is equal to or superior to what the manufacturer suggests.

Unfortunately, the tile installer, who holds the most responsibility for delivering a long lasting, quality product, is generally at the bottom of the totem pole with regard to input on tile selection.

This is where third-party product verification is advised, not only for vetting the tile selection but also interpreting installation instructions and recommending installation systems. With the variety of pool tile designs to choose from, along with a multitude of installation systems available, things can get more than a little confusing, even for seasoned specifiers who search diligently for the best of the best materials to use on a project. Third-party product verification by a professional who is familiar with pools, tile, and installations systems can offer a unique overview of a project, helping end users verify compatibility of tile and installation systems as they pertain to the environments they will be subjected to.

For more information, see The Players in Pool Tile Selection.