Pool Info: Tile Repair
Tile patterns have come a long way from the 6" x 6" blue standard. Tiles from all over the world give us an endless palette of color, shapes and sizes. Pool tile differs from bathroom tile in that it is formulated to be frost free. It is more than likely that your tile is six inches in height, although it occasionally is installed in 12" depths. Sometimes, they just continue it down and all the way across the pool or spa. Tile provides an attractive accent to the pool's edge while allowing for an easily cleanable surface to catch oil and dirt. Without tile, there would exist a difficult to remove bathtub ring. Vinyl pools don't have tile, but it can be added with a special hanger piece.
Tile is falling off?
This could be a result of bond failure of the "mud" that was used to set the tile in. Look behind the tile for a horizontal crack. This could be evidence of a cracked beam. "Popped" tile could be the result of not having caulking in the expansion joint between the coping and the deck, allowing water to run behind the tile and freeze. Water freezing in the expansion joint itself, or a joint that is not "true" ; where the pool and deck are touching, will also cause tile to fall off, and create beam damage. If just the tile has fallen off (and not the old mud) The tile may be temporarily regrouted back in place. Use waterproof tile grout or thinset mortar cement. If small amounts of the wall is missing, you would want to parged this back up before resetting tile. Use a hydraulic cement. Use rebar if the missing amount is over 2" deep.
Tile has white deposits?
Known as efflorescence, mineral salts such as calcium and magnesium may come out of the grout or from the setting mud and deposit on the front of the tile. It may also originate from the pool water. The efflorescence can be scraped off, and/or "burned" off with a tile acid wash.
Tile is cracked?
This may be caused by a cracked bond beam, or perhaps from freezing surface water pressing against the tile during expansion. Or maybe it wasn't Frost Free pool tile to begin with.
Cleaning tile to remove the bathtub ring can be accomplished with an abrasive cleaner such as Comet.