Pool People regularly get calls on two common complaints about swimming pool tile and grout. The most common is … how do we clean the grout?
The bad news is, there isn’t really an efficient way to clean grout. Dirt and calcium creeps into the porous sruface and is virtually impossible to get out. We have heard of people using steam cleaners (made for cleaning kitchen and bathroom tiles, but never tried it ourselves). However, we have doubts, because the calcium in the water tends to seal the dirt in and won’t be easily dissolved even by steam cleaners.
The second compliant we hear is … what to do about the crack that forms between the tile and the pool deck. Again, bad news. The shell of the pool is formed with rebar and gunnite. The top of the shell is where the tiles rest and meets the pool deck. Unfortunately, many pool installers don’t do their jobs very well. You will be lucky if the contractor even tamps down the dirt before pouring the pool deck, and never mind using rebar to reinforce it.
That means that under extremes in temperature (both heat and cold), the pool deck moves all over the place, while the pool shell remains in one place, hence the cracks that develop between to tile and the deck. Sadly, even well installed pool decks are subject to the problem. The bigger the cement pour and the less reinforced, the faster it’ll crack.
Our solution, which is an easy DIY project, is to buy a tube of white bathroom silicone caulk. Fill in the cracks and wipe away the excess. The silicone stays flexible under both hot and cold conditions and will keep your pool looking nicer longer.