Tiling or Vinyl Liner

I. Freeboard Pools

In a freeboard pool the water level lies about 150mm below the pool copings and this 150mm is exposed to view and the tiling can be clearly seen.

Historically it was considered thatnothing compared with a carefully built, traditional, freeboard large tile pool.

Mosaic tiled pools never ever seem to quite cut the mustard in this respect but had the advantge that the tiles were supplied in sheets and were much easier to install than large tiles. Currently, in fact it is very difficult to find any tradesmen that are both willing and capable of producing a first class large tiled pool.

II. Deck Level Pools

In a deck level pool that water laps over the coping and spills through a grill into a gutter. In this pool type the pool wall and any tiling is covered by water and cannot be seen. As a result the aesthetic advantage of tiling is negligible. Furthermore the absence of the 150mm step in level from the water to the surrounding paving provides the pool with a far more attractive overall appearance

Furthermore the water quality in a deck level pool is far superior because of the increase in flow from the pool water surface itself. As a result the majority of premium quality domestic and commercial pool installations are all deck level pools incorporating vinyl liners.

Tiled pools will also increase the cost of any pool by a significant amount (see table below) and carry a high risk of failure.

III. Cost of Materials


Large anti-slip porcelain tiles can cost between £20 to £40 per square metre.

Sheets of mosaic tiles can cost £80 to £100 per square metre. These prices will result in a cost of £2000 to £4000 for large tiles and £7000 to £9000 for a 10m x 5m x 1.2m swimming pool.

Large tiles and sheets of mosaic tiles can be installed on the polyblok pool walls but the polystyrene needs to be covered with special water-proof render that is applied in two coats.

The cost of the render, tile adhesive and epoxy grout for the tiling joints can add 25% to the tile costs.

Vinyl Liner

A bag type 0.75mm vinyl liner made in a factory, costs about £50 per square metre resulting in a cost of about £4000 for a 10mx5mx1.5m deep swimming pool.

The 1.5mm thick (double layer 0.75mm vinyl membranes reinforced with a core of polyester mesh) Alkorplan in-situ liners cost between £20 and £30 per square metre.

IV. Cost of Installation


In a 10m x 5m pool, mosaic tiles will take about 6 weeks in total to apply the render, fix sheets of mosaic tiles and carry out the joint grouting. For large tiles it will take 8 weeks.

Tilers that have swimming pool experience are difficult to find and the labour will cost at least £500 per day resulting in an installation cost of about £15,000 for mosaic tiles and £20,000 for large tiles.

Vinyl Liner

The bag type liner will take two days to install and the in-situ liner about a week.

Typical costs for a 10m x 5m x 1.2m deep pool:
Cost element Bag type liner

In-situ type


Mosaic tiles Large tiles
Materials £4,000 £2,000 £10,000 £4,000
Labour £1,000 £8,000 £15,000 £20,000
VAT £1,200 £2,000 £5,000 £4,800
Total £6,200 £12,000 £30,000 £28,800

V. Risks


Tiles are provided by a tiling wholesaler, the adhesives are provided by a specialist manufacturer, the render by another and the grout by another. All the chemical elements require site measurement and mixing in accordance with the suppliers' instructions.

As a result, the finished tiles are dependent on each and every element being carried out properly and no overall guarantee can be provided. Hence the risk is all carried by the Client.

If the pool leaks it is very difficult to identify where the leak is as the water spreads out behind the tiling. As a result serious leaks can result in the need to take off the tiles and renew them - a very costly process!

Vinyl Liners

The bag type liners are provided with a 5 year guarantee on the material and a 10 year guarantee on the joints.

The Alkorplan liners are provided with a 10 year guarantee and backed by the resources of a major international company and hence our Clients are not at risk if there are any issues.

The vinyl liners insulate the pool water from the wall behind and if the pool leaks the location can be determined by an instrument that identifies where the current is passing through the liner.