Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™
Pools as an art form - the way it should be!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beverly Hills swimming pool designer Paolo Benedetti discusses the importance of using white thinset

Paolo Benedetti, an internationally renown Beverly Hills swimming pool designer, builder of infinity, vanishing, and disappearing edge pools discusses the importance of creating installation mock-ups and of using the correct materials when setting tile & stone.

Backing Color
Since most glass tiles are somewhat translucent, it is imperative that the surface behind the tiles be white. This means that waterproofing systems, thinsets, mortar beds, basically anything in contact with the reverse of the tiles.

Most membranes are colors other than white. Most are of colors that owners do not want to see: blue, red, black, green. Since tiles can vary slightly in their thickness, it is important that there be a layer of something white on top of the membrane. This can be as simple as placing a skim coat of a white thinset on the membrane before installing the actual setting bed of thinset.

Installers usually tap the surface of the tiles to ensure complete embediment into the setting bed. The thicker tiles will embed deeper than the thinner tiles. This will displace more thinset than the thinner tiles... resulting in a thinner layer of thinset below the thicker tiles. A colored membrane may show through this thinner layer a little more than the thicker layer below the thinner tiles.

Thinset - Gray or White??
I just explained why white behind lighter colored glass tile is so important. So the answer should be obvious... WHITE THINSET under light colored tiles, GRAY under dark colored tiles.

Glass tiles come in all formats, opaque, translucent, clear, integral color, and colored back coatings or any combination of the above. Light colored tiles will provide a true color rendition when white thinset is used.

When setting clear tiles, you should always create some mock-up sample boards. I know there is an additional expense and related time delays, but a few days spent here will save you a lot of agony in the future (and the expense of tearing out tile & starting over). You might not be satisfied with the color rendition when a gray background is used.

Grouts will also change the color of the tile. Since the grout is worked in between the tiles, it will impart a hue within the glass. A dark grout will darken the color of the tiles, while a lighter will brighten it.

However, using a white grout with dark colored tiles will make the surface look like a giant crossword puzzle. So it is best to select a grout color that is close in color to the tiles. This is most important for clear or opaque tiles, that will "read" the color of the grout.

Be sure to soak the grouted sample board underwater for a period of time prior to making your selection. After being underwater for sometime, the grout will absorb water. This saturation will darken the color of the grout. grout underwater will be darker, while the grout above water will be lighter. So - be sure to wait for the grout to absorb some water before making your choice in grout color!

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist"Creating water as art."™Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa©