The Thin Blue Lining: Choosing A Durable Pool Lining For A Family Pool

A swimming pool can be a great addition to any family home (not to mention a good way to keep the kids amused and out of your hair), but a swimming pool designed for family use has to be tough enough to stand up to punishment. One of the most delicate parts of your new pool will be the pool lining, the material that protects the interior of your pool beneath the waterline. Traditional pool lining materials such as plaster and marcite can quickly become damaged under heavy usage, but fortunately a range of more modern materials are well up to the task to make your family pool durable.


A tiled pool lining is a versatile and eminently durable addition to your pool, and is equally suitable for both chlorinated and salt water pools. Pool tiles are available in a wide variety of materials, from inexpensive and durable plastic epoxy tiles to luxurious natural stone, luminous glass and non-slip terracotta, giving you an unbeatable array of choices when it comes to the aesthetics of your pool lining.

However, tiles are generally expensive to purchase (especially when made from premium materials such as granite and marble) and can be very difficult to lay properly. Without proper tessellation and thorough grouting between tiles, your pool lining will start to degrade over time, which causes leaks and groundwater contamination. As such, most pool linings made from tiles are professionally laid, which naturally incurs more expense.


Aggregate linings are made from finely crushed rocks and semi-precious stones such as quartz, which are then bound together with plaster to form a uniform lining. Aggregate linings can generally be separated into two categories, each with its own strengths and weaknesses:

  • Polished aggregate linings -- These linings are first laid down and smoothed with trowels before being allowed to dry, after which they are polished to a high sheen which brings out the patterns and colours of the aggregate mix. These linings are durable, attractive and reflect plenty of sunlight to light the deeper portions of your pool, but can be slippery.
  • Exposed aggregate linings -- Instead of polishing, these linings are blasted with high pressure acid solutions after laying. This creates a rough, finely textured surface with exposed stones, providing excellent traction for the shallow end of your pool. As such, this lining is particularly useful if you have young children who are not yet confident in water.

As you can see, aggregate linings offer many advantages, but they are particularly difficult for even the most dedicated DIYer to install themselves. As such, aggregate linings are almost always laid professionally. Ask your aggregate supplier about formulating your own aggregate mix, as this will ensure a truly unique look for your pool.