General Guide & Installation

  • Tiles should be laid in accordance with the Australian Building Code and Australian Standards. AS3958.1-2007, Appendix E – Wet Conditions (Continuously Immersed) Section E2.10 states that “Movement Joints should be incorporated in the pool linings” and has specific advice about the installation of expansion joints in swimming pools, also covering movement joints around the pool structure and coping.

All structures move, swimming pools are no different in regards to structural movement.

  • Structures are subject to things like:
  • Movement from thermal loads/changes
  • Moisture content changes
  • Drying shrinkage
  • Deflection

Similarly to structures, Natural stone is subject to things like:

  • Thermal expansion and contraction
  • Thermal conductivity/Environmental changes
  • Moisture expansion and contraction

Such factors can result in differential movement between the tiling system and structure, which can be very damaging if not accommodated. When a tiling system failure occurs, it is usually a combination of both the structure and pool lining coinciding factors. Ie. Concrete substrate shrinkage and tile thermal expansion.

Movement can be triggered many years after installation, for example an immersed installation without joints may be seem good and stable, until the pool is emptied for an annual clean and is exposed to the summer sun. The tiles which were already slightly compressed are then put under further stress from thermal expansion where problems may occur.

Natural stone should not be exposed to full sun while being stored before laying or during the installation process. Shade coverage is important when laying or installing these products. Tiles on the waterline suffer thermal shock on a regular basis as they are not buffered by constant immersion, this seems to be more of an issue with larger format tiles. These areas are far more problematic and certainly need movement/expansion joints.

  • A tiling system requires skill and careful planning, installations should be carried out by a licensed tiler.
  • It is the responsibility of the architect, builder, tiler or the owner to ensure that the tiles selected are suitable
    for the intended application and that they have all the information they require for the installation process,
    preparation and accompanying products.

Sukabumi is a very active stone when immersed, with very low dimensional stability, it is imperative to incorporate movement joints when installing stone tiles into pools. All stone whether man made or natural will swell and contract, so space is needed to allow this to happen, the more expansion joints the better.

Waterproof renders do not waterproof the pool, they are waterproof but are not waterproofing. If the concrete is waterproofed, there will not be a transition (capillary action) of moisture to carry the minerals out to the surface. An entire pool tile laying system should be adopted ie: waterproof render, epoxy tile glue and epoxy grout from one manufacturer to ensure compatibility and warranties (for the laying system). There are many systems available. Adhesive companies can supply specifications for specific materials and requirements, their assistance and experience is available to you.

The below is information contained within the current Australian standard pertaining to movement joints in swimming pools.

AS3958.1 the Australian Standard for Ceramic Tiling section E2.10 Movement Joints contains the following recommendations:

  • Movement joints should be incorporated:
    • To carry through any movement joints in the pool shell through to the face of the tiling,
    • Around the perimeter at the junction of the bottom and sides,
      At vertical corners,
    • At any changes of plane in the bottom,
    • At 6m intervals or less (to suit design considerations) down the pool sides and across the bottom in a
      continuous loop (where grout lines are less than 5mm wide),
    • At positions coinciding with structural joints in the pool shell,
    • At the surround slab where the pool surround tiling abuts walls, drainage channels and other features,
    • At 3m intervals for coping tiles.


What is the difference between Tile Debonding and Delaminated Tile and Tented Tile?

Whether it is stone tile, ceramic tile, porcelain tile or glass tile, if the tile becomes loose or unbonded, then we refer to that either as a tile that debonded or we might say the tile has delaminated from its substrate.

If the tile has lifted off of its substrate at some point of the tile installation, but is still attached to the adjacent tiles by the grout joints, then we call that a tented tile. In this case the tile has delaminated from its substrate or come loose, but is held together by the adjoining tiles.

You can normally step on the tented tile and it will move up and down to some degree. Normally this condition is due to the tile not being bonded as well as it could be and because there is a lack of movement joints to mitigate the expected expansion in the tiles.

If the tile has lifted and torn the substrate but still has adhesive stuck to the tile itself, the tiles are not the issue, the shear load of the stone movement (contracting and swelling) has not been given the space it needs to do so.

It is also important to consider:

  • Clean the stone tiles before laying to ensure adhesion, removing any powder residue from the
    surface that will be notched with adhesive. Keep stone cool and shaded prior to install.
  • Lay the stone out of the full sun, heat and wind. Tiling should occur under shaded cover.
  • Keep the glue fresh, back butter stone and notch substrate (glue on glue)
  • Discolouration may occur once tiles laid, this is due to the iron content in the stone oxidizing, this usually subsides once the stone becomes used to its new environment.
  • Fill the pool as soon as tiles have been laid, water protects the stone.
  • Natural stone is unpredictable, all issues cannot be predicted or omitted at the factory during
    tile selection, there for we cannot offer warranties or guarantees
  • Nature cannot be guaranteed,
  • Sukabumi tiles may have imperfections, adopt imperfections, and may look imperfect at some point over the course of its life, every natural stone tile consists of minerals, these minerals will behave differently with each and every batch, its simply nature behaving naturally.
  • If you want a perfect tile, with a perfect surface, with precise & predictable colouring/behaviour, and a perfectly flush finish for the life of your pool, then natural stone may not be the right choice for you, sukabumi is just perfect being imperfect.

*** For Full Terms and Conditions please refer to our website

Download General Guide and Installation