Mosaic Tile from Oceanside Glasstile Illuminates Pool, Spa Design
Making a large number of hand cuts, Steve Martin of Martin’s Pool and Spa shares his experience working on a one-of-a-kind mosaic project
In the quest of creating a relaxing reflecting pool that could occasionally be used for swimming, Steve Martin from Martin’s Pool and Spa, and part of the Tributary Revelation Group, was selected by Jeremy Collis, RLA of Outer Elements by NWGP, Inc. to install the tile for a pool restoration, as well as lending his swimming pool design and construction expertise. “One of the key design concepts the owner wanted was perfectly still water basins. The perimeter overflow pool, perimeter overflow spa and water wall basin were designed by Collis to all flow into one trough,” said Martin. “The spa would usually spill into the pool or the other way around, but with this design they all spill into the trough so the pool wouldn’t ripple.” The goal of the project was for the spa and pool to speak for itself, having the water as the center focus of the design and the tile and finishes to be serve as background.
According to Martin, the tile choice was Oceanside Glasstile in Cadence pattern. The customer had seen it and loved it. The samples were all presented with stock blend of colors from the supplier, all of which the customer thought were too flashy or busy. The customer wanted the high-quality look of Oceanside Glasstile without it being so obvious. Martin suggested, with the help of Beau Lamb from Oceanside Glasstile, to use 100% Pewter Iridescence to set the tone of the tile behind the water. Three different variations of the Pewter color were custom fabricated by Lamb for the project to be selected from. The 100% Iridescence look is subtle and yet stunning.
The customer was very happy with the design process offered by Oceanside Glasstile as they really wanted a one-of-a-kind look.
Martin made up sample boards and grout choice was offered in Laticrete Spectralockepoxy grout Raven and Midnight Black.
The Raven was the original choice; however, the Laticrete 100% silicone Latasil sealant in Raven did a funny thing in the light next to the Pewter Iridescent tile. The grout appeared white from different angle.
Martin said that the sample process of grout and sealant was “worth its weight in gold.” The color conflict went away completely when the color was changed to Midnight Black. Martin said that sample boards are a necessary step in the design process particularly with choosing grout color and matching expansion joints to grout. The customer changed their choice to Midnight Black for this project after reviewing the samples.
Martin goes to great lengths to ensure that the expansion joints do not conflict with the design. “I won’t do a job without expansion joints,” said Martin. “You are just asking for problems when you leave them out.”
The “staggered” expansion joint was approved by Oceanside tech support, as it has been proven to outperform a linear joint in lab testing. Laticrete 8911 primer was applied to all movement joints prior to sealant.
The construction process for Martin started with “sounding” the shell which had already been placed by the contractor for any soft or loose material or fractures in the shell. “This is the first mistake people make…they just go over what is there, whether it is sound or not”, said Martin “As the original gunnite shell was 30 plus years old some of it was too soft to work with, also there were portions of the newly placed shotcrete pool beam where ‘hand stacking’ of ‘trimmings’ had left unsuitable conditions.”
Martin removed the soft gunnite and installed new rebar and shotcrete along with two additional jets in the spa.
With the shell finally sound and a full cure on all the repairs, Martin commenced to apply primary waterproofing. Prep work was involved to say the least.
The pebble finish featured at the bottom of the pool is a custom blend of part iridescent glass bead and part black glass bead in Midnight Blue plaster from Olympic Pool Plastering. Three unique variations were made into samples for the customer to choose from. The plaster is Pebble Tech Bead Crete by Olympic Plastering. “I really think it came out looking amazing,” said Martin. “The glass bead set the water color perfectly and the texture of the glass bead makes it feel like you’re getting a massage on your feet. I would really like to extend a special gratitude to the team at Olympic. They are great to work with.”
The spa is completely tiled with tile extending to the troughs as well. The interior outside corners on the beam and the bench were tiled with custom-made Oceanside Glasstile Muse in Cadence bullnose for comfortable lounging.
The bullnose trims were exceptionally difficult to make, but so worth it, according to Martin. “We opened the trough where the bluestone coping was installed by a couple inches so that the completely tiled trough would show and to add continuity to the design with the open trough between basins,” he said. “This, I believe, allows you to sense and feel the level of detail in the project.”
The pool coping is 2-inch True Blue Pennsylvania Bluestone. “The prep was the same as for the tile from waterproofing and browncoat and all,” said Martin. “The stones were set with Laticrete 254. Back-buttering is required with the ‘Bluestone’ for sure. I ordered, cut and thermaled the edges where it was required, and we eased the upper corner of the edge to soften the look and that had to be treated as well.”
For all of the waterproofing membranes, Miracoat Membrane C was used, and Stowe brand fiberglass mesh was used for all crack suppression. Miraprime Aquablock was used as a colloidal silicate concrete waterproofing on the shell. The primary waterproofing on the entire shell was three coats as rough as possible with a brush working into all the crevices. After using a ½-inch nap roller over all completed and cured mortar bed work, getting three coats as smooth as possible, Martin did a light sanding using a flap disc prior to skimming with the Laticrete 254 platinum thinset, also used for bonding all mortar bed installation. SGM Skratch Kote 2000 was applied with an HVLP hopper by Martin as part of the plaster prep.
One of the biggest challenges on the job was the cutting of the tile. “If you get a good tape mount and it’s strong and it’s stretchy, like the stuff Oceanside has, that greatly helps,” said Martin. “The cutting of the tile was a massive job. There was 700lf of mitering to do. With the tape-mounted tile, I could cut it on the sheet, which helps. The layout of the tile wove all the corners in the spa beam and benches as well as the pool beam and trough. I had to lay each corner on each side then cut single pieces to make it fit and intersect. It was a lot of cutting one piece and laying it, then repeating the process.”
The entire job took six months from start to finish and was one of Martin’s favorite jobs to do. “I loved this job and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Martin said. “It was a big challenge, but personally I love a good challenge and the minute I saw that job, I knew I couldn’t be talked out of it.”
INSTALLER: Steve Martin of Martin’s Pool and Spa in Atlanta, Georgia