As the ancient Romans said, “in balneis salus” – “health in bathing”, willingly indulging in this kind of rest. Since then, water procedures have become even more popular, and swimming pools, which for a long time were the property of only public and sports organizations, have taken their rightful place in private houses, on personal plots.
In order for the bath to really contribute to moral and physical rest, you need to take a responsible approach not only to the choice of its design, but also to the design. Indeed, despite the fact that the set of finishing materials is limited (ceramic tiles, smalt, natural stone, PVC film and plastic), thanks to their skillful use, you can create a real work of art.
Simple uneasy tiles
For lining the pools, special tiles are used, made of fine-porous ceramic mass during high-temperature firing. It has practically zero water absorption, withstands multi-ton water pressure and large temperature drops, has high resistance to abrasion, exposure to ultraviolet rays, chlorine and other aggressive chemicals, frost-resistant.
Depending on the pool area, a material with a different surface texture is used for its decoration. Thus, glazed tiles are used for finishing the walls of the bowl, and glazed tiles with an anti-slip coating are used for facing the beveled edges and bottom of the bowl, stairs leading into the water. Unglazed material with anti-slip effect is used near the pool, where it is very easy to slip.
An original proposal for decorating the walls of a bathing house – panels of glazed tiles with a photo applied to them, which are made to order, based on any slide or photograph. Such panels are laid together with tiles of the same size..
Today, on the Russian market, special tiles for swimming pools are offered by many manufacturing companies, one of the most famous is the Italian factory Floor Gres. Its assortment includes 18 colors, two standard sizes (12.5x25x7.4 and 15x15x7.4 mm) and all the necessary ceramic elements for the sides of the pool.
Unfortunately, large-sized tiles are not suitable for the creation of artistic panels, decors, etc., it is difficult to use it even in pools of complex configuration. In these cases, Appiani ceramic mosaic is used, which has all the properties of Floor Gres pool tiles, but has a large color gamut (40 colors) and four standard sizes (2.5×2.5; 2.5×5; 5×5; 10×10 mm). It is also possible to use pool tiles with ceramic mosaics at the same time. The colors and sizes of Floor Gres products can be easily combined with the modules of mosaic decors and “mixes”, in addition, the same adhesive mixtures and sealants are used during installation.
Smalta: bathing in gold
Ceramic mosaic, unfortunately, is just a compromise option, since it does not allow the implementation of a complex artistic concept. Mosaic panels, the finest patterns and arabesques similar to antique ones are created from smalt specially developed for swimming pools. The assortment of this finishing material is extremely diverse, there is even smalt with inserts of gold leaf and semi-precious aventurine. Another type of smalt reflects and refracts light in an unusual way, small multi-colored cubes flicker, flash, shimmer in its rays. This property was already known to the Byzantine craftsmen, who created magnificent optical effects, accurately calculating the angle of incidence of light and giving the material an unevenness.
As already mentioned, the most complex mosaic panels, etc., can be laid out of smalt, but the use of this material presupposes accurate knowledge of the technology of its laying and strict adherence to the formulations of adhesive mixtures and grout.
Smalt is produced in many countries of the world, however, the Russian market is represented mainly by factories Bisazza, Sicis (Italy), Opiocolor (France), Wizanto and Vidrapur (Spain). However, this year products from other European manufacturers are expected, as well as high-quality and inexpensive smalt from China..
Marble and granite
Natural granite and marble are used to decorate the pool walls..
Marble is an amazing material capable of not only reflecting light, but also “soaking” it. It is no coincidence that in Greece, where the sky is always blue and the scorching sun, it is still very popular. The smoothness and shine of the polished marble surface create the impression of weightlessness. The material is extremely plastic, however, today this property is neglected, limited to flat processing of marble.
Granite is not as “light” as marble, but more durable. Just like marble, it has a rich color palette – red, green, yellow, pink, blue, blue, white, black, gray and all kinds of shades..
Of course, the pool bowl can also be finished with natural stone, but its polished surface, which is also abundantly moistened with water, will first turn into a “skating rink”, and over time, under the influence of chemicals, into gypsum.
In recent years, PVC film has been increasingly used for lining pools, it is also called a film waterproofing membrane. Like tiles, the film is rough, with an anti-slip effect. In addition, today it is impregnated with special antibacterial compounds that inhibit the growth of microflora. In addition to the usual PVC film, an elastic, multi-layer, increased strength (reinforced with a special textile cord) is produced. The last option is the most economical, since it allows you to somewhat reduce the amount of waterproofing work when installing the pool.
Often, outdoor pools are recommended to be covered with a film, since it does not lose its working qualities at temperatures down to -35 ° C. Frost, of course, is not terrible for her, which cannot be said about the spring “ice drift”: the sharp edges of the ice cuts the PVC coating.
PVC film has two drawbacks. Thus, its color range, in contrast to the palette of smalt and ceramic tiles, is limited to various shades of blue. In addition, it is possible to lay the film without much hassle only on structures of a square or rectangular shape; for bowls of irregular shape, a complex cut of the material is required, with a large number of joints.
So, we have already talked about the advantages and disadvantages of tiles, smalt, marble-granite and PVC films. Stone-ceramic materials are expensive, PVC film is practically unsuitable for bowls of complex shape. Fortunately, there is a miracle material that allows you to save not only on finishing, but also on hydro and thermal insulation materials, as well as on the cost of construction work. At the same time, it will ensure absolute tightness of the pool bowl, which can be given any size and shape. We are talking about polypropylene – an environmentally friendly, hard, durable plastic, resistant to chemical reagents, with a thickness of 6 to 15 mm. Imported, like many other things, from Europe, today it is successfully used by Russian builders for small fonts and outdoor pools..
As you know, domestic bathers of all ages are very fond of water activities – massage, backflow, etc. For their installation, the so-called embedded elements (skimmers, nozzles, bottom drains, underwater projectors, etc.) are mounted in the pool bowl. However, the absolute tightness of the bowl is rarely guaranteed. Again, polypropylene will help out: it has the same coefficient of thermal expansion as the body material of the embedded elements, which practically eliminates water leakage.
Yes, perhaps this material is good for everyone: it saves money and protects health (its surface does not slip, and special anti-slip corrugated polypropylene is used for the steps), but the color gamut is not much wider than that of PVC film: light blue, blue, dark blue, white, green and light green.
Pool starry sky
For complete relaxation, it is necessary that everything that stops the gaze evokes extremely positive emotions, therefore the design of the ceiling is just as important as the decoration of the pool bowl. Today consumers are not spoiled for choice of materials. Perhaps the most successful stretch ceiling, which is a heavy-duty vinyl film with a thickness of 0.15-0.20 mm. The canvas does not absorb odors, is environmentally friendly, waterproof, and besides, moisture does not condense on it. At the same time, the stretch ceiling can be given almost any shape and equipped with all kinds of types of lamps – it will be possible to “hide” electrical wiring, ventilation, heat and noise insulation in it.
The modern stretch ceiling market offers more than 100 color options, various material textures (matte, satin, lacquered, suede, leather or marble, perforated, metallic). Especially worth noting is the “starry sky” ceiling, into which dozens of fiber-optic cables are embedded. It remains to place the projector in the room, turn off the light and enjoy the starry sky. It is interesting that with such a wide choice among inexperienced customers, the most popular is the matte ceiling with the texture of the usual whitewash.
Using the light in the pool, they create unusual visual effects, set the desired emotional background, placing built-in lamps in the ceiling, floor, walls. Often, the pool bowl is also illuminated, thus mounting powerful floodlights in its walls so that the light does not blind bathers.
Relatively recently, “strange” spherical lamps have appeared on the Russian market. Their light resembles moonlight, as evidenced by the name of the manufacturer – Moonlight. The balls floating in the pool not only illuminate the space, but, like sculptures, add color, light and form-creating accents. With the help of non-fading filters, white lamps can be easily transformed into colored ones. The surface of the balls can be painted manually, turning them into unique works of authorship.
People are swimming, fountains are swimming
A good addition to the pool are decorative floating fountains, which are pumps and spotlights mounted on a plastic circle. The pumps take water from the pool and supply it to the nozzles that “shoot” it up. And on the spotlights, various filters are installed that color the fountain in all the colors of the rainbow.
For children and adults
If floating balls-lamps, fountains, etc. elements are a matter of taste for the owners of the pool, then almost everyone likes water attractions. Just swimming in the pool from one side to another, you see, is boring, especially if the size of the “reservoir” is small. In this case, a variety of waterfalls, geysers, air streams, hydromassage jets, countercurrents, slides and jumps will come in handy. There is no greater pleasure than plunging into air bubbles breaking through the water column, fooling around on a powerful geyser-breaker, or standing under a waterfall. Powerful pumps of the counter-current device will create a counter flow of water and make it difficult for the swimmer to move quickly; the power regulator will allow you to change the load. For lovers of water massage, hydromassage nozzles can be built into the pool bowl.
After consulting with the designers involved in the design of pools, as well as looking through a dozen catalogs, we came to the conclusion that conceptual solutions are few. Baths are mainly decorated with images and sculptures on antique or marine subjects (fish, dolphins, corals); the decor is often limited to plain white tiles. And what a romantic theme! After all, a pool is a sea in miniature, albeit without a beach, although it can be recreated if desired. In one film there is such a mise-en-scene: the side of the pool is strewn with sand, a beach umbrella, a girl in a bathing suit is basking in the sun, her father is swimming, music is playing … It seems that the family has gone to the sea – and she is happy.