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12 4 farley video artBy Mike Farley

I could easily have done a whole sequence in this video series about materials used to line the insides of pools, spas and other watershapes. From plaster and paint to pebbles and hydraulic terrazzo (and more), there are many paths my clients can take in deciding what to do with interior surfaces.

But really, there’s only one finish I want to discuss as these What Is It? videos hit their 36th and final installment: glass tile.

As I mention in the video, an all-glass pool finish is about as gorgeous as it gets – and it’s not all about aesthetics, because there’s beauty in glass tile’s durability and exceptionally long service life; in the way it flows up out of the water without any need to change material at the waterline; and in what it says about a client’s commitment to going as far as they can in bringing a project to an admirable conclusion.

As with several other subjects I’ve covered in this series, maximizing glass tile’s aesthetics very often comes down to making the right choice among contractors and application specialists. From the crews that dig the hole, insert the plumbing, tie the steel and apply the concrete through to the craftsperson who applies the last bits of glass tile, it’s all about a team effort and a group compulsion to go beyond ordinary in what they can achieve together.

Even in that context, the application of glass tile is a special skill, and those who do it well deserve all the accolades and attention they receive. Compared to other finishes, the degree of surface preparation that goes into applying glass tile is just amazing, because the only way to produce a smooth, plumb and true glass-tile surface is to make absolutely certain its immediate substrate has been leveled and floated with complete precision. It’s an art form at that level – and the results are typically spectacular.

But enough of all that. In wrapping up this series – 36 parts since December 2012 – I want to thank those who’ve followed along and have shared these videos with new staff and clients to help them understand some of the components that go into successful watershaping.

It’s been fun. Thanks for your support!

To see my poolside discussion of an all-glass-tile projects, click here.

For a listing of and links to all 36 'What Is It?' features, click here.


Mike Farley is a landscape designer with more than 35 years of experience and is currently a designer/project manager for Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas. A member of Genesis 3's Society of Watershape Designers since 2012, he holds a degree in landscape architecture from Texas Tech University and has worked as a watershaper in both California and Texas.

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