Milborne Port is a village in the South East of Somerset. For decades, its residents have been learning to swim in the community swimming pool at the school there. It opened in 1981 as an open-air pool, in the grounds of the local school. Swimming lessons are held there throughout summer and autumn. In summer, it is hired out to the local community – to try to raise the funds needed to maintain and improve the pool.
In 1994, a poly-tunnel was put over the pool, to help protect it from the elements, which worked successfully for years. Almost a decade later, the poly tunnel blew away, and the pool itself was in need of an all-round major refurbishment. Phase 2 of the pool’s transformation was going to involve taken out all the tiles and lining, and replacing it with fresh new materials. It would also include replacing the poly tunnel with a permanent, solid structure, which would incorporate a changing room and toilets, which would massively benefit the students at the school.
However, they hit a brick wall after completing the first step of this transformation. The school forked out for all the tiles and all the lining, and it was all fitted for them. However, they were ill-advised about the best lining to use, and what they had laid was not waterproof. Within days of filling the pool up, the tiles had all come off the side and bottoms of the pool. They were back at square one, with ruined tiles, and a big, unusable pit in the ground where their community swimming pool had once been.
That’s when they called out to us. They no longer had the money to buy tiles for a second time, so they needed a donation from a major tile retailer. We were only too happy to help out. We sent numerous square metres of Diamante Anti-Slip Tiles, for the pool’s base, and smooth Navy Tiles for the sides. The anti slip tiles’ textured surface makes them perfect for swimming pools – especially ones where children are learning to swim, and can’t afford to lose their footing.
The order was happily received by the arrangers of the pool’s renovation, and over the next few weeks, the huge project of replacing the failed lining and tiles with the newly arrived materials went under way. We kept in touch, and received pictures of the project’s gradual progression.
Here’s the empty, concrete base of the pool – with all the failed lining and the ruined, waterlogged tiles stripped out – ready to start fresh. The tilers give is a sweep, to ensure they’re starting on a clean base. Any dust or grit can ruin a good adhesion, when it comes to fixing the tiles in place.
Here, the volunteer tilers make a start on the sides of the pool. You can see our tiles going up in the background – bringing the bland concrete to life! They used a water-resistant adhesive.
The tilers hard at work – grouting the tile joints with waterproof grout, to ensure the pool won’t suffer the same fate as last time.
One of the tilers taking a quick break, having completed two of the pool’s sides. Two down, two more to go!
The tilers make a start on the remaining two sides – fixing the tiles in place first, before going over with the waterproof grout again.
All four sides are almost finished now, and are perfectly watertight, so there should be no repeat performance of ruined, waterlogged tiles.
Next, they make a start of the floor tiles – using spacers to set the tiles apart, and a spirit level to ensure they’re perfectly square. (Which is very important further along).
Once they get in the swing out of it, they cover loads of ground – keeping to the same stylish pattern – two large, eight small. They use an electric tile cutting to get around the fittings.
They even tile the steps leading up to the pool – using stylish blue mosaics around the side, with our anti-slip tiles on the top.
The tilers pause to pose for a quick photo – proud of their hard work. They’re over half way done now, and have tiled a massive chunk of the swimming pool’s base.
Here, we can see the progress the tilers have made. They have tiled over half of the pool’s length, and are drawing close to the other side – the finish line.
A great shot, showing off the simple but effective tiling pattern that the tilers have chosen to go for – all set in place with spacers, which they’ll remove once the adhesive has set (else the children might feel a sharp nip underfoot). The mix of dark blue around the sides and sky blue on the base is extremely effective, and invites you into the pool.
The tilers are finishing off that final quarter now – using their spirit levels to ensure they get that last part perfectly square and just right.
With the tiling finally finished, the long process of filling the pool can now begin. With just two garden hoses, it will take a long, long time. You can see a student from the school in the background, giving an approving look.
The pool slowly being filled. You can see the playful ripples crossing the surface of the water. The pool looks fantastic, now that it’s all tiled!
The grand re-opening of this stage of the pool was scheduled for October. Sadly though, the pool’s heater broke, and the school cannot afford to fix it until next year, so the opening has been delayed until then. The building of a permanent structure over the pool, including toilets and changing rooms, will also have to be put off for now, until the heater has been replaced.
We have made Milborne Port Community Pool a little gift we hope they’ll like, which we will take along to the grand re-opening gala. It’s a lifebelt, to remind them that they have friends here at Walls and Floors:
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