Marble in Swimming Pools & Water Features

Marble has been used as a valuable building and architectural material since ancient times. It was especially prized for its use in sculpture. Valued because of its softness which allowed to carve it easily, relative isotropy and homogeneity, as well as resistance to shattering. Along with that, it earned fame as a fine mineral resource, bringing uniqueness and timeless beauty to a development. Marble offers richness which cannot be recreated. Like its finest and most sophisticated example, The Taj Mahal which is entirely clad in marble.

The application of marble in swimming pools and water features comes after marble is processed, via design, fabrication and finishing stages. At last it has found usage in pools and water features, among elements such as Overflow Pools water drain channels, copings, drain gates and trimmers. Although seemingly small, their contribution to the finishing level is extremely large. They provide the elimination of differences during the overflow installation. This is visible either via a distinct coping placed over slotted drain, flat coping and drain gate or a minimal overflow allowing the water to vanish in one collecting slot. In all cases only parallel channels are apparent, yet aesthetically blending in the surrounding surface of the marble. These small elements provide superior finishing, especially when looking at its alternatives made of plastic. Besides, it is characterized with high compressive and flexural strength, thus being relatively crack resistant. Its water absorption starts at 0.02 percent wt. An example of marble application in Qatar can be found at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel. The project has drawn excellent aesthetic results based on a beautiful combination of marble with a glass mosaic inside the pool and along the waterfall. Installed by Watermaster, specialized turnkey solution provider present on the MEA market since 1980, the project covered the construction of a free-form pool with a two-piece overflow model made of East Grey Marble supplied by Sofikitis Poolstones. The front coping was fully bull nosed on the outer side towards the pool and half bull nosed on the back side. The back coping was half bull nosed on the front side towards the channel and vertically cut on the back side. The two pieces were glued, nevertheless, in a way which allows access to the channel through removable pieces facilitating its cleaning.

“Curvilinear coping or drain grade made of marble are another product recommended for an aesthetic finishing of the curved parts of a pool”

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Starting with rectangular pools which usually do not require any specific coping, pieces of marble are cut in diagonal 45 degrees. Special angular caps (corner drain grates) are produced for an aesthetic finishing. In case of round or oval pools, trapezoid copings and drain gates are supplied. They follow a curve of the basin in broken lines, creating the cheapest form of decoration at the same time. The oblique line may be cut at the Sofikitis Poolstones factory according to the drawing, or on site by a trained fitter – Watermaster. It is especially recommended when having open curves with large radius. If the client requires to have the coping as completely curved to follow the pool shape, it is also possible to adjust it to the circumference and cut piece by piece, however this needs to be planned at early stages of the project. Curvilinear coping or drain grade made of marble are another product recommended for an aesthetic finishing of the curved parts of a pool. It constitutes two curved edges placed alongside each other, thus successfully covering the rim of any free-shape or rectilinear basin. Modular grates are another idea to elegantly adjust the finishing to most varied forms of water bodies. Handmade art craft elements are another example of marble application in pools or water features which are designed and built to impress. Back in 2007-2012, Watermaster was engaged in delivering a total of 30 water features at The Pearl Qatar. The design came from the client and covered a series of technical drawings featuring differently shaped decorative elements for each of the locations, marking their uniqueness. A water feature at the Entry Court to Porto Arabia, for instance, encompassed handmade circular parts made of marble. They added high-class finishing, bringing the ambience of monumental, circular fountains from 18th century Rome to Doha.

“Despite being crack resistant, proper use and maintenance of decorative stones like marble is crucial”

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Despite being crack resistant, proper use and maintenance of decorative stones like marble is crucial. Several accidents are likely to occur, such as, breakage of a grate when removing from the channel or staining or damage from negligent poor care. Proper after sales support is therefore valid to ensure the longevity of the elements. Regular control of water’s pH is therefore recommended as well as waterproofing, so as not to expose the stone to salts and sediments as well as to remove stains easily. With such an attitude, marble finishing of a pool or water feature can be treated as an investment, increasing the value of the property.

Omar Khayat
Technical & Design Manager
Watermaster