Pool Coping Ideas & Inspiration

Posted On : May 15, 2017

Looking for pool coping ideas and inspiration for your pool remodeling project? You have many design choices for the band around your pool’s or spa’s edge. Made from various types of materials, each has their own unique look to visually transition from the pool’s edge to your backyard.

Expansion Due to Temperature & Earth Movement

Pool coping provides a cushion between your deck and the waterline line. During hot temperatures, the material can expand. In cold weather, it contracts. In California, we also must consider earth movement. For these reasons, it’s best to have a pool remodeling expert bring your pool coping ideas to life. They can recommend the best materials to match your vision while making sure it’s structurally sound for years to come. Otherwise, you risk waterline tile from popping into the pool.

Consider These Pool Coping Ideas

Cantilevered Decking 

A cantilevered decking design is created by pouring a deck all the way to the edge of the pool, eliminating a separate run of decking.

  • Pros: Visually it provides a continuous and clean look. It is less costly as you aren’t using multiple materials or various colors. You can easily achieve a stamped or patterned look in the material.
  • Cons: Unless it’s installed with deep knowledge of concrete and pool construction, cantilevered decking tends to crack. Unfortunately, it cannot be easily repaired without visible repair patches. If a bullnose edge breaks, it’s an expensive repair compared to other materials like a brick which can easily be replaced or patched.

“Unless the contractor included what is called a slip sheet under the deck and on top of the pool wall (bond beam), the deck cracks easily if there is any earth movement or deck expansion,” Scott McKenna, Gardner Outdoor and Pool Remodel

Coping Made of Brick 

Looking for a more traditional pool coping idea? Then, brick consider brick coping. It’s versatile and popular with homeowners.

  • Pros: Brick coping comes in a variety of colors. The edges can be square edged or bullnose (rounded). This pool coping type has a rustic appearance and therefore hides blemishes easily. Known for its affordability, brick also comes in a large choice of colors which allows a wide range of design.  
  • Cons: Since brick is made from clay and shale, it is porous and chips easily. Therefore, careful installation is necessary. If your coping idea is to avoid “pie cuts” around radii (where the grout widens towards the outside edge), then choose a skilled contractor. An expert will cut each brick to create even grout lines so they not only look great but ensures adequate support for each brick.

Pour in Place Concrete

Unlike a pour-in-place cantilevered deck, you can pour concrete just for the pool or spa coping areas. This method separates the deck with a mastic expansion joint — the space between the concrete and other materials — that surround your pool area.

  • Pros: We use foam forms to create different edging designs such as a bullnose edge. Pour-in-place pool coping allows for numerous color choices. You also have flexibility because we can create special radii, corners or unusual shapes matching your pool.
  • Cons:  Problems can occur since this is an outdoor fabrication; it is subject to weather conditions (heat, cold, humidity). Other coping materials are pre-made in a factory under perfect conditions. Pour-in-place pool coping can be expensive since installation is labor intensive.

Ideas Abound with Pre-cast Concrete 

Concrete coping is typically made to order at the manufacturer’s facility. For this coping option, a template of your pool or spa is made so little to zero cutting is necessary during installation.

  • Pros: Since the fabrication is taking place under controlled conditions, the quality of the material is very good.
  • Cons: Since pre-cast concrete coping is custom-made, lead times can be long as eight weeks during the busy season. These lead times affect initial product order and replacement pieces.

Pool Coping Ideas Inspired by Nature 

You can achieve a variety of pool coping designs with natural stone. Each individual stone has its own benefits and drawbacks depending upon its composition. Before making a final decision on a specific natural stone, be sure to understand maintenance requirements and long-term results of your choice.

  • Pros: Natural stone pool coping products a high-end, luxurious look. Your imagination is the limit to bring your pool coping ideas to reality.
  • Cons: Stone samples may not match the actual stone delivered as each natural stone can vary. Stone material is more difficult to cut for a radius pool. Because stone is thicker, it requires a flat surface, meaning there can be no elevation difference between the deck and coping. As a result, this may require adjusting the height of the pool wall. Some materials can chip or be sharp to little fingers, such as flagstone. Also, some pool coping stone comes with the added maintenance expense of annual sealing.

Before You Decide to Consult An Expert

Before you decide on which pool coping idea is ideal for your backyard, talk with an expert to understand all the pros and cons related to your remodeling project. At Gardner, we will present options that best fit your needs and budget.

“Before recommending coping, we need to ask a lot of questions. Will small children be using the pool? Is that a safety consideration? Would you prefer the coping or the waterline tile to be the focal point? Only after having a complete understanding, can we make informed suggestions,” Mark Feldstein, Sales Manager, Gardner Outdoor and Pool Remodeling…”