Last Updated Feb 1, 2018 · Written by Craig Gibson
If you are installing a swimming pool in your backyard, there is much more to just plonking it in the ground and filling it with water!
You will need to finish it off both practically and aesthetically and one essential part of doing this is by using pool coping.
Here’s what you need to know about pool coping.
Coping is the cap or edging that is placed around the top rim of a swimming pool.
Natural stone, including bluestone, travertine, limestone, sandstone, slate and granite.
Pre-cast concrete pavers come in a variety of textures and colours.
Brick is another cost effective coping option that can be used .
Coping is the cap or edging that is placed around the top rim of a swimming pool. It is also known in the trade as pool edging or pool edge pavers.
Coping separates the swimming pool from the adjacent surface area, and also helps to protect the pool structure. It is also provides a visual finish and defines the edge of your pool. It is therefore has a practical and aesthetic function. Pool coping can be a standalone feature, much like garden edging, or it can be integrated with the paving or decking around a pool.
Coping requires a stable surface to be laid onto. A pool beam, essentially a layer of concrete, is laid around a pool so the pavers can be installed safely on this substrate.
Pool coping comes in a number of finishes or profiles. Choose which one is most suitable for your application, depending on the look that you prefer.
1. Drop down face: If you are looking for a seamless finish then go for drop down face pool coping. This tile has a lip which fits over the edge of the pool, essentially hiding the rim and making the surface of the water appear to be flush.
2. Square edged: As the name suggests, the edges of this paver are square, which gives a clean look. A popular option for a contemporary feel. There are also variations on square edge coping, including rebated square edge.
Square edge coping © Secure Pave
3. Bullnose: This type of coping has one or more edges that are rounded to provide a softer finish. Bullnose is the finish to go for if you are looking for a traditional, heritage finish. There are also variations on bullnose, including a half bullnose,sloping bullnose and rebated bullnose coping.
4. Tumbled edge: This is an intentionally uneven edge profile that gives a rustic look to a pools rim.
Full bullnose coping © Wilstone
There are a range of materials used for pool coping. The most common in Australia include:
Natural stone, including bluestone, travertine, limestone, sandstone, slate and granite. This is one of the most expensive options for pool coping but is extremely durable, though some stone may require sealing. It also has real character if you are looking for a rustic theme to your pool area. Bluestone, sandstone and granite are valued for their density and low porosity and are popular coping options for Australian conditions.
Pre-cast concrete pavers come in a variety of textures and colours, and are a cost effective option for pool coping. They also come in a uniform thickness, so will look even when laid.
Brick is another cost effective coping option that can be used if you want it to tie in your with the theme of your outdoor area, fence or home.
These materials come in a range of colours, patterns and profiles. They can be easily sealed to prevent water from the pool causing damage or leaving water marks. Sealing helps to protect your coping and pavers against chlorine, salt and damage from exposure to the elements. A non-slip coating or products with an engineered slip resistance is also essential to reduce the risk of accidents.
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Coping integrated with decking © Narellan Pools & Spas
Your swimming pool coping can be installed by a variety of contractors, including pool builders, outdoor pavers and tilers, stonemasons, concretors and builders. In many states these tradies are required to be licensed, so make sure your contractor has all the necessary paperwork before you hire them.
Coping installation, before and after © Secure Pave
Resist the temptation to hire the first business you get quotes from. Rather take the time to get at least three quotes or more. This will give you the chance to compare apples with apples, and asses their workmanship and the quality of the materials they use. Some questions to ask them include:
Can I see examples of your work?
Are you licensed for my job?
Can you provide a written, itemised quote?
When can you start work?
Are you insured to work on my property?
Only when they have satisfied you that they are right for your job, should you agree to hire them. In terms of costs, expect the type of coping material and the size of your job to be the primary factors in determining what you are charged. The best way of finding out the cost of your tiling job is to get quotes from local tradies. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are and give you a better idea of what budget your project requires.
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Looking for inspiration for your pool coping project? Take a browse through our swimming pool designs gallery - there are thousands of images from some of the top tilers, pavers and pool builders in Australia.