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Pool Coping Overview

Pool Coping Overview

Pool coping is the visual transition between your pool water’s edge and your deck. It’s typically 12”± back from the pool edge. The materials can be the same as the deck or made from a different material and color.

Pool coping is the interface between decking and waterline tile.

  • For a dramatic effect, choose a coping that outlines the pool. It differentiates the pool from the rest of your deck and makes it “pop.”
  • Alternatively, pool coping can be selected to blend the design into one consistent look where only the watercolor or tile stands out. This is a design preference, but you should know the impact of your choices.

There are many types of pool decking/ coping. Each has its own qualities that may affect your decision.

Cantilever Coping

This is when the deck is a continuous material that extends to the edge of the pool, over-extending by three inches. There is no break between the deck and the last 12”± which is then considered the coping area. This is a perfect choice when you want a more uniform look to the deck and eliminates the need for mastic (an adhesive used as a joint-sealer between concrete sections) behind the coping. Due to its construction, cantilever pool coping does not allow for a contrasting outline of the pool with another material.

Adding a mastic trench to an existing cantilever decking–if you have an existing cantilever deck and issues with the deck or popping tiles, we can cut a trench in the deck 12″ back from the edge as a relief joint and fill with mastic. This creates a cushion between the deck and the coping that helps reduce damage during earth movement.

Depth Markers

Commercial pools require, by code, pool and spa depth markers and no diving markers, when applicable. For a beautiful, more subtle look, we can etch the required information right into the coping stone! Or, if you wish, we can add the usual tile inset into the stone.

Other Pool Coping Varieties

Pool coping is built to a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, textures, and color.

  • Pre-cast Safety Grip – this is pre-casted in molds where the edge curves up to allow for a good grip at the edge of a pool. This technique requires a template to be made of the pool’s edge to give the manufacturer exact measurements for each pre-cast piece. White is the typical choice but other colors are available.
  • Pre-Cast Custom Made – comes in non-safety grip designs including a bullnose edge, square edge, and others. Many colors are available.
  • Flagstone, Quartzite, and other natural stones – natural stones create a more exotic and organic look. Since natural stone can be porous, be aware of potential flaking and cratering (holes) depending on the selected material. Natural makes for a beautiful look; you can prevent flaking by regularly sealing the material (usually every few years).
  • Cut and Honed coping stones – these give a more sophisticated look. This polished is beautiful but can be very slippery.
  • Pour-in-place coping – we set forms of wood and foam to pour cement coping of various edges. You can practically choose any color you wish. Darker colors are typically more expensive as more dye is needed in the cement mix. It’s important to note that pour-in-place pool coping is done on site rather than a factory-controlled setting. That means that weather and other factors may impact curing and cracks may occur.

Contact Our Renovation Team

If you’re ready to talk about your swimming pool renovation, just give us a call at 619-593-8880. Or fill our web form we’ll be happy to help you.


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