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January 24, 2022

Swimming Pool Copings: The Buying Guide

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It takes time and planning to install a new pool or renovate an existing one — it’s more than just digging a hole and filling it with chlorinated water. You must consider the fencing, heating, lighting, and water type, as well as the pool interior and surrounds.

When taking the exciting step of putting in a swimming pool or buying a property that has a pool in need of an update, one of the most important decisions to make is the type of pool coping edges to purchase, as that will ensure the pool is both functional and appealing to swimmers.

What Is Pool Coping?

Architecturally, coping is the covering or capping at the top of a wall that prevents water damage and makes it look more appealing overall.

Similarly, pool coping is the edge around an inground pool that is both decorative and covers the underground wall of the pool. On hot summer days, when you sit with your feet dangling into the water, you’re sitting on the swimming pool coping.

As well as protecting the upper edge of the inground pool wall, coping is required for the safety and operation of the pool. It also serves to make the pool look and feel welcoming to swimmers.

Why Copings Are Necessary for Pools

Below we discuss why stone coping around pools is necessary for both aesthetic and functional reasons:

Functionally:

  • Coping is first and foremost a safety precaution! It makes the edge of the pool less slippery for swimmers.
  • Coping can reduce the amount of debris like grass, leaves, and sticks that get into the pool.
  • Protects the pool shell and wall from damage by preventing water from seeping in behind the shell.

Aesthetically:

  • Pool copings can really change the appearance of your pool, tying it together cohesively or making it stick out like a centerpiece. Copings come in various colors and styles and can make or break the overall landscape.
  • Pool copings can be the difference between an inviting and enjoyable environment and a boring-looking water hole. People sit, rest, and hang off of pool coping, so ensuring it looks good and comfortable is crucial.

What Are The Common Materials for the Pool Copings?

Different types of pool coping

The four swimming pool coping materials are bricks, composite materials, concrete pavers, and natural stone.

  • Bricks: Able to withstand chlorinated water, bricks make a versatile and easy to access choice for pool copings. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to match your style and can be easily replaced or repaired with a little caulk if they’re damaged.
  • Composite materials: Composite materials can be easily adjusted, cut and shaped to fit your preferences. This pool edging can be found already available in straight lengths, curved sections, and corners and can be mortared and sealed to create a more cohesive and attractively uniform look. Along with being waterproof and salt resistant, composite materials are also very affordable and durable.
  • Concrete pavers: Concrete pavers are a popular choice for pool copings because they don’t need a lot of upkeep, they’re very durable and sturdy, and come in many sizes and finishes. Pavers are also water-resistant and an excellent option for the unique choice of a salt-water swimming pool. The downside is that concrete pavers don’t always look as good while being as expensive as natural stones.
  • Natural stones: There’s no better way to make your pool look naturally beautiful than with granite, limestone, sandstone, travertine, or another natural stone. Though they cost a little more, natural stones require very little upkeep and provide a gorgeous look for your backyard pool. These pool copings are also durable and great if kids run around, as they’re usually anti-slip.

What Pool Coping Edgings Exist?

Here are the most popular different types of pool coping with considering before picking your material:

  • Cantilevered: Cantilevered coping, or “square edge” coping, is unique because it uses foam as the finished edge of the concrete. It allows for a seamless blending of the deck surface and the pool edge.
  • Flat-mount: This coping is functional; the track secures the pool liner while forming an installation platform for pavers and stones.  
  • Rough-cut: A more natural-looking form of pool coping, rough-cut uses stones that are textured and organic.
  • Top-mount: The most popular style of edging is top-mount, or C-channel, where the edge forms a rounded protruding edge that slopes down, away from the water, and is both functional and comfortable to use.
  • Bullnose: Bullnose is one of the most versatile types of pool coping, as it can vary greatly. Flat or raised bullnose concerns only the top edge, where flat bullnose is edge-to-edge and raised bullnose protrudes at the water’s edge to form a lip and direct water flow. There is also full, or half bullnose; full bullnose coping has a 180-degree curve that forms a lip, while half bullnose is only rounded at the top edge. Bluestone Bullnose coping is a particularly popular choice for any of these styles.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pool Copings

  • A lip or overhang: Some pool coping options include a C-curve that prevents excess water from leaving the pool and gives swimmers something to hold onto, while other pools just have right angles.
  • Comfort and safety: If you expect the pool to be slippery and fall risk, a rough-textured pool coping will be a safer choice. However, smoother copings will be more comfortable for sitting on, entering, and exiting the pool.
  • Overall pool landscaping: Ensure the pool coping blends or stands out as you prefer in the overall landscape — keeping in mind the patio, walkway, and anything else in the backyard.

Conclusion

As we’ve discussed, there are some different types of pool edges and materials that can be used for them. Whether you’re looking for a cohesive look with top-mount, composite coping for your backyard pool, or you're looking to make a splash with natural, rough-cut stones, it’s essential to choose the best pool coping for your specific needs.

Keep in mind safety, comfort, design, cost, and functionality when making your decisions! If you’re looking for affordable, high-quality swimming pool copings for sale, check out Stone Center! You can visit our website to browse our catalog or contact us directly to learn more about our services!