Swimming Pool Copings: The Buying Guide

Table of Contents

It takes time and planning to install a new pool or renovate an existing one - the right pool requires 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, such as the stone around the pool's edge.

If you're 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. Our team at Stone Centers has outlined everything you need to know about this topic.

What Is Pool Coping?

stone around pool

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.

What Are Common Materials for Pool Coping?

Different types of pool coping

The four types of 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 coping. 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 are easy to adjust, cut, and shape 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 a concrete deck doesn’t always look as good even though it's equally 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 flagstone coping costs a little more, it requires very little upkeep and provides 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.

Benefits of Natural Stone Pool Copings

pool paver coping

Let’s examine the benefits of natural stone, delving into exactly where and how it outshines some of its competitors.


#1 It’s Good for Safety

While natural stone undergoes polishing and finishing treatments, it’s still considerably safer than other composite materials, an appealing benefit for many customers. The porous texture of natural coping stones offers a better grip, making it slip-resistant and safer for walking than tiles. Due to its non-slippery surface, divers have the advantage of trying short or long-run jumps before landing in the pool.

Coping demands strong surfaces to provide walking safety, and natural stone is the unbeatable choice due to its sturdiness. Thus, it's the safest coping material because of its flexural strength and availability in different thicknesses. A quick tip: Always consult your stone supplier when choosing natural stone pool coping, as their expertise will point you in the right direction.

#2 Natural Stone Is Durable

Whether the preference is top-mount, cantilevered, or bluestone bullnose coping for pools, natural stone’s durability caters to a variety of designs. Its longevity also remains unmatched - it lasts for 50 to even 100 years (you’ll seldom have to worry about chips or cracks!) Natural stone pool coping can withstand high traffic and temper heat, which is advantageous for a pool structure, as it’s generally orientated to receive direct sunlight.
Natural stone’s inherent durability makes it an eco-friendly choice because it’s quarried and doesn’t undergo much processing, nor does it contain harmful chemicals or toxins. Compared to bricks and concrete, it's a far superior product, and if laid done properly, will not need replacing.

#3 Debris Reduction

Waterline tile can reduce the amount of debris like grass, leaves, and sticks that get into the pool.

#4 Protection

Natural stone protects the pool shell and wall from damage by preventing water from seeping in behind the shell.


coping pavers around pool

#5 Copings Can Create a Stunning Appeal

Natural stone swimming pool coping possesses an attractive appeal that’s timeless and elegant compared with a more expensive option. Despite poured concrete’s rise in popularity, a stone pool deck is harder and longer-lasting, plus no two coping stones are alike, affording a one-of-a-kind uniqueness. Besides, design trends are cyclic and tend to prioritize color over stone type.

Stones like granite are available in blacks, grays, whites, and a spectrum of ocher, while bluestone ranges from blue-black to blue-gray, and marble is most revered for its white varieties with delicate veining. There's also milestone coping for pools with beautiful and smooth earthy tones ranging from grey, and white to cream.

#6 There Is a Wide Variety of Designs

A pool edge made from bricks can essentially only offer straight edges, whereas stone pool coping comes in various modern and classic designs, like cantilevered or bluenose, for instance. For example, some contractors create coping styles that have a soft, rounded, and C-curve at the edge of a pool to prevent splash out and provide swimmers with a grip, and other coping styles are simple right angles.

Not only that, but natural stone fabricators can cut stones into different shapes and sizes to accommodate custom designs and awkward surface areas. When selecting stone around the pool edge, you’ll want it to blend in with your existing deck, patio, walkway, or landscape. Coping is a significant poolside detail, and perhaps equally important as aesthetic is how it feels while sitting at the edge of the pool and when you pull yourself out of the water.

Long-Term Advantages:

#7 Natural Stone Is Cost-Effective

Since natural stone can withstand wear and tear, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s considerably more expensive than other materials due to production expenses associated with extraction and preparation. And, installation is more challenging because of the customized fabrication needed to accommodate different sizes and shapes.

However, stone pool coping is more economical in the long term. It’s low maintenance, rarely develops cracks, and can last a lifetime. An alternative like bricks tends to crack in response to stress (such as ice, traffic, or moisture), while concrete pavers can erode over time. So, if you’re looking to make a worthwhile investment and not a quick fix, natural stone around your pool is the way to go.

#8 Natural Stone Increases the Property Value

A pool alone can increase a home’s resale value by 69%, and one made of natural stone adds a luxurious and contemporary appeal. Using stone around a pool edge will appeal to most buyers, and it will last the lifetime of your home and may even outlast it. So, when or if it does eventually come to selling your home, it likely won’t be one of the upgrades you need to make.If you're using pool-coping natural stone, you might also consider creating other structural elements in your landscaping. For example, stone pathways, retaining walls, and entertainment areas with natural stone fire pits or bars alongside a pool can also boost real estate value.

What Styles of Pool Coping Edgings Exist?

pavers around pools

Here are the most popular different types of pool coping to consider 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 pool deck surface and the pool edge.
  • Flat-mount: This type of 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 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 pavers have 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 to achieve any of these styles.

How to Choose the Best Stone for Pool Coping

When it comes to selecting swimming pool coping stones, choosing the right material is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

  • 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 the 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, a smoother coping 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.
  • Price: Cost is an important consideration when choosing your pool coping stones. While natural stones may be more expensive than other materials, they offer greater durability and longevity.
  • Availability: The availability of the chosen material is also important. Make sure that the stone you choose is readily available in your area to ensure that it can be sourced and installed promptly.


As we’ve discussed, there are some different types of pool edges and various 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.

We encourage you to keep in mind factors including safety, comfort, pool 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 and how we can improve your space!


No items found.
Jon Smiley

Jon, the owner of Stone Center, is a knowledgeable expert in natural stone products, specializing in various types of stone for landscaping and architectural projects. Passionate about promoting the beauty and versatility of natural stone, Jon aims to use these blogs to inspire readers with creative ideas to upgrade their homes.

Check Out Our Products You May Like

Limestone Copings

Bluestone Bullnose

$40 - $80 (each)

Ocean Gray Bullnose

$100 - $140 (each)

Desert Creme Bullnose

$100 - $140 (each)