WHAT IS POOL COPING?
So what is Pool Coping and why does it matter? According to the Concrete Network, Pool Coping is the term used to identify the material used to cap the pool edge or shell wall. Options available are poured-in-place concrete, precast concrete, tile, and natural stone (pavers).In other words, Pool coping is the finished top inside edge of the pool. The portion that you would sit on while dangling your feet in the pool. This coping can come in several forms and colors. To give you a better idea of what pool coping is, let's dive in and take a look at Fiberglass Pool Coping and its progression over the years.
EXPOSED FIBERGLASS POOL COPING
To properly cover pool coping options we will need to take a step back in time to go over the original coping options for fiberglass pools.
Early on there was only one option for coping of a fiberglass pool. Like the picture on the right shows, fiberglass pools used to be completed with the fiberglass coping of the pool being exposed. This left a sleek smooth surface to sit on. The drawback is that this fiberglass coping would show signs of wear and tear over time and need to be repaired. Not to mention it made the pools look like bathtubs. This is no longer a recommended method for finishing your pool.
CANTILEVERED CONCRETE POOL COPING
The next progression was to Cantilevered Concrete Coping. This is a process wherein the concrete pool deck is poured over the top of the pool and it is cantilevered over the top of the pool. This was completed by the use of either a Stegmeier or Mortex Styrofoam form that was attached to the pool shell via double-sided tape and a tie wire. Once the Stegmeier form is installed on the pool the concrete is poured into the form and vibrated to remove voids in the face of the form. While this is a great option for freeform or curvy pools. Keeping these styrofoam forms perfectly straight on a straight wall pool is challenging to say the least. Since the form is only held in place using a tie wire and since styrofoam is flexible it has the propensity to move when the concrete is placed inside the form. That is why at Pool Pros we no longer offer cantilevered concrete on straight walled pools unless the pool has an automatic pool cover. We then use a different more rigid aluminum form for the cantilevered concrete. With skilled labor pool shortages, it has become increasingly more difficult to use Stegmeier style forms and achieve the results our clients demand. However, on a free form pool, these forms tend to hold their shape and hold to the curve much better and we will use them on Free Form Shaped Pools. This still wouldn't be our first choice as there is a higher likelihood of imperfections using these forms. In other words, Cantilevered Concrete will never be perfect.
POOL COPING STONES
For us, at Pool Pros this is the best option for near-perfect pool edges. Part of the reason is that these coping stones are manufactured off-site in a climate-controlled plant to tight tolerances to ensure each stone is uniform. Coping Stones are cleaner and generally easier to install as well. A Coping stone is a precast concrete or natural stone that is glued or mortared to the top of the pool that provides the clean finished look that everyone is looking for. This has a higher price tag than cantilevered concrete but with coping stones, you will always get a near-perfect finish at your pool.
WHY IS POOL COPING IMPORTANT?
Pool Coping is the "make it or break it"option for your pool. It is the inside finished edge that anyone in your backyard and in your fiberglass pool will see and it if doesn't look good your entire project won't look good. That is why at Pool Pros we always recommend Natural or Concrete Coping Stones for every project.