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Pool Coping: what you should know about it

The Complete Guide to Pool Coping

Pool coping frames the swimming pool, it is almost like the skirting board of the swimming pool. It usually covers the top part of the pool, the lining of the pool, essentially the part you hold on to when you are trying to pull yourself out of the pool. The pool coping basically separates the rest of the pool from the decking area. There are various different types of coping available to choose from, you can decide to go for concrete coping or brick, or even tiling material or pre-cast. There is a lot to think about when you are planning to install an inground swimming pool into your backyard, there is certainly a lot to consider and swimming pool coping is just one of the decisions that you will have to make. In this article, we will provide you with more information about the pool coping, what is it? What materials can you choose, and what purpose does it actually serve?

What is the Purpose of Pool Coping?

Pool coping serves a couple of purposes, one of them is to decorate or frame the edge of the pool, much like a picture frames a picture, or a skirting board frames the outskirts of a bedroom or living room area. It also serves as a protective measure and is designed to protect the upper part of the swimming pool.  If there was no coping or framing the pool would look very unattractive and there would be nothing to protect the inner workings of the swimming pool. This is why choosing the right pool coping is very important.

Why Is Pool Coping Important?

Why is pool coping so important anyway? There are a couple of reasons why pool coping is so important:

  • Aesthetics

Pool coping is vital for the overall aesthetics of the pool, as a first-time pool owner you might think aesthetics is not important when it comes to swimming pools however, it is vital. Why? Pools are designed for people to use them, what is the actual point of having a swimming pool if you don’t plan on using it for any reason? If the swimming pool looks uninviting, you probably won’t want to use it, however, if the swimming pool looks inviting and pleasing to the eye, you will certainly use it as much as you possibly can. Therefore, a beautiful framing can make all the difference, a clean and neat aesthetically pleasing pool coping will add something extra to your swimming pool giving it that extra wow factor.

  • Functionality

As much as pool coping is designed to be pleasing to the eye, it is also designed to serve a purpose. It is functional too. Here are some of the functions that pool coping serves:

  • Serves as a protective covering for the inner shell wall. It stops water from leaking and causing damage.
  • Stops water from spilling over the pool edge and causing unnecessary flooding
  • Pool coping serves a safety purpose as well, it prevents a slippery pool edge making It safer for users.
  • Prevents falling leaves and other objects entering the pool. It greatly reduces debris and dirt entering the swimming pool.
  • Covers inner workings of the pool, also provide easier access to the inner workings for repair purposes.

Pool Coping: The Different Options Available

You know the function and purpose of pool coping so the next step is to identify what is available to you. Here is a list of pool coping options:

There are different types of pool coping such as brick coping, tile coping, cement coping and sometimes wooden coping. You can include pool coping in your design plan for example:

Swimming pool design: If you decide to try and fix your own swimming pool, there are lots of kits available to help you to do so. These kits will usually include a variety of pool coping options. Similarly, if you chose to go with a professional installation, the swimming pool expert would most certainly provide you with a number of options to help you make the right choice for your pool coping.


If you are planning on landscaping your backyard, your landscape garden designer will surely provide you with some options pertaining to pool coping as well. They also help with decking and overall swimming pool design.

Patio Designers   

Just like landscape designers, patio designers can also help with decking and swimming pool coping. They should have a wide range of options available for you to choose from.

If this is the first time you are choosing pool decking or anything to do with a swimming pool for that matter, you might be feeling slightly overwhelmed or confused. Not to worry, here are just a few things that you should consider when you are choosing swimming decking, here is a quick cheat sheet to facilitate the decision making and purchasing process.

Things to Think About When Deciding on Swimming Pool Coping

It is that time, you have decided to install a swimming pool into your back yard, there are a number of decisions that you are going to have to make. Before you delve in and just make that purchase, there are some things that you should be thinking about first. Here are some of those things:

  • Garden landscaping

Look at the overall design of your backyard, if it has already been landscaped, do you want to match your landscaping or do you want to go in a completely different direction when it comes to design? For example, if you would like everything to match, you would need to choose pool coping with similar materials. For instance, if you have a greystone patio and walkways, you might wish to choose something similar for your swimming pool coping. However, it is totally up to you.

  • Comfort and Safety

You need to consider the safety of the pool area and the overall comfort of the pool coping. For example, you need to consider how slippery the pool coping area would be if you were to choose a material that was too smooth. Also, if you go with a material that is very rough, it might not be comfortable to sit on. Therefore, you should probably consider something that is not too rough and not too smooth. Establish a balance to ensure that it is safe and comfortable at the same time.

Do You Want a Pool Coping Lip?

A pool coping lip makes it easier to get out of the pool and it reduces the amount of water that actually spills out of the pool. However, for aesthetic reasons, you might not want to choose a pool coping lip because you are looking for a specific style.

The Most Popular Swimming Pool Coping Styles    

One of the final things that you would need to think about would be the style of the pool coping. Here is a list of 5 of the most popular pool coping styles out there.

  • Top-mount

This is one of the most popular styles of swimming pool coping. It is called top edge because it has a simple round edge and then it has a simple slope that faces away from the swimming pool water. It is sometimes referred to has half channel coping too. This style of coping is comfortable and relatively safe.

  1. Flat-mount – Flat mount swimming pool coping is slightly different in that it provides security for the pool liner and creates a flat area.
  2. Cantilevered- this is a less popular style but it is something that you could consider. With this style, it utilizes a special foam to create solid finishing for concrete. It is often referred to as square edge swimming pool coping. This style of coping generally blends well with the edge of the pool.
  3. Rough-cut- This type of coping is rough, usually, it is designed and made using stones or other natural materials.
  4. Bullnose Coping- This type of coping has a round, smooth edge at the lip. This is the perfect type of coping to go for if you want a nice smooth round, comfort edge. There are different types of bullnose coping styles. Flat or raised styles, the flat type usually has flat edges and the raised type is usually raised, as the name suggests.

Popular Swimming Pool Coping Materials

The next thing to do is decide on the materials that you are going to use to construct your swimming pool coping. There are different materials available, this is a list of popular swimming pool coping materials:

Pour Concrete Material

Poured concrete is a good material to use when you want to create a smooth, aesthetically pleasing pool edge. This is a good material to use when designing minimalistic, simple designs.


Smooth and seamless edge

  • Creates the appearance of a bigger, more spacious swimming pool


  • High cost
  • Easily cracks in hot or cold weather

  Precast Concrete

Precast concrete comes in a variety of patterns and surface textures.


  • Cheaper than poured concrete


  • Not so smooth- poured concrete is smoother
  • Cracks easily

Concrete Pavers

  • You can get these in a variety of colors and surface textures. They are cheaper than natural stone pavers.


  • Can easily be replaced if they get damaged
  • Cheaper than natural stone-Stronger than pour and precast concrete


  • Cost more than poured or precast concrete

Natural Stone

Natural stone is a beautiful material, this is a very common material when it comes to pool coping. Most people opt for travertine which is a type of natural stone that remains cool when it’s hot. The good thing about natural stone is that it is less slippery. It is robust and cracking is unlikely with natural stone.  Most natural stone materials are strong enough to handle constant contact with a potent chlorine solution.

  • Advantages

Looks Nice

  • Disadvantages

High cost


If you have brick landscaping or your house already made from bricks that look similar to the pool coping, this might be a good choice. Bricks are robust and they are easily replaced if they get damaged.


  • They are strong
  • Easily replaced if they get damaged
  • Easy to replace individually


  • There are no major disadvantages to choosing brick pool coping.  

Wooden Swimming Pool Coping

Wooden coping gives your swimming pool area a more natural appearance. Great if your decking and landscaping is already made from wood.


  • Looks nice
  • Lots of design options available


  • Requires a lot of maintenance and is sometimes not as strong as other alternatives

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are becoming more and more popular these days simply because they resist both stains and water. They often have a similar appearance to natural stone.


  • Does not require a lot of maintenance
  • Resists stains, water, and scratches


Might possibly need a special covering to prevent slips.

Pool coping adds something extra to the overall aesthetics of the swimming pool, not only providing a beautiful and inviting appearance but it also protects the inner workings of the swimming pool.

Posted in pool maintenance

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