When building your own pool, one of the early decisions will be coping type. There are 3 main types of coping that we offer to our inground pool kit customers. The choice of the coping can pre-determine your choice of pool deck, so make a careful decision.
This is the most common pool coping type for inground vinyl pools. Some will call it a C-channel coping, or half-round coping. Top-Mount coping is the type we include as standard with our DIY pool kits. it is heavy aluminum, with a powder coated all weather finish. This type of coping also serves a second purpose of acting as the form to pour the pool deck up against. After bolting it to the pool wall, you are ready for concrete.it is usually white although there are other color options available.
If you like the look of the pool deck that comes right up and over the edge of the pool, you can create it using Stegmeier coping forms. These are Styrofoam forms that are secured on top of the wall and then a concrete deck is poured up to the form. The concrete can be stained or stamped or colored. When the concrete is dry, you remove the forms and your concrete is your finished edge. Capstone style edge is shown, and there are other shapes for use on vinyl pools.
The last type is a flat mount coping is not really a coping at all - it's basically a track to hold your pool liner, on top of which you mount a more traditional coping stone. After bolting flat mount style coping to the top of the pool wall, you can secure pavers, coping stones or tile coping on top of this plastic strip.
If you are using pavers, stone, block or brick as your pool deck and coping, the first block that overhangs the pool is mortared in place or secured with an adhesive such as a mastic paste. Laying coping stones on top of flat mount coping is not rocket science, but it is important to take your time to properly bond brick or block to the top of the pool wall. Behind the first stone, or coping stones of brick, block or stone, leave 1/2" gap to serve as an expansion joint between the pool coping stones and the pool deck. Fill the gap with a foam expansion joint material if you are installing a block or paver pool deck.
On my new inground pool, which we built this summer, we used a flat-mount coping and that is where we left it for the season, while we decided if we wanted to keep it simple (and cheap), or if we were going to spend more of our children's inheritance. I hope my grown kids will enjoy the pool one day, because we are planning to install the expensive tile coping! When the weather warms up again, we will have another photo shoot - to film the installation of my custom tile coping.
Your choice of coping can be the same as your deck or different - depending on the look you are going for. Some people may pour a 2-3 foot concrete deck around the pool perimeter and then install an outer ring of bricks, pavers, wood or tile to add interest and contrast. Pool deck options are endless for inground pools, see a recent blog post I did on pool decking choices.
Before you get too far along in your pool decision process, take some time to figure out what coping you will be using as once you have made your choice it narrows your available deck options. We were not sure of our decking choice when we built the pool, so we chose the flat track - to have more options, and time to make the pool deck decision.
If you have any questions about coping choices for vinyl liner pools, give our team a call at 800-983-7665. We'll help you cope with it!
SPP Pool Expert