How to Select Pool Coping

Pool coping is the material used to finish the top edge of your swimming pool and join it to the pool deck. It is a layer of material that runs around the outside of a pool and is used to add decoration or accents to the pool area. It can sometimes be used to visually separate a patio or deck area from the pool or create an area for swimmers to relax in. To select a pool coping for your pool consider these factors.

How To Select Pool Coping

Pool coping is a personal decision based on your preferences for your pool area. So, there is no right or wrong kind of coping, only what you like or don't like. If you or your family or guests plan to get in and out of your pool by climbing out over the coping, then a bull-nosed edge might make a better surface. If you enjoy a modern but timelessly elegant look, a cantilevered coping might be the best choice. A rolled edge coping allows swimmers to grasp the edge of the pool with their feet/toes better, or to reach up and grab onto - something important to young or beginning swimmers. Look at each style and decide which looks best for your yard and pool. Consider cost as well. Poured or pre-cast concrete is less expensive than tile or stone.

Four Main Styles of Pool Coping

  • Rolled edge. Flat and smooth with a turned up edge at the end. Good for diving from, or for holding onto from inside the pool.
  • Bull-nosed. Flat surface with a rolled edge. Easy to get in and out of the pool by climbing over this edge.
  • Cantilevered. This coping runs out flat then drops at a 90-degree angle over the water in an L-shape. Classic and modern look. Not a coping you can climb out of the pool on. More cleanly decorative.
  • Rough cut. Usually made from rock or stone, this coping is textured and natural or rustic looking, somewhat or not flat, and may or may not extend over the water. Better for creating a natural look around the pool, especially when created with stone.

Common Materials Used for Pool Coping

Concrete is the most common and popular material used for pool coping. Concrete coping can be poured in place, or come pre-cast in one of the four most common styles of coping (bull-nosed, rolled edge, cantilevered or rough cut). Tile, stone, pavers and even wood or composite materials can be used to create coping. What material you choose depends on how you use your pool. When selecting your pool coping pick the style of coping and then check with your pool installation contractor to see what materials are available in that style. Concrete can be pre-cast or poured to fit any style and is the least expensive way to install coping. Stone, tile and rocks must be mortared in place and generally are more expensive to install, but may also give more color and character to the pool's perimeter.