Install Tile Pool Coping in 4 Steps

A pool with tiles.
  • 5 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000
What You'll Need
Masking gloves
Circular saw
Ear muffs
Dust mask
Tile expansions joints

Tile swimming pool coping is the top layer of a pool wall. Swimming pool coping covers and protects the edge of the pool to provide added safety features. It also serves to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your pool. The essential look of the swimming pool is determined by the coping, which connects the swimming pool edge with the outer decking.

There are a number of types of pool coping. Bull Nose coping is the most popular because it can be made out of any material and matches the landscape. The variation is flat on top with rounded edges where it connects with the pool. While there are a number of different materials that can be used for coping, tile pool coping tends to last longer than other materials. Tile also offers a wide variety of colors and textures to choose from.

      Step 1 - Decide How Your Coping Will Look

      Consider how you would like your coping to appear. Consider the shape and dimensions of your pool. You may look at magazines, on-lines, and visit local showrooms and retailers to get a sense as to the tile you would like to use for your coping. Once you have made these decisions you can determine the number of tiles you will need.

        Step 2 - Lay Out Your Tile Coping

        Take your newly selected tiles and lay them out and mark the tiles exactly where they need to be cut so that they will fit properly in place. It is important for you to make sure everything is level around the outer rim of the pool during this step so that the stone will be flat when it is put in place.

        Step 3 - Cut The Tiles

        Bull-nose coping is great with porcelain tiles. If you have a bull-nose pool, you still must decide how to cut the tiles to fit the design. If you do not already have a bull-nose coping in place, you will have to start by mixing the mortar and placing the individual tile pieces in the mortar. When mixing the mortar, be careful not to mix too much in advance and make sure that it is nice and wet.

        You will have to cut the tiles if you have a curved shape in your coping. You can do this with a diamond blade circular saw or a wet saw. Cut the blade on each tile, cutting it 1/2 inch deeper each time. Be sure to wear your safety goggles and ear muffles during this step to protect from the flying dust.

        Step 4 - Attach the Tiles

        After the tiles are in place, use the tile expansion joints with concrete poured behind it so that the tiles do not shift in place with the mortar. The expansion joints are helpful because they act as a strong sealant, just like caulking.