Poured vs Precast Concrete Pool Coping

Lead Image for Poured vs Precast Concrete Pool Coping
  • 20-30 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-1,500

When building your in-ground swimming pool, you may decide on concrete pool coping. There are significant differences between poured concrete coping and precast concrete pool coping to consider when you choose this finishing touch for your pool. Read over the suggestions and information below to help you decide between poured concrete and precast concrete swimming pool coping.

Poured Concrete Pool Coping

To make this coping, semi-liquid concrete is poured into molds set along the beam, the edge of the pool at the waterline. It is thick, solid, durable and attractive. It makes an airtight, virtually waterproof one-piece seal for the top edge of your pool. It can be colored, or have a variety of finishes, such as sand-blasted, broom-finished, acid-washed, or buff-polished. Poured concrete coping can have a flat edge or a bullnose, curved edge to support swimmers in the water. The bullfrog edge is also popular, with a curved protruding lip that swimmers can grasp from below to lift themselves from the pool.

Precast Concrete Pool Coping

Precast coping is laid in sections, as opposed to poured concrete coping. Precast pool coping is finished with mortar and caulking between sections to create an airtight and waterproof top edge for your inground pool. The same finishes can be applied to precast concrete as those used for poured concrete, and a wider variety of edge finishes are available. Precast concrete coping can also be laid in 2 or more alternating colors, unlike poured concrete. It is slightly thinner than poured concrete, meaning the coping will exert less pressure on the pool bond beam, helping the pool edge to retain its shape and integrity.

When to Use Poured or Precast Coping

Poured concrete is recommended for pools smaller than 30 feet wide or long, as the one-piece edge makes the pool appear larger. Poured concrete is expensive and labor-intensive to install, requiring extra workers and cement-mixing equipment. Poured coping is easy to maintain once installed. Just seal the coping with a recommended weatherproof sealer for concrete.

Precast concrete components are less expensive and easier for just a few people to install, usually in 1 day. Seal the concrete and mortar with weatherproof, pH neutral sealant. Water-based sealers work well for precast concrete pool coping. Apply these sealers according to instructions and permit them to dry for at least 24 hours before using the pool. Choose either precast or poured concrete coping for their superior slip-resistance over that of tile and natural stone coping, enhancing the safety of the swimmers who use your pool.

Installation of Pool Coping

Have the same company that builds your pool supply and install the pool coping. They will be aware of how your pool is constructed, and how best to install the style of concrete pool coping you have chosen. They will know the climate of your area, including the need to compensate for freezes, thaws and settling when installing your concrete pool coping. Don't forget to ask for references and information about previous projects when hiring the company.