Repair Tile Pool Coping in 6 Steps

Lead Image
  • 2-12 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 40-600
What You'll Need
Masonry chisel
Baby sledgehammer
Masonry hammer
Masonry trowel
Waterproof thin-set mortar mix
Waterproof tile grout

Tile pool coping is the precast, bullnose tile, separating the pool wall from the pool deck. Coping tiles are often accompanied by several courses of regular tile creating a decorative trim around the pool and defining the edge between the pool wall and the pool deck. Coping tiles also have an important functional role in creating a flexible interface between the pool and the decking around the pool. Repairing a cracked coping tile is easy following the procedure below.

    Step 1– Asses the Expansion Joint Integrity

    How many cracked coping tiles do you have? An isolated cracked tile is no big deal but several cracked coping tiles in a row are indicative of a more serious problem.

    Swimming pools are basically a large mass of concrete sunk into the earth surrounded by another large mass of concrete, called the pool deck. Due to the forces of expansion and contraction, these two large masses need the flexibility to move independently or they will tear each other apart. For this reason, an expansion joint is included between the pool deck and the coping tile on the swimming pool wall.

    An expansion joint that leaks allow water to penetrate the interface between the coping tile, pool deck and the beam causing cracks. The beam, to which the coping tile attaches, serves as a reinforcement collar around the top of the pool wall.

    Carefully inspect the caulking in the expansion joint for signs of failure then remove the caulking around the cracked coping tile.

    Step 2– Chip out the Broken Tile

    Use a masonry chisel and a 3-pound mini sledgehammer to chip out the cracked tile. Protect your eyes and hands with goggles and gloves.

    Step 3– Clean the Old Mortar from the Pocket

    Chip out all the old mortar that was securing the cracked tiled and clean out the pocket as best as you can.

    Step 4– Inspect the Beam

    Now that the coping tile pocket is exposed, take this opportunity to inspect the beam carefully for any cracks or other deformations. Small surface cracks are no big deal but large, deep cracks are definitely a concern as the beam is the primary structural member holding your pool together. Consider the extent of the cracked coping tiles in conjunction with any beam defects while assessing the overall damage and repair strategy. Complete any beam repairs before repairing your coping tiles.

    Step 5– Set the New Tile

    Use a quality waterproof thin-set mortar mix and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the mortar mix to the coping tile pocket and the new coping tile with a trowel then set the new tile in the old location. Wait for the mortar to dry before proceeding.

    Step 6– Fill in the Joints

    Next, grout the joints around the coping tile except for the expansion joint. Caulk the expansion joint and you’re done.