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What is the Pool Coping: Best Materials for It

Pool Coping

Few things are as sought after as pools in the hardscape world. Many homeowners dream of having a pool in their backyard. However, many don’t know all the other elements that must come with it, pool coping being one of them. So what is the pool coping exactly?

Those dreams of owning a pool are justified – after all, few things are as fun as pools. Not only that, they can be the centerpiece of a luxurious hardscape design. Pool coping is just one of many elements that must be incorporated in a pool installation.

The goal of this article is to talk about pool coping. We want to help you understand better its functions and what you should consider when deciding to incorporate in your installation. So let’s get right to it.

What is Pool Coping?

To understand pool coping, we first need to clarify what coping is in general.

Some paver installations have “levels” involved in them, like steps and stairs. In those cases, the final product might be too crude for the homeowner’s liking. For those cases, we have something called coping pavers.

These pavers are created with a special format designed to fit at the edges of those levels. They usually have a round and smooth finish, made both to protect the passersby and improve the overall aesthetic of the final installation.

In the case of pool coping, they have an even more important function. Its main goal is to protect the pool shell and prevent water from getting behind it. It does that by separating the shell from the structure surrounding it.

A pool installation is not complete until a pool coping is chosen and installed.

Best Materials for Pool Coping

Choosing a material for a pool coping is no different from choosing a material for the surrounding pool installation. It’s no secret that pavers are the perfect choice for a poolside installation, and things couldn’t be different for pool coping.

Amongst the best materials are concrete pavers, porcelain pavers and natural stone pavers, with travertine being considered the best possible choice of all of them.

Travertine is naturally resistant to water and has natural non-slippery qualities to it, making it the virtually perfect choice for both poolside pavers and pool coping.

Porcelain might be the second-best option. The maintenance of porcelain pavers is extremely easy, as they are non-porous, and that is usually a determining factor of people that decide to go for it.

Other natural stones and concrete pavers comes in third place. They can be a great choice and work wonderfully well, but they usually require some more work in the maintenance department, especially when it comes to sealing.

Types of Pool Coping

Pool coping can present itself in four different ways:

Square Coping

square Pool Coping

These are the simplest form of coping, with a straight edge finisher.

Bullnose Coping

bullnose Pool Coping

The bullnose copings have round edges, usually used in conjunction with sets of pavers designed for poolside installations.

Rebated or Dropped Coping

rebated Pool Coping

Dropped copings are often mistaken for square coping when looking at a full pool. To better explain them, we have chosen an image that shows a dropped coping prior to the isntallation.

As you can see, the dropped coping has this “L” turn that differs from the square coping. The goal is to fit the edge of the pool behind the L shape, thus protecting it completely from the water.

Wedge Coping

wedge Pool Coping

The wedge coping is perhaps the rarest one to find. They have this characteristic alcove to it, that can be more squared or round depending on the model.

Choosing the Right Coping

We have to be honest here: pools are hard to work with.

They are a wonderful hardscape element, but they need a tremendous amount of planning and resources to be properly installed. Choosing the right coping is just a small part of the bigger puzzle that is a poolside installation.

At the end of the day, they will all fulfil the same purpose, with some slight alterations. They have a big impact aesthetically, however, so only you can know what you’re aiming for in that front.

We recommend focusing on the material you want, and then choosing from the available choices you have at your disposal inside that material. Remembering to always keep in mind what is your aesthetic goal.

Professional Pool Installation

As we mentioned, poolside installations are not easy. The best thing you can do is to hire qualified hardscape professionals to help you with it.

They can point you in the right direction when it comes to paver and coping choice and guide to achieve the best possible installation you can.

We here at S&S Pavers have helped with countless poolside installations over our 12 years of experience, so we know how tricky they can be and how hard they are to work with. We always recommend contacting professionals in your area that can help you.

And in case you are around our area of activity, the Sarasota and Manatee counties, in Florida, why not give us a call to help you?

You can contact us any time for a free estimate on our services. Call us right now at 941-773-3098 or email us at We would be happy to hear from you and help you not only with your pool installation, but also with any other hardscape need you might have.