Understanding Pool Copings: Why They Are Important and How They Work

Understanding pool copings and how they work can be a bit of a mystery. Once you know the answers to the most asked questions about pool coping materials and installation, you will understand how they work and why they are important. Read more here.

If you’re ready to put up a swimming pool in your yard space, chances are you’ll undoubtedly need to think about the pool coping.

Whether you’re building a new pool or remodeling an old one, it requires effort and preparation. In addition, you’ll have to consider factors other than simply hollowing out a large dirt hole and adding water.

You’ll also have to bear in mind the water quality of your swimming pool and any necessary heating and lighting systems. Then there’s the matter of picking out the materials for the pool’s interior and surroundings.

To get the best out of your swimming pool, you have to both economically and aesthetically build the pool. When it comes to pool finishes, one crucial component is pool coping.

What Is Pool Coping?

Pool Coping

In architecture, pool coping is described as the protective cap or lip that protects the top of a wall and provides an appealing look. In pool design, pool coping is applied the same way. 

Unless you’re trying for Thunderdome chic when you build an in-ground pool, the bond beam at the top of the pool wall will probably have exposed steel. This won’t win any safety or design prizes. You can cover this wall with coping, which drains water away from your pool and straight to the drain deck. Additionally, it will improve the aesthetic appeal of your pool and make it safer for swimmers to use.

Pool coping is usually designed with an elegant outward tilt. And for a more aesthetic appearance, you can use stone, concrete, and composite materials to build your pool coping. Metal and wood are also excellent choices, but swimming pools are more prone to damage in a humid environment. As a result, they necessitate more time, effort, and money to care for and maintain.

Why Swimming Pools Need Pool Coping?

A splash of water coming from pool

The main reason is to direct splashes of water from your pool into the deck drain. Moreover, it also offers several vital functions, including:

  • Preventing the pool water from penetrating the pool shell and inflicting damage.
  • Maintaining debris such as grass, leaves, and dirt out of the pool.
  • Providing a protective and beautiful cover for mechanical components such as automatic pool covers.
  • Providing swimmers with a secure and durable way to access and exit the pool while decreasing the chance of slipping.

Although it’s not like an azalea bush or a beautiful windshield of delicate pines, pool coping is also regarded as a form of inorganic pool landscaping. Pool coping is also an opportunity to provide a personal flair. You may pick from a wide variety of colors, materials, cuts, and finishes to fit your overall design concept and personalize your poolside.

What’s the Suitable Material for Pool Coping?

Metal bar handle in swimming pool corner

When it comes to deciding how to finish your pool, you’ll have a bewildering array of options. But, before you pick your pool coping, remember to keep a few essential considerations in mind.

Affordability: Is the cost of the materials something you can afford? What kind of maintenance should you expect? Is it easy to replace or fix if something goes wrong?

Durability: Do you think the material will endure for a long time? Is it resistant to pool chemicals and bad weather? When you have a saltwater pool, is your pool coping salt-resistant?

Safety: Is the material resistant to slipping? Is it of good quality? Is the design safe and functional for everyone who will be using your pool? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Does the material absorb heat when exposed to the sun?

Style: Does the material of your choice blend well with the style of your deck, landscaping, and other design elements?

Note: “No matter which material you choose, we recommend you add a sealant to prevent water damage and, if necessary, a non-slip coating to help improve safety.”

Matt, founder of Swim University®

What Pool Coping Styles Are Available?

Rolled Edge Style of Pool Coping

Rolled Edge

Rolled edge style has a slanted edge and is usually constructed by natural stones, concrete, or brick. It’s great for diving or holding from the pool. You can generally see this type of style in swimming pools that athletes use for exercise.


Bull-nosed-styled coping is the way to go if you want swimmers to enter and exit the pool quickly. In addition to stone, poured concrete, and brick, you may use steel to construct bull-nosed coping. In addition, bull-nosed is the most well-known style of pool coping.

Bull nose pool coping


This modern kind of coping is flat from one side to the other, and it ends at a 90-degree angle, giving the material a more solid or thicker look.


The rough cut is the perfect choice for your backyard oasis if you want a more rustic look. For this coping, you can use either rock or stone. If your swimming pool has a built-in grotto or a waterfall, the rough-cut coping will provide a more cohesive look for the entire pool.

Rough cut pool coping


Top mount coping, also known as C-channel, or half-round coping, is built of high-grade aluminum. It connects straight to the pool’s top wall for a smooth, polished edge on a poured patio or deck.

Traditional Pool Coping

Natural materials are the most popular options for pool coping because of their durability and beauty. Traditional pool coping uses brick, pavers, natural stone (such as granite or marble), and composite materials.

Traditional pool coping is cut to fit directly onto the bond beam in any style that you prefer.


Bricks are available in assorted sizes and colors, and it is readily available, adaptable, and resistant to chlorinated water. The good thing about bricks is you can easily replace them once it’s worn out, but bear in mind to caulk and seal them during maintenance and repairs.

A pool with brick style pool coping

Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are like bricks. They’re both made of durable materials and require little upkeep. This pool coping is available in various finishes and sizes, and you may change each piecemeal as necessary. They’re water and salt-resistant. 

Natural Stone 

Cut stone pool coping comes in various styles and colors, ranging from travertine marble to flagstone to granite. Compared to brick or pavers, natural stone is more expensive but requires less upkeep and looks better. However, not every stone is made equal. Granite and sandstone, for example, are pretty durable. Travertine, on the other hand, is porous and may need a sealant.

Composite Materials

Composite materials like precast concrete make a great pool coping because it’s inexpensive and easy to shape and adapt. You can buy composite materials in corners, straight lengths, and curved sections. 

You can mortar these materials piece by piece for an elegant look. ​An excellent sealer may make them exceptionally long-lasting because they’re water and salt-resistant.

Bottom Line

Materials for pool coping are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. You will be able to select the one that best matches your personality and style through proper research.

If you are ever in doubt, don’t be hesitant to seek assistance. This can save you valuable time and resources. You will find more pool articles below that you are sure to find useful. Check them out! You can read more about pools here. Happy swimming!

Photo of author

About the author

Maria Anderson

I am an arts and design lover. My passion are swimming pools and gardening. Follow me in our family project ThePoolPassion.com where we want to help everyone to make their dream pool become reality.

Related Articles...

Leave a Comment