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Thread: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

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    Question Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Hello TFP community.

    This is my first post but I've come across this forum virtually every time I searched for something pool-related (kind of like I always ended up on homebrewtalk when searching for homebrew info...). I did some searching across here and the interwebs but I have found conflicting or no information.

    Here's my situation (wouldn't call it a problem quite yet):
    I decided to replace my waterline tiles because many of them popped off since we bought the house end of 2013 (the pool was built in 2001 I think but was unused for a while by the previous owners). The pool was in fairly good shape but I think the expansion gap was not caulked right and moisture got in between [everything tile]. Last year I fixed the expansion gap but once I had removed all of the waterline tiles I decided to pry off the coping as well because I was sure the root of the problem was loose coping tiles (and right I was!). Now that I have removed about 75% of the coping, I have a few questions:
    1. I can't easily remove the remaining 25% of the tiles. I feel like I should though because there might still be underlying problems, right?
    2. When removing the coping some tiles came out with a chunk of concrete. Do I have to remove the concrete from the tiles completely and fill in the gaps of the pool beam to have an even surface to put the tiles back on or would it be OK do just put thinset/mortar on and use as-is?
    3. Can I use FlexBond (Custom Building Products FlexBond Gray 50 lb. Fortified Thin-Set Mortar-FB50 - The Home Depot) to set the coping again and use it as grout in between? If not, what kind of material is best suited for grouting the coping in a freeze/thaw environment?


    Any other words of caution/advice are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Welcome to TFP!

    Nice project! Nice pool!
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Quote Originally Posted by funnycreature View Post
    Hello TFP community.

    This is my first post but I've come across this forum virtually every time I searched for something pool-related (kind of like I always ended up on homebrewtalk when searching for homebrew info...). I did some searching across here and the interwebs but I have found conflicting or no information.

    Here's my situation (wouldn't call it a problem quite yet):
    I decided to replace my waterline tiles because many of them popped off since we bought the house end of 2013 (the pool was built in 2001 I think but was unused for a while by the previous owners). The pool was in fairly good shape but I think the expansion gap was not caulked right and moisture got in between [everything tile]. Last year I fixed the expansion gap but once I had removed all of the waterline tiles I decided to pry off the coping as well because I was sure the root of the problem was loose coping tiles (and right I was!). Now that I have removed about 75% of the coping, I have a few questions:
    1. I can't easily remove the remaining 25% of the tiles. I feel like I should though because there might still be underlying problems, right?
    2. When removing the coping some tiles came out with a chunk of concrete. Do I have to remove the concrete from the tiles completely and fill in the gaps of the pool beam to have an even surface to put the tiles back on or would it be OK do just put thinset/mortar on and use as-is?
    3. Can I use FlexBond (Custom Building Products FlexBond Gray 50 lb. Fortified Thin-Set Mortar-FB50 - The Home Depot) to set the coping again and use it as grout in between? If not, what kind of material is best suited for grouting the coping in a freeze/thaw environment?


    Any other words of caution/advice are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Welcome to the forum.

    Nice Pool.

    1. Yes, do this right unless you can determine that the remaining tiles are solid, you should remove them.

    2. Yes, clean up the tiles as best you can. I have used an angle grinder with success. (It's nasty, messy work)

    3. Use the thinset you linked but then you will have to come back and grout the tiles using a grout that is the best color match you can find.

    This is a job requiring some skill because the finished product is quite visible. I sense that you have not laid tile before. You might be better off to have a pro do it and learn from him
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Welcome to the forum.

    Nice Pool.

    1. Yes, do this right unless you can determine that the remaining tiles are solid, you should remove them.

    2. Yes, clean up the tiles as best you can. I have used an angle grinder with success. (It's nasty, messy work)

    3. Use the thinset you linked but then you will have to come back and grout the tiles using a grout that is the best color match you can find.

    This is a job requiring some skill because the finished product is quite visible. I sense that you have not laid tile before. You might be better off to have a pro do it and learn from him
    Thanks! We got lucky with the pool I guess. The kids love it!

    I have actually laid tiles for a number of projects (kitchen, bathroom, shower, backsplash [see picture of project in progress) but I have not yet had to deal with (a) outdoor tiles (b) concrete chunks stuck to my tiles (I've always laid new tiles) and (c) grout lines more than 1/4" wide and thick. I consider myself fairly skilled

    If I may ask some follow-up questions:
    (2.) I have an angle grinder and I used it to clean up everything so far and I should be able to clean off the concrete completely but yeah, it will be messy and take time. Thanks for confirming!
    (3.) When you say "come back and grout" after laying the coping tiles, which grout do you recommend? The ones that I could find say they're only good up to 1/2" and the tiles are probably close to 2" thick (while the gaps are 1/2" at most). When I read some posts about this question some suggestions were to use bagged concrete mixes (forgot the name). For my kitchen backsplash I used Prism Color (Prism Color: Stain Resistant Grout | Custom Building Products
    ) and while it's not the cheapest or easiest to work with I loved the results and bought it for the waterline tiles as well.

    Thanks again for your help guys!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by funnycreature; 05-18-2016 at 09:00 AM. Reason: added picture

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    Re: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    Nice project! Nice pool!
    Thanks! It is fun but also a lot of work. At least it gives me time to be outside

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    Re: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Sanded grout is available at HD and is the correct product....assuming you find the right color.

    You can buy a "backer rod" which is a round foam rope that squeezes down in between the tiles so you don't use so much. HD has that as well
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Questions about repairing/replacing/reusing coping

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Sanded grout is available at HD and is the correct product....assuming you find the right color.

    You can buy a "backer rod" which is a round foam rope that squeezes down in between the tiles so you don't use so much. HD has that as well
    I've used a lot of the backer rod when I fixed my expansion gap last year. Will have to do this again this year but I didn't think I could use it underneath a non-flexible substrate like [non-silicone] grout. I'll look into that, thanks!

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    Cool Project updates

    Thought I'd post an update on this project. It took me several weeks so far but it was worth it and I hope to be finished within 3 weeks. I apologize for not taking pictures but I am really bad at that. I might add some current pictures later though
    Note: I added links to the products I used so that people can check them out without having to ask for more details.
    I removed most of the coping (every stone that sounded hollow but left the ones that sounded like they were properly attached). I started removing the concrete chunks stuck to the coping with a manual chisel but after breaking off the guards and hitting my hands multiple times I purchased a new compressor and air hammer. Best decision ever! The dreaded, day-long task was shortened to a few hours of almost fun. I then used a concrete grinder disc and cleaned off each and every coping stone for an even yet textured surface. Once I cleaned up the mess I bought a couple of bags of fast-setting patcher and started filling in the sometimes significant holes in the pool beam/mortar bed. After grinding the patches down to a level surface I re-attached the coping using FlexBond mortar. Finally, I could grout the coping (my most dreaded task so far) using Sacrete's Topping & Bedding mix made up with 50/50 (v/v) water and fortifier/adhesive. I placed duct tape around the overhangs to prevent the grout mix from falling straight through and used whatever necessary to push the grout mix into the gaps. I really hope I did a sufficiently good job! A couple of nights ago I added caulk saver to the expansion gap and sealed it with Sikaflex sealant (sandstone).

    The next steps are:
    1. Attach waterline tiles
    2. Grout and apply silicone caulk where tiles and coping meet as well as in other changes of plane
    3. Seal coping and tiles, including grout
    4. Acid wash the plaster
    5. Refill the pool
    6. Have a lot of beer to celebrate!


    Hopefully this will help others here!
    Last edited by funnycreature; 06-15-2016 at 03:54 PM. Reason: added details

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    Another update!

    To continue my monologue, here are a few pictures. I finished putting up the waterline tiles yesterday and I know it's not perfect but it should be good enough to not fall off again after I grout. Enjoy!
    Link to imgur.

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