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Thread: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

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    Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    I am planning to replace my coping and water tile in the near future. I have read much on this site and the internet in general. It seems there are differing opinions about the need to water proof behind the water tile with a product such as Laticrete Hydro Ban. Are there certain situations that dictate water proofing? Any thoughts and suggestions on whether this is necessary or overkill are appreciated.

    Also, I will need to build up about a 1 1/2" substrate between the bond beam and coping. I have read posts that suggest to do so in two steps 1) add a bed of type s mortar and 2) once type s is cured, add a thin layer of thin set to set the coping. My coping appears to have been laid directly in a thick layer of mortar. Nearly all pieces of coping are loose and the ones I have tested pull up with very little effort without disturbing the mortar bed. The mortar bed bonded with the bond beam extremely well, but not with the coping. So, should I remove the existing mortar bed, just to replace it? Or should I just use the old mortar as my base and set the new coping on that existing mortar bed with thin set?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    I am not going to be any help, but am interested in how this progresses for future reference.

    What is your current coping material and what are you replacing it with?
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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    The current coping is the old 12" by 24" pre-cast concrete bullnose pieces. Replacing it with bluestone which is same dimensions and almost the exact thickness.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    That is interesting because my non-stone-mason way of thinking is that a concrete coping would bond very well with the mortar base. Better than bluestone or flagstone might. Can't wait to hear some responses from some coping experts.
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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    Quote Originally Posted by cwmoody View Post
    I am planning to replace my coping and water tile in the near future. I have read much on this site and the internet in general. It seems there are differing opinions about the need to water proof behind the water tile with a product such as Laticrete Hydro Ban. Are there certain situations that dictate water proofing? Any thoughts and suggestions on whether this is necessary or overkill are appreciated.
    Couple of things to consider: 1 - how severe are freezes in your area. waterproofing usually talked about more by those in high freeze/thaw areas, 2 - what kind of tile you're installing. many glass tile manufacturers warn that warranty will be void if correct waterproofing/installation not done on their tile. IME, most installs of regular pool tile do not have water barrier. That being said, I can't imagine that you'd hurt your situation with waterproofing ... just a matter of determining if you think it's necessary.

    Also, I will need to build up about a 1 1/2" substrate between the bond beam and coping. I have read posts that suggest to do so in two steps 1) add a bed of type s mortar and 2) once type s is cured, add a thin layer of thin set to set the coping. My coping appears to have been laid directly in a thick layer of mortar. Nearly all pieces of coping are loose and the ones I have tested pull up with very little effort without disturbing the mortar bed. The mortar bed bonded with the bond beam extremely well, but not with the coping. So, should I remove the existing mortar bed, just to replace it? Or should I just use the old mortar as my base and set the new coping on that existing mortar bed with thin set?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    If you have to go that high (1 1/2") I'd go with the method you mentioned and use a good quality thinset suitable for pool installs. I didn't have to go that high, so I just used a thinset that vendor said was good for the thickness I needed. That minimized steps and saved me some time.

    I don't think I'm going out on a limb in guessing that "many" coping installs in my area are done with basic mortar. Wouldn't be shocked if it turned out that many tile installs are done the same.

    Your other question is very difficult to comment on since I'm not seeing the condition of the mortar. I would check for level with laser once all coping is off ... could influence your decision. Otherwise, just a judgement call on how solid the mortar bed is. If you try to chip a safe/small section off with a hammer and it just kind of laughs at you ... it's probably pretty solid.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    Thanks for the reply.

    I am in Jackson, MS, so freezes aren't too bad. I leave pool running year round.

    We are looking at two different tiles - both glass mosaics that specifically say they are fine for pool use. One is manufactured by Sonoma Tilemakers. I can't remember the other manufacturer. Good point about the warranty. I will check to see if the manufactures recommend a water proof barrier.

    I checked the top of the coping with my laser level it is within about 3/8" over the length (40'). I will check the mortar bed once I remove all the coping, but since all the coping is the same thickness, it should be the same provided I don't disturb the mortar bed pulling up the coping. I was leaning toward what you suggested . . . once all coping is up, testing the mortar bed to ensure it is solid. If so, and the bluestone thickness doesn't dictate removing mortar, I may just thin set over the existing. Sure would save time on tear out and rebuilding the substrate. Just wanted to check to make sure nobody had any reasons this wouldn't work if mortar bed is solid.

    Thanks again.
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    A visit to the John Bridges forum might be beneficial as well. A bunch of very friendly tiling experts over there as this stuff is right up their alley.
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
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    Re: Questions about replacing coping and water tile

    Thanks, Chris. I had not heard about that forum. At first glance, it looks very helpful.
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

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