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Thread: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Nashville, TN

    Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    Hello all!

    Working on a DIY pool install and looking for some opinions/advice on installing coping stone (24x12x2) to the top of the steel wall on a vinyl pool.

    My original plan was to pour a 12" concrete footer around the perimeter of the pool and float some concrete onto the top of the wall. So 6" of concrete footer plus 5" floated onto steel wall. Then attach the stone using thinset like in this picture:


    However, a concrete guy comes out and thinks that's a bad idea as there will only be .25" of concrete at its thickest point in the angle (see pics below) and it wont adhere to the top of the steel wall very well. Due to the differences in expansion rates the concrete guy feels lifting of the coping stone will be much sooner rather than later.

    Called the brick yard for their opinion, and they suggest pouring a 6" not float concrete onto wall as they agree with concrete guy.....and use silicone or elastic caulking to secure the stone to both wall and 6" footer.

    One of my largest concerns with the adhesive method is getting the stone level. I also don't really like the idea of numerous 40lbs stones resting directly on the coping channel. I fear that the channel may get crushed in and prevent liner removal.

    Here's a pic: the wood represents the stone - ignore the overhang into the pool I marked the wood for 1'. Here we can see the angle (.25" per foot) and the void underneath (.25" at the thickest). The extra piece of channel that the wood is resting on over the gravel represents the eventual grade.


    Here is a pic of the actual stone:


    Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    South-Central Texas, Marion/San Antonio

    Re: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    Hello and welcome to TFP! I see you haven't received a reply yet on your post about coping. Not sure if this was related to our recent web site problems, but I just wanted to let you know we haven't forgotten about you. This reply should get your posting updated back to the top of the queue where hopefully someone experienced with your specific question can provide some constructive answers. Thanks for checking-in with TFP, and have a great day.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    They are on the right track with having the top of the footer flush with the top of the wall. I did the same and used a good 3/4" mortar bed to lay flagstone (3" thick) for my coping. When you look at it while in the pool you see these layers: Vinyl liner, aluminum track, mortar joint, flagstone. For yours I would consider using a thin bed of thinset or mortar with good coverage under the stones. You might consider caulking a joint between the stone and aluminum channel. A thin mortar joint may not hold up and a 3/4" inch thick joint would look odd with 2" thick stone.

    When you pour the footer only pour what you need to set the stones on. If any hangs out under where the deck will go it will create a thin area which is no bueno. Put a joint of elastomeric caulk between the deck and coping stones so that if (when) the deck moves it won't dislodge the coping. You want the coping and the concrete deck to float separately.

    Sometimes I don't explain things well. Let me know if anything needs clarification.
    18' x 36' saltwater inground vinyl pool

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    In the Industry

    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    I have an experienced brick mason here with me now. He has suggested either epoxy-type mortar or, better, penetrating the steels and attaching "wall ties" to make it all stay together.

    My personal choice would be to see if I could afford the epoxy and then test-bond a small bit of it to the steel. The steel may do much better with a mild acid wash first.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    Also be sure and put rebar in the footer you pour. Make sure it's bonded as well.
    18' x 36' saltwater inground vinyl pool

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    We just got done with a similar project. You can check my post for pictures.

    Our coping was approximately 1" thick while the pavers we used were 2" thick (we did pavers on top of concrete). They poured one pad for everything. For the coping around the pool, they poured approximately 8" deep, reinforced the heck out of it with rebar (bonded). The rest of the pavers are on a standard 4" deep concrete pad.

    To attach the pavers the mason built up a 1" mortar bed to account for the height difference and then used some type of gorilla epoxy on the metal pool wall. The epoxy he used was a little thicker and he was able to build it up a bit. The top lip of the coping does rest on the liner tracks, but, at least initially, it seems the majority of the weight is resting on the 8" of mortar bed. The coping company recommended about a 1/4 bubble (on a level) slope away from the pool.

    The trickiest part for us was were the track ends for the swimsuits. There is a little bit of a height difference which our contractors used some old roof shingles to account for the difference and then caulked it.

    We used Federal Stones safety coping for our project. They were extremely helpful and our contractors called them a few times.

    Only the test of time will tell if they did a good job or not. Good Luck!

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Nashville, TN

    Re: Best method for attaching coping stone on steel/vinyl pool

    To wrap this up and for anyone searching in the future here is what I did:

    Poured a little concrete footer around the perimeter to support the back end of the block. Then used mortar to affix the block. Decided against epoxy for a number of reasons; cost, availability, ability to level, etc. Pics attached.

    Appreciate all the suggestions/opinions!



    DIY: 35k gal, IG vinyl True L - Pump=SP3200VSP, SWG=DIG-220, Sand Filter=S360T2

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