Bullnose Concrete Coping Installation

Obi Wan

Member
Sep 13, 2019
11
Florida
I told my builder I would be doing the patio around the pool and didn’t realize that meant he wouldn’t do the coping on the pool. I have purchased bullnose concrete pavers to match the patio pavers. All the pictures I see show a half-inch or so gap between the bricks, with ‘grout’ - I thing that’s ugly. I told my pool builder I wanted to just butt the pavers up against each other and he said you can’t - wouldn’t be strong enough. I said at least not more than ¼ inch and he said, can’t - has to be ½ inch.
I’m not new to construction - have done some masonry work, both conventional mortar and bricks/blocks, but also including building an entire garage in Germany with dimensioned cement blocks and NO mortar - in Germany this is a typical construction with what they call (translated) glue-mortar. It is essentially a very wet thin-set mortar and the blocks rest on each other with the thinset bonding the natural pits and tiny gaps between the rough surfaces. It is actually much STRONGER than regular mortar joints.
Since I think it looks better with little to no gap between the bricks, I want to proceed that way (so will have to do it myself - pretty sure I can do it better than his lackeys anyway). Any reason anyone can throw out why NOT to do this? I wouldn’t think I would need expansion joints since there aren’t any in the pool.
I also understand the original method of mortar (with lime) and brick construction allowed some slight movement of the structure and ‘healing’ of the mortar without cracking. I don’t think this is necessary for a 15x30 pool coping.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
516
MA
It is all in what you are familiar with. If I came and saw your coping without mortar joints I know it would catch my eye and I would think the Mason really messed up and did not get any mortar in there. This is just because I have never seen it done like that before. Then I would be really scrutinizing the work looking for imperfections in this process... Which brings me to my next point. Are there curves or is it straight lines? The mortar will help hide any imperfections in the cuts and as you can see there are a lot of cuts in my coping to get around the curves. I think the Mason that installed my coping did a great job with the cuts (I have seen a lot of other coping that look awful because of bad cuts. So you will have your work cut out for you to get nice looking joints IMHO... One other concern I would have is if the patio is going the standard joints. I believe most pavers come with tabs that make a uniform joint. I think that might look odd if the coping has no joints and the patio has joints.

Just some food for thought for you...




PANO_20190804_184500.vr.jpgIMG_20181202_123213.jpg
 

Rq120

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
53
Florida
I would think it would need grout due to the water getting in between the joints. I would worry about mold and whatever else might get In there and stay.
We just had ours installed and have the smallest grout line between each paver piece. Def not 1/2 inch and prob less than 1/4 inch
It’s not letting me attach a picture
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,656
Northern NJ
You need to leave an expansion joint between the coping and the deck for the two structures to move independently. The expansion joint is filled with foam backer rod and flexible sealant like Deck-O-Seal.

See Precast Coping
 

Obi Wan

Member
Sep 13, 2019
11
Florida
It’s rectangular - definitely wouldn’t make all those cuts if it was curved. The patio is standard pavers and that was one of my concerns - there is a small gap between pavers so I don’t want a big gap between coping bricks.

I wasn’t talking about an expansion joint between the coping and patio, I was talking about an expansion joint between coping bricks at some point along the edge of the pool. I don’t think I need that.

RQ 130, I would definitely like to see pics of your narrow grout.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,626
Longview, Texas
Ive been to Germany and a lot of other countries outside the US, and a lot of the masonry work is nothing less than outstanding and not using mortar. I say if you know how to do that, then do it.
 
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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
516
MA
Smart idea building a mock up. I do really like the look of that. Since it is a boarder which is separate from the patio it can have it own characteristics so having joints in the patio should still flow nicely.... :goodjob: Can't Wait to see the finished product...
 
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Obi Wan

Member
Sep 13, 2019
11
Florida
It was a LOT of work. Took me 4 ½ days. Lots of precision, some cutting to square up less than square pavers. I personally am glad I took the time because I think it looks (and will feel) so much better than spaces with grout. These things aren‘t going anywhere either. They are actually stronger than a grout joint.
Plasterers come tomorrow.
 

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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
516
MA
"When you want something right........" That looks great, well worth the time and effort... I still think it would catch my eye when I first saw your pool but instead of being able to find flaws in it I would simply say "That's a really cool look" :cheers: .

I do think that it is standard (accepted and expected) procedure for the pool builder to install the coping no matter who is doing the deck. It is simply part of the pool and not part of the deck. How does your contract read? I would have been expecting a credit. Not sure you could get enough to cover 4.5 days for the install 🤣... But you should get something..
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,246
Morris Cnty NJ
It will be fine I've done it in freeze country. What we do is use laticrete 274 its super strong thinset wont pop off I ride the plate compactor against coping all the time

Even with tight paver joints a 1/4 gap looks great and blends nicely20190811_163712.jpg
 

Obi Wan

Member
Sep 13, 2019
11
Florida
I do think that it is standard (accepted and expected) procedure for the pool builder to install the coping no matter who is doing the deck. It is simply part of the pool and not part of the deck. How does your contract read? I would have been expecting a credit. Not sure you could get enough to cover 4.5 days for the install 🤣... But you should get something..
I agree, it SHOULD be but what can you do? The contract is pretty basic. It says nothing about coping but for „Deck size & Type“ it says „No“ and he said the coping is part of the deck. He said he would charge me $800 for the labor to put on the coping.
You don‘t really know what to look for/put in a contract until you‘ve done something before. For instance, I had a dock built and had a lot of problems with that builder (seems like you can‘t find any kind of contractor/builder worth their salt these days) and I would definitely know how to write a contract for that again, and now I would with a pool.
I normally do quite a bit of research and planning before a big project but this was a rush job. Wife said, build a pool so we can use it still this year and next thing you know I‘ve got it under construction.
 
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Obi Wan

Member
Sep 13, 2019
11
Florida
Even with tight paver joints a 1/4 gap looks great and blends nicely
I told him I would settle for ¼ inch gaps but he said he couldn‘t do it less than ½ inch so I figured as long as I was doing it myself...
Love your corner detail by the way. Looks like much better quality concrete in your coping than mine also. I‘m glad I got a lot of extra ones because so many of them were bad/rough.
 
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jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,246
Morris Cnty NJ
Yeah it's possible with 1/4" my pic is quarter inch. We do a radii formula and come up with the angle degree for both sides of bends. My guys have to snug fit 1/4" plywood on every joint I wont accept less than perfect I'm OCD and I charge accordingly but many are ok with paying a little more for perfection. We do those corners for safety too many a kid hits their head on a 90 degree point the 45 is much easier and smoother. They look killer in the paver pattern too. You did a nice job for a first time prob better than my first try honestly.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
516
MA
Yeah it's possible with 1/4" my pic is quarter inch. We do a radii formula and come up with the angle degree for both sides of bends. My guys have to snug fit 1/4" plywood on every joint I wont accept less than perfect I'm OCD and I charge accordingly but many are ok with paying a little more for perfection. We do those corners for safety too many a kid hits their head on a 90 degree point the 45 is much easier and smoother. They look killer in the paver pattern too. You did a nice job for a first time prob better than my first try honestly.
Thanks Jimmy ... Those look really great!! I use to think the guys that did my coping did a "really great" job. Now my coping just looks "really good"..... :roll: