Is It Possible To Dry Lay Coping Pavers?

NullQwerty

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2008
340
Hey folks,

As you can see from the before and after pictures below, I recently removed the aluminum bullnose coping on my In-Ground Vinyl pool. In it's place I put Track Coping so that I can lay stone paver coping.

I'm wondering...with this type of coping, is it possible to dry lay the bricks rather than mortaring them in? I know that Dry laying them would be less ideal, but I like the flexibility it provides in that I can easily take them up if I ever needed to.

If so, could you provide some basic instruction methods for what would be the best way to do this?

Thanks!
 

Attachments

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
It looks like that you have installed track for a cantaliver coping. That requires the coping bricks be mortered to the bond beam, no way around it. It also requires a few intricate cuts on the corners to make it look right. You can DYI the rest of the deck in pavers if you are willing to put quite a bot of work into it and do it the right way. But, IMO, mortering in bull nose, cantaliver coping is best left to a mason that has done this work before.

I DYI'ed my paver deck, but I hired a mason to put in the coping. Thats something that will look absolutely horrendous if not done by a professional and you have no experience at all.
 

toshalew

Member
Nov 3, 2009
13
Fuquay Varina, NC
I just finished doing my coping and pavers. In my opinion, it is absolutely necessary to mortar your coping in place. I mortared my own coping in, but it is not for everyone. If you are hesitant in the least, I would recommend using a mason. They will be much faster and cheaper than messing up and having to start over. As far as corners, you can probably find a coping image on-line that is close to yours and get a good idea of how to navigate that, 90 degree corners = 45 degree cuts, keepiing in mind the grout joint gap. Of course everything depends on your level of expertise.

When i mortared to the beam I also screwed in metal lathe, cut to the length of the coping, for added bite. Paying attention to level around the perimeter of the pool is crucial in installing the coping. Being that pavers are installed on a level screeded sand bed, if your coping height varies more than 1/8" it will be painfully evident when you lay pavers. If you're dead set on doing it yourself, i suggest do plenty of research and practice with wet mortar and coping brick before you start, that is if you don't have much experience.

If you have more questions let me know. As soon as i have time i will post some pictures of my coping and pavers.
 

NullQwerty

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2008
340
Thanks guys! Yeah...if I were to mortar it in, then I was going to try to bring someone professional (or with experience) in, and otherwise with a dry lay I was going to do it myself. Sounds like a dry lay just won't be possible though...which is unfortunate, so I'll start looking into the other option.

**Update** Called a couple of pro companies though and they want about 3K just for the labor. Not sure if I can justify that. I might have to go with the practice approach. I have yet to be able to find any good info on how to do pool coping on line. Even harder to find anything when it relates to vinyl liner. If anyone knows of any good links...
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
3K is about right for Massachusetts. It's not out of line. Mine was 3600 for labor and materials, but i used stone instead of brick. It would have been about the same for brick. Materials cheaper for brick, but more labor. Stone material was more expensive, but labor was cheaper since the stone was in 4 foot lengths.

But toshalew is right. If your off more than a 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, the pavers will not be even and will not look good. 3K is a lot, but it's kind of like trim work in your house. It's what everybody sees.
 

jay_k

In The Industry
May 23, 2007
28
Batavia, IL
Couple of points here. Be sure to use a landscape fabric or portland barrier between the rock base and the sand the pavers will be on. You'd be amazed how sand and/or fines can wash down through the stone over time. Also be sure to compact the sand, not just the stone under it. Since the base has been there for years on your pool, it should be pretty stable. Regarding coping I've had good luck with both methods. The mortar method was time consuming, but held up well. I have one pool going on it's third summer with dry layed coping. We did glue each paver to both the surrounding pavers on the edges and on the bottom to the autocover track. Today's glues are unbelievably strong. Nine times out of ten the concrete from paver pulls apart before the glue fails.

Here are some pictures using Unilock coping.

http://www.kozakcustompools.com/yahoo_s ... 212145.jpg
http://www.kozakcustompools.com/yahoo_s ... 212050.jpg
http://www.kozakcustompools.com/yahoo_s ... 212707.jpg
 

NullQwerty

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2008
340
Really? Interesting! Ok, if you wouldn't mind, I have some follow-up questions.

1) Was this a Vinyl Liner pool?

2) When you say that you glued the edges of the coping pavers to the edges of the pavers surrounding it, that must mean that the coping pavers and it's surrounding patio pavers were touching each other, where as normally there would be a small gap (and an expansion joint). No issues without there being the gap? Or did you use a thick layer of glue to provide the gap?

3) Did you still use an expansion joint in between the coping and the patio pavers surrounding?

4) Type of glue?

5) What do you mean by autocover track? Are you referring to the plastic track coping that holds up the liner? Or are you referring to third picture that shows theirs a solar cover on one side (which looks like it only affected 2 bricks)?

6) Perhaps most important...Using this method, would you say it was significantly easier to acheive perfect levelness and height of each brick (so that one wasn't higher/lower than the one next to it).

Thanks for the help! Can't help but consider this option before I lay down all the dough required to hire a mason.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
That method might work fine some places, but i guarantee you it wont hold up in New England.

As far as filter fabric under the sand, you dont need it, really. The proper material to lay under the sand (i prefer stone dust instead of sand) is not stone, but processed gravel. It's a mix of 3/4 stone and screened fill dirt. You really dont even see the stone. Once it's packed, it looks like dirt.
But i'll reiterate. You will not like the results of dry layed coping, glue or not. That is not the proper way to do this job. Guy up the street has dry layed coping and it looks like h e double hockey sticks. I'll be really blunt. If you want it to look right, and be done correctly, hire a mason. No way an amatuer gets it level. It will make your pool look bad. Sorry to be so blunt, but if money is a factor, save up and wait until it's not. :wink:
 

jay_k

In The Industry
May 23, 2007
28
Batavia, IL
I disagree with you bk406. I highly doubt your New England winter is any worse than the freeze thaw cycle in the upper midwest. Second, putting CA6 (gravel with fines which you describe) to backfill around a pool is asking for trouble. CA6 does not drain well and is typically wetted and compacted 1-2 inches at a time to build up a 12-18 inch base below the packed sand bed the pavers lay on. When doing a steel wall pool the over dig for the bond beam should be filled with washed stone or pea gravel for drainage, not CA6. Anytime you put packed CA6 on top of washed or pea gravel the fines and sand will start to work its way into the voids over time if water is present. This is both bad for drainage and can cause the base to settle in such a wet environment like a pool deck. Even with polymeric sand to fill the voids, there's plenty of water that gets beneath the pavers.

Adding any type of soil during the packing cycle can create an expansive fill, not good.

I challenge you to take a good paver/brick glue and glue two pavers together. Then do the same with mortar. More times than not when you break the pavers apart, the mortar will split at the cold joint with no damage to the paver while the glued bricks will actually tear a chunk out of the concrete paver.

Look at the pictures above and those bricks look exactly the same three seasons later. Nothing loose, nothing settled.


To NullQwerty's questions:

1) Yes, vinyl liner pool.

2) The cantilevered pavers are glued to each brick next to it and behind it, but only the first row behind coping pavers.

3) No expansion joint was used. There are enough voids between all the bricks as a whole and a slight flex in the aluminum autocover track that there aren't any problems with the pavers or autocover. The packed sand bed comes up to the same level as the autocover track.

4) To be honest, I don't remember which glue. My brother owns the landscaping company so it was whichever glue they were using at the time. I know they have changed glue a couple of times over the years. For a long period they were using Liquid Nails Heavy Duty until the formula changed. It was outperforming some very expensive landscaping glue.

5) See the poured bullnose coping picture on this page: http://www.coverstar.com/SwimmingPoolCo ... gular.aspx. Instead of pouring concrete, pavers were used.

6) Gluing was absolutely easier and looked better. Using the autocover track encapsulation as a screed guide for the sand, made it perfect. Obviously the base and sand needed to be packed so they don't settle. Gluing the pavers together provides tremendous strength without putting any undue pressure on a single point on the track encapsulation.

Don't go with the cheapest bidder for the stone work. Proper base installation is the biggest key to long term stability.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
What we call processed gravel is not CA6.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on your construction techniques. This is not the proper forum to debate this :wink:
 

NullQwerty

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2008
340
Hey jay_k,

Quick Q...Is that Unilock Brussells Block Sierra in that picture (with Sand Stone borders)? I've been considering going with those colors, or with Sandstone as the main and Heritage Brown as accents. I've been looking for a Sierra picture for a while though...Is that one Sierra? If so, what do you think of the color in person?

Thanks!
 

jay_k

In The Industry
May 23, 2007
28
Batavia, IL
Yes, it is unilock brussel block. I'm not sure about the colors. My brother's landscaping company handled all the brick work. Sorry, the home owner worked on colors directly with him. The bull nose coping does look VERY good installed!
 

Other Threads of Interest