Is tile and coping needed?


Silver Supporter
Nov 23, 2017
Port Orange, FL
I saw a photo on this forum recently and was admiring an underwater pool stairway that had bullnose corners and all surfaces of the stairway were finished with Pebble Tec. Simple, comfortable, attractive and safe. Then I got thinking about how many problems I've seen on this forum with tile borders and coping delaminating, cracking and breaking. This got me thinking, why is the coping above tile design the go-to standard? Is there a reason the top edge can't just be a formed and plastered bullnose, much like might be found on a waterfall, and run the pool finish to the decking as coping would be?


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
San Clemente, CA
All of the cementitious materials used on pool surfaces are designed to be continuously submerged. If they were to dry out then they would shrink, crack and delaminate.

Some surfaces can be wet and dry like Aquabright by EcoFinish. They have several pools built just as you describe.

A properly constructed pool won't have any issues with tile and coping. The issues that you've seen and read about usually have pretty obvious construction and material defects.

Have a look at these:

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