Owner Builder - Cement Decking before Coping question


Well-known member
Apr 8, 2017
houston texas
I just want to make sure i am not missing anything.
I am building my own pool for a new construction house. We have moved into the house before any final grading of my lot or sod is installed as im waiting on the pool pieces to be done that can mess up my sod.

The final piece is cement decking.

I am doing a Travertine style coping and a silver travertine decking.

Does anyone see any issues with me doing my cement decking before my coping is installed or waterline tile is installed?
since i am doing traverting on top of the cement deck i cannot think of any reason why this wouldnt work but i know its backwards to what is normal.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
From Construction Best Practices - Further Reading

Sequence of Tile, Coping, Deck for Plaster Pool​

The consensus seems to be to do tile, then coping then deck although it can vary with the shape, materials, and contractor preference.

Simple logic is you always build from the bottom up not the top down. In a pool you want the tile to set perfectly level so the water line looks correct all the way around the pool. If the coping is set unlevel then they need to adjust the tile and the seam in between the tile and coping will not be uniform and basically throw the whole tile install off.[8]

It can be done either way however if you ask the actual installers most of them would prefer the tile first then coping.

Here are some things to consider:


  • Do the tile before coping on gunite pools.


  • The coping will set the elevation for everything else around it.
  • A professional should be able to take one tile/piece and figure out the measurements.
  • You want everything to drain away from the pool therefore you should start at the pool.
  • With natural stone coping you lay it first. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.[11]
  • You cannot make demo saw cuts to round the backside for curves with concrete in the way. It can be done but it is not by choice and way more work.
  • Coping thickness and setting bed thickness varies. You let the coping set the elevation and work from there.
  • You want 1/8" pitch away from pool in all directions and plan ahead for drainage


  • Why would you want the coping crew to work on top of your nice finished concrete deck if you don't have to?
  • They could lay down a protective layer of some kind, but they probably won't.
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