Soapstone Coping Installation on standard gunite beam

parkerma

Active member
May 14, 2017
29
Manassas, VA
Hello,
We have an in-ground standard 40X20 pool with an infinity spillway to a lower basin. The upper and lower basin are your standard pool design with Gunite.

The soapstone coping are 12" deep X 3 and 4 foot sections long. Heavy! My question is should i use a standard S Type Mortar Mix to set the stone? I cannot just use a landscaping glue, etc as you need to be able to level the stones. Is an 1/8 inch gap between each stone enough? We do not want huge grout/caulk lines.

Also, what type of caulk should i use to caulk the joints between the stones as well as where it meets to pool beam.

Thank you.
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
2,939
NE/Pa
i don't have an answer but i want to see pics when that is done. soapstone would look awesome around a pool. dark plaster also by any chance?
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
My guess is that soapstone is 1.25 - 1.50 inches thick.......VERY heavy and very unforgiving about placement. I would consider that a really troublesome DIY job unless you have had some extensive tile experience.

There is a great website called John bridge Tile forum that will give you a lot of insight.
 

parkerma

Active member
May 14, 2017
29
Manassas, VA
I have experience in setting tile, building block walls and then skimming with stucco. Was just curious if there was anything more specific in the "industry" they are using on coping. Thank you for the suggestion!
 

vermaraj

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2015
97
Long Island City, NY
Type S, mix a little fat 5:1 sand cement vs 6:1.

Mix cement and water (as rich as possible) to coat bottom of stone and top of pool prior to setting stone. Both surfaces are porous and will wick moisture out of mortar.

Joint width is a function of how square the stone is cut. For a stone of that size 1/2" is common.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,058
I have always thought that soapstone would be an interesting choice for coping.

The only drawback that I can think of is that it's a very soft stone and easily scratched.
 

parkerma

Active member
May 14, 2017
29
Manassas, VA
What do you recommend as mortar bed thickness? And, do you let it set up a little so it does not all just get pushed out when we set the stone on it? And by rich mix, do you mean add more cement to the mix? I was just going to use sakrete type s mortar mix.

Wife wants very narrow grout/caulk line, but i don't want it to be too tight where things crack due to expanding. We have grass surrounding the pool so not your traditional pool deck. Do you have a recommended caulk? Some say grout, some say type s mortar as well, A little different than setting tile.

- - - Updated - - -

Yes, soft stone, but we are two adults, no kids. You can see photo here. 20180917_140009 | Parker | Flickr
 

duraleigh

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I would use fortified thin-set to set the soapstone and fortified grout to finish it.

Your choice on the width of the grout as long as soapstone is cut square. Aesthetically, I think 1/4" would look nice.
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
609
Ashford, CT
1/2 inch mother bed. 1/2 inch grout line and sand mix with a laytex bonding agent. You can go tighter on the grout line if you like but most bond beams ate not 100% dead level so 1/2 inch gives you plenty of float.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
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Aug 10, 2017
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Morris Cnty NJ
you can also tint your mud to match the dark tone to the soapstone if you grout w mortar. I would do a heavy mix and make sure both pieces are very damp they will suck the water out of your mix. check the pool all around for level and start in the high spot and 1/2" bed should be good
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
More so than a modifier like acryl 60 aka milk -
Scoring the mud side of the stone, like a tic tac to
will provide a much better mechanical bond to the setting bed.