Ten Coping and Tile replacement questions for a concrete pool

KRWebster01

New member
Jun 1, 2021
3
Michigan
Two years ago a bought a house with a 25-year old pool knowing that it would need to be replastered and the tile/coping would need to be replaced. I got a ton of information from this site, especially Davileet's posting from March 2020, but I have just a few questions of my own that need clarification.

I have paver coping and two courses of 3x3 waterline tile that have been removed along with the existing mortar and thinset. My bond bean is is great shape with only minimal scaling/pitting. The pool deck is poured concrete. I think a lot of my issues stem from the concrete deck being poured right up against the paver coping. Expansion pushed the coping, coping pushed off the tile. Not to mention whatever expansion joint was there between the decking and coping was not maintained at all allowing for water intrusion. Lastly, there isn't one straight section of my pool; it is all convex or concave profile creating wide variations in the gap between the original pavers of up to 1.25 inches.

1. Can I use Quickcrete Profinish 5000 to smooth out the top of the bond beam with some liquid adhesive brushed on the the bond beam?
2. I have purchased 254 Platinum for both the tile and the coping pavers. Is this acceptable?
3. Do I need a waterproofing layer under the waterline tile as I have seen in some illustrations?
4. What grout do you recommend for the tile?
5. Should I leave an expansion joint of caulk on a vertical tile joint every 10' or 12' instead of grout?
6. What mortar do you recommend for the coping pavers? Type S?
7. What is the min and max distance between the coping pavers? I plan to cut/shape every other paver to minimize the large gaps...again, my pool doesn't have a straight edge to it anywhere.
8. Would you tile or cope first and why?
9. Between the top of the tile and the bottom of the coping pavers would you grout, caulk or both?
Lastly...
10. I have noticed some wet areas in my skimmers and on the walls of the pool. It's as if water is seeping through the pool wall from the back. Is this something to worry about or can I install the tile and coping knowing that I will create a waterproof expansion joint when the process is finally finished. Is this where something like Hydroban would be used?

I should add that I live in MI and have about a month, maybe, to get this done.

Thanks for any advice. I can post pics if necessary.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,130
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
1. Can I use Quickcrete Profinish 5000 to smooth out the top of the bond beam with some liquid adhesive brushed on the the bond beam?

Dunno.

2. I have purchased 254 Platinum for both the tile and the coping pavers. Is this acceptable?

Yes for tile.

Type S mortar for coping. Question 6.

3. Do I need a waterproofing layer under the waterline tile as I have seen in some illustrations?

Need no. Recommended yes. It prevents getting efflorescence through the grout.

4. What grout do you recommend for the tile?

5. Should I leave an expansion joint of caulk on a vertical tile joint every 10' or 12' instead of grout?

No. Why do you think you need that?

6. What mortar do you recommend for the coping pavers? Type S?

Yes.

7. What is the min and max distance between the coping pavers? I plan to cut/shape every other paver to minimize the large gaps...again, my pool doesn't have a straight edge to it anywhere.

@jimmythegreek has shared some examples of coping cuts he has done.

8. Would you tile or cope first and why?

Tile then coping. Work from the inside of the pool out.

9. Between the top of the tile and the bottom of the coping pavers would you grout, caulk or both?

Grout.

Lastly...
10. I have noticed some wet areas in my skimmers and on the walls of the pool. It's as if water is seeping through the pool wall from the back. Is this something to worry about or can I install the tile and coping knowing that I will create a waterproof expansion joint when the process is finally finished. Is this where something like Hydroban would be used?

The more you waterproof the shell the less problems you should see.

Water is likely seeping into the gunite from the top and then looking for places to come out.
 
Last edited:

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,879
Morris Cnty NJ
Biggest issue is to correct the expansion joint. Make sure deck is completely free amd unattached to pool shell. Maintain a proper joint with sika or similar. 254 can be used in it all but expensive. I use on all but I cant afford to go back to jobs. The majority use type S amd same for grout joint on coping. I would plan to cut every piece it never looks good doing every other. I've ripped a few out in my time like that. I like a 1/4 minimum amd prefer 3/8 joint for the average 6x12 bullnose. Easy to work amd tweak joints amd looks good. Amy high strength concrete with proper prep amd adhesive bonding agent is fine
 

KRWebster01

New member
Jun 1, 2021
3
Michigan
Thank you, all! This is all very helpful information.

jimmythegreek: Yes I plan to correct the expansion joint in a couple of ways; mostly by setting my 2x12 coping out 1/2 inch away from the pool deck. I will strongly consider cutting every piece of coping and had considered that as a possibility once I got to that point. If it comes to that I might just shave a bit off the length of every paver to reduce the overhang by 3/4". One of my good friends and neighbor is a tile and stone craftsman who can get me 254, hydroban, etc. at contractor prices so I'm going to go with that for both tile and coping. He says it will never come off. He's also asking me to look at a product, Ardex WA for the tile; epoxy thinset and grout in one, and save the 254 for just the coping. I'm undecided on that. Thoughts?

ajw22: Your answers are very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to respond. As to Question 5: Expansion Joint. The idea was presented on a Laticrete training session around pool building. Seemed to make sense if you have a polymer joint every 10'-12' between tiles instead of grout, but I can just as easily grout all the way around.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,879
Morris Cnty NJ
Hes right 254 will never come off. The bond beam or coping will break first. I've never used Ardex but I know what it is amd alot of high end gunite guys use it out west. You are aware a 2x12 coping is going to be very busy looking. I personally think 4x12 is minimum for pool coping amd 6x12 is the majority of what I install. On a free form a 2x12 is hard as theres not much to cut without looking wierd. All freedoms I've seen from the old days that had 2x12 just gapped them to achieve spacing amd pie shaped grout joints. Doesnt look bad at all that way. If your coping overhangs the rear of the beam then your good to go with the deck behind that independent of the coping amd a sika joint between. That's a solid install that way
 

KRWebster01

New member
Jun 1, 2021
3
Michigan
Can't say that I disagree with you on the coping. 2x12 is what I took off and it looked OK, not great, when installed so I decided to replace with new 2x12 pavers. What I didn't care for was the joint spacing, pie-shaped as it was, could go as big as 1 inch plus in some areas. I don't want joints that big and that's why I was considering cutting them. My tile guy seems to think I can get away without cutting and still get smaller joints. He's probably right. He's the pro. I thought about larger pavers but was worried they would have been more difficult given the odd shape of the pool. Wife didn't mind the 2x12 so going back to that.