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Tile & Coping

Gunite Pool Tile and Coping Replacement

It is possible to perform a renovation and replace the tile at the waterline of the pool. Keep in mind if you would also like to renovate or replace the coping, this should be done at the same time as the tile since the removal of the coping stones could cause tile to fall off and it is best to plan ahead. The definition of coping is the cap on the edge of a swimming pool or spa, which is mounted on the bond beam.


The function of Swimming Pool Tile

Tile on a swimming pool performs the functional purpose of disguising the scum line or “bathtub ring” that would be visible on the surface of the pool due to the fluctuating water line due to evaporation, bather load, and water level. Many homeowners may wonder if eliminating the tile line would be a better option, especially in climate where freeze/thaw and beam shear may be a concern. The tile is really the best option for the top edge of the pool, as it hides many of the issues that are inherent with gunite. If the tile line were removed or left off of a pool that was built in a typical fashion, the gunite or marcite may develop the cracking and chipping at the frost line, as well a leave that unsightly ring around the pool. There are new methods of building where the interior pool finish is rolled right over the edge of the pool, so there is no need for tile in some cases.


Tile Job {CAR} 2012 (1)











Tile Job {CAR} 2012 (3)












Tile Job {CAR} 2012 (23)











Lifespan of Tile, Coping, Marcite and Pebble

Swimming pool tile, even when installed perfectly, can shift and fall off a pool in some cases within a year of being installed. Especially in freeze/thaw climates, even the most meticulous of installations cannot be guaranteed. The surface of the pool, whether marcite, pebble, or alternative finish should last 10-30+ years. Over time the water chemistry will affect the surface, and can cause etching or pitting in the surface. These are the lines or pock marks that show up in the pool. These happen because when water conditions become aggressive, the water will pull minerals out of the surface of the pool, effectively eroding the surface. The surface may also become rough, either due to the etching or pitting, or in the reverse case, when water deposits minerals to the surface of the pool.


Coping Styles

There are a variety of materials that can be used for swimming pool coping on both gunite and vinyl liner pools.

Brick and Stone Swimming Pool Coping

Stone Swimming Pool Coping


Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Coping and Liner Track

Replacing the vinyl liner can make a huge difference in the overall swimming pool look and feel. If there is any thought that the liner track is fatigued or “letting go” of the liner, it must also be done at the same time as the liner replacement.


Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Coping

Coping on a vinyl liner pool has also come a long way. Aluminum bull nose coping was the industry norm for a number of years, and included the “coping” as well as the liner track. Current choices can include using more materials as the coping including one of the Pool Guy’s favorites, tumbled bluestone. Cantilever patio decks where the concrete comes over the top edge of the pool are also fairly popular, and in that case the liner track would be installed at the top of the steel pool wall for the liner to connect into.



Service/Scheduling for Michigan Pools: 248-478-4978 team@askthepoolguy.com
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