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The Ins, Outs, and Edges of Pool Coping

If you are contemplating installing an in-ground swimming pool or spa, or you are thinking of renovating one, here are some things to consider when deciding how to edge your pool. You may decide to choose a traditional look or go for a more modern ‘no coping pool edge’ style.

What exactly is pool coping?

Some contractors refer to pool edging as pool coping. It is the material that is mounted over the top perimeter of an in-ground swimming which forms a cap that covers the underground pool’s shell wall. Coping works to protect the upper edge of the pool wall and keeps water from splashing behind the shell which helps maintains the pool’s structural integrity. It also helps prevent debris from entering the pool and gives swimmers something to grab onto while getting in or out of the pool. From an aesthetic standpoint, is acts as the frame around your pool because of how It separates the pool shell from the surrounding deck area. A variety of materials can be used for pool coping such as poured-in-place concrete, pre-formed pavers, composite materials, brick, or natural stone.

Common Coping Configurations

There are many types of traditional coping construction methods to choose from. Here are the most popular types of pool coping to consider before picking the materials you’d like to use.

Concrete Pool Coping Diagram
From Left to Right: Top Mount, Square Edge, Bullnose, Cantilever

1. Top Mount Coping (for Vinyl Pools)

Top mount coping, also known as C-channel coping, is the most common type of coping for vinyl in-ground pools. This type of coping attaches directly to the top of the pool wall and serves as the form to provide a smooth, finished edge for a poured concrete pool deck or patio.

2. Square Edge Coping

For a crisp modern look, you can choose a square-edged style coping. This is achieved by pouring concrete into a mold that has a 90º angle. Square edge coping gives your pool area a more contemporary look–especially if you are using a stamped concrete texture that mimics real stone.

3. Bullnose Coping

Bullnose coping has a rounded edge and is made from either poured concrete using a form or by using precast bullnose pavers. This type of coping allows a smooth safe grip for swimmers as they're getting in and out of the pool.

4. No-Coping Look Alternative

If you don’t like the look of a visual 'cap' around the perimeter of your pool, there’s a modern alternative. Many concrete pool decks are built today using poured concrete that allows the coping to be one unit with the pool deck, giving your pool area a clean upscale look.

How it works: Foam forms are secured on top of the pool wall, then a concrete deck is poured up to the form which eliminates the look of separate coping. The poured concrete can extend over the pool wall forming a cantilever edge. This method gives your pool deck a modern look and the clean lines can also help to make a small area around the pool look much bigger. Adding texture or a stamped concrete design using an integral and accent color, will give your pool the high-end, custom look to your pool.

Why Choose Concrete Coping for Inground Swimming Pools?

Concrete is by far, the most popular material used for pool coping. Here’s why:

  • Concrete and more versatile and visually appealing than pavers.

  • Concrete is highly customizable for creating decorative surface textures and patterns that can mimic real stone, and a wide variety of base and accent colors. Exposed aggregate and broom finished concrete are also good options.

  • Concrete can be molded to create different types of edges, including bull nose, or cantilevered, and can be formed to mimic a natural stone edge.

  • Concrete coping is durable, easy to maintain, and is less costly than using natural stone.


Gruttadaurio Masonry, concrete pool deck contractors in Rochester, NY, can help you decide which type of pool coping will work best for the look and feel you want to achieve. We have the skill, experience, and old-world artistry to make your backyard oasis feel like you’re on vacation every day. Many pool designers and builders work closely with Gruttadurio Masonry to ensure that their customers receive the very best in concrete contractors in Rochester, NY. That’s another reason why residential in-ground swimming pool owners choose Gruttadaurio Masonry for all their concrete patio and pool deck installations and renovations. Call us today at (315) 310-7193 or CONTACT US via email.

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