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How do I Install Stone Coping Around a Pool?

border of pool and stair, with blue calm water image by silviaantunes from

Installing stone coping around a pool is like installing tile. The only difference is the way the stone is cut. Stone coping is used to cap off a wall, or, in this case, a pool. There are a few steps and precautions to take when installing stone. Stone can only be cut with a diamond-blade saw or a wet saw. Both tools can be rented from a local hardware or home-improvement store.

Place the first full stone, centered, on the edge of the pool. If the pool is round or oval, place one on either end. For a square pool, place one at each corner. The rounded edge of the stone needs to hang over the wall of the pool.

Add additional stones in the areas between the first stones you've laid. If a stone needs to be cut, place it, centered, between the starting stones.

Place additional rows of stepping stone in this same way for a wider coping effect. Stepping stones do not have the rounded ledge. These will lay flat on the ground around the pool.

Number each stone with chalk as you move it away from the pool to prepare for mortaring. Marking the stones will help you remember where each piece belongs.

Apply a layer of mortar on the area where the stones will be permanently placed. Set each stone in the mortar. Use a rubber mallet to set each stone level and flush with the top of the pool wall. Continue placing pieces around the pool in the same way and place any additional rows in this same way.

Lay the expansion joint between the coping row and the stepping-stone row of stones. This is a rope-like material that is simply laid between the stones to keep the stones from pressing against each other and causing damage or cracking later.

Fill the gaps between each stone with mortar. Wait for the mortar to dry for 24 hours or as long as the mortar instructions advise. Wipe any excess mortar from the top of the stones.

Apply three to four coats of sealant. Wait for each coat to dry before applying the next coat.


Apply only the amount of mortar you will need for each piece as you are placing the stones, to avoid encountering mortar that has already dried before you are able to place the next stone. Do not step on the stones immediately after they have been placed.

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