Slimline Pool Coping Solution

By Kathryn Prideaux

It all started when I saw an image that I fell in love with. Doesn’t it always?

It is one of those things you don’t tend to think too much about. The pool coping around a pool needs to cover the width of the bond beam. At the least. So, the standard, if you want a slim look for that feature, ends up being 14” or whatever width that material comes in that might be larger than that. It creates a border around the pool that is an absolute. Something that is just taken for granted.

But what if you didn’t want that border around the pool? What if you saw something new and innovative that almost made the pool coping disappear? The image I came across was the ‘Grass Edge’ by Bobe Water and Fire Features. It is a stainless steel product that eliminates the need for a standard pool coping and allows turf (real or synthetic) to run up to that edge. What a beautiful concept. I immediately wanted to use it. But, as so often happens (at least to me!), the price just made it out of the question for the budget of my project.

But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. There HAD to be a solution that could offer a similar look. I talked over ideas with my pool contractor. He was open to the idea. I knew that I would need to think of a material that could be used on the vertical as a facing for the bond beam…to create a pool coping and ‘waterline tile’ in one. The material would need to be thick enough to not leave that cantilevered end at the top susceptible to breaking. I began with the idea of travertine or some sort of stone. But I knew that I wanted to use Artistic Pavers as the decking and patio material, so I wasn’t sure how best to marry those materials in the design. I decided it was worth contacting my Artistic Paver rep to see if perhaps their product would actually work for my purposes. Tony Nigro at Artistic Pavers had no doubt that it would work. The pavers can be submerged in water with no problem.

The other big bonus to this is the color and texture of this material. We have extremely hard water in Tucson, Arizona. The pool calcium build-up on the water line tile here is ALWAYS an issue. I decided several years ago that if I couldn’t ‘beat it’ I would ‘join it’. I started using white and cream water line tile in most of my pools. At least that line of build-up is invisible and can give a little more time between tile cleanings. The matte and textured surface of the paver would be wonderful to disguise that scale line…bonus.

The next detail to make this work was agreement from the turf installation company. They cleared the idea as well. They had no concerns about the proximity to the water and likely abundance of pool water in that area right off of the pool. They also had no issues with the installation of the turf right onto the bond beam and right up against the paver edge.

I felt confident we were good to go. I created a pool coping/edge detail for the plans along with a buy in from my pool contractor. The shotcrete would require a notch due to the thickness of the paver. Again – no problem.

I couldn’t be happier with the end product. It really ended up being a fairly simple solution for the desired look. You have to appreciate the power of inspiration. I love the idea that we all push each other to push our thinking to new and different places.

-- Kathryn Prideaux / Prideaux Design