5 Tips on How to choose Pool Pavers and Pool Coping – by Armstone
If you asked us: “What is your most frequently asked question?”
The winner would be:
“What is the best stone for my pool coping and pool area?”
Luckily, we have spent the last 10 years working with pool builders, landscapers, designers, architects, and tradesmen, and learnt a thing (or two) to help answer it.
As such, we are equipped to help you choose a stone that looks good, is practical and also safe for your pool and lifestyle.
Before we get started, let’s define the word: “Pool Coping.”
What is Pool Coping?
Pool coping is a capping material that is installed around the edge and rim of the pool to make it safe and give it a finished look.
Now that we all know what pool coping is, let’s dive into our 5 tips on how to choose pool pavers and pool coping that best suits your project.
1. Make sure your pool pavers are salt tested.
Before you invest in a stone you love, you first need to check if it will be suitable for a pool area. You see, not all-natural stone pavers are created equal. Some will rapidly deteriorate anywhere near water, while others will absolutely thrive!
Since most swimming pools have some form of harsh mineral or acid in the water, if they come in contact with natural stone pavers, the effect is irreversible.
To ascertain which raw natural stone pavers will survive such environments, at Armstone, we take them through lengthy and vigorous testing.
Some of the criteria we review include the reaction salts and chlorine have on the stone (upon impact as well as overtime), how the stone responds to heavy foot traffic and a few other factors that help us determine the longevity of the stone for a pool surrounding.
We will say this: do not ever install sandstone around your pool. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock made of Silica Dioxide. Like the name suggests, this stone is made of sand particles. But they are far apart from each other which makes the stone porous and ‘spongy’ (not soft like a sponge but absorbent like one). As a result, if salt seeps into sandstone and then comes into contact with the silica dioxide, the salt breaks the particles apart. Over time, this will cause the stone to deteriorate and ideally, you want to avoid this at all costs. You don’t really want a dissolving Twelve Apostles situation in your backyard, do you?
2. Make sure your pool pavers are NON-Slip.
This one seems fairly obvious as pool areas are under constant water stress. So investing in slip-resistant stones can help reduce many accidents around the pool.
At Armstone, we test our stones to ensure they have a non-slip rating between P4 and P5. This is equal to the more traditional R10 and R11 rating. To do this we use a Pendulum Wet test which measures the grip strength of the stone’s finish. The higher the P rating, the better the stone’s grip strength.
Remember that when building a pool, safety must be your number 1 priority! Here we want to note that Tumbled Travertine pavers are slippery when wet and as such, we do not recommend them to be used around the pool. Yes, it is likely that your neighbour installed them around their pool or that your builder said they are fine to use. Trust us when we say, we’ve done the Wet Pendulum test on tumbled travertine pavers and they scored a P3 which is the equivalent rating of indoor honed tiles. If you’ve ever walked on them with socks, you would know you can skid across them because they’re very slippery.
As adults, if we slip, we can balance ourselves and catch ourselves before a major fall. But children do not have such reflexes yet. As such, installing pavers and pool coping that are safe for all ages super important!
3. Choosing a pool coping profile that is safe and that also suits your pool design.
Undeniably, you want your pool to look beautiful.
In order to achieve this, we suggest that you pick the profile of coping that will suit your pool and its surrounding features, the character of your home and also, your taste.
There are mainly 3 profiles of pool coping.
a) Drop Edge Pool Coping
Drop edge pool coping creates a thick, bold frame around your pool. If you want a super-modern look, the drop edge coping is available in one full stone piece (with no joint) or it can be made to order for you.
The most common sizes we work with include:
- 600x400x30m/80mm drop, and
- 800x400x20m/60mm drop.
We have also seen drop edges go up to 130mm into the water.
This really depends on your taste.
Essentially the full stone slab of drop edge coping accentuates your pool and gives it a nice frame.
b) Pencil Round Pool Coping
Pencil round pool coping has a 3-5mm rounded top and bottom which gives it that smooth finish. This is particularly important with sawn pavers where the edges can be too sharp to use around the pool coping.
Pencil round finishes suit rectangular or L-shaped pools and can give a classy, low-key look to a modern pool.
c) Bullnose Pool Coping
The Bullnose Coping has a thick, semi-circular finish which makes it perfect for curved or kidney shaped pools.
Emphasising a more traditional look, this coping suits a character style home. With a high safety rating, it also embodies a feeling of warmth for your pool.
4. Choose pavers that don’t get hot.
Living in Australia, we are subject to extreme weather conditions and harsh, hot summers. So if your pool is under constant sun exposure we suggest that you avoid darker coloured pavers as they absorb heat and as such, it will be almost impossible to walk on them barefoot.
Let’s take a look at Granite Pavers and Bluestone Pavers as an example. Firstly, they are both salt resistant, which means that they meet one of the points in this article. However, since they are durable volcanic stones with dark pigmentation, they absorb and store heat for a very long time and need a lot of time to cool down. So if your pool is under direct sunlight, they are not ideal as a paver or coping.
If your pool area doesn’t get too much sun, the above is not a big concern for you. But in case of the opposite and your pool is exposed to sun on a daily basis, we suggest you opt for a natural stone from the calcite family. These include marble pavers and limestone pavers. Both are practical solutions for pools with high sun exposure because they reflect heat.
5. Protect your pool pavers for easy maintenance.
All-natural stone products need to be sealed.
This is an unwavering fact and is important for increasing the longevity of your stone and easy maintenance.
You see, sealing will give you about 24 to 48 hours to clean the stone.
In saying this, we still recommend removing any acidic stains as soon as possible. This is generally simple enough especially if you are already outdoors when spillages happen.
The bigger culprits, unfortunately, are outside of your direct management and control. These include falling leaves, bat droppings and pets going about their business with no care in the world.
If left unattended, these can cause nasty stains that are difficult to clean if you don’t get to them fast enough. This is where the sealer is super handy. It gives you extra time to care for the stone before any irreversible damage is caused.
In saying that, there is a common myth that once a stone is sealed it will never stain. This is completely untrue. We suggest that you are still very stringent with caring for your stones because the last thing you want is a nasty stain on your beautiful pool surroundings.
A few rules of thumb to note: the more dense, or the more mottled, the natural stone is, actually reduces its chances of staining or being ‘visually interrupted’.
If you are still not sold on sealing your natural stone, this article (written by the world’s top Sealant manufacturer), goes into more detail on the topic.
Along with the above, we also suggest that before you invest your hard-earned funds, you take the time to carefully consider your individual lifestyle and landscape. Some things to consider include: do you have evergreens in your backyard or seasonal trees, do you have children or children visiting, or maybe you work 10+ hours a day which doesn’t leave you much time to maintain your pool regularly. All these will help you choose the right pool paver and pool coping so that you can actually enjoy your poolside.
To summarise, you want your investment into pool pavers and pool coping to stand the test of time.
As such, always check that your poolside pavers are salt tested. Next, you want to check that they have a high P rating which makes them non-slip and much safer for all your entertaining needs. Lastly, you want to avoid dark coloured pavers that absorb and hold heat rendering them impossible to walk on.
When choosing the right poolside pavers for you and your family, always do your research and if you are unsure, consult with a professional. The Armstone team is only a phone call away.
You and your family deserve the best, most aesthetically pleasing and safe environment for your pool area.
If you need help, call us here or visit our showroom in Glebe.
If you want to continue your research, check out our article on 5 Natural Stones To Use When Landscaping Your Pool.
As always, it’s been a pleasure.
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