Pool Coping Options For A Fibreglass Pool – Which one is Best?
We’ve heard many customer horror stories after making purchases for pool coping pavers that we’re not the correct choice for a fibreglass pool.
To the inexperienced consumer, it seems that the process should be the same, however, it is not.
Fibreglass pools can bring a world of benefits. A few of these benefits being, quick and easy installation, smooth on the feet and less susceptible to algae growth as well as providing a relatively low maintenance pooling solution.
You just need to be cautious with what coping you dress it with.
To understand why first you need to look at the structure of the pool.
A fibreglass pool is essentially a fibreglass shell carved out and crafted in shape and size that is suitable for a pool.
As you know there are a few different types of pool coping, but in this article, we will look at what is best for around a fibreglass pool.
Suitable for a Fibreglass Pool:
1. Full Piece Natural Stone Drop Edge Coping – a minimum of 30mm thick
2. Pencil Edge Natural Stone – a minimum of 30mm thick
3. Pencil Round Structural Porcelain Coping – not less than 20mm thick
4. Bullnose Natural Stone – a minimum of 30mm thick
5. Bullnose Porcelain Coping – not less than 20mm thick
Not Suitable for a Fibreglass Pool:
1. Any Mitred Stone Drop Edge Coping
2. Any Mitred Porcelain Drop Edge Coping
3. Natural Stones less than 30mm thick
4. Structural Porcelain Pavers less than 20mm thick
* Mitred drop edge means that two pieces are cut in 2 opposite 45 angles that are glued on to each other with colour match epoxy glue. Then the joints get pencil rounded and pencil rounded on the bottom of the vertical piece.
You can use any of the products listed on the suitable list above for around your fibreglass pool without any concerns of breakages over time or delaminations.
These options are the safest to use as they have no mitred edges that will be affected by vibration or expansion of your fibreglass shell.
We’ve found the most preferred option for a fibreglass pool to be the full piece drop edge option that are 30mm thick and drops down to whatever 60mm 0r 80mm or even 100mm
Not only does it make the entire pool look like its hovering in a solid piece of stone, but it also helps hide the lip of the Fibreglass pool which many people would gladly hide!
Unfortunately, the pencil edge and bullnose options do not hide this, they simply overlay it slightly.
The four options listed in the non-suitable range are listed for good reasons. These are any natural stone or porcelain pavers that have been mitred (two pieces glued together) and have an epoxy grout within the joint line.
From the vibrations of the fibreglass pool (during swimming time) these stone or porcelain pieces have considerable pressure against them, which can in-turn causes either a cracking of the glued piece or an opening in the joint(delaminating)
Over time, the constant use of the pool area will cause the shell to vibrate and once the shell vibrates for an extended period of time, it increases the likelihood of any mitred coping pieces opening up at the joint.
Also, the fibreglass shell is never completely straight and has a somewhat uneven edge all the way around – this causes the mitred edges to not sit flush against the edge of the pool, depending on the piece.
The pressure on the shell from the internal water can cause a slight deformation of the fibreglass shell and lip which pushes the pool coping drop edge, out. This leads to a de-bonding of the mitred edge and ultimately a broken piece of coping.
This issue doesn’t discriminate against any type of epoxy used – it can still happen, regardless of what some may believe.
Doing your coping the wrong way on your fibreglass pool can become an expensive exercise and unfortunately, until this day there are stone suppliers and pool companies who don’t fully understand or believe that this is the case.
As fibreglass shells always have rounded edges, it is recommended to cut several pieces of either stone or porcelain to create a seamless curve around your pool edge.
A good installer will know this and will also know how many pieces to cut for the radius he has to work with.
This provides for a smooth and elegant finish and looks best.
Which installation product to use?
We recommend using products from Mapei for your coping installation. Ideally, you should use Mapeisil AC as the adhesive for porcelain coping and Mapeisil LM for natural stone coping. For concrete, part to use Mapei Kerabond Plus + Isolastic 50
Over our time in the industry, we have found the products from Mapei to have great longevity and are a preferred installation product for many of our pool builders. However keep in mind new preferred installation methods can come up and we do make sure to keep our finger on the pulse with new methods, always be sure to contact us to get current recommendations.
When it comes to the details, this is where you need to exert your research and make calculated decisions on who to believe and not believe.
Fibreglass pools can be a great, cost-effective solution to your pool needs but you want to make sure you follow the right steps to safeguard the longevity of the pool.
We recommend always engaging a professional who has vast experience in installing pool coping for all types of pools.
Your pool is an asset and investment into the happiness and health of your family as well as the resale value of your home. It’s best to do it once and do it right.
At Armstone, we believe in helping you create safe and timeless outdoor spaces that last the test of time. We do this by guiding you with the right advice and tailoring solutions perfectly fit for your family.
If you need any advice or recommendations – Give us a call on 1300 560 560 or visit our Showroom in Glebe.
We have a wide range of Pool Pavers and Pool Copings on display and we will be able to recommend suitable pool paver to suit your pool.
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