What is Pool Coping?
Pool Coping has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Almost every pool has some form of coping which finishes off the transition from the pool wall to the pool deck. Most transitions are at 90 degrees (with vertical pool walls and horizontal pool concrete deck) and coping helps to make that corner safe for all. In Manitoba the coping also has to be strong (so as to not separate from frost) and flexible enough that it will not crack from ground shifting which is common in the Charleswood area.
The coping pictured is an older style 6″ patio coping which is fastened to the top of the steel pool wall and also serves as a track to hold the vinyl pool liner. Most coping systems are dual purpose in that they finish off the edge of the concrete as well as hold the liner. Most new swimming pools come with an aluminum style pool coping, brick edge coping (has been around for longest), or a concrete edge coping called a cantilever coping. This style of coping is newer for pools in Manitoba and is basically a pool without coping. The concrete serves as the finished edge. The edge of the concrete is poured with a removable foam form that holds the shape of the concrete while it is curing.
Pool Coping Issues
Quite often in spring time we receive calls about liners that have fallen out of the coping and slid down the pool wall. This is caused from the liner lifting and releasing tension on the bead of the liner which enables it to pop out of the coping or receiver track.
When the pool liner tension is released, your liner is either being lifted by ice or pool water is getting under your vinyl liner. Water can get underneath your liner if it has a hole. Water under your liner can also occur from general ground water saturation around your pool, which is usually caused by runoff water being trapped. Excessive rain water or snow melt in spring can also cause your pool liner to float.
This problem can usually be fixed by stretching the vinyl liner back into the receiver track using boiling water to heat up the pool liner. The two issues you can run into are: a brittle liner, or broken coping/track where the liner clips into. When your track lip is broken off there is nothing left to hold your liner into place. Both of these situations would mean that it is probably time for a new liner and track.
The best preventative measures other than proper drainage is a sump pit or sump well system. Sump wells consist of a large diameter pipe buried about 5’ deep right behind your concrete deck (as close to the pool as possible) and have weeping tile connected to facilitate the movement of water from behind your pool walls towards the pit. Inside the bottom of the sump pit is a sump pump with a float attached. This pump runs automatically, and only when necessary. The water gets pumped to the sewer or low lying areas through a garden hose or a buried pipe.