Appropriate Thickness and Sizes for Pool Coping

Written by Michael Dean
April 7, 2023

measuring pool coping thickness

When it comes to designing and constructing a pool, pool coping is an essential element that can greatly enhance the functionality and appearance of your pool. Selecting the appropriate thickness and size of the pool coping is crucial for both practical and aesthetic reasons.

In this article, I will go over how thick your pool coping should be before covering the various sizes available for pool coping and more. I included references at the very bottom of the article to some specific pool coping manufacturers to give you examples of thicknesses that many sellers have in their inventory, too. Let’s get started.

Main Takeaways

  • Most pool coping is between 1.25 to 3 inches thick, but try not to go for anything less than 2 inches thick, as it may not be as durable.
  • Pool coping can range from 4 to 30 inches long and 4 to 24 inches wide.
  • Your pool coping should stick out or have an overhang distance between 1 to 2 inches.

How Thick Should Your Pool Coping Be?

Most coping is between 1.25 to 3 inches thick. How thick your pool coping should be depends on the type of coping you choose and your pool design.

Natural stone and concrete coping usually range from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches in thickness, while brick coping can range from 2 inches to 3 inches in thickness.

Another consideration is your local climate. For example, if you live in an area with freezing and thawing cycles, you may need a thicker coping to withstand the expansion and contraction of the ground.

I don’t recommend going for any coping that is less than 2 inches thick, as it may break easier if a swimmer stands on the edge of the pool. That said, if you go for anything over 3 inches thick, the overhang may look awkward and take away from the look of your pool.

Why Does Pool Coping Thickness Matter?

The coping serves as a transition between the pool’s shell and the surrounding deck or patio, providing a finished look and a barrier to prevent water from entering the pool wall. The thickness of the pool coping directly affects its structural integrity, durability, and safety.

If your coping is too thin, it may crack, warp, or become uneven over time, leading to safety hazards and costly repairs. If your pool gets a lot of use, thin pool coping should be avoided, as it will definitely crack and warp with heavy foot traffic.

In contrast, coping that is too thick may be unnecessarily heavy and difficult to install, increasing the risk of installation errors or structural failures.

The thickness of your pool coping is also crucial in terms of aesthetics. Think about it. Your coping serves as the transitional area between your deck and your pool, so you want it to look good.

Choose a coping material, style, size, and thickness that matches the rest of your pool. Make sure the coping looks good, is practical for your pool, and is durable.

What are the Different Pool Coping Sizes?

Pool coping comes in various sizes, shapes, and materials, allowing pool owners to choose the type of coping that best fits the overall design of their pool. For example, larger coping sizes are better suited for larger pools, and smaller coping sizes may be better for smaller and irregularly shaped pools.

pool coping thickness diagram

Bullnose Pool Coping Size (Figure #1)

Bullnose coping is typically the thickest, about 2-3 inches.

Square Edge Pool Coping Size (Figure #2)

Square edge coping can vary a lot in size. I’ve seen anywhere from 1 to 3 inches.

Drop Face Pool Coping Size (Figure #3)

Drop face is the thinnest design that you see at the edge of a swimming pool. The average thickness typically runs about 1-2 inches.

Brick Pool Coping Size

Brick pool coping is typically 3 to 5 inches long, 8 to 12 inches wide, and 2 to 3 inches thick.

Natural Stone Pool Coping Size

Natural stone pool coping can come in a large variety of sizes. The standard sizes are between 12 to 30 inches long, 12 to 16 inches wide, and 1.25 to 2 inches thick.

Concrete Pool Coping Size

Concrete pool coping can be custom-fit to the size and shape of your pool, so the length of the coping would depend on the dimensions of your pool. Although the width can also be custom-fit, it usually ranges anywhere from 4 to 24 inches.

Custom Sizes

Depending on the size and shape of your pool, you may also have to get custom sizes for your pool coping. If you have an irregularly shaped pool or have a specific pool coping design in mind, I recommend contacting your pool builder for advice on the best sizes for your pool coping.

How Far Should Your Pool Coping Stick Out?

Another important consideration when installing pool coping is the overhang or the distance the coping sticks out. Most pool builders, general contractors, and some state administrative codes recommend the overhang distance of the pool coping be between 1 to 2 inches (that’s my opinion, too). Based on my experience, the coping shouldn’t overhang any more than 3 inches.

When deciding how far your pool coping should stick out, you should also consider a few other factors:

  • The shape and size of the pool: A larger pool might require a larger overhang distance to accommodate the increased amount of water that may splash out.
  • Local building codes and regulations: Some municipalities may have specific requirements when it comes to pool coping, so make sure you are meeting all necessary regulations.
  • Your overall design and aesthetic: While a larger overhang distance may give a more dramatic look to your pool, a smaller one may provide more of a modern aesthetic.

Why Does Pool Coping Overhang?

The coping overhangs the edge of the pool shell slightly, creating a gap between the pool wall and the deck. The pool coping should also be slightly sloped away from the pool, allowing pool water to run off the pool deck and into a drain system rather than seeping behind the pool shell or stagnating on the deck.

The pool coping overhang serves a few different functions:

  • It provides a non-slip surface for swimmers to maintain their grip when entering and exiting the pool.
  • It protects the pool wall from water damage by preventing water from seeping into the wall’s joints, which can eventually cause cracks and erosion over time.
  • It is aesthetically pleasing, giving a sleek and modern look to your pool.
  • It reduces the amount of water that splashes out from the pool, which will save you both water and money in the long run.

Examples of Coping Thicknesses From Manufacturers

  1. Acme Brick:
  2. Interstate Brick:
  3. World of Stones:

Questions about your pool coping installation? Let me know! Always happy to lend a hand. You can also check out more of my research on pool coping, like recommendations for pool coping sealant and the best way to clean coping.

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