2 ways to save your swimming pool coping before it’s too late.
Generally, it’s important to seal all cracks:
- between the coping (rock, brick, coping stone) and the tile. *note picture above labeled “mortar joint”.
- between the coping and the deck. *note picture above labeled “deck-o-seal”.
The “deck-o-seal” is actually a water barrier. “Deck-o-seal” is a brand name for a two part mix which is poured into the space between the coping and the deck. A sand base is used to fill up most of the space and the deck-o-seal is pored on top of the sand (rules are no deeper than the width of the joint). If applied correctly and if the deck does not move too much, this should last approximately 5 years before needing to be replaced.
If you see visible cracks in the caulking-like substance, depending on the size of the crack and length, a small amount of clear 100% silicone can be used to seal the crack as a temporary fix. Otherwise, it is recommended to remove the old deck-o-seal and replace with new.
A crack in the mortar between the coping and the tile usually starts around the skimmers and generally happens more rapidly on geometric shaped pools (45 degree angles). The crack can be cut with a 4″ – 4 1/2″ grinder and a diamond blade. This gives about a 1/8″ wide gap to reapply new mortar. If the crack is wider and the mortar starts falling out when cutting, it’s best to chip out all loose mortar and fill with new. Doing this will prevent the crack from going around the entire pool if caught early. If caught in later stages and done properly, it will gain you another 5 years before replacing the coping and tile.
**when water gets into cracks and goes below the surface, it doesn’t evaporate and will actually break down the properties of the mortar!
Check for future blogs about how to properly mix mortar that will last far longer than what you can buy premixed.