What Are Coping Stones Used For?
The finishing touches to a project are almost as important as the preparation & planning. Coping stones can make a great finishing touch for a multitude of garden projects from building and finishing walls (wall topping being their most common use), to lining pools and pathways.
We always advise that the best way to guarantee a design you are truly happy with is to visualise the finished project before you start and of course, draw a rough plan. Bear in mind when choosing your coping stones, that most can be bought new or reclaimed to match the aesthetics of existing walls and masonry; so, it’s easier to decide based on the shape or texture of the stone you are choosing.
Why Use Coping Stone?
Coping stone provides an aesthetic ‘topping’ to any garden wall, whilst also adding an extra layer of protection from the elements. By reducing drip lines, coping stones can reduce water damage to underlying walls, keeping erosion and breakdown to a minimum.
Some projects make use of coping stones entirely for walling or pond areas, in which case they can deliver a modern twist to traditional brick or stone walling.
Our natural Yorkstone copings are high strength and durable, resistant to the toughest weather conditions. If you’ve already chosen a natural stone or brick wall, then consider using coping stones to cap off and keep it protected; there’s a wide range of coping stones available to suit your current design & practical requirements.
New sawn copings are a popular choice with options of once-weather & twice-weathered finishes. A once weathered coping stone has a gradient off to one edge; commonly used for parapet walls. A twice weathered coping stone has a peak in the centre but also has decorative sides; a very popular choice for patio areas and surrounding garden walls. New sawn copings can also be purchased as standard, this creates a flat surface for your wall which looks great and can be used for makeshift seating in smaller gardens.
Unlike sawn copings which appear more slab-like in shape, hog back copings are half round stones that have been skilfully dressed from raw stone, creating a beautiful finishing touch for traditional garden designs, delivering a more ‘Romanesque’ style than alternatives.
Natural Yorkstone coping stones are an ideal solution for edging pools, as the surface is generally less slippery than highly polished granite for example. Again, given natural stones’ resilience, Yorkstone coping stands up well to heavy water areas.
Got a specialist project? Coping stones can be cut and finished to your requirements. (If you would like a quote for any bespoke work please get in touch.)
How to Lay Coping Stones
Laying Coping Stones for a Natural Stone Wall
Firstly, you will require a mortar mix to stick your coping stones to the top of your existing wall; if you have any leftover mortar from the wall itself this should do the trick.
If you’re using a premixed mortar, we always suggest checking that it’s still dry and in date before proceeding to use it for any further work. For best results apply a bonding agent first; one that can be used in conjunction with the mortar you have. Then apply your mortar and coping stone.
Use a spirit level to check your stone is being laid evenly, tap down using a rubber hammer accordingly. Avoid using a metal claw hammer, as this could potentially damage or crack the stone. Always ensure that your coping stones have an enough over hang and drip channels if you are using a once-weather or twice-weathered stone.
Laying Coping Stones for a Pool
For pool paving to withstand the test of time and numerous litres of splashing water, a solid base is essential. Coping stones are perfect for this because as mentioned above they’re very tough & durable against water.
The first step is to determine what sort of pool you have. If it is a fibreglass pool then the coping stones are going to need to be glued on to the edge beam. For concrete pools the coping stones will need to be bedded in mortar surrounding the pool. Lay coping stones in a similar fashion to walling, using a mortar mix and spirit level to ensure the surround is level.
A good lip is recommended to allow for maximum run off back into the pool. Also, unlike wall topping, it is imperative to lay coping around a pool as flush as possible, this will prevent tripping hazards when the project is finished.
How to Cut Coping Stones
If you need to cut your coping stone for any reason you will firstly need to know the measurements that you’re cutting.
Take your tape measure and measure the length of the coping stone marking the excess area (the proportion you’re going to cut). Once you’ve got your measurement in place get your cutting tools ready; some people prefer to do this with a hammer & chisel whereas others will use others use a saw to carry out the work.
Using a hammer and chisel is more laborious, but can be safer, particularly if you aren’t comfortable using power tools.
The preference/choice is entirely up to you but if you’re going to use a saw remember that you’ll need to set up your work station. We advise using a Stihl saw with a diamond-tipped blade; angle grinders can also be used on smaller jobs. Once you’ve decided on your tool you can begin cutting. Natural stone should cut cleanly, however, if there are any excess areas, remove these and tidy up edges using a chisel.
Now your coping stone is ready to be laid. If you’re unsure about carrying the works out yourself, always consult or hire a professional.
How to Clean Coping Stones
Cleaning coping stones can vary depending the product. However, a good rule is to use hot water for general clean up, followed by a soft cleaning solution for removing bacteria and moss. Pressure washing can really overhaul heavily stained and aged coping stones but take care not to damage already cracked stone.
Yorkstone supplies offer a professional pressure washing service if you’re unsure and would like a first-class finish, we also cover patios too.
How to Remove Coping Stones
If you’re planning to remove coping stone from around a pool, then you need to check for broken or damaged pieces of stone first; this is to avoid any stone from falling in to your pool. The most efficient way to avoid this is to empty the pool beforehand or put sheeting over the pool during the works. If you’re wanting to remove coping stone from a wall then you can miss this step.
Begin loosening mortar using a chisel to gently break it away. If you’re skilled with DIY you could use a power saw and masonry blade for this step to cut the mortar joint out completely. Using a sweeping brush to clean up the area of any broken mortar before use your chisel or wrecking bar to prize off the coping stone. If the coping stone is really stubborn and won’t budge you may need to hammer it out in pieces. Once all of the coping stone is removed you can clean the remaining mortar using your chisel to provide a square finish for repair or replacement.
We’re Here To Help
Still unsure about what you need and what to do with coping stones? Get in touch! Our team have years of experience and we’re always happy to help. Already started a project? Don’t forget to share them with us, we’d love to see your lovely garden projects!