Pool coping project — getting started

Time to get started on the pool repair project.. better late than never I suppose. I’ve blocked off this coming Thursday to rent a concrete saw and cut back the expansion joint. Also, I’ve been thinking a lot more about what to use to mortar the coping stones in place. Terry Tamminen’s excellent book, The Ultimate Pool Maintenance Manual, includes instructions for making what he calls “patch mix”, using white portland cement and sand. He uses this same stuff (possibly with different ingredient ratios; I don’t have the book here to confirm) for patching plaster, anchoring coping stones, and grouting stones and tile. I think this might be the way to go, rather than buying premixed bags of mortar as I was originally planning. Just need to find a supplier. I’m not too confident that the big boxes will stock white portland. If not, I’ll try my favorite lumber yard. Will work on researching this over the next few days. (Update 6/22.. no sign of white portland at Home Depot).

Oh, and the loose strip of waterline tile in the deep end fell off all by itself two days ago. I had to dive in to fish it out. Remarkably, it stayed completely intact, leaving me with a roughly 2-foot strip of mortar and pool tile, and the beam behind it is fairly clean too. I need to decide if I want to try to re-attach it, or just start over and retile (I have plenty of extra tile, so either is an option). This is the last step of the project, and won’t be happening until fall when I can lower the water level, so I’ve got plenty of time to think about it.


6/21: Informative posting on poolforum.com about setting pool tile.

6/22: Well, I decided to scrap my plans for the day due to unfavorable weather. However, I did go to Home Depot to take a better look at the concrete saw. I found out:

  • They supply all the fuel mixture I need (it’s a 2-cycle engine as I suspected)
  • There is roughly 5-6 inches from the blade to the outer edge of the dolly wheel on one side. This should be sufficient clearance to run the dolly along the pool coping edge. It will be helpful if the wheel height can be adjusted independently on either side to accommodate uneven surfaces.. but, I didn’t think to ask.
  • The saw includes a water feed, which is great because it should really help cut down on dust.
  • I don’t think it’ll fit in my car, so I’ll need to borrow my parents’ pickup.

Now, I just need to wait for the weather to cooperate, so I can get this done. Based on the 5-day forecast, I might be waiting awhile..

6/28: The crappy weather is finally moving out of the area, so the job is back on the calendar for Friday. Fingers crossed.