Coping stones are flat stones that form part of a coping. Traditionally they’re used to cap free-standing walls and protect rainfall from penetrating the wall and causing damage.
However, in the U.S., concrete coping stones are also commonly used around the edges of in-ground swimming pools.
While coping stones are very durable, they can be prone to wear and tear and can become dirty and discolored over time.
That doesn’t mean you have to replace the coping completely though, as that would be costly and time-consuming.
Instead, you can remedy aged and discolored coping stones with several coats of paint. However, it’s important to properly prep the surface to ensure the paint adheres well.
What paint to use on coping stones?
First up, you’ll be wondering what paint to use for your coping stones. There are two main paints used for concrete pool coping: epoxy and acrylic.
The benefit of using epoxy paint is that it adheres well to pretty much any surface. It can also withstand sun damage and chlorine discoloration, and it’s super durable, lasting between 7 to 10 years.
The downside is that it can be quite expensive compared to other paints.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, acrylic paint is a good option.
However, it won’t last half as long as epoxy – perhaps 2 to 3 years at best – and it will only work well on coping that has already been professionally painted in the past.
You also need to bear in mind that pools are moisture-rich environments and whether you opt for epoxy or acrylic, either way, you need to select a paint that will hold up against water damage.
If you’re painting outdoor coping, you’ll also need a paint that’s waterproof and will protect your walls against the elements.
Which paint is best for me?
- It’s super durable and will last far longer than acrylic paint
- You won’t need to repaint your pool for 7-10 years
- Your coping will be better protected from moisture
- It’s harder to apply as it comes in two parts and needs to cure chemically, so the epoxy may set if you don’t apply it quickly enough
- It’s more expensive than swimming pool acrylic, both by the gallon and by application
- Epoxy can only be used on unpainted surfaces or on pools that were previously painted with epoxy, otherwise, you’ll have to remove any previous paint
- Doesn’t require a catalyst or hardener
- Generally very easy to apply and clean up
- Does not produce dangerous fumes
- It’s very versatile: use it to paint bare pools, overcoat epoxy or chlorinated rubber paints, or over surfaces previously painted with acrylic
- You’ll need to repaint every 2-3 years
- It works out about the same price as epoxy when you factor in the repainting
- Not very durable
How to paint pool coping
Clean the coping
Before painting any surface, you should always ensure that it’s clean and smooth so that the paint adheres well.
You don’t need to drain the pool at this point, but you should do it before painting.
Using soap, water, and a scrubbing brush, clean off any visible dirt or debris from the coping. Once you’re satisfied that the stones are clean, allow 24 hours for the concrete to dry.
Don’t forget that concrete is porous, so even if it appears dry, there may still be moisture trapped in the stone.
Ensure no water splashes up onto the coping before painting it, otherwise, you’ll have to wait for it to dry out again (that’s why it’s a good idea to drain the pool!).
Apply 2-inch wide painter’s tape along the edge of the coping to protect the surrounding area from any overlapping paint strokes.
Apply your paint
Once you’ve taped the area, and you’re sure that the coping is completely dry, you can now get ready to paint it.
Use a regular-sized bristled paintbrush to apply a coat of either epoxy or acrylic pool paint to the concrete coping.
One coat should do it, but once the first coat is dry you can assess the results to see whether a second coat is needed, or whether any spots need a touch-up.
Allow the paint to dry
Allow the paint to dry fully for 24 hours, and then remove the painter’s tape. It’s best to remove the paint within a day or two, even though some manufacturers suggest you can remove it cleanly up to a week later.
Once you’ve removed your tape, you should then wait another 24 hours before using the pool.
Painting your pool coping is an easy way to revive the look of your pool without having to replace the coping.
Whether you choose epoxy or acrylic, ensure the paint is specifically designed for pools so that it’ll hold up against moisture, chlorine, and water damage.