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Old 06-04-2019, 11:07 AM   #1
sw007
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Installing pool coping - porcelain pavers (tiles)

My wife and I had a fiberglass pool installed late last summer and are looking to finish the job by installing coping. We will be using 2 cm thick exterior grade porcelain pavers (20" x 40"). We purchased the materials late last fall with most of the fabrication performed before delivery (custom cuts for the spa and bullnose edge profile) but did not initiate the job due to weather.

The overhanging is only approximately three quarters of an inch. The tile in the photo is an unfinished piece (leading edge is a full bullnose). The tiles will cover the fiberglass lip and concrete bond beam but not extend out any further (grass will serve as the deck around the pool with the option of expanding the pavers over time should we desire).

These can be installed in a variety of ways including sand base over gravel, thin set mortar, directly on grass, etc. they can even be pedestal mounted. I also communicated with someone in Colorado who used SRW adhesive rather than mortar and it has survived 2 winters. As such I’ve considered attaching them to the 3 inch fiberglass lip using a constructive adhesive with sand used under the paver to allow for leveling and appropriate slope.

Curiously, I had some GE exterior grade silicone caulk left over from an outdoor project and used it to adhere 2 sample pieces to the fiberglass which did not budge all winter. In fact they will be a challenge to remove before we complete the project.

I spoke with a few masons with varied approaches/concerns regarding best installation method and none of them in agreement. The retailer suggested speaking with a tile person rather than a mason. It has been difficult to get advice for what I still hope will be a DIY project.

I spoke with Laticrete and Mapai with varied recommendations as well. Mapai suggested Kerabond/Keralastic would be best suited in a freeze/thaw situation. Laticrete rep recommended a slurry bond coat first before a LHT mortar. I also spoke with a mason who does a lot of work for the retailer (out of state) and he applies a concrete adhesive to the back of the tile before placing it on the mortar bed. One mason wanted to use Schluter-DITRA as an uncoupling membrane between bond beam and the tile but Schulter tech rep did not agree.

So at this point I am rather confused and not sure where to go. The greatest problem seems to be an unfamiliarity with this project which is unfortunate because it has many desirable characteristics.

My wife registered the account so this is Brent not Sandra!!

Curious to know your thoughts. Thanks!
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Last edited by sw007; 06-04-2019 at 11:45 AM. Reason: typo and added detail
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:30 PM   #2
speed51133
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Maybe I missed it, but putting your geographical location always helps. Different methods for freeze/thaw cycles.....
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:39 PM   #3
sw007
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Sorry - yes, we are in Southern Connecticut. Thanks
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:50 PM   #4
Davy
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Bridging over two different materials (fiberglass and concrete) can be tough. I've never installed what you have planned so I'm not sure what's needed but you may have to have a soft joint in the stone over that transition.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:03 AM   #5
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Seems thin for coping, maybe its fine since its porcelain.
Best bet would be to call the pool company and see what they recommend.
I know the local guys here use silicone to set and grout the waterline tile on fiberglass pools.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:11 AM   #6
speed51133
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you would want to make the whole thing very flat though to avoid cracking thin tiles, wouldnt you?
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:59 AM   #7
sw007
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The tiles are 2 cm thick (0.75") and can be mounted using a pedestal system for pedestrian traffic so even with a void space there should be no problem.

This may be a ridiculous question but I do not understand why they need to be mortared to the conrete bond beam. Unlike large format tiles one might install indoors, these are capable of withstanding pedestrian traffic and are used for vehicle traffic when mortared to concrete base.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:52 AM   #8
Sharon @ LATICRETE
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The dissimilar materials that the pavers will be adhered to presents the challenge in determining the best adhesive. The porcelain to concrete bond would typically use an adhesive product different than the porcelain to fiberglass bond.
However, in the LATICRETE product line one adhesive is recommended for both concrete and fiberglass. LATAPOXY 300 epoxy thinset will provide extremely strong bond to both materials and will be an excellent exterior, all weather product for this application.
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