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Unread 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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Unread 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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Unread 06-04-2019, 02:39 PM   #3
sw007
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Sorry - yes, we are in Southern Connecticut. Thanks
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Unread 06-04-2019, 08:50 PM   #4
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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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Unread 06-05-2019, 05:03 AM   #5
CaliGrown
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Seems thin for coping, maybe it’s fine since it’s 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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Unread 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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Unread 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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Unread 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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Unread 10-01-2019, 08:27 AM   #9
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follow up

As much as I hoped to complete this project myself we had to hire someone due to time constraints and work responsibility (other than those around the home!) The Mason I worked with used a LFT mortar and the job looks good.

However while preparing to winter ice close the pool for the winter I found a few areas where there is a gap/poor coverage between the tile and the concrete bond beam to which it is attached.

Please see pictures.

It is starting to get cold here in the Northeast and I would like to work on this before we get into freezing weather. I am worried about water collecting under the tile causing a crack or separation from the concrete substrate.

I included a picture of the pool with the coping in place. Unfortunately the area where there is space between the coping and bond beam is on the long side of the pool where the slope is such that there will likely be drainage in the direction of the pool.

I am looking for recommendations on best material to utilize. I am considering using the same LFT mortar and a grout bag. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you very much
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Unread 10-01-2019, 09:13 AM   #10
speed51133
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a very valid concern. I dont like that gap either in a freezing climate. I would fill it with a closed cell foam backer rod and SOME kind of elastomeric filling. Probably Sika flex. https://www.amazon.com/Sikaflex-1A-L.../dp/B00461GOKY

Can you show a better picture backed up a bit? I can't tell where exactly it is.

I would wait to see what a pro says though. I am not a pro....
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Unread 10-01-2019, 09:51 AM   #11
sw007
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Hi Mike and thank you for the prompt reply. I do not have any other images with me but there are gaps sporadically along the long side the pool (the side that has the spa).

The grade on that side of the pool is higher than the remaining 3 sides. Unfortunately that is how the pool builder graded it and it should probably be somewhat lower. I removed about 6 inches of sod along the length of the pool to give mebetter access to work with a caulking gun or grout bag.

I will into the Sikaflex.

thanks!
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Unread 10-01-2019, 09:56 AM   #12
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Unread 10-01-2019, 02:55 PM   #13
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Looks like the mason did not use enough mortar under the pavers. What notch trowel did he use? Did he back butter the pavers?

I would fill those gaps in with SOMETHING that does not absorb water, anything is better than nothing. I would go with the sika flex I linked to above. Just pack it in there. You might want to do it in a few separate applications if the gap is really deep. Hope your mason did not just blob on the mortar....

if you tap on some spots does it sound really hollow???
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Unread 10-05-2019, 08:56 AM   #14
sw007
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yes there are hollow areas

Since he "left town" I am planning to work on this myself (should have done so in the first place). Mortar was not applied with a notched travel nor were the tiles bac-buttered. Obviously coverage is not great. Structurally everything seems fine but the tiles were essentially put into place after slapping down blobs of mortar and then pressing into place
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Unread 10-08-2019, 07:42 AM   #15
speed51133
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If these were tiles I'd say have him rip it out. Since they are thick pavers, it may be ok. What I don't like is the fact it is outdoor and in a freezing climate. Water could expand in there when freezing.

If you seal off of the edges, it could trap the water in there more than leaving it open. Blobbing on the mortar was a mistake in my opinion...

Wait for a pro to comment....
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