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Is Limestone Good for Pool Coping?

Building a pool in your backyard is a major investment in money and time. Resurfacing an old pool deck is not easy either. You need to make a lot of choices and decisions. Your decision on the material for the pool coping, will be one of those. You are likely considering limestone. But is limestone good for pool coping?

Limestone is a pretty good option for pool coping. Limestone is non-slip, even when wet, does not get too hot in the sun and is quite affordable. It looks pretty good too!

You should apply some penetrating sealer though, to improve water permeability.

Limestone is one of the four most popular natural stones used as pavers on pool decks and pool copings. Travertine, Marble and Granite are the other three. Geologists classify rocks into three types depending on how they were formed in the earth’s crust

  1. Sedimentary rocks such as limestone, sandstone and travertine
  2. Metamorphic rocks such as marble, slate and quartzite
  3. Igneous rocks such as granite and basalt

Sedimentary rocks are rich in calcite (calcium carbonate). The key difference between limestone and travertine is the source of calcite. The calcite in limestone comes from the shells of marine life. 

The source of calcite in travertine is the minerals from volcanic activity. The minerals rich in calcite, formed sediments when rivers and springs dried up.

In both cases, calcite along with other minerals, was deposited in layers and compressed by the layers above. Both are characterized by banded structure and are found naturally in rich earth tones such as White, Beige, Brown and Gray.

Limestone Pool Coping

In this post I will explain why inground pools need to have a pool coping, types of pool copings, materials commonly used, etc. I will also explain my reasoning as to why I consider limestone as a pretty good choice for pool coping. So read on.

Why Do Pools Need Coping?

It is not essential to have pool coping. Some pools, such as infinity pools, do not have pool coping. But a vast majority of residential pools do have coping.

Coping is the horizontal cap on the vertical pool shell wall. Coping can be concrete, cast on site or precast. It can also be made from slabs or tiles of natural stone such as limestone or granite.

Coping is the pool frame and separates the pool structure from the pool deck. It also protects the top edge of the pool shell. Pool coping sits on the pool shell’s bond beam.

Pool coping serves six important functions:

  1. De-link the pool deck from the pool structure
  2. Protect the pool bond beam from water ingress
  3. Direct water splashing to pool drains
  4. Helpful grip for swimmers
  5. Non-slip walking surface around the pool
  6. Add a visual transition from water to deck

Textured limestone in tumbled, honed, brushed or bush hammered finish is a good choice for pool coping. The texture provides traction and also gives the limestone an aged, weathered appearance. 

You can walk barefoot on the limestone pool coping, or sit comfortably, with your legs dangling in the water, as limestone does not get hot in the sun. Kids can have fun running and playing on it without the risk of slipping and hurting themselves.

Stone Tile Depot

What Are the Different Types of Pool Coping?

There are 3 basic types of pool coping styles you could choose from. Each has its pros & cons.

1. Drop Edge:

In the Drop Edge type pool coping the stone paver is L-shaped. The vertical edge is short and drops towards the pool. The corner is sharp. 

Drop Edge style gives a very modern look to a rectangular pool.

2. Cantilevered:

In the Cantilevered type pool coping the edge overhangs on the pool and has a slightly curved corner. Cantilevered pool coping allows the deck surface to blend seamlessly with the pool’s edge. 

Cantilevered style is safer, as straight edges of Drop Edge style are sharp and can result in cuts & bruises.

3. Bullnose:

The Bullnose pool coping forms a rounded edge at the lip of the coping. The profile of a half bullnose is a quarter circle on top while the profile of a full bullnose would be a semi-circle.

Bullnose pool copings are very helpful when swimmers want to grip the edge and pull themselves out of the pool.

Bullnose style is perfect for natural stone pavers and is perfect for kidney shaped or curved pool perimeters.

What Can Be Used for Pool Coping?

Any material that is suitable as pool decking would, generally speaking, be suitable for pool coping. However, pool coping materials need to be carefully chosen to meet following requirements:

  1. Low water permeability to protect the pool structure
  2. High comfort & safety levels to accommodate higher foot traffic

Four pool coping materials are commonly used:


Concrete, poured in situ, or concrete pavers work wonderfully, if your pool deck is made from a concrete slab on grade. This by far is the most economical option. However, you do not need to sacrifice style or functionality.

Brushed concrete pool coping complements a stamped concrete pool deck perfectly. The brushed concrete coping will be slip resistant while the stamped concrete deck can have a unique personalized look.

Natural Stone

Travertine, Limestone and Granite are some of the several natural stone pavers you could choose from. Travertine is by far the most popular.

Limestone is a popular choice too. It is a good compromise between the functionality of Travertine and the sheer luxury of Granite.

Granite is the pool coping of choice, if a luxurious look is more important to you. Though not cheap, granite is durable, hard and non-slip. 


Brick pavers are useful as pool coping material as they can withstand chlorinated water. They are not only cheap but also easy to replace. However, bricks are quite porous and  not very durable. 

Wood Composites

Wood composites are excellent as they are engineered products. Composites can incorporate all the properties required by pool coping, such as slip resistance, not getting hot in the sun, and being impervious to water & pool chemicals. 

They are very affordable but do lack the touch of class. Your pool will be just another  “cookie cutter” pool.

Conclusion: Limestone Is A Good Choice For Pool Coping

I judge the suitability of a natural stone for pool coping on 6 parameters. I believe these 6 parameters are important for pool coping. The stone is given a score on a 5 point scale on each parameter and an average taken.

The average score for a limestone pool coping is 3.17. This is the same score as that for granite. Both limestone & granite score below travertine, which gets a score of 3.50.

Though limestone and granite get the same average score, the scores on each parameter are different. Check out my post Is Granite Good For Pool Coping? (Facts You Need To Know!).

See Table and explanations below for limestone pool coping:

Low Porosity2
Slip Resistance4
Gets Less Hot4

A limestone coping gets the same score as a granite coping. Both, limestone & granite are superior to marble when it comes to suitability for pool coping.

Low Porosity

Rocks.CompareNature describes travertine as being “highly porous”. It describes all the other three natural stones (limestone, marble granite) as “less porous”. In reality, limestone, being another sedimentary rock, is more porous than marble and granite.

A thin film of water between your wet feet and the solid surface below can cause you to slip. This phenomenon is known as “hydroplaning”. Ice skaters take advantage of this for gliding on a skating rink.

The porosity of limestone helps to make it less slippery by absorbing the water from the soles of your feet.

But on the flip side, pool water, along with pool chemicals, can penetrate the pool coping and shorten its life span. Water seepage can damage the pool bond beam.

The porosity of limestone pool coping can be addressed by using a penetrating sealer. The slip resistant property of the limestone pool coping is retained but water will not be able to penetrate the pores (already blocked by the sealer). 

I recommend Miracle Sealants 511QT6 511 Impregnator Sealer. It is very effective at protecting against water, stains & slippage.

Slip Resistance

The slip resistance of a pool coping, when wet, is influenced by both porosity and texture. High porosity reduces slips caused by “hydroplaning”. High texture profile increases the grip and traction.

With limestone pool coping you can get the benefit of porosity as well as texture.

Brushed, bush hammered or tumbled limestone, sealed with a penetrating sealer, will give you a pretty safe pool coping.

Gets Less Hot

The specific heat capacity of some common natural stones used for pool coping is given in the table below:

Specific Heat Capacity of Pavers

Data Source: Engineering Tool Box

Concrete & Water Specific Heat Capacity is mentioned so that you can put the paving materials in perspective.

The “specific heat capacity” of limestone is higher than that of concrete, granite and marble. Generally speaking, higher the Specific Heat Capacity of a material, lower will be the rise in temperature, under the same sunlight conditions.

So, a limestone pool coping, will not get as hot as the other materials, when exposed to the summer sun. Only, travertine remains cooler than limestone.


The hardness of marble. limestone and travertine are in the 3-4 range of Mohs scale. So limestone is not much different in hardness. Granite, however, is the hardest being 6-7 on Mohs scale. (Source: Rocks.CompareNature ).


Limestone, is considered less luxurious and opulent when compared to granite and marble. While granite has a classic timeless look, marble gets extra points for its translucence.

Limestone may not be the best looking natural stone, but it is certainly more natural looking than a concrete slab.


Marble is the most expensive pool coping you can buy. The price is purely a reflection of the beauty of marble. Granite is a bit cheaper than marble but a lot more expensive than limestone.

Limestone is more expensive than travertine, but still an affordable natural stone pool coping.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and helpful.

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