How to Remove Pool Coping

What You'll Need
A heavy hammer
A smaller 'chipping' hammer
A chisel
A broom

Pool coping is the material around the edge of a built-in swimming pool, often made of brick or man-made materials. Some people find it rather unattractive, and therefore wish to get rid of it in order to replace it with a new version. This can be a complicated process, depending upon the type of material used and the age. For instance, some concrete pool coping might have concrete cancer (a type of aging which causes the concrete to crumble), so removing it from the pool might cause pieces of the concrete to fall into the pool.

There has recently been a movement which encourages the removal of old stone pool coping, or other forms of coping, in order to replace it with something more modern and sophisticated. Some forms of coping become damaged over time, and need to be removed or repaired.

Step 1: Check for Broken Coping

Examine the pool coping and see whether any is broken or damaged. Loose or broken coping should be removed first, as it is more likely to leave pieces in the pool. Decide whether you wish to replace the entire coping, or are willing to settle for replacing the most seriously damaged pieces.

Step 2: Remove the Mortar 

Take the chisel and loosen any mortar that is holding the coping in place. Tap gently at the mortar area in order to break it away, and then sweep it out with a broom or dustpan and brush. Some DIYers may decide to use a power saw and masonry blade to simply cut out the mortar joint entirely.

Step 3: Press out the Coping

Make sure that the coping is brushed thoroughly, and then start releasing the coping from the base. Put the chisel in the joint where the masonry used to be, and then try lifting the pool coping right up from the foundation by striking the chisel with a hammer.

Step 4: When the Coping Is Stubborn

If the pool coping does not lift away easily, you may be obliged to break it off piece by piece, and hammer it out in pieces.

Step 5: Cleaning the Foundation

Once you've removed the stone pool coping or the tile, you will need to remove the foundation mortar. This can be done with the chisel, although you can also use the saw to chop it free of the earth beneath.

Step 6: Brush and Rinse

Once you have removed the coping, you should brush down the entire area with the broom, to ensure that there are no sharp pieces of broken coping at the edge of the pool. Then use a pail to rinse out the coping hole with water, so that when the new coping is inserted, it has a clean base.

Be careful when removing coping, and ensure that pieces do not float off into the pool. If you need to, cover the pool with plastic sheeting, or even drain the pool and then clean the bottom once you've finished removing the coping. Be careful of damaging parts of the pool when removing the coping.