Coping Stones and How to Use Them


Coping stone is used to finish and protect masonry work from rain and the other elements. Coping can be made from various types of stone including slate, basalt, limestone, portland stone, travertine stone and sandstone and can be flat, curved or sloped.

When laying the coping stone some factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Placing shims to account for the weight of the stone
  • Do not remove shims until mortar has dried
  • Take into account the shrinkage from the concrete drying

It’s important to ensure there is an overhang both on the long edge and on the short edge and that there is a slight slope towards the front so that rain water will run off and not collect.


Here is a step by step guide to laying coping on a stone wall.

  • Plan your joints to avoid vertical clashing joints
  • Leave a 10mm joint gap for each stone
  • Place the shims to help handle the weight of the stone
  • Spread mortar on the underside of the coping stone and scrape away any excess then place the mortar on the section of the wall and place the stone on the wall
  • When the mortar has dried remove the shims

Coping is purposeful and also decorative and can add an extra flourish of style to your project. Coping can be used on walls, pools, bridges and housing and with the numerous types means you can get the exact finish you want. Coloured mortar can also be purchased to help the colour scheme tie in better. You can also choose between different shapes of stone:

  • Wedged stone will slant in one direction
  • Saddle shaped stone will slant both sides with a apex at the top.

Whichever shape and composition you choose it’s important to make sure the job is done correctly. If it’s not the wall could lose structural integrity from rain water seeping into it which will inevitably result in the re-construction of the wall.

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