How to Lay Copings
Primarily copings are used for weathering but also offer a decorative feature to garden walls and balcony areas. The fall of the coping directs moisture is in the desired direction. Copings come in a variety of sizes and should be order to suit the dimensions of the wall to allow the drip on the underside to be in the correct position. This how to shows you how to lay copings.
1) Appreciate the parameters that you will be working with. Most garden walls constructed in blockwork are 215mm thick which is either a 140mm or 100mm thick block laid flat rather than on its edge. Garden walls are built in this fashion for obvious reasons, the wider the wall the greater its strength.
2) When ordering your copings, consider the width of the wall and also allow for render.
3) When laying copings, as with most building work it is best to set either end up first. Lets assume that this wall is straight with no corners. With your trowel lay one coping at either end on a bed of mortar, using your spirit level, check the top of the coping from left to right for level, and also front to back. When checking the the level from front to back this can be done by holding your level across the wall on the underside of the coping. It is not possible to do this on top of the coping due to its fall. To achieve level its is best to use a rubber mallet.
4) The coping must be placed in the centre of the wall with an equal overhang on either side. This simple equation will help you to centre your coping; (width of coping – width of wall – width of render (both sides of wall)) divided by 2. For example lets say the overhang is 50mm on either side. Using your tape measure position the coping to 50mm away from the wall at all four corner points. This can be repeated at the opposite end.
5) Set up a string line on the highest edge of the coping running to the opposite end. There is no need for a string line on both sides of the coping.
6) Each coping should be fixed to the wall below and this can be done with most ‘L-shaped’ ties, stainless steel screws and plugs.
7) As each coping is laid it should line up with the one next to it and be to the string line. It is good practice to check for level after each coping is laid to make sure they are not running up or downhill.
8) Be sure to keep all joints uniformed and no bigger than 10mm.
9) It is common practice to work from one end to another to allow the cut, if any to be placed at one end rather than the middle, however some may asks for the cut to be placed in the middle. Any cuts should be done using an electric grinder.
10) When jointing the copings a wet mortar mix should be used and the joints should be taped to minimise the risk of staining. With the use of a jointing trowel and iron a half round joint is the most appropriate finish.
Choose the correct with of coping to suit the wall
Only use a rubber mallet to prevent damaging
Be sure to check for level throughout
Wedges can be used to help lift copings
When pointing, tape the joints to prevent staining
If the coping is laid over an area where moisture can penetrate the building a damp proof course should be introduced under the coping