Flagstone Coping Workmanship Question

NCBoilermakerJuly 31, 2011


My wife and I are in the middle of a build for a shotcrete pool with some water features and flagstone coping. The entire process was going very well until the process of the flagstone coping started. To start it off, they delivered the wrong color flagstone. Outside of adding a two week delay to our build, there wasn't a huge issue with this. However, once the correct stone was delivered, and now installed, we have some serious questions with the quality of the work. Some of the things that we question are:

*The width of many of the joints. We have three inches between in many joints.

*The overhang of the flagstone into the pool. This varies from 1 inch to 2.5 inches.

*The color of the grout in a couple of places (they tried to fix some mistakes by cutting out stones, adding new, but the grout color is different.

*A few pieces that are much thinner, causing the uneven edge of coping while looking in the pool.

*Areas (just a few) that are not level (big hump on coping).

*A couple of areas they tried to fix where they cut out a portion of a stone, just leaving a tiny section.

*Where they cut the pool edge where the concrete is going to go, it is not even close to being a straight line.

In general, just not good workmanship. The pool builder we are using has a great reputation and history in our area. They have even commented that "we have some customers holding out our last payment because they aren't happy with the new stone guy". We have looked at other pools this builder has done, and a few others in our development with flagstone coping, and none of them have these issues.

We are meeting the pool builder in the morning, and are going to go over everything. I wanted to get some input and advice on some of the items I list above. Below are some pictures of the workmanship in question. I would love some commentary on how it looks. Again, outside of this, we are happy with our PB and our build, but this has us extremely frustrated. Especially since the GC has not been very present at all, and we feel like this could have been avoided.

Thanks for any feedback. Here is a link to a flickr gallery with some pictures.

All Pics here, many embedded below.


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I agree the joints and the leveling look sloppy.
I have no mortar joint larger than 1 inch.

Hopefully your PB will fix it up for you.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 6:37PM
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What color tile did u use?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:58PM
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When you choose flagstone, you have to accept all the irregularities that come with it. That's the look of it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:04PM
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I found one of my pics. It's not a close up, but you can see the flagstone a little. How do you compare it to yours?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:08PM
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We have very similar Oklahoma Flagstone on our build (link below)

The problem with having that much mortar in between stones is that it WILL crack. We have between 1/2" - 1" and it has been about a year and we do have some cracking in the 1" martar areas. I did not post the cracks because they are hard to see on camera and will be easily repaired but I think what you have is a recipe for disaster there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oklahoma Pool Build

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Looks sloppy to me. We have very small joints in our flagstone.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 8:41PM
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I installed a cantilevered flagstone patio around my pool by myself over the course of a year so I have a very close relationship with flagstone! With the type of flagstone you are using unevenness on the bottom is unavoidable. You have to vary the depth of the cement bed you are laying the flag onto so that the top is level. When I did mine I tried to find as close to the same thickness as I could for the cantilevered areas that overhang the pool but it is impossible to make it perfect unless you have an unlimited amount of flagstone to work with. That being said I agree the joints are way too big. You will get cracking in joints with flagstone regardless of the size of the joints but larger ones will crack more easily and will possibly crack along multiple lines so that the grout will flake out. After having done this I realize the huge amount of time it takes to do it right. It is like a giant complex jigsaw puzzle and I cannot imagine the cost of subbing out that amount of work if you were to want it done as close to perfect as possible. I have easily a few hundred hours in mine.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:19AM
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KeithW, beautiful work.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:16PM
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