Types of Wall Coping and How They Work

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Peter Overton
WRITTEN BY
PETER OVERTON

Accompanied by over 30 years of experience within the external construction sector, my skill set extends to many areas.

You might be aware of wall copings, and their purpose, but are you aware of all of the different types of wall copings, and which ones work best for different projects? Do you know how to install different types of wall copings? In this article, we go over several different types of wall copings, including everything you need to know about each. 

So, what are the different types of wall copings? There are a wide variety of different wall copings, with their uses varying depending on the project at hand. These include: Brick Copings, Clay Copings, Concrete Copings, Metal Copings, including Aluminium Wall Copings, and Stone Copings. 

Read on to learn more about these different types of wall copings, and how they work.

 

What is the Purpose of Wall Copings?

The main purpose of wall copings is to protect the wall below from water and other damage by both creating a barrier, and by directing water away from the wall below via the drip channels inside the coping. It can also act as a decorative feature when aesthetics are considered alongside practicality. 

What are the Different Types of Wall Copings?

Various different materials can be used for wall copings, some for aesthetic purposes, and others for their practical benefits. 

Brick Wall Copings

Brick isn’t the best material for wall copings as there are too many joints that risk water penetration through poor workmanship – it leaves the chance that, over time, brick and mortar may crumble away, leaving the wall exposed to the elements. 

If you wish to use brick wall copings, it is best used for aesthetic purposes only, on non-parapet walls. 

To install brick copings: Set bricks into a layer of mortar or another structural adhesive on the top of the wall. The joint between the bricks should be set with mortar or epoxy. 

Clay Wall Copings

Clay, or terracotta wall copings are commonly found on masonry walls as they are often considered a good visual match for brick walls. They are a much better option than brick wall copings, being very long-lasting. However, if improperly installed, clay wall copings can separate from the mortar bed. 

To install clay wall copings: Set clay copings into a mortar bed, bonding them to the top of the wall. The individual coping pieces should overlap each other, unless the pieces are made with a socket at one end which the next piece fits into. Joints and sockets should be filled with mortar. 

Concrete Wall Copings

Concrete wall copings are a much cheaper option than other wall copings, especially natural stone copings. Be careful when using concrete wall copings as they can often be too heavy for many walls. They are, however, a good option for creating an aesthetically pleasing finish, as they can be produced in many different colours by adding pigments to the concrete mix.

To install concrete wall copings (pre-cast): Concrete wall copings should come with pre-drilled holes in the bottom. Ensure that the top of the wall has corresponding holes, fill with non-shrink grout or epoxy, and insert metal dowels into the hole. Place the coping on top. Fill any joints with mortar and building sealant at the top of the joint. 

To install concrete wall copings (cast-in-place): Install masonry anchors into the top of the wall ensuring that the tops of the anchors are embedded in the copings as the concrete sets. 

Stone Copings

Stone wall copings are commonly found on buildings and walls with natural stone cladding. They are far more expensive than concrete or clay, meaning that they are only really chosen for aesthetic purposes, given that their properties are similar. 

To install stone wall copings: A mixture of methods are used to install stone copings; a mortar bed to set the copings to the wall, as well as use of pre-drilled holes, metal dowels, and grout/epoxy. Joints should be filled with mortar or epoxy. 

What Metals are Used for Copings?

Alternatively, metal can be used as a solid option for wall copings. 

Can Aluminium be Used for Wall Copings?

Aluminium is a great material to use for wall copings as it is durable, lightweight, and resistant to corrosion, as well as being aesthetically pleasing and easy to match to the project. What’s more, aluminium wall copings will often outlast the roof below. 

However, it must be installed correctly to allow for the thermal expansion/contraction of the metal.
To install aluminium wall copings: Aluminium wall copings are usually installed using brackets and an EDM seal. Learn how to install Alumasc Aluminium Wall Copings in our recent blog post here.

Copper Wall Copings

Copper wall copings are rarely used due to their high expense, and risk of being stolen by copper thieves. When chosen, it is typically only used for aesthetic purposes. 

Copper wall copings are installed in a similar way to aluminium wall copings, with the use of brackets or cleats that are attached to a wood blocking that is anchored to the wall. 

Steel and Stainless Steel Wall Copings

Whilst stainless steel is relatively expensive and typically only used for aesthetic purposes, regular steel copings are inexpensive and one of the most common metals used for wall copings. 

It does, however, need to be expertly fitted, as an improper attachment will lead to water penetration and damage to the wall. 

To install steel wall copings: Again, considerations must be made for thermal expansion/contraction when installing steel copings. Although, they are installed in similar ways to copper and aluminium wall copings. 

Are Metal Copings Better than Stone Copings?

Metal wall copings tend to be highly corrosion resistant, durable, lightweight, and aesthetically pleasing, making them a much more attractive option than some more traditional materials that are far more at risk of damage over time. Some metal wall copings will even outlast the wall below if taken care of properly. 

Stone copings have their place but, in our opinion, they should only be used on designs that require a more traditional finish, due to their shortcomings. 

To help you decide which is better for your project, read more about metal wall copings vs stone wall coping in our recent blog post here.

Aluminium Wall Copings at Kladworx

Kladworx offers a range of Alumasc aluminum wall copings that are made specifically for each project, to individual specifications. We stock a range of Alumasc products, from 3m length aluminium wall copings , to junction wall copings, stop end wall copings, and 90 degree angle wall copings (all available in a variety of widths and colours).

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements.

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