Coping stones


Can anyone tell me of any examples of Victorian houses in the area where it looks like the original parapet wall brick-on-edge coping has been replaced with coping stones?

A roofer has suggested it for his repair job, but my instincts say to repair it retaining it’s current form.

For reference:

Brick on edge coping:

coping stones:


I second your instincts.


I would agree. Looks horrible and more often than not there is a reason why the materials that were used - were used… its obviously easier what they are suggesting as less work but not really the right solution…


Thank you (and @Anotherjohn). The argument against this would be that (concrete) coping stones were not around when the house was built but are superior.


Its not original and whilst pointing cement may deteriorate over time there will be no lumps of concrete to bounce of the heads below!


Is concrete demonstrably a better material? It may require less maintenance going forwards but it’s much heavier than traditional roofing materials. Our house was tiled in concrete some 25 years ago and the roof had to be further supported by a host of trusses in the roof space to the point where the space is unusable. We have some spare concrete tiles. If you drop them they shatter into large shards.

As soon as I can afford it, I’ll be having the roof remade (not just retiled) as all that weight of concrete has been a disaster for our roof. Now, one row of coping stones is not going to weigh down your whole roof, but the building industry has form on this sort of thing, pushing materials that are easy in the short term , and I personally wouldn’t risk it. Maybe seek out the opinion of another roofer or two, if you haven’t already.


Concrete is the easy and fast option so a lot of builders would go for it. Brick looks a heck of a lot better.


I think it is harder wearing and a ‘better’ shape than the brick (weathering wise). I think the mortar should be the first thing to wear either way. The coping stones sit on the parapet wall, so do not put any weight on the rafters.

Aside from the coping I considered reroofing with something lighter than our concrete tiles during our loft conversion. However, the structural engineer didn’t indicate any structural benefit and the surveyor said our roof slope looked fine, so I left it.


If you are happy with the advice of your roofer that would last longer, I guess then it just comes down to aesthetics and longer term maintenance costs. I’m not sure actually what your question is.

Out of interest - is the parapet wall shared? Do you have responsibility (and rights) to both sides?


In general , concrete coping stones are definitely more effective than bricks when it comes to stopping water ingress. It’s always worth enquiring on the type of mortar they use as well as that’s typically a weak spot over time, and the builder would likely go for the cheapest available.
Another benefit with coping stones is that rain water is directed straight onto the roof rather than running down along the wall.

As for aesthetics, there might be coloured concrete options out there as well but it’s a question of cost of course.

I don’t have a clue about general planning restrictions etc. but it’s always worth checking.


My question was if anyone knew of a local building where brick-on-edge coping had been replaced with stones. I provided a bit of explanation as to why I was asking, because it would help get more answers.

I got no answers on that, but did get some feedback which was much appreciated.

It’s going to be rebuilt as-is.


Great, given your house is older and has survived at least one world war the repair will probably outlast you?
Older buildings were designed to be somewhat damp, flex and have stood the test of time not sure a modern box will be standing in 100 years. A good friend of mine lives in a 16th century cottage no foundations, a mix of brickwork and cow sh*t and straw. Keep it traditional.


Yes, sorry, quite right, I should have gone back and checked your original post. No excuse for being curt, except that I’m a cup of coffee short of my usual daily quota…