Baja Shelf / Tanning Ledge Depth -- what do you like and why?

Dori123

New member
Aug 8, 2020
4
utah
The short end of our rectangular pool will have an 8x18' Baja shelf. We are trying to figure out what water depth will be ideal. Our designer / builder suggests 9" (though I am waiting to hear if that is water depth or coping-to-shelf depth.

We love being in the water but live in the mountains and it gets cold much of the year. We plan to set four Adirondack chairs on the shelf, separated by two umbrella sleeves and a bubbler in the middle. We prefer to sit in a few inches of water.

We think we want a deeper shelf; minimum of 9" of water, but perhaps as deep as 12-14" inches. We do not have young kids or dogs; it will primarily be used as a conversation area.

I would appreciate knowing what you all like / dislike about the shelf water depth you choose and how you use your shelf. Do you wish you had gone shallower or deeper, and why?

Thanks in advance!
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Following! We chose 9 inches of water on ours too, but we are STILL waiting for a city permit after applying in June. I am sure I have time to change it so I would like to hear people's feedback too! Seems like 6 inches is the most common but that didn't seem like enough for me. I plan on getting two of the standard sized ledge loungers.
 

TexasRain

Well-known member
May 19, 2020
150
San Antonio, TX
Mine will be 12"-16" water depth, even with the second step. The PB is aiming for 14". 😁 I am in the dig process of my build at the moment, so hoping I will love it! I have been in a shallow 6" shelf before and it wasn't enough for me.
 

OrangeAndBlue

Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2017
87
Houston, TX area
We primarily use it to sit directly on leaning against the coping or to put adirondack chairs and lounge with butts in the water as you mentioned. Our shelf is 12" water depth and it seems perfect for that. AT only 9" I suspect my butt would stay dry sitting on the chair, but I suppose it depends on your specific model. If you already have the chair, go measure up from the bottom of it and see how high you'd want the water to go.
 
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Dori123

New member
Aug 8, 2020
4
utah
It seems like the deeper side of standard is 9-12" of water and the really deep shelves have up to 16". I'm thinking 12-14" of water depth might be ideal. Any deeper and we should go sit in the hot tub.

Seems like we should be able to find chairs with whatever seat-height we want. I have seen the Adirondack chairs with seat heights from 5-12". We do not plan to use lounge chairs in the pool.

I have heard that furniture will float if it's in more than 9". Has anyone had this issue?

How much variation in the water level is allowed? Can we just add/subtract a couple of inches if want the shelf's water to change, or does the water level need to be kept within a narrow threshold?
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
I think it would depend on the furniture. I could definitely see normal Adirondack chairs floating away in that much water but the Ledge Loungers or similar brands have holes where they fill up with water so they are very heavy. I think I saw someone on here post that they leaned their normal plastic Adirondack chairs up against the coping when they were not in use so they would not float away.

I also am not an expert so hopefully someone else will chime in, but I don't think you can really change your water level more than an inch or so because it needs to be a certain level for the skimmers to work properly?

Keep us posted on what you decide and whether you like the 12-14" of water! I have never been in a pool with a tanning ledge so I just randomly chose 9 inches. The builder's default was 6" but that seemed shallow to me.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
773
Katy TX
How much variation in the water level is allowed? Can we just add/subtract a couple of inches if want the shelf's water to change, or does the water level need to be kept within a narrow threshold?
The driver for water level is the proper operation of your skimmer. As the skimmer flap bends down it creates a venturi effect to draw debris into the skimmer. If water level too high then there is no venturi effect. If water level too low you run the risk of sucking air into your skimmer which can damage the pump. So there is a window - maybe 2-4 inches (I never measured it) that water level can fluctuate. Most just want the water level to target the middle of the flap that bends down.

Also, when determining shelf depth you need to consider the overall height of that first step from the coping onto the shelf. Most pools steps (from first to second or second to third) are about 12 inches. Thus most first steps are about 6 inches (water depth) and 4-6 inches from water level to top of coping so you have an overall first step of 10-12 inches from the coping. So if you go with a 9 inch water depth, you first step may be 13-15 inches in total height. Some "older" folks (as well as some 2-4 year olds) may have an issue with that. Since your shelf is 6 ft length (out to the pool) you could consider a short 6 inch high step (that extends 10 inches out onto the shelf) then the next step is onto the full shelf at whatever water depth you select. Just an idea as my spa has a similar step so you do not have to step (plunge) all the way to the seat level from the coping.
 
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Dori123

New member
Aug 8, 2020
4
utah
Thanks for the input. We have designed a first step that runs the length of the pool, which will be halfway between the coping and the Baja shelf. So we are covered there.