Digging A Deep End


Feb 15, 2014
Manitoba, Canada
I am wondering if I can leave a 1.5 ft ledge around my 18Ft above ground pool and then instead of a gradual sloping, can I have a sharp drop down 20 inches? I will allow 3 feet by the ladder before the sharp drop starts in the pool. I have purchased a 18' 20ml expandable liner.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
Your liner might stretch that much BUT the hard part will be the shaping of the liner to the drop off. My worry is the sharp off will make the liner pull down into the drop off and away from the wall. Now if you had a way to hold the liner where the wall meets the floor to keep it there while the water fills the pool it might work. BUT that is a BIG might and if there.
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TFP Guide
You could use a vacuum to form the liner to the floor before you start the water fill. Depending of how expandable the liner is, this could work.
I don’t like the idea of having a sharp edge at the drop off. I would suggest a rounded corner with maybe 1” radius at least. You would hate to tear the liner if something hits the edge hard enough.
Also, what will you use to form the edge and drop off wall? Typically sand is used under an AGP liner. Sand won’t be able to form the walls of the drop off and hold the corner.


Bronze Supporter
Jul 11, 2017
Our excavator/installer balked at a similar request "for safety reasons." I believe he said two feet was the minimum for the perimeter ledge, and on one side, he insisted on a gradual slope in to the deeper water "making it easier to for someone to get out of the deep part if they're panicking." We finally decided to do 4 feet all the way around, and dig out the center (with his "required" slope on the deck side). We have a Doughboy - I think they have diagrams on their site showing how they usually excavate the deep ends.

Are you looking to DIY this, or hiring someone? We got the "2nd choice" install team, and our depth is pretty inconsistent everywhere. 🤦🏼‍♀️ When we eventually replace our liner, we're going to ask for the "1st choice" team and reconfigure it to have a bigger deep area now that our daughter and her friends are taller and doing more underwater things instead of doing gymnastics in the shallow parts.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
Central California
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Any benches, steps, ledges, shelves or drop-offs will foil a pool vac. It'll only clean the deep end. Everything else you'll have to do by hand...