Sun shelf design ideas?

JHCB

Member
Jul 27, 2020
18
Orlando
Hello
We are wanting to renovate our pool...surface, waterline tile and new marble pavers. It’s interesting that the new pool designs are similar (somewhat) to our 80’s pool with the rectangular shape and clean lines. However, it’s in need of renovating and just wanted to ask for any suggestions as to what you would do if this was your pool.

I would like to add a sun shelf as I think it gives it a modern look to it and also have read that most people love their sun shelf. Trying to figure out placement and size of sun shelf. I would like to use the swim out area and stairs area but obviously want to have the sun shelf designed so that our chairs would face the lake.
We just bought the house this year and love our view, but With the stained pool finish, cracked waterline tile and cracked Kool Deck, it’s time to just want to renovate and create a more beautiful outdoor space. Appreciate any suggestions!!!
 

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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,200
Central California
Hi, welcome to TFP! Wow, what a setup, what a view. It's going to be amazing with the remodel.

I'm not a fan of the sun-shelf, so I'll leave those comments to others. But you're right, they're very popular, so I'm sure it's just me. So I have a couple of tips instead:

If your returns do not have eyeballs (directional adjusters), they can be added during the remodel.

Spend some time determining how much water you want over the shelf. Different folks have different preferences for this. Once it's in, you can adjust the water height by a little, but really only an inch or so. Some like it at 18" deep, others 6" deep. Think that through. Don't just take the contractors word on that.

Once you figure out the depth, work with the contractor about it. Make sure he knows your spec. Be sure it is written into his contract. Have him walk you through how he will get the exact depth you want. If the deck is removed while they are building the shelf, have the contractor show you exactly how to measure the depth in that state of remodel, and then perform that measuring as they are laying in the new finish. If the new decking materials is going to be thicker or thinner than what you have now, be sure that is taken into account. Ideally, the new deck should be in before they apply the pool finish, but some contractors do it the other way. In other words, you must take it into your own hands to determine and check the depth of the shelf, all the way through the process, or you could very easily end up with a depth you don't want, and all you'll get from the contractor is a shrug and a "That's the best we could do." There is no legit reason it can't be exactly what you want, except for a lack of attention to detail by the contractor or his subs. So you must supply the attention to detail.

You'll need to pick out some step markers for the shelf, to make it visible from the deck, so someone doesn't dive into it. Those are usually little tiles mortared into the new finish at strategic locations. Use your imagination in selecting and placing them. But they don't have to be tiles. Mine are little stones. You can even do a cool inlay design. Sky's the limit.

It's even possible to make the shelf a different color than the rest of the pool. Sandy shelf, deep aqua pool, like a Caribbean shoreline! Actually, it's going to be a slightly different color anyway. Water depth plays a huge part in the color of the finish you'll see. The shallow end will be less blue than the deep end. The shelf will be much less blue than the shallow end, even grey. Be prepared for that. You can see this for yourself in your pool: look at your steps, see how they get more and more blue as they get deeper? Your shelf will look like the top step. So you might embrace that and change the color entirely! Have fun with it.

Best of luck with the remodel.
 
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Plefasu

Bronze Supporter
Aug 28, 2020
33
Phoenix
I have nothing to add other than we love our sun deck, especially for the kids. What I want to know is how do I add a lake with a private gazebo dock to my suburban phoenix pool?
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,200
Central California
I just noticed the hoop. No direct experience with this, but I believe you can add fixtures into the deck to accommodate sports stuff, like a hoop or volley ball net, etc. Then your view would not have to include that big clunky weight, and I'm guessing it'd be easier to move or reconfigure as desired.
 
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JHCB

Member
Jul 27, 2020
18
Orlando
Hi, welcome to TFP! Wow, what a setup, what a view. It's going to be amazing with the remodel.

I'm not a fan of the sun-shelf, so I'll leave those comments to others. But you're right, they're very popular, so I'm sure it's just me. So I have a couple of tips instead:

If your returns do not have eyeballs (directional adjusters), they can be added during the remodel.

Spend some time determining how much water you want over the shelf. Different folks have different preferences for this. Once it's in, you can adjust the water height by a little, but really only an inch or so. Some like it at 18" deep, others 6" deep. Think that through. Don't just take the contractors word on that.

Once you figure out the depth, work with the contractor about it. Make sure he knows your spec. Be sure it is written into his contract. Have him walk you through how he will get the exact depth you want. If the deck is removed while they are building the shelf, have the contractor show you exactly how to measure the depth in that state of remodel, and then perform that measuring as they are laying in the new finish. If the new decking materials is going to be thicker or thinner than what you have now, be sure that is taken into account. Ideally, the new deck should be in before they apply the pool finish, but some contractors do it the other way. In other words, you must take it into your own hands to determine and check the depth of the shelf, all the way through the process, or you could very easily end up with a depth you don't want, and all you'll get from the contractor is a shrug and a "That's the best we could do." There is no legit reason it can't be exactly what you want, except for a lack of attention to detail by the contractor or his subs. So you must supply the attention to detail.

You'll need to pick out some step markers for the shelf, to make it visible from the deck, so someone doesn't dive into it. Those are usually little tiles mortared into the new finish at strategic locations. Use your imagination in selecting and placing them. But they don't have to be tiles. Mine are little stones. You can even do a cool inlay design. Sky's the limit.

It's even possible to make the shelf a different color than the rest of the pool. Sandy shelf, deep aqua pool, like a Caribbean shoreline! Actually, it's going to be a slightly different color anyway. Water depth plays a huge part in the color of the finish you'll see. The shallow end will be less blue than the deep end. The shelf will be much less blue than the shallow end, even grey. Be prepared for that. You can see this for yourself in your pool: look at your steps, see how they get more and more blue as they get deeper? Your shelf will look like the top step. So you might embrace that and change the color entirely! Have fun with it.

Best of luck with the remodel.
Thank you so much for your reply. All of this is very overwhelming. All good info you provided and I agree, I will be very involved with this process. Yes, I agree that the last step should be the finish. To answer your other question...the coping will be the same marble pavers, so the waterline tile and skimmers will all be raised up appx 3 inches.
So many decisions to be made!! I appreciate your insight and hope it’s ok if I reach out again?
 

JHCB

Member
Jul 27, 2020
18
Orlando
I just noticed the hoop. No direct experience with this, but I believe you can add fixtures into the deck to accommodate sports stuff, like a hoop or volley ball net, etc. Then your view would not have to include that big clunky weight, and I'm guessing it'd be easier to move or reconfigure as desired.
Ugh yes, the dreaded hoop. That is there temporarily as once we do the renovation, time for it to be moved. 😊
 

JHCB

Member
Jul 27, 2020
18
Orlando
I have nothing to add other than we love our sun deck, especially for the kids. What I want to know is how do I add a lake with a private gazebo dock to my suburban phoenix pool?
😊
Good to hear you like you sun shelf. Any suggestions where you would put one in my pool?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,054
Tallahassee, FL
WOWZER! That sure is Orlando pretty!!!

Sun shelf-not sure it can be by the diving board unless you push the swim out out more. There are "rules" about that kind of thing. I will look to see if I can find the current rules.

Kim:kim:
 
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Nikilyn

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2018
240
Gilbert, AZ
I would go from your second or third step, depending on how deep you want it, and go across that end of the pool. Then you’ll be facing the water. We loved our Baja step. If you have little kids you might want to make it deeper for them to play on. Six inches seems way too shallow.
 

Nikilyn

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2018
240
Gilbert, AZ
It was removeable but who wants to take it out all the time? They are heavy and awkward. Plus we found that they sometimes wished they could move it.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,200
Central California
Oh, move it about the pool. Right. I suppose that's a good reason for it to have a moveable base. I'm wondering if they make them with resin or fiberglass poles. If you put steel in a sleeve of water, it's going to rust, no doubt about it.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,054
Tallahassee, FL
I would not put a bench or anything all the way across the end of the pool as that interferes with the swim lane. Maybe just do a corner of the shallow end as a shelf.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,200
Central California
It seems like the obvious place for the sun shelf is in that nook on the right where the stairs are now. Use the geometry of the nook in the shape of the shelf somehow, and then have the steps descend from the shelf. I'd think you'd want to be able to lounge on the shelf and both oversee the pool and look out at the lake. That means shelf in the shallow end, and not the deep end.

I agree with Kim, leave yourself a swim lane, which means no shelf or bench in a stretch of pool that goes from shallow end to deep end. That would be on the left side, so shelf on the right, coming out of the nook.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,200
Central California
And I would guess that the other big plus in putting the shelf where the stairs are is that the stairs will become part of the structure of the shelf, instead of having to build up a whole lot more elsewhere what would be needed to support it. At least the existing stairway will help some, and provide a good foundation...
 

JHCB

Member
Jul 27, 2020
18
Orlando
It seems like the obvious place for the sun shelf is in that nook on the right where the stairs are now. Use the geometry of the nook in the shape of the shelf somehow, and then have the steps descend from the shelf. I'd think you'd want to be able to lounge on the shelf and both oversee the pool and look out at the lake. That means shelf in the shallow end, and not the deep end.

I agree with Kim, leave yourself a swim lane, which means no shelf or bench in a stretch of pool that goes from shallow end to deep end. That would be on the left side, so shelf on the right, coming out of the nook.
That’s what we were thinking (on the right) so that we still have a decent swim lane. I’ve been looking at pics for ideas as to how we should
WOWZER! That sure is Orlando pretty!!!

Sun shelf-not sure it can be by the diving board unless you push the swim out out more. There are "rules" about that kind of thing. I will look to see if I can find the current rules.

Kim:kim:
Hi Kim! Thank you! We are very blessed to wake up to this amazing view! Want to somehow add a sun shelf in that nook area in the shallow end. Just not sure where to place the steps. Definitely want to keep a decent sized swim lane too. Really appreciate your reply and any suggestions!!! 😊
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,200
Central California
Regarding the steps: you kinda have to determine the depth of the shelf first. That determines if the shelf will be the top step, or come off of a lower step. The steps would likely be different for each of those scenarios. We also need to have an idea where the slope to the deep end starts, and how deep that shallow end is, etc. That determines where the steps need to start and stop.

You or the contractor should be working with some sort of overhead drawing or rendering to help you design the shelf and steps. It's hard for us to help without that, and without all the dimensions involved...
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,054
Tallahassee, FL
Steps-I say put them along the long wall by the house. That will allow people to use the side of the pool as a hand hold. You can also put a hand rail there as well. This will stop anyone from taking a running jump into the pool in the step area and possible hitting them on the way down.