Under Contract - Gunite pool! - Design help wanted on tanning shelf depth and overall depth!

TiggerBW

Member
Dec 19, 2020
15
Berlin, NJ
HI! After many months of research and several quotes from PBs, we finally decided on a PB and type/size of pool! We are getting a double roman 18x36 gunite pool with a tanning ledge (sun shelf). So far we are planning to have the pool go from 3.5-6ft deep. (See rough pool layout picture attached.)

One question we have right now is, how deep should the tanning ledge be. The builder is recommending 18". We are afraid that may be too deep. We plan to place lounge chairs on the ledge and we read they could float away if it is too deep. Would love to hear from others who have tanning ledges! We need advice!

Another question is.....with having a circular tanning ledge that goes out 6ft, will we have enough room in the pool for recreational/lounging with a total depth of 6ft in the deep end? We also considered having only 5ft in the deep end so that we had more recreational/lounging area. Does anyone have similar depth layout? Thoughts on 5ft vs. 6ft?

Last question for now, if the PB says it will be 3.5-6ft deep, will that actually be 3.5-6ft of water depth or will it be a few inches less?

Thanks so much! We are newbies to owning/building a pool and we are very excited but still have a lot to learn! :)
 

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HermanTX

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That going to be a nice layout.
For depth - you need to specify to the PB that you want 3.5 to 6ft water depth. There has been other posts on the forum where some PB maintained that depth was how deep he dug. So suggest whatever you decide, make it clear in the contract regarding water depth. Also, look in the contract because some PB's give a +/- for depth, length, width, so you need to be aware of that tolerance the PB may put in to protect himself.
With regard to sun shelf, water depths vary from 6 inches to 18 inches. Just be aware that you have another 3-6 inches from water-level to top of coping. So 18 inches of water depth could be a 21-24inch step down from the coping. Some people put in a half step to make it easy to enter/exit if you have a deep sun shelf. For reference a normal step into the pool is about 6 inch of water depth so about a 9-11inch step down from the coping.
 
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bmoreswim

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18” to me is a sun bench, not a sun shelf. I see much more discussion here about 12” and under shelves, but I don’t have one to give personal feedback.

Please also keep all follow-up questions here no matter the topic, related to your pool build.
 

Almisa

Member
Aug 26, 2020
7
NE Fla
HI there. We in the final phases of construction on our little therapy jet gunite pool. We have both a sun tanning shelf/ledge and a bench. See attached pics - The sun shelf measures exactly 10” from the top of the coping to the shell. After the plaster and pebble finish it should be around 9”. I included a picture of a pool chair on the shelf for reference. The bench is 18” down from the top of the coping and as you see, we designed it so it continues over to the second pool step. Our biggest concern was the placement of our jets as that related to depth and where they will hit us on our back - a truly subjective and personal choice - but hard when you haven’t done it before. Anyway, even with some construction background, my husband and I were unprepared for the speed and permanency with which those decisions happen when they are not very specifically articulated in your contract (if a cost issue) OR on your schematic design (they say - it can be figured out in the field later....don’t buy that) - and then the dig crew and gunite team show up (often without enough notice to you) and shazaam - it’s done! So I hope this is helpful. Keep reading, do your homework, and get these critical dimensions clearly illustrated on your design and/or engineering/permit plans, because that is what the PB crews will be referencing when they show up at your house.
Mimi
 

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DaveHidalgo

Member
Jun 29, 2018
17
New Orleans, LA
I would agree that 18" a bench and not a shelf. Most furniture will float at 18" unless equipped with accessory risers to elevate the chair. If you plan to furnish it, be sure to understand the options for the water depths. The deepest chairs Ive seen work out of the box are 16" (Mibster splash chair) Chaises are up to 15" out of the box.
 
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Smalone

Active member
Jun 16, 2019
35
Atlanta
We're doing a double Roman as well with both circular ends being tanning ledges. We ended up doing 9" water depth on both ledges with a 4' shallow end and 7.5' deep end, also all actual water depths. I would think anything over 12" depth on the tanning ledges would make it tough to find chairs that'll work.
 
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ofcounsel

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Dec 30, 2020
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We're in the process of building as well. We thought 18" might be a bit too much for a "shelf", and went with about 9 inches of water depth on our ledge on one side of the pool, and with an approximate 18" "bench" running the length of the other side of the pool.
 
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TexasRain

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I have a 14” water depth shelf and have put in one of my resin Adirondack chairs to se how they work. The chairs are heavier than the plastic ones and seem to work fine. I did not leave it in too long yet because I wasn’t getting in the cold water yet.
 

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DaveHidalgo

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Jun 29, 2018
17
New Orleans, LA
I have a 14” water depth shelf and have put in one of my resin Adirondack chairs to se how they work. The chairs are heavier than the plastic ones and seem to work fine. I did not leave it in too long yet because I wasn’t getting in the cold water yet.
While the resin will hold up in the water, the bolts will not. Most manufacturers have suggestions of removing and ring daily to avoid rust, but who will actually do that. Stainless steel bolts are still the weak link of these pieces.
 
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TiggerBW

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Dec 19, 2020
15
Berlin, NJ
Hi everyone!!!! Pool dig is set for tomorrow! Ahhhh! Exciting!! This was moved up 3 weeks!! Finalizing plans with the pool engineer today. Thank you for your earlier responses about the tanning ledge/sun shelf depths. Sounds like 9" or 12" would be best.

My husband wanted opinions on the overall depth. We are only going 6ft deep. He wanted to know if we should have less 3 1/2 ft and more 4 - 4 1/2 ft sections of the pool. We plan to use the pool obviously to swim but also to play basketball, volleyball, etc. We have 2 kids... One 11 and one 41/2. What are your thoughts on this? Thank you so much!!!
 
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BigPapaSmurf

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Apr 23, 2021
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My old pool was a 3’-6” to 6’ to 4’-6” sports pool. We played volleyball and basketball, however the 3’-6” end was swallow for swimming and playing volleyball. The pool was used mainly by adults and teenagers. If I was going to do it over I would do more of a 4-6-4 layout.
 
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TiggerBW

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Dec 19, 2020
15
Berlin, NJ
My old pool was a 3’-6” to 6’ to 4’-6” sports pool. We played volleyball and basketball, however the 3’-6” end was swallow for swimming and playing volleyball. The pool was used mainly by adults and teenagers. If I was going to do it over I would do more of a 4-6-4 layout.
Thank you!!! Appreciate your insight!
 

HermanTX

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My old pool was a 3’-6” to 6’ to 4’-6” sports pool. We played volleyball and basketball, however the 3’-6” end was swallow for swimming and playing volleyball. The pool was used mainly by adults and teenagers. If I was going to do it over I would do more of a 4-6-4 layout.
Agree with everything said by @BigPapaSmurf In my pool the 3.5ft (42 inches) is only at the very edge of bottom step then it goes to 44 inches then to 48inches. My middle depth is 5.5ft (66 inches) but wish it was 6ft. then back up to 44 inches on the other side. So minimize how much 3.5ft depth you have and go with more 4ft.
 

TiggerBW

Member
Dec 19, 2020
15
Berlin, NJ
Agree with everything said by @BigPapaSmurf In my pool the 3.5ft (42 inches) is only at the very edge of bottom step then it goes to 44 inches then to 48inches. My middle depth is 5.5ft (66 inches) but wish it was 6ft. then back up to 44 inches on the other side. So minimize how much 3.5ft depth you have and go with more 4ft.
Ok thanks so much. Just wondering, what is the advantage to gaming 6ft in the middle as oppose to one end? Thanks!
 

HermanTX

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what is the advantage to gaming 6ft in the middle as oppose to one end? Thanks!
If you think of volleyball or badminton then the net is across the 6ft depth and the teams are both in 4-5ft depth on either side. Also if you want water polo with nets on 2 sides then that is always in shallow water (both ends).

If you only wanted basketball you could just put all on 1 side in the shallow end

If you want the kids to play marco polo or dive for rings then you may want a larger deep end.

Just need to decide how you want to use the pool
 
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TiggerBW

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Dec 19, 2020
15
Berlin, NJ
If you think of volleyball or badminton then the net is across the 6ft depth and the teams are both in 4-5ft depth on either side. Also if you want water polo with nets on 2 sides then that is always in shallow water (both ends).

If you only wanted basketball you could just put all on 1 side in the shallow end

If you want the kids to play marco polo or dive for rings then you may want a larger deep end.

Just need to decide how you want to use the pool
Ok thank you! It would probably play basketball and volleyball but the kids but also like to play in the deep end doing cannonballs and diving for rings and Marco Polo and such so maybe I'll leave it the way we have it then. :)
 

joeprunc

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Apr 26, 2021
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Congrats on getting the project moving!!! We just finished our dig and plumbing a few weeks ago (rebar today). We had to rework our sports style pool bottom before the rebar. We did 3.5' x 6' x 3.5' depth and 35' long. We originally went with 18" deep, but after playing around with depths, chair's, and reading more threads, we are going to land on 12"-14" water depth. We plan on using similar adirondack chairs as @TexasRain

The slope from 3.5' - 6' was too steep for us, as we were trying to align the 3.5' length with our tanning ledge and stairs. Also I think the bobcat compacted the lowest portion of the pool a bit when he packed the soil down make our slope not desirable. I would recommend the most gradual slope that you can from 3.5'-5' (5 to 10 degree slope). And absolutely no more than 18 degrees from 5' and deeper. To keep this gradual slope we may end up with a 5.5' deep center.
 

TiggerBW

Member
Dec 19, 2020
15
Berlin, NJ
Congrats on getting the project moving!!! We just finished our dig and plumbing a few weeks ago (rebar today). We had to rework our sports style pool bottom before the rebar. We did 3.5' x 6' x 3.5' depth and 35' long. We originally went with 18" deep, but after playing around with depths, chair's, and reading more threads, we are going to land on 12"-14" water depth. We plan on using similar adirondack chairs as @TexasRain

The slope from 3.5' - 6' was too steep for us, as we were trying to align the 3.5' length with our tanning ledge and stairs. Also I think the bobcat compacted the lowest portion of the pool a bit when he packed the soil down make our slope not desirable. I would recommend the most gradual slope that you can from 3.5'-5' (5 to 10 degree slope). And absolutely no more than 18 degrees from 5' and deeper. To keep this gradual slope we may end up with a 5.5' deep center.
Thank you so much for all of your info!! Our pool has now been dug and we did go with a 12-in depth of the tanning ledge. We also decided to change our pool depth so that it begins at 4 ft and goes to 6. I'm very excited to see it taking shape and waiting now for the steel. :) Thanks again!
 
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