How To Add A Sun Shelf To An Existing Pool

Backyard pool with sun shelf, chairs and umbrella

Enjoying your summer in an inground pool is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Relaxing away the day, getting some sun, and spending time with family and friends is one of the reasons you put a pool in in the first place.  The one thing missing from your pool is a sun shelf.  How much trouble would it be to add? Furthermore, how to add a sun shelf to an existing pool?

How To Add A Sun Shelf To An Existing Pool

First you need to check and see what type of pool you have in the first place.  If you have a fiberglass pool or a vinyl liner pool, adding a sun shelf means you’ll need to make some major changes.  A new pool in the case of a fiberglass pool, and at least a new liner in the case of a vinyl liner pool.  If you have a gunite pool or a concrete pool, it’ll be far easier to add a sun shelf.  

What To Expect Asking How To Add A Sun Shelf To An Existing Pool

Though it’s easier to add a sun shelf to your pool, it’ll still be quite disruptive and expensive.  You’ll probably want to schedule the work for after Labor Day or early spring so you don’t take up a bunch of the summer with your pool under construction.  It’s going to be a big process, and it’ll take some time.  But, in the end you’ll have a sun shelf and you’ll be one step closer to creating that backyard resort.

How To Add A Sun Shelf To An Existing Pool Explained In Backyard With Spa

Step 1: Secure Permits

The first step to adding a sun shelf will be to secure any permits you might need for the work.  Many municipalities do not require permits for pool renovations, but it’s always a good idea to double check. 

Step 2: Electrical Disconnection

Next, have your electrician come out and disconnect your pool equipment so there’s no risk of electric shock when working on the pool.  Once your electric is disconnected and you’re ready to begin, you’ll need to drain down your pool.  

Step 3: Drain The Pool

Note, it’s important to consider your groundwater level. Also take note of how much rain you’ve had recently. This should all be done before draining your pool.  It’s a good idea to have your pool contractor drain down your pool. However, do not drain before you have double checked their insurance will cover a pool replacement if they accidentally float your pool. 

Floating a pool occurs when groundwater pushes against an empty pool. This causes the pool to float like a boat.  This ruins the pool and there’s nothing to be done other than removal and reconstruction. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen.

Once you’ve drained down the pool, your pool contractor will usually drill into your pool to epoxy in rebar to support the new concrete pour for your sun shelf.  The rebar will be tied into a ‘cage’ and the contractor may use geofoam or crushed stone to fill in the void under the new tanning ledge. 

Step 4: Building The Sun Shelf

Then once the rebar is placed, the form boards will be constructed if the contractor is planning to pour the tanning ledge.  If the contractor is going to shoot the tanning ledge with shotcrete or gunite, there’s no need for more form boards, and they will just simply shoot the shape of the tanning ledge.  

How To Add A Sun Shelf To An Existing Pool In Shallow End

Upon curing your new tanning ledge appropriately, you’ll have a concrete tanning ledge in a plaster pool.  The next step is to replaster your pool.  Before plastering the pool, this is a good time to take care of any other renovation work you want completed.  Perhaps it’s a good time to replace your tile. Or, maybe the coping is looking a bit tired.  In any case, eventually you’ll need to plaster the pool and fill it up once again. You’ll probably want to truck water in, to fill the pool.  

Cost Of How To Add A Sun Shelf To An Existing Pool?

Overall, it may take about a month or so to add the sun shelf to your pool.  If you do the work in the off season, you’ll hardly know it took so long however.  Expect to spend $20,000+ on this type of renovation, since not only do you add the sun shelf, but you also need to re-plaster the pool once the sun shelf is completed.  It’s a major renovation for sure.  Once you choose to do it though, you’ll be happy you did. Adding a sun shelf to existing pool will be a huge benefit to your summer enjoyment.