Do you regret or wish you had a tanning ledge?

July 31, 2008

We are trying to figure out what we want in our pool. One of the things we are considering is a tanning ledge. How often do you use yours? Do you regret putting it in? If so, why?

Comments (42)

  • pauster

    I had one built - and love it - especially for the youngest kids it's perfect !

  • barco

    I regret mine. We never use it including our 2 kids.

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  • gorilla_x


    I recommend skipping the ledge, and building a larger deck. We do not have a tanning ledge, but we have a whole lot of deck space instead. We tan on the deck.


  • oakrunfarm

    Our pool is only a couple of months old, but the tanning ledge is my husband's FAVORITE thing about it!

    We have two dogs that love it and hang out there, and my husband gets an adult beverage and can sit there for hours.

    I put in bubblers and an umbrella sleeve too, and there is bench seating below the tanning ledge with water jets. We sit and talk for 2-3 hours, and when we've had guests, it is a total focal point and place to sit around and chat. I am SO glad I put one in. I also feel it is the perfect size.

    That having been said, I think a LOT has to do with your pool design and layout of the area in general. Ours is a rectangular lap pool, and we have a lot of seating all over, so it worked well with our pool design and the back area of the house.

  • tigergirl28

    Hi there!

    We use our tanning ledge/swimout all the time.
    I have a 9' x 9' square ledge, with an umbrella holder in the gunite. At parties, guests congregate there all the time. And my fair skinned husband loves to sit there, under the umbrella in a low beach chair and doze off.

  • nanhsot

    I think it depends on how you plan on using your pool. We have a lot of kids over of all ages, and it gets used a LOT. *My* kids, however, almost never use it (they are 10 and 14), it's really the young kids that enjoy it most.

    The moms hang out there a lot to chat and watch kids easily, so I do enjoy it.

    It's great for younger kids and people who just like to laze near the pool without getting fully into the pool, ours is shaded so it's actually not a sun shelf at all.

    Don't regret ours, would do it again, but would add bubblers in it.

  • tresw

    We love ours. It has been used as a splash area for toddlers, a tanning ledge for when it's really hot out, a launching platform for the kids floating toys (they can climb on the toys much more easily from the ledge and then push off into the pool), a place for people who aren't swimming to rest their feet in the water while sitting on the edge, etc. If we were doing it over again we'd definitely keep the ledge, but I'd push it off to the side instead of putting it inside the pool so that it wouldn't cut down on the swim lane.

  • alwayssummer

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences with the tanning ledge. Part of my reservations about the ledge is that it will eat too much into the play area of the pool. Also, do you have trouble keeping the ledge clean? Will the automatic cleaner clean the ledge?

  • tresw

    Ours is 6" deep with a bubbler in the middle and stays quite clean. The cleaner doesn't travel across it though, in fact it gets stuck on top of it now and then. If you make the shelf deeper then a cleaner could probably navigate it; but if you want a bubbler and you want it to have a fountain effect then you can't make the water much deeper than 6".

  • michelle_phxaz

    Ours is 18" deep, the in-floor cleaner takes care of it perfectly. We use it as much as we use the rest of the pool. I would make it larger if I could, ours is 8x9', I would make it at least 10x12'.

  • eaa795

    oakrunfarm -- Would you mind posting pics of your pool? We're thinking of putting in a similar pool and are looking for ideas. Sorry, I'm not sure if you've posted them elsewhere. If so, I couldn't find them.


  • gorilla_x


    Since you have reservations about cutting into the play area of the pool, can you post a diagram of the layout? Or, tell us the square footage of the pool without the tanning ledge, and the square footage of the tanning ledge?


  • nanhsot

    Our cleaner does NOT clean the shelf, but it is just a matter of a few minutes of brushing, a few times a week to keep it clean, no big deal really.

  • cathouse9

    Here is another thread where these things were discussed too with pics: HERE

    Good luck

  • sdkath

    So a tanning ledge is a large step? We call them Baja Steps here in So Cal. I would also consider a beach entry, which is slanted in. We are getting one in our new pool because we have one neighbor who has one. The kids are ALWAYS on it and even I enjoy sitting in the very shallow part (I am not much of a swimmer). We converted our tanning ledge to the beach entry in our design because it allows me to get wet (unlike the step, where you put in the lounge chair but don't really get wet unless you put your feet down)... Katherine

  • tresw

    Some people don't like beach entries because all manner of critters get access to your pool and many consider it a great spot to "relieve" themselves! Especially birds. I think beach entries look great, but we're kind of in the country and didn't want to take a chance on creating a poop spot for the local wildlife.

  • alwayssummer

    Thank you all again for all your comments! Carenlynn, thank you for the helpful link. Also, your pools are beautiful!
    Gorilla, we are still in the consideration stage. We have not found a builder. We do know what we want, a few things we don't want and some things that are still in the consideration stage. We will get a freeform pool.

  • michelle_phxaz

    Sdkath, they are called Baja shelves, swimout shelves, tanning ledges, and many other names. They are all the same thing, a (usually) 6-18" deep large step.

    I would NOT get a beach entry. The water where we live is really hard, and the waterline has a ring of calcium that will never come off. A beach entry would look like crap after just one summer. And like Tresw said, a beach entry is also an invitation to the wildlife to use it as a toilet. Birds would use it as a birdbath, critters would use it to drink and bathe, and unless you get out there every day and scrub it would be hard to keep clean. We really wanted a beach entry until we talked with beach entry owners. I don't know of one (who has to clean it themselves) who would do it again.

  • lmhall2000

    We considered it...mainly because we would like a small step for very small kids to be able to play on, but then from a safety perspective we thought it might make us more lax and not require the floaties and one mistake and we're in trouble. But, I have to share from a medical perspective that when you say tanning ledges I cringe. I lived at a time when some of my college buddies planned their schedule around their tanning schedule. They would tell you now that they're in their 40's that you should never tan. One has had 40 precancerous moles removed off her, the other one had a horrible cancerous spot on her face and they had to use skin grafts to correct it. Now if it's just a "lounging ledge" and you have an umbrella in it and you don't get the amount of rays as the girl in the above picture is getting, then maybe I would reconsider..but please, please, think ahead and read the facts...

    I would rather avoid the 'tanning ledges' and still have my health when my kids have their kids and we want to use the pool for exercise/play with sunscreen sorry if this offends anyone, but I would rather offend you now than offer my sympathies when you're facing melanomas.


  • alwayssummer

    Tara, no offense taken and a very valid point you make. I only used tanning ledge since that is what the PBs I have spoken to have called it. I do like your term better, "Lounging Ledge" because that is precisely what I will be doing if we do decide to go with it. I will be sitting in my chair under a big umbrella with my SPF 70 on, watching the kids.

  • sdkath

    Hmmm, good points about the beach entry. They are planning on putting quartzite into the entry instead of Pebble Tec, which we will have in the other parts of the pool. I guess PT does not warranty their product outside of the water anymore due to all the spotting. We do have a LOT of friends here in San Diego (in the suburbs) who have beach entries with no problems at all keeping them clean or having birds... get in. I will have to see about my dog though. We are sold on the beach entry given how much the kids and I love it and the many neighbors we have without any problems at all.

    We will definitely take your advice to heart though and make sure that there is a signficiant effort to keep that entry extra clean to avoid the deposits.


  • maggies_mom

    We love ours. 80% of our time in the pool is spent on it. We wish ours was bigger to fit more people.

  • michelle_phxaz

    Tara, this was kind of an asinine comment; no matter where you are in a pool you will get the same amount of "tan". By calling it a different name will not lessen your chance of getting skin cancer. Just because you are on a "tanning ledge" doesn't mean you can't protect yourself with lotion. It is actually a little better than being in the pool, by sitting on the ledge the water won't wash your lotion off.

  • barco

    Part of my reservations about the ledge is that it will eat too much into the play area of the pool. Also, do you have trouble keeping the ledge clean? Will the automatic cleaner clean the ledge?How old are your kids?

    Thats why I hate eats into the pool area. Yes, typically the play area. When your kids are pre-swimming (3-7), they will probably play on the ledge. My kids played on the steps in our first pool about 50% of the time. Thats one of the reasons I was told we needed to get the ledge. Now the kids don't play on the ledge at all...they want to swim the whole time - they are in the 6-10 age group now. Most of the time they are getting "injured" or scraped on the ledge. I really worry about "guest kids" coming over and jumping into the pool but the ledge is there instead.

    You should definetly consider cutting the ledge "off" of the side of the basic swim pool oval shape and swim lane like Tresw said. It appears Michelle's pool is like that as well.

    Most cleaners will not go up on top of the ledge. Put a bubbler return on top that will flow water off the ledge and give you a tiny water feature/fountain of sorts. You will need to brush the ledge like a step at least like a gigantic step once per week. The cleaning is really not that big of a deal and not why I don't like mine. I don't like mine because its a waste of pool space, not getting used, and is leading to increased injuries (safety).

  • tigergirl28

    We all love the swimout. Our's is square, attached to the deep end. We can sit in the swimout and watch the kids using the diving board and the slide.
    Check out the following albums in my link:

    Catri Party
    Pool May 18th
    Swimout In Use

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pool Pics

  • tigergirl28

    Below is a pic of my swimout in use. It's a very popular place.

  • dee_brumit_yahoo_com

    Is it possible to just have the "Tanning Deck" portion of pools. My kids are grown but I love laying out. It is my "escape" but I would rather set my lounge chair in a shallow pool (12" deep) INGROUND pool than swim anyday. Plus, my Boxer LOVES being able to be in the "shallow ONLY" pools. He lays right down beside me and stays cool during our HOT TEXAS SUMMERS!! I was thinking a 10x10 Tanning Deck with pump, lights, decor, etc....on it. Basically a really fancy BIG inground pool SHRUNK!!!

    Cleaning it would be MUCH more simple (than deep/big pools), not as many chemicals, great place for friends to come sit in/around (instead of a HOT would just be a TUB). You could even build a cover for it for when you mow or want to winterize it.

    Does anyone understand what it is I am wanting????

  • twilkes1231

    I agree with dee_brumit_yahoo_com any suggestions if that can be done?

  • mouden

    Love our tanning ledge. It's the only place adults can get peace away from the kids.

  • lindapang

    I have a fiberglass pool and it has a tanning ledge. Does anyone find that their ledge is slippery? It seems like my pool chemistry is good so no algae. Does anyone have any remedies to make the area less slippery? What about using one of those drop-in vinyl mosaics?

  • PRO
    Latham Pool Products Inc.

    The feedback we hear most often is that it is perfect for smaller children/grandchildren. They can still be in the pool splashing around and playing without having to constantly be swimming or having you swim around behind them to make sure they are okay. Here is some great information on tanning ledge options if you are just starting your search. If you have further questions, it is always best to contact a pool expert near you!

  • yankster

    I put them in because we have small dogs, I have two 18 inch seat ledges and a so called tanning ledge in a free form pool and if dogs can swim they can get to where they will not drown. My friend had a Yorkie that fell in his pool and bill was very high to rejuvenate the little guy. We are 60ish and small kids and old people like to sit there under the umbrella in Houston summers, sweeping clean is a breeze and the pool cleaner will not go this far.

  • Darlene Schnatz

    I have a 'tanning ledge' but my pool in shade in afternoon evening. I had colored plaster to try to attract heat from the morning sun. We like the ledge and wish it were a bit bigger but since my yard is so tiny, my pool area was very limited in size. My grandchildren seem to like the deep end better but I like to hang on the ledge watching their 'performances'.

  • MJ Perry

    One question I have for the group is we are definitely putting in a ledge and very excited about it. Our pool is in construction right now and we are going with Pebble Fina - I'm wondering if this will be okay or if I should use tiles instead to enjoy even more?! Thanks!

  • MDV

    Initially I wanted a ledge mainly because of bubbler water features in the floor being more visible in only 6" of shallow water. I'm very glad I didn't in the end. My pool has a seat/shelf which is more like a large extension of the 2nd step. We can lay around on it more submerged than being only 6" deep as with a tanning ledge. I also added jets with an air blower. So in my case, it's more useful and enjoyable than a very shallow tanning ledge would have been. Absolutely love it in the FL heat.

  • MJ Perry

    So awesome - Thanks for sharing! We are doing it! :)

  • Cabana Girl

    We finished our pool build late last year and love our Baja shelf! As you can see, our property backs up to a conservation, so the screened enclosure keeps out the wildlife. It's our dream oasis!

  • MJ Perry

    Oh my goodness - I love it! We are doing it and ended up picking out glass tile for our shelf so hoping it all turns out great albeit the process is a slow one and doesn't look like we'll get to enjoy it this summer! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Cabana Girl

    It will be beautiful, I'm sure!! Huge Grats on your build - even if you can't hop in for several months, you'll enjoy the serene beauty it brings to your home - ENJOY!!

  • Debbie

    It's such a personal thing. My husband loves it. The teens love it too. They are always hanging on it and have played King of the Mountain etc. Not so much laying out on it... Personally, I regret that we can't play water volleyball which would have been so great for older kids. But since the ledge cuts into the shallow end, it's not possible. (It hasn't occurred to anyone else in the family though. I don't want to rain on their parade. But for me, personally, yeah, I would prefer the whole play area in the pool.)

  • kindlil
    We are considering one too but I’m torn. We would make the pool longer to compensate for the shelf. 20 by 44 (I think) rectangular pool. I’m just wondering if it will number 1, look weird in a rectangle pool and 2, lose its allure after awhile.
  • MJ Perry

    Hope you get some clarity. We have a smaller pool and did not want volleyball, etc. but our resort in Cancun has loungers in about 1 in of water. I got mine with 3 1/2 inches. I did not want chairs, etc. in it. It turned out great and could not be happier with our Baja ledge!

  • PRO
    Ultimate Water Creations Inc.

    Our client enjoys their baja ledge with two removable ledge loungers! A baja ledge is a nice, relaxing way to be in the pool, in a little water and sunbathe too without having to float around in the pool.

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