Ensuring Your Tanning Ledge is Properly Backfilled and Installed


Inground fiberglass swimming pools with built-in tanning ledges are heaven. They allow swimmers to lounge in just enough water to keep cool while still soaking up the sun’s rays. They really do offer the best of both worlds, and tanning ledges have rapidly become one of the most sought-after features in the fiberglass pool industry. Built-in tanning ledges are also great for kids and pets. Whether they’re swimmers or not, they can enjoy the water and relax on the shallow ledge. Add a bubbler to make a little splash, and you have the perfect backyard pool oasis.

However, for all the enjoyment built-in tanning ledges can bring to fiberglass pool owners, they’ve typically presented a challenge for pool builders. Properly backfilling underneath tanning ledges can be difficult. The tight spaces and voids they create at the transition areas are hard to reach, and the varying grades needed for excavation add time, money and headaches to the pool building process. And if it’s not properly backfilled and installed, a tanning ledge can have a hollow feel under your feet. Over time, the backfill can shift and settle under the tanning ledge and leave voids.

How can you be sure that your built-in tanning ledge will feel as sturdy and be as durable as the rest of your inground fiberglass pool? By making sure it’s properly installed. Pool builders have differing opinions about the best way to backfill underneath a tanning ledge. Some of the tanning ledge backfill strategies include:

  1. Getting creative. Getting the backfill material into all of the nooks and crannies under the built-in tanning ledge is difficult, so pool builders will need to get creative. They might use various tools to try to move the backfill material into the tight spaces. They will typically employ the smallest guy on the team to squeeze into the small spaces and move the stone around.
  2. Using the appropriate backfill material. A clean chip stone that is ½ inch in size or smaller will make it easier for your pool installers to move around and get into the tight spaces under the tanning ledge. While a larger stone can be used to backfill under a tanning ledge in a fiberglass pool, larger stones are harder to move around under the ledge.
  3. Excavating out the tanning ledge. When excavating the pool, it’s best for your pool installers to treat the tanning ledge as a separate pool bottom area with its own measurements for the excavation, diagonal and rectangle. It’s also important to consider freeze depths in your area; your chip stone material should be as deep as your frost line.
  4. Using a pier installation. Another option for supporting built-in tanning ledges is for your pool builder to install “piers” along the outside edges of the tanning ledge. This is done by excavating to a point where the pool installers can stack level blocks to form a pier, leveling the blocks front to back and side to side. They then lower the pool onto the pier. Asphalt shingles or any other non-biodegradable material can be used to shim up or fine tune the height. Piers should only be used for added support and leveling– the entire ledge must still be packed with backfill material.
  5. Using flowable fill. Flowable fill is a self-compacting, low-strength material with a flowable consistency. If your pool installers are familiar and experienced with flowable fill, it’s an option for those hard-to-reach areas under the tanning ledge. However, flowable fill is non-permeable and you must account for groundwater and ensure proper drainage.

If all of these strategies sound a little less sophisticated, even primitive, to you, it’s because they are. For years, these were the only options that pool builders had available to them to give support to the tanning ledges their customers were clamoring for. Not anymore.


The Thursday Pools Backfill Eliminator® 

The Backfill Eliminator is an exclusive Thursday Pools innovation that makes installing tanning ledge backfill eliminatora tanning ledge easier, faster and more economical and results in a stronger and more durable tanning ledge over time. While pool installers have struggled with the aforementioned methods of installing built-in tanning ledges for years, they no longer have to use any of these old strategies if you purchase a Thursday Pools Backfill Eliminator with your new inground fiberglass pool.

The Thursday Pools Backfill Eliminator is a specially fabricated structure that’s integrated into the bottom of your pool, allowing for sturdy and level installation. It provides lifetime structural support to the tanning ledge and one continuous slope for excavation, making it as easy to install as any other fiberglass pool.

The Backfill Eliminator’s structure also allows groundwater to flow freely under your pool, eliminating the possibility of stagnant water accumulating underneath or excess groundwater lifting the pool. And to make it even easier for installers, there’s an access point to reach plumbing during the installation process. The Backfill Eliminator works in tandem with Thursday Pools’ Geo-Anchoring Pool System which allows you to secure your investment by providing extra strength to the pool structure.

So, if the fiberglass pool of your dreams includes a built-in tanning ledge, consider a Thursday Pools fiberglass pool with a Backfill Eliminator. If you do, you can be sure that your inground fiberglass pool will bring you a lifetime of memories, fun and enjoyment.