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Pool Bottom Shapes and Terms Part 1

Considering a swimming pool this year but aren’t sure what the different pool bottom descriptions mean?  There are a few standard bottoms to choose from, here is a list of those common pool bottoms: Standard, Wedge, Sports, Play, Flat Bottom, and Coved Flat Bottom.

First, the standard pool bottom is the most common type.  It has a good-sized shallow end, a transition slope down to the deep end, a flat hopper (deepest part of the pool), then a slope back up to the deep-end wall.  Please see the diagram.  The hopper/deepest portion is designated by the solid blue rectangle in the diagram.  The lines inside the pool designate the edges of the transition, back, and side slopes which extend from the height of the pool panels (typically 42” or 48”) down to the hopper.


Next, is the wedge pool bottom.  The wedge is a unique design and not as common as the standard bottom.  The wedge pool can be made with either a small flat “landing area” in front of the step, or with no flat sections at all.  It has a very mild, gradual slope from the shallow end wall all the way to the deepest point where, instead of having a flat hopper section, the pool simply slopes back up to the wall.


The sports pool bottom is up next. This type of pool bottom is very popular among those who play pool sports such as volleyball or water polo.  In the sports bottom pool, there is a flat shallow section on both ends of the pool.  After the shallow sections on both ends, the pool slopes down to a small hopper in the center which is typically around 5’ to 6’ deep.  This type of pool is not as deep as a diving pool, therefore it heats faster.


The play pool bottom is a cross between the wedge and sports bottoms.  This pool has a gradual slope from both ends of the pool down to a deep point in the center.  The deep point is typically about 5’ to 6’ deep.  This type of pool is also popular among those who play sports, but is less ‘aggressive’ than the sports bottom.  With the gradual slopes, the play bottom pool, is best for those who want to play pool sports but also want to enjoy their pool with a ‘shallow end’.


The next two types of pool bottoms are very similar, one is the flat bottom and the other is a deep flat bottom achieved with a cove. The flat bottom pool is quite simple, it is flat across the entire pool. A flat bottom pool with 42″ wall panels will be 40″ deep (Wall Panels are 42″ and Pool Base is 2″ thick). A flat bottom pool with 48″ wall panels will be 46″ deep (Wall Panels are 48″ and Pool Base is 2″ thick). However, there is also an option to have a deeper flat bottom pool using a method referred to as ‘the cove method’. The cove-method is a very easy way to achieve a deeper shallow end or deeper flat bottom with a 42″ or even a 48″ panel. Instead of the pool bottom being completely flat, there will be a ‘cove’ that is basically a slope away from the wall down to the desired, deeper, shallow-end or flat bottom depth. Length of the cove will depend how deep you would like the shallow end or flat bottom. The only other consideration when choosing to cove the shallow end for a deeper shallow end is that you will need to also shape a “ramp” in front of the step so there is something to step onto when you get in the pool. Please see the diagrams for more information.



Next in my series about pool bottoms and terms, I will be discussing some of the common terms used for pool bottoms such as; cove, safety ledge, radius hopper, dished hopper, and several other important terms.

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