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    Inground Pool Kits: Can the Pool Floor be Flat?

    January 5, 2013

    A question about inground pool kits that we get a lot here at SPP, is "Can the pool floor be flat?" It's such a common question, we thought that we should answer in writing for you.

    The pool floor or pool bottom of a vinyl liner inground pool kit can most certainly be flat. Our pool kits have a 42” wall and after putting in your 2” of finished material you have a 40” flat pool bottom. If 40” is what depth you are looking for you are all set.  However, if you want a deeper flat bottom pool, you run into some "deeper" issues.

    There are compliant pools and non-compliant inground swimming pools. A compliant pool conforms to National Swimming Pool specifications as created by the APSP. Specifically, the standards suggest safety guidelines that would make an all-over 40" depth non-compliant.

    Why this is a very important issue has to do with responsibility. If something happens and someone is hurt in your non-compliant pool, you are at fault and in most cases your insurance company is not responsible. On the other hand, your insurance company is compelled to stand behind you when pools have been built to compliant standards.

    Another situation that can occur is if your local inspector will not allow a non-compliant installation - which is the case in most areas. What CAN be done, and is a viable and compliant solution is to construct a very short, 6 ft. shallow end. After the 6 ft wide shelf at 40" depth, slope down to a deeper depth. Your deeper depth can be from 60 inches to 96 inches, or 5 to 8 feet. The walls of the deep end will slope inwards. ( see diagram )

    There are other pool bottom options also. One of the more popular is the sport bottom configuration. What that means is there is a shallow end at both ends of the pool and both ends slope down to a small flat bottom area which is usually 5 or 6 ft deep in the middle of the pool. There are new regulations on sport bottom pools or really any configuration that has 2  or more shallow ends, this would require a walk in step at both shallow ends of the pool.  Again, this goes back to the compliance issue.

    A lap pool which by name is a pool for swimming laps, is traditionally flat, and a 40" depth would be the standard option for that also. Any style pool we offer can be done as a flat bottom or a sport bottom configuration or as the standard slope type pool with a shallow and a deep end with connecting slopes. We do not offer a beach entry or shallow entry with our pool kits.

    How Deep Can You Go?

    Our pools go to 8 ft deep for any pool size from a 16’ x 32’ or above or 6 ft deep to any size below. The 8 ft deep pool is considered a diving pool and can be made deeper if you wish but the smaller pools to 6 ft deep can not be deeper than that. When making a pool deeper than 8 ft there are other requirements that come into play. This is what's called the 3 to 1 rule.

    How ever deep you go, let's say 9 ft., you would multiply that by 3 or 27 ft.  What that means is from the deep end back wall to the end of the shallow end where the slope starts has to be at least 27 ft from each other. Keep in mind that deeper pools would make the slopes from the walls to pool bottom steeper.

    The best option may be to keep it to 8 ft as this is the way it was designed for a reason. Diving into the deep end, you will have enough depth and enough length of the slope as to dive safely without the risk of injury. But if you need a shallower depth, there are ways to make it work.

    If you have questions regarding pool depth, or how your inground pool design plans conform with the standards for pool depth and pool safety, give us a call - 800-983-7665.  

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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