You’ve possibly already seen it, but you might also not recognize it or not know the proper name for it. A tanning ledge (also known as a cabo ledge, baja shelf, or sun shelf) is a shallow pool shelf that is usually around 5 feet wide and typically 9 inches deep.
This shelf serves as an entry point to your inground swimming pool. Normally the ledge will span the entire width of the pool. However, some pool owners opt to have their theirs only span a portion of it. Ideally, the ledge should be just deep enough so that can get in without having to actually immerse yourself in the pool completely.
Pool owners opt to install a tanning ledge for many reasons. They are a great way to be connected to what is going on in the pool area without actually having to get in for a swim. Furniture such as lounge chairs, umbrellas, and even small tables are common additions to tanning ledges. This is a very popular pool feature that has been around for decades, but had typically been reserved for resort style inground pools. Due to their flexibility, aesthetic qualities, and dropping price points they have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years.
Pool contractors tend to use these terms interchangeably since they all tend to refer to the same thing. A tanning ledge is called a variety of names. The eskimos have 100 words for snow and pool builders have just about as many words for tanning ledge. Whether you call it a cabo ledge, tanning shelf, sun shelf, baja shelf, or any other name – if it’s in reference to this style entry point, it means the same thing. If you ask your pool builder or pool designer about adding on one, no matter what name you call it, most probably they will all know what you’re talking about.
Typically on gunite inground pools, they cost approximately $100 per square foot for installation. If you want a ledge that spans the entire width of the pool, prices will usually cost $6,000-$10,000 depending on the width of your pool. Adding a separate tanning ledge to a fiberglass pool will cost you considerably more than buying one already built in. Average price to add on one to a fiberglass pool will add $7,000-$15,000 to the overall price of your inground pool.
Final thought, a tanning ledge can be a good idea for some pool owners. If you intend on spending a lot of time relaxing in the sun, it could be a really good investment. It’s particularly important if you choose to use in-pool furniture or if you’ll be swimming with small children or pets.
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