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Installing a Pool Side or In-Pool Umbrella

Pool construction is hotly embracing a new trend: incorporating in-pool umbrellas with stands into pool steps, benches, or the pool deck. The purpose is obvious: to provide shade in areas of the pool and pool deck, and a cool look.

This article is about how to install pool umbrella holders or stands, either in the pool (for concrete pools) or on the pool deck, close to the pool edge. This allows you to get shade over a portion of the pool and pool deck for more comfortable relaxation - and because it looks really cool!

pool umbrella

In-Pool Umbrella Stands

What to Consider

When using an umbrella in the pool, especially in a salt pool, be sure to use one that is stainless steel, aluminum or fiberglass, or some other material impervious to chlorine and salts. Another thing to keep in mind is that when a pool umbrella is in the pool, it may be lower (in height) than you imagine. Use umbrella pole extensions to elevate in-pool umbrellas above eye-poking level. The third thing is that you should consider placement carefully to provide the shade you want during different times of the year when the sun is higher or lower in the sky.

Installing an Umbrella in a Concrete Pool

The method we are describing today is how to drill into your pool (concrete pools only) and insert an umbrella holder (sleeve) into the pool step, bench or tanning shelf. Umbrella sleeves can also be added into the shallow-end floor but will require pole extenders to raise the umbrella about 4 feet above the water level.

The method used on existing pools to drill through the pool is to use a diamond-tipped hole saw on a powerful drill. On new pools, the builder will typically drill out the gunite or shotcrete and place the umbrella mounts during plastering of the pool. Install more than one sleeve for flexible placement options or to accommodate multiple in-pool umbrellas.

hammer drill

On existing pools, buy a diamond concrete hole saw of the right size, a bit larger than the umbrella sleeve that you are using, and attach to a heavy duty rotary hammer drill. Drain the pool (of course) and use a stud finder to find the rebar in the pool. Choose a location without rebar and drill. It may take a good 30-60 minutes of drilling, so let your drill (and yourself) rest every 5-10 minutes. Some pools can be extremely thick and will need a hole saw extension to continue drilling.

Once the hole has been cut through the pool shell, use a chisel to chip away 1 inch around the top of the hole, so the umbrella holder can sit slightly below the plaster level. Mix up a wet plaster patch material and pour in a thin slurry as you push the umbrella sleeve or pipe into the hole. Then pack a thick bead of plaster under the top lip of the ladder holder and over the top edge to prevent movement and leakage.

Pool Deck Umbrella Stands

For vinyl and fiberglass pools, or anyone who doesn't want to drill holes in their swimming pools, you can place umbrella stands in the pool deck, right up against the pool, or just off the edge of the deck, depending on your sun exposure.

Before you jump right into installation, we recommend that you use a regular umbrella stand first for a few days, or even an entire season, to be sure of the location of permanent umbrella stands in the pool deck. The umbrella location depends on the location of the sun, which varies by time of day, and time of season. Experimentation can help you choose the best location(s) for in-deck pool umbrella stands.

Umbrella height is a personal preference, but remember that when in an 8-inch deep in-deck umbrella stand, your umbrella will be at least that much shorter overall. Install umbrella pole extenders if needed.

Installing an Umbrella Near Pool Deck

For concrete decks or paver decks that are tightly joined and set on concrete sub deck, use the same process as described above for drilling through the pool, only it's not as deep to drill; most pool decks are about 3-4 inches thick, and most pavers only 2-3 inches thick. Using the AquaStar or Waterway Umbrella Sleeve will allow you to have a finished edge, the fluted top edge covering the hole that was drilled. You can also use steel pipes, CPVC or aluminum sleeves as pool umbrella holders in the pool deck.

On loose pavers or earthen areas, you may choose to pour a column of concrete in place of a few pavers or bricks, or just off the edge of the deck. After calling 811 to have underground pipes and wires marked, use a post hole digger or auger to dig a hole 18 inches deep or more. Fill the hole directly with mixed Sakrete or another aggregate cement mix, or use a forming tube to pour a neat column of concrete. While pouring the concrete, place your volleyball or umbrella sleeve in the concrete, with the top wrapped with masking tape to keep the surface clean.

tips on installing in pool or in deck pool umbrella sleeves

Tips on Installing In-Pool and In-Deck Pool Umbrella Sleeves

  • Experiment with placement and sun exposure before installing.
  • Use a powerful rotary hammer drill and a diamond hole saw for masonry.
  • Install a sleeve that is not too wide or too narrow, to fit your umbrella pole.
  • Don't use a wood pole for an in-pool umbrella.
  • Do close your pool umbrellas during high winds!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.