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b_400_400_16777215_00_images_BTS_Logo_865x649.jpgWith this edition of WaterShapes, Dave Peterson introduces a new, ongoing series that will focus on plan schematics builders can use to improve, fine-tune and fortify their projects. He starts here with a simple way to eliminate visual insults to waterline tile and interior finishes.



By Dave Peterson

This detail depicts an easy way to conceal surface fittings that need not be seen. It enables the builder to clear the waterline tile or interior pool surface of unsightly appurtenances for autofill sensors, autofill lines and overflow outlets by installing them in the skimmer mouth. 

There is no doubt that plastic fittings, inlets, outlets and other aesthetic insults can visually disrupt an otherwise beautiful waterline tile or interior pool finish – and there’s no reason for it. Follow this simple detail and render these fittings permanently out of sight and out of mind.


© 2004-2020 Watershape Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. This image is provided for reference and educational purposes. You may create your own version of this concept, but copying this image is prohibited.
© 2004-2020 Watershape Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. This image is provided for reference and educational purposes. You may create your own version of this concept, but copying this image is prohibited.

[] Tile the mouth of the skimmer to match the waterline tile.

[] Match the skimmer color to the waterline tile as closely as possible (Keep in mind that the plastic skimmer is typically located in shadow.) Plastic skimmers are now available in colors other than white, and there are also bronze and stainless steel skimmers, as well.

[] Use Schedule 80 PVC for the fill line, where waterline tile is dark (Munsell color value ≤7).

[] Avoid using the plastic skimmer lid, which almost always mars the deck’s appears. Products such as Waterline Technologies’ Pour-A-Lid and other similar products enable you to match the skimmer lid to the surrounding deck.



David J. Peterson, P.E. IWI, is co-founder Watershape University and president of Watershape Consulting, Inc. For additional assistance with this detail he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    David, thank you for your comments on the subject of skimmer lids and over flows. I have always made it a point to hide where our skimmers are located on our pools. The subtlety of where and how you locate the skimmer is very critical in many ways. It's important that the skimmer is strategically located to do it's job. It is equally as important that you aren't looking into the throat from the house when ever possible. For a modest price of a pour a deck lid, you can turn a normal project into something to be proud of... If your deck man doesn't use the pour a lid then help him out and supply them.... I just finished judging 103 entrants for the Pinnacle Awards this year and I was surprised the attention to details some builders showed and I was shocked at others that built beautiful projects but left in the plastic skimmer lids that come with the $70 skimmer. It is the attention to details that make the difference from average to a First Class Winner.

    The same holds true with the water over flow. I like to use a gray 2x4 over flow grate with a 2" discharge located on the house side of the pool so it isn't seen from the house. Thank you for your contributions and constant education of our industry...

  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    I am glad to see this brought back - I always loved Paolo's tips and tricks section of Watershapes when it was still in print - it was always the first page I turned to whenever I received my issue.
    There are many creative ways to hide skimmer covers - we use products like the Pour-A-Lid regularly, but sometimes introducing a circular element to the deck creates enough visual disruption to be problematic. There are companies now like Hide who have square covers, but whenever possible I prefer to disguise the skimmers within the pattern of the stone