Installing a Swimming Pool Lift

pool lift installationIf you operate a commercial pool or spa, such as a swim club, hotel, resort, etc – ADA requires that a pool lift be installed to assist people with disabilities.

If your facility is finally coming up to code, or if this is a new swimming pool, you’ll soon be planning to install a new pool lift.

The first thing to keep in mind is the ADA Guidelines for Pool Lift Placement. These specify where pool lifts can and cannot be installed.

  1. Lift Location. The first requirement states that the lift should lower into a section of the pool no deeper than 48″. There are two exceptions to the rule – if the pool is deeper than 48″, and if there are more than one pool lift, only one need be installed at a 48″ water depth. The lift should also be located at least 3 feet from any skimmer, pool light or wall return.installing a pool lift
  2. Seat Location. The seat centerline should be 16″ away from the edge of the pool, and have clear space of 36″ minimum on the opposite side of the seat and in front of the seat. The deck must not slope greater than 1:48, and provide good traction for wheel chair use.
  3. Submerged Depth. The pool lift should be designed and installed so that it will submerge the seat a minimum of 18″ below the water level.

Once your location for installation is determined, you can begin to install the pool lift. Check the Owner’s Manual – every pool lift has different requirements. Some can be installed into a standard 4″ thick concrete deck, while others need to have a thicker pad of concrete poured to support the chair lift safely.


Depending on the model of pool lift you select, the installation requirements will differ. Some lifts have a single post, which slides into an anchor socket. Other lifts have a plate, called a ‘Jig’, with 3 or 4 bolts that stick up out of the concrete.3 types of pool-lift-anchorsMany pool lift models allow a retrofit option using a hole saw and epoxy. Drill several large holes through the pool deck, and using 2-part epoxy sealant, fill the holes to secure the mounting plate to the deck.

However, the concrete thickness required can be as much 6″, 8″ or even 10″ on certain pool lift models. For other ADA pool lifts, such as the iLift, the Multi-Lift, and the Pathfinder, a standard 4″ thick pool deck will suffice, making installation easier.

Making this hole saw type of installation is complicated because the mounting plate or anchor socket needs to be bonded, in accordance with local codes. See below for more information.

pool-lift-installersWe have twenty Pool Lifts in stock – and they all have different installation requirements. It’s best to read the owner’s manual / installation guide thoroughly before you purchase and install a new pool lift.


Some pool lifts have a jig that needs to be installed in extra-thick concrete, 6-8 inches thick. Since most pool decks are only 4″ thick – you’ll start by marking off the required area, and cutting it with a concrete saw. Break it up with a sledge hammer or jack hammer and remove the rubble.

Remove the gravel, and dig down 4-8″ (be careful of pipes and conduit). Install 4 rods of rebar at 2″ from the bottom and 4 more 2″ from the top of your slab, running in opposite directions. Tie the rebar into the existing deck, and tie your mounting plate into the grid, if possible.

purchased from dreamstime_xs_41746-300x156At the correct time and depth, place your bonded mounting jig or post anchor into the cement bed. Continue pouring concrete to the specified thickness. Keep the jig level while curing. Finish the surface, feathering up to the edge of the jig or post.


In most areas, there will be a requirement to connect the pool lift into the pool’s bonding grid, which is a bare copper wire that runs around the pool, connecting the pool shell, lights, ladders and rails together.

bondingIn most cases, the mounting jig or post anchor will have a bonding lug attached to it, which needs to be connected to the existing bonding loop, or you may be able to bond the mounting plate to the pool deck rebar grid.

If you are installing a pool lift post or jig with a hole saw, connecting the bonding wire may require some creativity, and may need to run under the deck to the edge, whereas if you remove a replace with a new pad, it’s easier to make the bonding connection. An electrician with familiarity with local bonding codes for swimming pools should be consulted or hired to made a correct connection, if needed.


Unfortunately, there is no one way to install a pool lift – all of the 20+ fixed pool lifts that we sell have different deck attachments and thus different procedures for installing. So, as an installation guide – this blog post fails miserably, but ~ here’s a few key takeaways:

  1. Select a proper location for your pool lift, before you buy a pool lift.
  2. Read the Installation manual thoroughly, before you buy a pool lift.
  3. Plan to bond the lift, in accordance with local and national codes.pool-inspector-sm

One more thing – it’s a good idea to check with your local county official or inspector before installation, just to be sure that he approves of your location, installation and bonding.

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


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