Infinity Edge Pools: The Pros, Cons, and Cost

An infinity edge pool creates a limitless illusion with water flowing over an edge, offering aesthetic beauty but higher costs and maintenance challenges.

what is an infinity edge pool

An infinity edge pool is one where the water flows over at least one edge, creating a sensation of limitlessness.

Since the pool’s edge has water flowing over it, the pool’s end becomes obscured, and it appears that the water flows into the distance. 

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What Is an Infinity Edge Pool? A Deeper Dive

unrecognizable traveler on poolside in tropical resort
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on

An infinity edge pool gets its name from how water flows over at least one edge, obscuring the physical structure of the pool’s construction. The visual appearance is one of boundless water, and the illusion is synonymous with an infinity edge design. 

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Many infinity pools use this dramatic visual cue to interact with the surrounding landscape. For example, an infinity pool facing the ocean might appear to flow into it. Or, an infinity pool on a hotel’s roof might seem to flow right out into the cityscape. 

A backyard infinity pool can be just as dramatic, but it usually comes at a steep price. When researching infinity edge pools, remember that this type of pool might also go by a few different names, including

  • Infinity pool
  • Negative edge 
  • Vanishing edge
  • Zero edge

Infinity Edge Pools: How Do They Work?

An infinity edge pool is quite similar to a standard pool. They have walls, pumps, skimmers, returns, and plumbing that circulate the water.

However, an infinity pool also has a large collection trough that catches the water overflowing the infinity edge. This trough acts as a collection basin. 

As the water overflows the edge, the water cascades into the basin below. Drains in the bottom of the basin suck the water into the system, pumping it back to the main pool for circulation.

When the pool’s pump system is on, the water runs continuously like a waterfall. 

Infinity Edge Pools: All You Need To Know

Infinity edge pools have significant upsides and downsides. It’s essential to understand all there is to know about this type of pool before you get in over your head. 

Pros of an Infinity Edge Pool

The biggest pro to an infinity edge pool is its aesthetic beauty. Leaving aside anything else, the interaction between the infinity edge and the surrounding landscape is the main draw of a vanishing edge pool. 

Areas with slopes or dramatic views lend themselves to this type of pool construction. The drop-off effect of a slope combined with the vanishing edge of a pool can create a majestic view.

Working with a designer or pool builder, you can identify the ideal location and orientation for an infinity edge design. 

While this visual excitement and interactivity is the most considerable appeal of an infinity design, there are some other potential benefits, like:

  • The cascading water creates the sound of rushing water, masking other less pleasant sounds
  • Luxurious ambiance akin to being at a major resort or high-end hotel

Cons of an Infinity Edge Pool

The most significant downsides to an infinity edge pool mostly come back to the increased costs involved with one. But there are also a few other negatives to keep in mind:

  • The system is more complicated and harder for the average owner to maintain without an experienced pro
  • The basin tends to accumulate debris and dead critters
  • The waterfall’s noise can become bothersome

Costs of an Infinity Edge Pool

Constructions costs for an infinity edge pool can increase substantially. As a rule of thumb, they cost 50% more than a standard swimming pool design.

After completing construction, there may still be other hidden costs that make an infinity design quite expensive. 

Due to the need to move a large volume of water, infinity edge pools require substantial pumping capacity. That can be multiple large pool pumps and standard filtration equipment.

The collection basin, infinity edge, and extra pumps cost more money to build and install upfront, spiking costs. 

Plus, endless pool designs require more landscaping to create the desired dramatic visual effects. When a pool builder completes the landscaping, hardscaping, and construction, the total price tag can run well into the triple figures. 

In addition to higher initial costs, maintenance costs for an infinity edge pool can also prove higher than those for a standard pool. With multiple pumps, valves, and a fairly complicated design, an infinity pool can have a substantial price tag for even routine maintenance

In addition to upkeep on a larger and more complex pump system, simple jobs on infinity edge designs become more complicated.

Accordingly, a homeowner can rarely maintain an infinity pool on their own entirely. The need to hire professionals to maintain the pool increases costs even more. 

For example, one of the most common maintenance tasks for any pool is simply brushing the walls to remove algae or sediment. To brush the wall under an infinity edge, a technician must walk along the vanishing edge.

Due to the height and precipitous drop to the basin below, they must sometimes use fall-arresting harnesses to stay safe. That can be pretty expensive. 

Some view infinity edge pools as prohibitively expensive when you factor in all the increased costs. But, when you have a view worth the investment, this swimming pool design is unrivaled in its aesthetic beauty. 

FAQs about Infinity Edge Pools

Some questions about infinity pools are pretty common. 

How Long Does it Take to Build an Infinity Pool?

Despite their typically higher costs, infinity pools don’t take much longer to build than any other high-end swimming pool. Things might bog down in the finishing touches, like hand-laying tile along the vanishing edge or hardscaping around the basin. 

What is the Difference Between an Infinity Pool and a Regular Pool?

A standard pool’s edges contain the water, and the water doesn’t overflow the walls. An infinity pool has at least one edge, curved or straight, where water flows out of the pool, over the edge, and into a collection basin below. 

Are Infinity Edges Safe?

Infinity edges only appear to disappear. The walls are pretty sturdy, and the fall risk is minimal during regular swimming. However, if people climb on top of the infinity edge, there is a risk of falling off and falling onto the basin below. 

More FAQs

What is special about an infinity pool?

An infinity pool is unique because it features one or more walls that meet the water level precisely, unlike regular pools where all the walls extend beyond the water. The wall(s) of an infinity pool slope downwards away from the edge, creating a stunning waterfall effect.

What catches the water in an infinity pool?

The water in an infinity pool is caught by a ‘catch basin’ located at the exterior base of the pool wall. This basin collects the water that falls from the edge, and then recirculates it back into the main pool to ensure a continuous supply of water.

Can you float over the edge of an infinity pool?

The question is: Can you float over the edge of an infinity pool?Rephrased answer: It is not possible to float over the edge of an infinity pool because the water level is only about a half-inch above the weir. If someone attempted to float into it, they would risk hitting their head. Additionally, if someone managed to climb over the edge, they would encounter the water catchment, which is slightly lower than the edge by a few inches.

Is infinity edge pool worth it?

The worthiness of an infinity edge pool can be attributed to its “disappearing edge” feature, which creates the illusion that the water is falling away into nothingness along one edge of the pool. This unique characteristic adds a new dimension to the swimming experience, making you feel less confined and more integrated with the surrounding landscape as you swim.

What are the disadvantages of an infinity pool?

The disadvantages of an infinity pool include the significant expense associated with its installation. Infinity pools are known for their high cost, as they require not only the main pool but also a smaller catch basin pool for water filtration and maintenance. The installation expenses for these pools can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

What is the difference between a swimming pool and an infinity pool?

The difference between a swimming pool and an infinity pool is that while a traditional swimming pool has hard edges and concrete on every side, an infinity pool is designed to create the illusion that the water on one edge is vanishing into nothingness, as there is no boundary present.

Can an infinity pool be heated?

An infinity pool can be heated, although it requires more energy compared to a regular pool of the same size due to the rapid cooling effect caused by the waterfall and air mixing with the water. Consequently, larger heaters are necessary for heating an infinity pool.

What is the difference between an infinity edge and a negative edge pool?

An infinity edge pool, also known as a vanishing edge pool or negative edge pool, is a type of pool that features one or more exposed walls (the weir) that are slightly shorter than the water level. This design allows the water to flow over the edge and into a catch basin below, creating the illusion of an endless or vanishing edge.

Is an infinity pool more expensive than a regular pool?

An infinity pool is typically more expensive than a regular pool due to the additional costs associated with its unique edge and basin designs. The installation of an in-ground pool with an infinity edge has an average price of $79,000, whereas an average inground pool installation costs around $49,000.

Can you swim over an infinity pool?

The statement is: It is possible to swim over an infinity pool.Rewritten answer: The disappearance of the edge in an infinity pool is merely a visual illusion. When swimming in an infinity pool, you reach the edge of the wall just as you would in any other pool. In the unlikely event that you accidentally slip over the edge, you would end up landing in the smaller pool below.

Can you have a pool cover with an infinity edge?

You can have a pool cover with an infinity edge. Cover-Pools pool covers can be used to create a dramatic effect on vanishing-edge pools.

Why don’t you fall off an infinity pool?

You don’t fall off an infinity pool because the “infinity” edge is merely an optical illusion, making it safe just like any other pool. If you swim near or to the edge, you will eventually encounter the wall, eliminating the risk of accidentally falling over the edge.

Is a zero edge pool the same as an infinity pool?

The statement: A zero edge pool is the same as an infinity pool.Rephrased answer: Zero edge pools, also referred to as infinity pools, have a design that creates an illusion of endlessness, making them visually striking features in any landscape.

Can you fall off rooftop infinity edge pools?

Rooftop infinity edge pools are safe and there is no danger of falling off the edge accidentally. This is because the “infinity” edge is actually an optical illusion, and if you swim close or all the way to the edge, you will simply bump into the wall of the pool.

What are the disadvantages of infinity pools?

The disadvantages of infinity pools include their high cost, as they require the installation of both the pool itself and a smaller catch basin pool for water filtration and maintenance. The overall expense of setting up these pools can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

What is another name for the infinity pool?

The infinity pool is also known as the infinity edge pool, zero edge pool, overflow pool, or spillover pool. It is a type of reflecting pool or swimming pool that creates a visual illusion of water without boundaries by allowing the water to flow over one or more edges.

Can you turn pool into infinity pool?

It is generally not feasible to transform a regular pool into an infinity pool. The construction process of an infinity pool demands meticulous attention to detail to guarantee both aesthetic appeal and proper functionality.

Can fiberglass pools have an infinity edge?

Fiberglass pools can indeed have an infinity edge. The perception that infinity swimming pools are exclusively for the elite is changing, as the cost difference is becoming less significant. If you are interested in learning more about fiberglass infinity pools, please reach out to us for further information.

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