What Is A Spillway In A Pool?

What is a spillway in a pool

Pools are a great fun addition to a household. It can be considered your entertainment oasis in your own backyard. Especially when it is hot and everybody needs a bit of fun. Alongside swimming in the freshwater, pools also come in handy in other fun-loving activities such as tanning, spas, and some water sports. That’s why, people tend to have a pool to offer their family and friends the ultimate fun and relaxation. Completely within their backyard, the familiar part of their living place.

A spillway not only adds a design structure to your pool but also comes with various feature additions for your support. It creates a premium vibe to the appearance of your pool if it has an active spillway. Now, if you are wondering what is a spillway and what is their function in a pool anyway then you’re in the right place. Read thoroughly to understand the definition of the spillway in a pool, its types, benefits, drawbacks, and if you want one in your pool.

Key Takeaways

  • A spillway in a pool is used for the controlled release of water into the pool.
  • A spa pool adjacent to the main pool releases water through the spillway to the main pool.
  • There are a number of spillway designs that you can choose as per your space and desire.
  • Spillways are designed to create waterfalls, serene sheet flows, and other luxurious appearances.

What Is A Spillway In A Pool?

What is a spillway in a pool
What is a spillway in a pool?

A spillway is a structure used for the controlled release of water from a dam or leaf. The water pours downstream from its source upstream which happens to be full of water by gravitational force. In nature, we see an overflow of water falling from leaves and in the process, they are following a distinct pattern based on the structure of the leaf. Manmade examples of spillways such as water released through dams to the rivers.

A spillway in a pool follows the same principle by releasing excessive water into a downward pool from its primary reservoir. Typically, not all pools come with such a feature, rather it has to be built separately. It is like a mini pool, higher in elevation than the main pool. So the method works like this:

Water is pumped into the spa pool/artificial water fountain reserve from external sources when the water level reaches its maximum capacity they seek the easiest paths to be released, and the spillway structure then makes a way for the water to flow into the main pool. You may have seen luxurious hotels and houses with spillway-attached pools already.

5 Types Of Spillway In A Pool

Types of spillway in a pool
Types of spillways in a pool

Spillways in a pool are influenced by similar examples in nature. There are various extraordinarily designed examples available and some of them are for fulfilling particular demands of the benefactor. Some of the spillway types are detailed below:

1. Open Spillway

This is the most commonly found spillway design in a pool. An open spillway is a gap that allows the water to flow directly from the upper basin to the lower streamed main pool without facing any obstruction. It is widely popular for its simplicity and easy installation. It provides a sleek look to a pool and also provides a similarly calm sound. Another benefit of this spillway is its ability to blend with almost all home terrain.

2. Rock or Pebble Spillway

A rock or pebble spillway uses the formation of rock or pebbles to form a spillway and the water flows over (sometimes through) the spill path to the main pool. Water pours between the rock formations or sometimes above them to flow into the downstream pool. This type of spillway gives the pool a more natural and organic appearance.

3. Bridge Spillway

It contains two separate elevated walls connected with a bridge-like structure and the water simply flows through under the bridge-like gap. There might be more than one such bridge like holes through where water can flow. It gives a vivid image of water flowing simultaneously through each of the holes and a mesmerizing sound created afterward.

4. Stacked Spillway

This type of spillway uses materials like stone and pebbles to create layers of spillways to create an elegant waterfall effect. These multiple levels of spillways allow for greater control over the water flow and can be decorated with LED lights under each water flow stage.

5. Perimeter Overflow

Also known as a rim-flow or infinity edge, this type of spillway creates the illusion of the pool blending into the surrounding landscape. The water level is maintained at the same level as the pool’s edge, and excess water spills over the edge into a hidden water tank, from where it is recirculated back into the pool.

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5 Benefits of Having Spillway

Benefits of having spillway
Benefits of having spillway

There must be some strong benefits of spillways as more pool users are attaching their pool areas with convenient spillways. Some of the benefits of having spillways are below:

  1. Aesthetic Appearance: The most common benefit of spillways is that they provide an aesthetic look to the whole pool area. They can be designed to create waterfalls, serene sheet flows, or edge effects, adding a luxurious and attractive element to the pool’s design.
  2. Provides An Open Vibe: Imagine you have a spa area attached to the main pool. If the spillways weren’t there it would have been covered with a fourth or surrounding wall. This would also prevent you from enjoying the wider view of your pool while you were having a spa session. An open spillway helps you to enjoy the flow of water and view in front at the same time.
  3. Water Circulation: A spillway helps the water to be properly circulated all around the pool. As the water flows, it helps distribute chemicals and heat more evenly throughout the pool, promoting better water circulation. It also injects oxygen into the water as the water falls from the upper layers to the main pool, taking oxygen with it.
  4. Increases Play Area: Spillways connect the spa or water fountain sitting area with the adjacent main pool area. Normally the users have a bit of chatting and fun time sitting together in the upper spa area, on the walls. It creates a pleasant vibe among all the participants before and after diving into the water.
  5. Adds Value To Property: The appearance of a pool area before and after installing a spillway can affect the value of the property it is within. It may not cost that much to install such spillways but it gives a readymade luxurious vibe to the buyer which makes a little impact on the price too.

4 Cons Of Spillway

There are some disadvantages of having a spillway attached pool too. Some of the major drawbacks of having a spillway in your pool are:

  1. Increased Cost: The major reason for most of the pool owners not having a spillway to their pools is the cost it takes to set them. It can take on average from $900 to $3500+ to set a decent design spillway to your pool. This cost includes material, workforce, and other utilities depending on the size and facility you are asking for.
  2. Maintenance Requirement: Remember that, spillways are driven by external mechanisms to work efficiently. It requires the maintenance of electric pumps, heaters, pipes, and other machinery, and chemical agents to keep the water flow running. Moreover, if there is a water fountain in the base spa pool then the maintenance cost will rise drastically.
  3. Loss Of Water: If not all but some spillway designs such as perimeter overflow spillways waste a lot of water by releasing them by the side. While the intention is to prevent excessive water accumulation, it is essential to monitor and replenish the pool water as needed to maintain the desired water level.
  4. Inadequacy Of Space And Design: Setting up a spillway is not as easy as you may think. It requires skilled and professional manpower to design and set up a spillway properly. It also takes sufficient space to illustrate a certain design properly which is sometimes more than available.

5 Tips To Keep A Spillway Clean

The cleanliness of your spillway is directly linked with a clean and beautiful pool. So it is important to keep the spillway clean. Here are a few tips on how to keep a spillway clean:

  1. Motor Pump: First thing first, keep the water-sourcing motor pump clean. In swimming season, wash the pump externally, especially the filters at least once a month. This will reduce the chance of pumping dirty water.
  2. Waterways: The water pipes that supply water from the pump to the pool should be made of stainless steel. This will allow them to be not corrosive and supply them with cleaner water.
  3. Cover It Up: Keep the pool covered while not using it. These will prevent leaves, dust, and other unwanted substances from falling into the pool. These leaves have the power to ham the filter and pump if sucked into them.
  4. Stones Are Precious: The outer wall and other installments made with stones, and rubbles should be cleaned using hands only. Otherwise, they may get damaged or out of place.
  5. Use Chlorine Adequately: To keep your pool clear and clean, chlorine tablets are often indispensable. However, you should use them with caution and follow the directions for use carefully. The normal chlorine value is between 1 and 2 ppm /liter.


1. What is the purpose of spa spillover?

A spillover keeps the water balanced in both the spa and the pool. It also keeps the spa water cleaner as it constantly flows the water into the pool from the spa area.

2. Why is my pool green after it rains?

If your pool’s water becomes green after rain may be it because the pump isn’t circulating water adequately or has an issue with the filter system or rain water has polluted the pool water.

3. Does sunlight cause the pool to turn green?

Yes, sunlight may cause pools of water to turn green because sunlight helps the photosynthesis process in the water. It can cause algae to grow, making the water green.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Spillway in a pool is a fun structure, both for the mind and health. Adding a spa spillway or spa wall to your pool is an excellent way to transform it into a beautiful and relaxing retreat. It not only enhances the aesthetics of your pool but also provides functionality that you can enjoy every day. A well-designed and built spillway attached poolside can turn your backyard into a fun lover’s gathering zone anytime. There are tons of spillway designs you can trust for the best appearance of your backyard poolside. Contact with proper authority, only if you have enough space, resources, and desire to build it and maintain it.

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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