Baptistry installation is not that difficult, but there are a few general
things you should know when planning your installation. Refer to the tips below
to help make your church's installation as smooth as possible.
General Notes on Fiberglass Church Baptistry
(The information below does not apply to portable
baptistries or some of the round models.)
Framing & Support
- All baptistries require framing on sidewalls to prevent the walls
from bowing out. You can fill an unframed baptistry with water and
it will not burst, but the walls will bulge out and nobody will want to get
- If you want to use a baptistry as a stand alone model, without any
framing, we can have one fabricated with a tubular steel collar for side-wall
support. Please call for details.
- You will probably want to raise the baptistry off the flooring
at least 6" (and preferably more) to leave room to attach the drain or for
future access if the drain needs to be repaired or replaced.
- You will want to place 2x4 support framing underneath the lip,
particularly if people could step on the lip when entering or exiting the
Variances in Measurements
- Baptistries are made by hand on a mold. When they come off the mold, there
can be variances in the dimensions. Usually, these variances are minor but for
this reason, we do not advise churches to pre-frame for the baptistry. You can
prepare the general area and the flooring, but it's usually best to wait and
add the framing once the baptistry is on site.
- Most baptistries have a lip around the edge. The width of the lip can
vary by model and by production run, but generally it's about 1" to 3" wide
and runs the perimeter of the pool. This lip is designed so you can trim it on
site to make the baptistry fit.
- Overall length and width measurements typically include the lip. You can
usually trim 2" to 4" off the overall dimensions by trimming the lip
- Your baptistry may have a lip that is not "square" and this is nothing to
be alarmed by. Again, most units are trimmed in the field as each installation
- A filled baptistry can weigh anywhere from 3000lbs to upwards of
12,000lbs. Depending on the number of people, you could also have another
1000lbs so be sure you have adequate reinforcement in your flooring or if the
bottom is on framework, the joists.
- For most installations, you should plan on adequately supporting 400lbs
per square foot.
- Finished walls can be butted up against the lip and caulked and trimmed
with modling for a finished look
- Some churches apply rubber threshold or bullnose trim to finish the edges
- We HIGHLY reccommend you clean and WAX your baptistry
with a good quality fiberglass wax and cleaner before your first use.
- A popular practice we are seeing is that of the recessed baptistry vs the
traditional installation behind the choir loft or back wall of the church.
Given that most platforms are shorter than the baptistry, many churches elect
to either excavate the flooring if they desire a flush mount, or to leave part
of the baptistry exposed so it extends above the platform floor and is
finished off with carpet or other materials. Below are a couple of pictures to
give you an idea of what others have done.
Here's an installation where the baptistry protrudes above the
Here's an installation where the slab was excavated and the customer
poured a concrete slab. Note the reinforced cinder block walls as well as the
metal framing for sidewall support
Here's a Traditional Baptistry Pool Installation (note 3-4" wide lip
around perimeter). You can see the drain, overflow and heater ports in
the left corner and the fill port in the middle step.
Baptistry Plumbing & Drain Installation
Exact plumbing instructions will vary depending on the situation, but here
are some general things to remember:
- Unless you are using a sump pump, you will want to plan a drain for your
baptistry. We sell drains or you can buy your own at a plumbing or hardware
store. The big advantage of buying a drain from us is that our drains have
trip lever overflows so you don't accidentally overflow your baptistry when
filling. A baptistry is plumbed much like you would a bathtub. But where a bat
tub drain and overflow has a 10" spread, our baptistry drains are
designed for the taller walls of the baptistry.
- Water level will generally be about 6" below the top of the
- Overflow drain should usually be about 4" below the baptistry rim.
(Consult the directions for your specific unit.)
- Many customers use PVC or similar materials to piece
together their own drain, overflow and shutoff valve. If you go this
route, be be sure that the overflow is piped back in to the drain line
AFTER the drain valve shutoff so the overflow line cannot be blocked.
Here's a baptistry drain with overflow. Note the chain to activate the
Here's a similar unit but this one's toe activated, meaning someone
has to be in the pool to open the drain. We sell both styles, but for ease of
use, the chain activated drain is obviously better.
- Drains will be cutout on-site during installation, they do not come
pre-drilled. Refer to your specific models instructions, but as a general
rule, the drain should be located in on e of the corners of the baptistry, not
the middle. Provide at least 1/32" of slope towards the drain.
- Look on the bottom of your unit for specific, non-reinforced drain
locations. (Should look like indented circles)
- Some models have a reinforced core that will compress if the drain is not
located in these non-reinforced sections. Placing the drain in the wrong
section can cause it to leak and may also void the warranty.Always refer to
the instructions included with your unit before installing the drain. If you
don't have the instructions, please call us and we will be happy to fax or
email them to you.
Pictures below show models with round recesses for possible drain
locations. Be sure to locate the drain in one of these holes, otherwise you risk
leaking and voiding of warranty.
MAKE SURE you install an overflow drain on your
How to Fill Your Baptistry
- Baptistries can be filled by a variety of methods including fill ports,
deck mount faucets, wall mount faucets, etc. Fully automatic systems will have
a special sylenoid activated valve that utilizes a wall port. Make sure to
locate wall ports low enough so they don't cause water to splash out of the
unit when filling.
Deck mount faucet. Wall mount fill
port Wall mount fill port
with cutoff (to pvc)
Heater Installation (Wall Mounted Circulation Heaters)
- Connect the heater to the pump as shown except for the 1.5" union fittings
- Ideally, locate the inlet hole (2-1/8" diameter) about 4-1/2" above the
bottom of the pool.
- Smoothe the hole and install the chrome faced inlet flush port by
loosening at slip joint nut.
- Apply clear RTV sealant under the chrome port flange. Remove any
outside insulation so port rubber-gasket fits flush against outside
of baptistry wall.
- Measure center of bottom hole to center of top hole and drill top
hole (refer to unit instructions for exact distance)
- Repeat 3 & 4 for top flange
- Assemble the complete heating system onto the installed ports
- Place blocking or support under the heater or pump. If you leave
the baptistery heater suspended directly on the wall, it can pull
away from the wall causing leakagefrom the wall fittings
- (Cold water intake is at the bottom, hot water outlet is at the top.)
- NOTE You can install the heater sideways, or parallel to the floor, but
heating efficiency is greatly reduced. For best performance, install unit
- Depending on the model, the heater will require either a 240v or 120v GFCI
protected circuit. The pump runs on 110v which can be branched off of the