Designing Swimming Pool Steps Takes Expertise

Designing Swimming Pool Steps Takes Expertise

Step by Step

Experts share tips for making pool entry and egress as seamless as possible

From Pool and Spa News

It’s a feature that probably doesn’t garner a whole lot of forethought.  Most swimming pool owners and even some designers offer only a cookie-cutter approach to the ingress and egress of the swimming pool vessel.  If you think about it, the means by which bathers enter and exit the pool is of paramount importance.  Not only do these systems of steps, ladders, or shelves have to be safe, they have to be properly designed so as to be aesthetically pleasing, functional, don’t inhibit circulation, and don’t use too much of the valuable shallow end area for recreation in a pool.  This post from Pool and Spa News examines proper step design from these and many other perspectives, so that when you are planning your dream pool, you don’t make a significant mistake that can hinder your enjoyment for the life of the swimming pool.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

It’s a simple idea — a series of risers that allow you to gradually enter and exit a pool.

But steps deserve time and attention to make sure they’re right for the customer. If designed well, the result is a seamless transition from ground to pool. But if steps are conceived poorly, myriad problems can occur, from a less than desired aesthetic outcome to inconvenience and accidents for bathers.

These guidelines will help you optimize the design of pool steps.

Place steps in a convenient spot.

It’s important to place the steps in the right location because they will be used more than any other area of the pool.

Avoid putting them in direct line with seating areas. Otherwise there will be problems with congestion.

Also, keep steps out of the way of the swim lane — even an undesignated one. If you have a kidney-shaped pool, for instance, lap swimmers will use the longest stretch in the middle of the vessel. Don’t cap that area off with a set of steps.

If the homeowners plan to swim laps regularly, they probably shouldn’t have grand-entry steps running the entire width of the pool.

“It’s difficult to [make a] turn on the steps,” says John Fitzgerald, senior project manager at South Shore Gunite Pool and Spa Inc. in Chelmsford, Mass. “What part of the wall do you touch? Are you touching the step or do you swim over the steps to touch the wall? I try to discourage those.”

Make steps easy to use and see.

Safety is the most important consideration when installing steps. However, it also is the area where most people make mistakes.

Far too often, experts say, designers and builders make step risers too high. Then a person faces an unusually abrupt drop upon entering, and must step way up to get out.

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