Our Inground Pool Stairs
Latham Pool Products offers two general types of step categories for inground pools: vinyl-over and molded pool steps. Both use the finest construction designs and materials and are backed by industry-leading warranties, which provide years of enjoyment within your pool.
Vinyl-Over steps allow for both standard stairs and custom-designed solutions for current and future pool features within the perimeter of your pool while molded steps offer specific step shapes that are added beyond the pool walls. The two key decision factors between the methods tend to be imagination and budget.
Celebrity in Reef
Photo courtesy of South West Fence & Decks, Ontario
Rectangle (Vinyl Liner) Vinyl Liner Pools
Photo courtesy of Aquasizers Pool Company, Kansas
Vinyl-Over Step Design Considerations
Beyond aesthetics, it’s also important to think about the functionality and mechanics of your pool steps. It’s not just about how you plan to use your pool, but also who will be using your pool.The right type of pool steps can help you maximize your enjoyment, or make it easier for people to get in and out of your pool. Additionally, you’ll want to consider how your steps and any features you plan to incorporate will work with a pool cover.
Typically, you’ll enter your pool at its shallow end. The size and shape of your pool may dictate where this shallow end may sit – and, consequently, where you’ll place your steps.
- If you plan to use your pool to swim laps, straight steps won’t take up a ton of real estate. In terms of pool safety, straight steps can be a great choice if you have small children, older adults, or people with mobility issues using your pool, as these steps span the width of your pool. Straight steps can also give young children a wide ledge to play on in the shallow end.
- If you have a smaller linear-shaped pool, you may want to consider adding corner steps in a shallow corner of the pool. They may not be as wide as straight steps, but can offer easy entry for most adults. If you don’t plan on having seniors or young children use your pool, these steps can be an attractive option that doesn’t take up much space. Additionally, these corner steps can take on a fun “wedding cake” shape that adds flair and aesthetic appeal.
- If you have an irregular-shaped pool (such as a kidney-, clover-, or lagoon-shaped pool), you’ll want to place steps at its most shallow point – typically, indicated by the smallest curve on your pool. Radius steps with a curved design work well with these uniquely-shaped pools.
- If you plan to use your pool for entertaining, built-in benches and ledges offer valuable seating and entertainment space so your steps can double as a lounge area. With this set-up, you and your guests can face each other and enjoy some poolside conversation (and maybe a drink or two).
Handrails can enhance the safety of your pool by offering added stability to people entering and exiting your pool. This can be especially helpful to seniors, kids, or people with mobility issues who will be using your pool.
Handrails are placed at the entrance of the pool, allowing users to get in and out easily. While a handrail may be placed in the shallow end to enter the pool, you may also want to consider adding a swim ladder in the deeper end to offer an easy exit without the benefit of pool stairs.
Depending on your pool setup, surrounding decking materials and choice of stairs, some handrails can be anchored on one end outside of your pool, embedded in concrete or your decking material of choice. The other end can be anchored inside your pool, through the center of one of your steps. If you don’t have decking material around your pool, some molded pool step options can incorporate holes in two of the steps where a handrail can be installed.
If you plan to have an automatic pool cover for added safety, you’ll want to consult with your builder about making sure your handrail’s placement does not impact your cover’s ability to close properly. Making sure that your pool cover has ample clearance to glide over any embedded rail or that your railing curves in such a way that an automatic pool cover can securely close without getting stuck on the railing is important to the overall safety of your pool and guests.
Another factor to consider with an automatic pool cover – or any pool component that uses electricity – is that metal fixtures in and around your pool will require bonding to ground them. Metal handrails or pool ladders can sometimes deliver a light “shock” to users if the pool has not been properly grounded with a bonding grid. Your pool builder or electrician can be a valuable resource in making sure this is done correctly before anyone uses your pool, making sure it’s safe for everyone!
Explore Our Most Popular Vinyl-Over Steps Styles
Vinyl Liner | Gemini
Photo courtesy of Blue Hawaiian Pools & Spas
VINYL-OVER STEP OPTIONS: 1/5
- Design Benefits: Radius steps fit perfectly into a rounded edge of your pool – great for a variety of freeform shapes!
- Common Features: Wading area, bubblers and fountains.
- Considerations: If you don’t have a pool with straight sides or corners, you’ll want steps that fit in with the curved edges of your pool. Radius steps may be the best design option to match with circular, oblong, freeform, or lagoon-style pools.
Vinyl Liner | Capri Fresco Liner
VINYL-OVER STEP OPTIONS: 2/5
- Design Benefits: Simple and straightforward, straight steps are functional without any additional flourishes. This allows for more space to swim without taking up additional room.
- Common Features: Extended ledges, benches and bubblers
- Considerations: Straight steps will look best with a pool that features linear sides, like a square or rectangular shaped pool. If you plan to use your pool to exercise and swim laps, straight steps can be a great option.
Vinyl Liner | Disco Pearl Liner
Photo courtesy of G'Tease In Ground Pools, Inc
VINYL-OVER STEP OPTIONS: 3/5
- Design Benefits: These stairs can be neatly tucked into any corner in your pool. If you have a smaller-sized pool, corner steps can offer easy access in and out of the water without taking up too much space.
- Common Features: Benches and extended ledges
- Considerations: Corner pool steps are a great option if you have a 90-degree corner in your pool (i.e. in square or rectangular pools).
Vinyl Liner | Mountain Lake
VINYL-OVER STEP OPTIONS: 4/5
Benches and Tanning Ledges
- Benches and ledges are attached to the walls of your pool, but are submerged under shallow water. In some instances, your builder can create a wider first step that serves as a tanning ledge.
- You can install a bench or ledge along any edge in your pool, straight or curved. Additionally, some builders can create ledges large enough to incorporate pool furniture and even a designated space to hold an outdoor umbrella.
Vinyl Liner | Indigo Marble Liner
Photo courtesy of Backyard Oasis Pools
VINYL-OVER STEP OPTIONS: 5/5
Bubblers and Fountains
- A pool bubbler is typically installed near pool stairs or a tanning ledge. Bubblers and fountains mimic the look and feel of a natural geyser or hot spring and the ambient bubbles and sound of cascading water creates a relaxing effect. Bubblers can also help control your pool’s temperature, keeping it cool on hot days.
- For a more dramatic effect, your builder can add LED lights beneath a bubbler or fountain. This can enhance your enjoyment, providing you with a nighttime light show!
Explore Our Most Popular Molded Steps Styles
Vinyl Liner | Natural Gray Liner
MOLDED STEP OPTIONS: 1/6
French Curve Step
- Design Benefits: These attractive curved steps can add a bit of flair to your pool.
- Common Features: French curve steps create a curved entryway into your pool and are offered in both standard and cantilever styles
- Considerations: Elegant and functional, French curve steps add visual appeal and work well with a pool or spillover spa.
Vinyl Liner | Tan Sierra / Gold Pebble Liner
Photo courtesy of Aquasizers Pool Co
MOLDED STEP OPTIONS: 2/6
- Design Benefits: Striking in their simplicity, straight steps are sleek and functional.
- Common Features: Straight steps descend into your pool without any additional design flourishes.
- Considerations: Straight steps are an excellent choice for if you’re looking for something simple that fits in with any linear-shaped (rectangular, square) pool.
Vinyl Liner | Aztec Cobalt / Aqua Blue Liner
Photo courtesy of Nicholas Pools
MOLDED STEP OPTIONS: 3/6
- Design Benefits: Corner steps are ideal for smaller pools, as they fit neatly into the corner and don’t take up as much valuable space reserved for splashing and playing.
- Common Features: These stairs fit neatly into any corner of your pool, and can be set at an angle.
- Considerations: Although corner steps can easily work with a linear-shaped pool, they can also be incorporated into a freeform shaped (such as kidney, clover, or lagoon) pool to provide access at the smaller, shallow end.
Vinyl Liner | Gemini
MOLDED STEP OPTIONS: 4/6
Roman Curved Steps
- Design Benefits: Like French curve steps, these are an attractive addition to your pool. These distinctly-shaped steps work well with Greco-Roman style pools that feature a long rectangle with a semi-circle radius at the entryway.
- Common Features: These differ from French curve steps in that they feature seating on every other step (i.e. if you have four steps, the first and third step has the potential to be a bench).
- Considerations: If you want to include both a set of steps and a bench, Roman curved steps are an outstanding choice.
Vinyl Liner | Gold Pebble Liner
Photo courtesy of Mirage Pools & Spas
MOLDED STEP OPTIONS: 5/6
Lagoon Free Form Steps
- Design Benefits: If you have a freeform pool, these stairs are able to match its free-flowing design.
- Common Features: Lagoon free form stairs will usually tuck into the smallest curve on your pool, typically near the shallow end.
- Considerations: If you have an irregular-shaped pool (such as kidney-shaped, lagoon, clover, or other freeform design), it can be difficult to find steps that can easily nestle into your design. These steps can be a great choice that offers you versatility and ease of access.
Vinyl Liner | Gemini
MOLDED STEP OPTIONS: 6/6
Step and Bench Cantilever
- Design Benefits: These steps double as an entry/exit from your pool and a lounge area for relaxing.
- Common Features: This design features both steps and a bench that point towards each other.
- Considerations: These are another great option for including both a bench and stairs in one feature. If you plan to use your pool for entertaining, this style can help you maximize seating for guests.
Vinyl-Over and Molded Pool Steps FAQs
Yes, pool steps can be added to any inground pool with a liner. There are several types of inground swimming pool stairs to choose from, such as drop-in steps and built-in steps. Swimming pool stairs can be constructed from a wide range of materials, such as fiberglass, steel, and polymer, which each have unique pros and cons. A pool professional can help you make a decision that fits your needs, your budget, and your sense of style
If you already have a vinyl liner pool, the best time to add steps to an existing pool is when you’re replacing a liner. Your pool professional can work with you to find a style of steps that can work well with your design, and add steps before installing your replacement liner. Steps can be a great way to incorporate a bench or seating, as well as create easier access for those with limited mobility as opposed to climbing up and down a pool ladder. If seniors and small children will be using your pool, steps can provide you with a safer way for them to get in and out of the pool.
Pool stairs can range in price depending on the design and style you’re looking for. If you have a specific idea in mind, use our pool estimator tool to get a rough idea of the associated costs. To get an even more accurate estimate, reach out to a Latham independent pool dealer.
Drop-in steps are available in a wide range of styles, colors, and sizes. A popular example is the wedding cake style pool steps, which takes its nickname from its layered or tiered appearance. Drop-in stairs can be added to existing pools to enhance the look and functionality.
Vinyl liner pools (sometimes referred to as package pools) are popular because they’re customizable, easy to install, durable and affordable. They’re designed so that homeowners can work with pool builders to choose the shape, size, and features to create the pool of their dreams. Drop-in steps are just one more element that allows you to take your customization one step (pardon the pun) further. These steps can be “dropped” into your pool in the appropriate area within the perimeter of your pool. From there, a new vinyl liner can be laid over the top of them, creating a seamless effect.
When comparing vinyl-over vs. molded steps, both are prefabricated, but depending on the design of your pool, one may be a better option than the other. If you’d prefer your steps to sit outside the perimeter of your pool, molded steps may be your preference. However, if you want your stairs to fit within the perimeter of your pool, drop-in vinyl-over stairs may be your design of choice. design, drop-in vinyl pool liner over steps are the best option.
In either case, pool steps can help you to reap the benefits of a well-designed pool, offering you ease of access and – in some cases – clever features for entertaining or maximizing swimming space.
Not sure where to get started? We’ve got you covered. Check out our amazing library of resources, inspiration and tools to help you with your pool project.