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Thread: First Step?

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    dmcody's Avatar
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    First Step?

    Going through a build right now and the latest discussion item is the first step into the pool. Since we went with an automatic cover and rock face concrete coping, the first step into the pool is 16". The rest of the wedding cake steps are 11". Is this normal? Seems like a safety issue and having a 16" step seems like a code violation. I've been told that we have to have 6" of water above the steps. Is this correct? Thoughts?
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    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
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    Corleone's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    Does seem steep. Mine is 11", which is identical to the next step down. FYI: I have 5" of water above my first step.
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    dmcody's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    Thanks. Wish I had realized this when we were planning it out.
    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
    Filter Type: Pentair FNS Plus 36 - DE Filter
    Pump: Pentair Challenger - 1.5 hp
    Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 250K BTU
    Accessories: Hayward AquaRite SWG Controller

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    Re: First Step?

    Our first step is 11", the rest are similar. Our coping is probably 2" thinner.
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    dmcody's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    thanks
    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
    Filter Type: Pentair FNS Plus 36 - DE Filter
    Pump: Pentair Challenger - 1.5 hp
    Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 250K BTU
    Accessories: Hayward AquaRite SWG Controller

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    Re: First Step?

    You can get away with 4-5 inches of water above the first step just fine. Personally, I'd never want the first step to be more than about 8-9 inches down. I don't know about any codes that dictate a minimum.
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    dmcody's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    Thanks Patrick_B I feel the same way about the first step. It should not be that large but the builder is insisting that this is correct. To me, it feels like a safety issue, little kids can't step out of the pool with a 17" step. Is anyone aware of any building codes/best practices regarding stair design in a pool?
    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
    Filter Type: Pentair FNS Plus 36 - DE Filter
    Pump: Pentair Challenger - 1.5 hp
    Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 250K BTU
    Accessories: Hayward AquaRite SWG Controller

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    dmcody's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    Thanks wiredog. Per the code, the maximum riser height is 7" except for an I-3 facility, which will allow 8". This being said, the steps are preformed thermoplastic steps and they have an 11" riser on them. Could there be a variance for pool steps?
    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
    Filter Type: Pentair FNS Plus 36 - DE Filter
    Pump: Pentair Challenger - 1.5 hp
    Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 250K BTU
    Accessories: Hayward AquaRite SWG Controller

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    Re: First Step?

    This is the exact same problem I am experiencing... Am in the middle of installing walls around my pool and now my wedding cake steps arent tall enough. The first step into the pool is going to be real tall. Does anybody know of a 5 steps wedding cake style stair that may be available?

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    Re: First Step?

    There is a difference with pool steps, at least that's what I was told by our builder. All mine are approx 12" except the first one onto the sun-shelf which is slightly less. I agree that 16" seems like a large step.
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    Corleone's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    This is from something called the ISPSC

    ISPSC Public Version 1.0
    Page 38
    322.4 Recessed treads.
    Recessed treads shall have minimum d
    epth of not less than 5 inches (127 mm)
    and a width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm).
    The vertical distance between the pool coping edge,
    deck, or step surface and the uppermost recessed tread shall be not greater than 12 inches (305 mm).
    Recessed treads shall have slip-resisting surfaces.
    322.4.1
    Vertical Spacing.
    Recessed treads at the c
    enterline shall have a uniform vertical spacing of
    not less than 7 inches (178 mm) and not greater than 12 inches (305 mm)
    411.2 Pool stairs.
    The design and construction of stairs extending into the pool in either shallow or deep
    water, including recessed pool stairs, shall
    comply with Sections 411 through 411.
    411.2.1 Tread dimensions and area.
    Treads shall be not less than 24 inches (607mm) at the
    leading edge. Treads shall have an unobstructed su
    rface area of not less than 240 square inches
    (154838mm
    2
    ) and an unobstructed horizontal depth of
    not less than10 inches (254 mm) at the
    center line.
    411.2.2
    Risers.
    Risers, except for the bottom riser, shall
    have a uniform height of not greater than
    12 inches (305 mm) measured at the center line. T
    he bottom riser height is allowed to vary to the
    floor.
    411.2.3
    Top tread.
    The vertical distance from the pool
    coping, deck, or step surface to the
    uppermost tread shall be not greater than 12 inches (305 mm).
    411.2.4 Bottom tread.
    Where stairs are located in water depths greater than 48 inches (1219mm),
    the lowest tread shall be not less than 48 inches (1219mm) below the deck and shall be recessed
    in the pool wall.

    This is from the florida building code (all I could find online)

    From the "included by reference" ANSI/NSPI 5 American National Standard for Residential Inground Swimming Pools.
    - 6.2 Pool Stairs: The deign and construction of stairs into the shallow end and recessed pool stairs shall conform to Articles 6.2 through 6.3. See Figure 8.
    - - 6.2.1 Treads shall have a minimum unobstructed horizontal depth of 10 inches (254 mm) and a minimum unobstructed surface area of two-hundred-forty square inches (1548 cm2).
    - - - 6.2.1.1 When stairs are equipped with a handrail, treads shall have a minimum unobstructed horizontal depth of 8 inches (203 mm) and a minimum unobstructed surface area of 240 square inches (1548 cm2).
    - - 6.2.2 All risers at the centerline, except for the bottom riser, shall have a maximum uniform height of 12 inches (305 mm).
    - - - 6.2.2.1 The vertical distance from the pool coping, deck or step surface to the uppermost tread shall be a maximum of 12 inches (305 mm).
    - - - 6.2.2.2 When stairs are located in water depth over 48 inches (1.2 m), the lowest tread shall be no less that 48 inches (1.2 m) below the deck and shall be recessed outside the wall of the pool.
    - - - 6.2.2.3 The bottom riser height is allowed to vary to the floor.
    - - 6.3 Shallow End Detail for Beach and Sloping Entries
    - - - (not included as it does not apply to the question, including this sub-section header only as it was referenced in 6.2 above)
    13K Gallon IG Pool/Spa -- First time pool owners -- Completed in 2015 Caribbean Blue Pebble Tec Pentair 4000 Series 47 sq. ft. D.E. Filter Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump Pentair SWG Jandy LXi Heater 400,000 BTU S.R. Smith Typhoon Slide Pentair LED 12v Lights Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Cleaner TF-100 Test Kit
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    dmcody's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    Thanks Corleone. This is very helpful for what standards pools are designed to. My only problem is that Pennsylvania did not adopt the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC). The only standard which PA references is ANSI/NSPI-5-2003 Standard for Residential In-ground Swimming Pools which provides overall guidance for dimensions of the pool, not stairs - ANSI/NSPI-5 2003 Standard for Residential In-Ground Swimming Pools - Pool Safety Products from Blue Haven Pools & Spas
    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
    Filter Type: Pentair FNS Plus 36 - DE Filter
    Pump: Pentair Challenger - 1.5 hp
    Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 250K BTU
    Accessories: Hayward AquaRite SWG Controller

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    Re: First Step?

    That's a pretty big drop. I spent a lot of time in stair design. Our neighbors have a 12" first and had to install a handrail for their parents to safely enter/exit the pool.

    I didn't want any safety railings and asked they put the first step right below the water line tile.

    Distance from my coping to top of first step is 9". Step is 1" below waterline tile - putting you at 4" of water.
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    dmcody's Avatar
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    Re: First Step?

    Well, we are changing out the wedding cake steps and going with custom concrete corner steps. 3 steps, evenly spaced with a riser of about 11.5" Not ideal to have the first step at 11.5", but I didn't want to add a 4th step.

    Thanks all for the help
    Pool Type/Size: Inground Vinyl ~24,000 gal ~ 18' x 36'
    Filter Type: Pentair FNS Plus 36 - DE Filter
    Pump: Pentair Challenger - 1.5 hp
    Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 250K BTU
    Accessories: Hayward AquaRite SWG Controller

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