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Thread: Step Dimensions

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    Matchless1's Avatar
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    Step Dimensions

    I'm about a week away from digging, and I'm trying to resolve whether or not the dimensions of my steps (width and depth) are good. My main concern are the 3 steps from the tanning ledge down into the pool. Of lesser concern is the first step from the coping into the tanning ledge.

    3 Steps (Wedding Cake)
    I've seen other posts on this site discussing step heights of up to 12". Since my last "person step" height will vary due to the pool floor sloping, my design considers both extremes (5" and 13"), but targets the center of the range of the slope (9") (if that makes sense). This design (shown below) uses 3 "actual steps" (not including the tanning ledge or the pool bottom), which provides a step height of 8" for the first 3 "person steps" and a range from 5" to 13" for the last "person step". FYI, 7"-8" is the typical step height in any given office building stairwell (NOT submerged in water, of course).

    If I take away one "actual step" and only have 2, it would increase the first 2 "person steps" to 11" and a range of 7" to 15" for the last "person step". This seems like it might be quite a stretch, especially for our generally shorter family (wife and I are both 5' 4"), so I'm fairly certain I want to keep the 3 "actual steps". Then the question becomes [horizontal] step width.

    I currently have them designed at a 13" width mainly just for fear of being to narrow to safely walk down without rolling an ankle. I know I don't want to go any less than 11", but I'm considering 12" as well mainly to reduce protrusion into the main pool swimming area. What do most of you see for horizontal step widths?

    First Step (Into Tanning Ledge)
    I currently have this step height at 5" deep. So if you add another 3" for half a tile and 2" for coping, that makes the first step down about 10", and the step from the first step to the tanning ledge 9", which I'm pretty sure I can live with. I suppose I could make the first step 5.5" just to make the first 2 "person steps" the same exact drop. Thoughts on doing this?

    Regarding the width (currently 14"), it's actually 13" usable width due to a 1" overhang of the coping (not shown in the plans). This is consistent with the width of the wedding cake steps, but I'm curious what others have seen for the width of this first step.


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    Re: Step Dimensions

    I had some issues with my steps as well. I am 4'10 and not getting any younger. I had the perfect steps designed but had to change them on dig day due to losing a 1/2 foot in my pool width.


    My rise heights are 6-8 inches (mostly). The only exception is the very bottom step which is 12" but I can kinda float up onto that step. I believe all the treads are about 12".
    My spa steps are similar.

    I measured the steps from my patio door down to my patio to get dimensions that are comfortable for me.
    Last edited by Nursenini; 03-08-2016 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Terminology and more accurate info
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    Matchless1's Avatar
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    Re: Step Dimensions

    I should have clarified. When I say "width", I am referring to the cross sectional width of the step. So it would be 13", 13-3/8" and 14" dimensions shown in the drawing in my first post. In other words from a person's back to chest direction, not shoulder to shoulder. Does that make sense?


    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Re: Step Dimensions

    Maybe you should use the terms tread and rise, tread being the part you stand on and rise being the height of the step.

    - - - Updated - - -

    My steps have a 12" rise and I am unsure of the tread. I would have liked to have had a smaller rise, but then that would have eaten up more of my pool since I'd have to have another step.
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    Matchless1's Avatar
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    Step Dimensions

    Thank you for the terminology! That is exactly what I'm referring to.

    If anyone is able to measure the tread dimension of their steps and let me know their opinion of that dimension now that they have real world use with it, it would be most helpful.

    The same goes for the rise dimension.


    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Re: Step Dimensions

    I edited my post. Hope it's helpful
    Denise-TFP Guide
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    Re: Step Dimensions

    Stair code states (and before someone rips me in a PM and says this is a pool not a house) 7-3/4" maximum rise (IBC; others say 7") and standard tread is 10" because you don't have a nosing on concrete steps. Stay close to this and you'll have comfortable (and familiar) steps into your pool.

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    Re: Step Dimensions

    If the slope of the pool where the steps meet the bottom is steep, there is always the option of having a "half step". One the begins at the point where the step becomes more than the height of the other steps. This only looks right if that last half step can be at least say 5" high on the tall end of it.
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    Re: Step Dimensions

    We went 25" wide, 14" tread depth, 8" step height. Very comfortable wo water.
    My Pool Build (2015): inground 12K gals gunite/plaster pool, SWG, 2-speed pump, cartridge filter, gas heater, and polaris cleaner (Jandy). TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir

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    Re: Step Dimensions

    Pool Steps are often greater than standard heights to account for the increased buoyancy of the individuals using the steps. Which means deeper steps (where buoyancy has greater effects) can and often are greater than standard height.

    Also If your first step is five inches below the top of your bond beam then it would generally intrude into the tile line. The tile line is generally at the top of the bond beam with the coping on top of that. So a six inch tile line would intrude into a five inch step.
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    Matchless1's Avatar
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    Re: Step Dimensions

    Gwegan, my first step is 5" below the waterline. Figuring in a 6" tile and the water line halfway up the tile, that should put the top of the step 2" below the bottom of the tile. So I think I'm good there.


    14K gal, IG Shotcrete, Depth: 3'6" to 5'6", Pentair Intellipro XF VS Pumps (2), CCP520 Filter, Intellitouch i9+3S w/ ScreenLogic2, DEL Ozone EC-20 w/ Stenner Pump for Chlorine, Flagstone Coping, Moss/Creek Rock Waterfall, Dolphin 15.5' Slide, Intellibrite 5G Pool Lights (3), Globrites (2), Kichler Underwater Waterfall Lights (4), Paramount Paralevel Auto Leveler, 4'x8'Techno-Solis Solar Panels (14), Dolphin S300i Cleaner, My Pool Build

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    Re: Step Dimensions

    Right...4"(below WL)+3"(above WL)+2"(coping)=9" step height. Can't go lower because of the tiles and plaster. My sunshelf is another 8" below the step -- 12" water depth << another good reason for a 12" deep sunshelf !
    My Pool Build (2015): inground 12K gals gunite/plaster pool, SWG, 2-speed pump, cartridge filter, gas heater, and polaris cleaner (Jandy). TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir

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