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Thread: height of steps in pool and spa

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    height of steps in pool and spa

    Just finished the gunite and after walking in the pool I am questioning how steep the steps are. My shallow is suppose to be 3.5' and the three steps are each 12'' high and 11'' deep. Walking up was pretty difficult for me and I'm worried my parents may not be able to get out at all. PB said 12'' was standard and I'd lose more swim room if I made more steps.

    The spa is even worse. The footwell to the bench is 21'' and bench to top of gunite ledge is 21''. It is easy to get in by scooting but trying to get out is difficult. There is no way my parents would be able to get on their knees or pull up from a sitting position on the bench. Again PB said I'd lose room in the foot well.

    Any thoughts or ideas? Does the water make you so much more buoyant it won't be an issue at all?

    Also wondering if they make some sort of temporary step that I could use when less spry guest come over.

    Thanks for all the help!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    The PB is right about losing room but what's important to you? That's what really matters. If you think it's going to be an issue then most likely it is.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    I agree w/ Bama, if having your "less spry guests" is more important than a little bit of swimming room (sounds like it is!) then go ahead and have him alter it. I can't help concerning temporary steps...

    Keep in mind also that stepping up large steps may be easier when the pool is full of water. I don't know the layout of your pool, so it's hard to really guess. The spa probably would still be a problem though. Can you post some pictures? We all love seeing them. Have you chosen a color yet?
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    Thanks for the replies! The point about it being easier to walk up in water is what I am curious about. I've never had problems in pools, but I have never paid any attention to the height of the steps. Funny how all the things I've never noticed are important now.

    Wasn't sure if I could load the pictures right but i will give it a shot. Sorry they are so big.







    It's a basic classic shape. 33 X 17, 3.5 feet to 6 feet deep. The only thing extra going in are two 12'' sheer descents on each side of the spa spill way.

    As for color, oh boy that's the biggie lol. We are going with a product called quartzbrite the PB uses which is essentially a locally made diamond brite. I'm going to check out in person an Aruba Sky, Tahoe Blue, and a Midnight Blue. The Midnight was my first choice, but after reading everyone's posts about issues with darker colored plaster, I was scared off it. The PB insists problems are caused by chemical imbalances but still seems a big risk. I wanted cobalt colored water, but I don't think it is going to happen. I also want to make sure the LED light shows up well, I am ALL about some rainbow colors

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    The size of the pics are perfect...
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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    What size hand rail will you have? We do not seem to have a problem and the wife has a metal knee.....
    5,775 gal, IG free form, Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish, 2 swim out benches, Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues, StaRite Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump, Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter replaced with Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15, Polaris 360, Pentair 300w Light upgraded to Pentair IntelliBrite (OMG what a huge difference) , Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers, solar cover, TF-100 test kit, Pentair Deck Jet, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer (Makes testing a breeze), Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Margarita Concoction Machine,
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    Brentr I had not planned on putting in a hand rail.
    Are your steps 12 inches?

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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    Liz,

    PB, DH, everyone is going to hate to hear this, but I think you should put the brakes on right now, and have the step height problem solved immediately and to your liking, not the PBs or his schedule. These difficult steps will haunt you for years if you do not make a modification now.

    PB telling you these heights are standard is PB-speak for I am not going to admit that we didn't spend enough time discussing this in the planning stages, and I want to shoot this surface and get out of here.

    PB can probably add in mini steps in one area of the spa that will make the climb out possible. In the pool, he could add in a half-height step on one side of each step along the staircase. So let's say on each step, over on the right-hand side (where you have the white paper in the photo), there would be another little block of cement 6 inches high which would help get you to the next step. Or, the whole staircase could be redone to have 4, 5, or 6 steps.

    We have six steps up out of a 3.5 deep shallow end. Yes, their sprawl takes up almost half of the 16-foot pool width. At first our PB thought we were nuts, but the proof is now in the pool. Great wedding cake staircase into the pool, along with a bench--it will be the social spot with guests.

    Good luck with this, and of course, this change will come with a price tag and possibly significant schedule delays, but the value of the whole pool could be riding on these steps!

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz101
    Brentr I had not planned on putting in a hand rail.
    Are your steps 12 inches?
    From the coping down to the pool, they measure 7", 12", 11", 11". The hand rail seems to help.

    Our friend just had a hand rail installed in his pool because he had a hard time going in and out as he is handicapped and the handrail is made of stainless steel and angles out the length of the stairs and goes into the water about 2 inches below the water line. It looks very good. I will try to take a pic next time I am over there and post it for you.

    Hope this helps
    5,775 gal, IG free form, Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish, 2 swim out benches, Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues, StaRite Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump, Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter replaced with Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15, Polaris 360, Pentair 300w Light upgraded to Pentair IntelliBrite (OMG what a huge difference) , Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers, solar cover, TF-100 test kit, Pentair Deck Jet, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer (Makes testing a breeze), Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Margarita Concoction Machine,
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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    liz101, I went by my friends pool and took a pic of his handrail. It very sturdy and his stairs are 12 inches deep. Now he has no problem getting in and out of his pool. Hope this helps



    5,775 gal, IG free form, Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish, 2 swim out benches, Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues, StaRite Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump, Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter replaced with Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15, Polaris 360, Pentair 300w Light upgraded to Pentair IntelliBrite (OMG what a huge difference) , Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers, solar cover, TF-100 test kit, Pentair Deck Jet, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer (Makes testing a breeze), Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Margarita Concoction Machine,
    Pics of our Spool ( Social Pool) being built Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    About the spa. Ours is free standing. The side where you are supposed to enter/exit has the first step only 5" down from the water line; 10" down from top of spa. We found that to be almost dangerous without a rail and probably so even with a rail. So we moved the steps around to the other side where the step down is about 18" from top of spa. It is actually one of the benches. In our case you step on the top step, of the outside steps (top step is 24" from top of spa) and then over the edge of spa and then down the 18". Before we put the rail on you could of lean over and use the edge of spa for support. We both have long legs. DH with 75th birthday coming up doesn't have the knees he used to have so the rail was a great addition.

    Taking all this into consideration I think if I was planning an in ground spa 12" to first step, in spa might be just right; at least for us.

    I would advise planning things for people who might not be limber or "spry" or steady on their feet or have some disabling physical condition(s) or weakness'. I personally, was in a car accident when I was in my 20's, back/neck injury, that occasionally limits my abilities to do things I normally do and therefore find "aids" beneficial (It's hard not to over do things when I'm working outside). I, also, occasionally get an injury that limits my ability to use a leg, foot, shoulder, arm, hand, etc., fully. Even though I'm a fit and very active 60 year old the added aids are really nice to have. About the time I realized our downstairs bathroom was almost too narrow for wheel chair my DH's bedridden mother came to live with us. My best friend is "heavy" and disabled. All these things help me to realize how aids are nice to have for people of varying capabilities. BTW.... I just took a major fall on my right knee, this week, the second one in a month (both animal related) so I'm icing my knee as much as possible and crossing my fingers. Haven't used the spa since the second bonk but I'm sure I'm going to appreciate the rail.

    I surely hope that some people with special needs will chime in on this post.

    If I had some pool parties, with the people I know, some of them would need a rail for our pool steps. DH does not use our pool but if he did I would definitely put in a rail. The first step is down 11" from pool deck, next step is 11" and third step is 11". I think they are perfect for us and anybody else who has used the pool.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    The top step in our pool is wide like the picture brentr posted. In the picture, going towards friend I like the extended step making a bench. One thing to keep in mind is having enough room for one or two people to assist a "disabled" person getting in and out of the pool.

    Neither of use have problems getting up out of the spa (we are on the slender side, relatively speaking) but I can see where less depth would be better for many people. In ours you can actually float up from the top step to edge of spa, somewhat, using some leg/knee strength, sit on edge and then swing legs over the edge. Having some leg strength helps and some limberness to knees too.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    The PB has offered to add steps to both, no charge and shouldn't be much of a delay really. I am still debating what to do. I could add one additional step by making each step 9.5'' tall and would only add 11'' around the current set. Not sure if a few inches shorter would even make a difference though. I've talked with a few customers that have used my PB with 12'' steps and none thought it was an issue at all. So, I may be worried for nothing. I have a feeling regardless most people will hold on to the spa wall on the right. Putting in a rail like Brentr posted is probably the easiest back up plan.

    As for the spa, the PB thought adding a step in the foot well would later bother me because the well is so small. He said another customer put one in that now doesn't like it because they constantly stump their toe on it. I came up with a comprise, I'm having them cut a few 9'' X 11'' pieces of coping I can stack in the bottom if I need to when my parents visit.

    I really appreciate everyone's help! I will have to make a call on the pool steps by Monday so I will keep you guys posted.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Guest

    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    Your steps are "industry standard" height. If you take the height from the deck to the top step, it should be 12" below the finished deck. Each step thereafter should equal 12", all the way to the floor of the pool. Commercial pools, which are much more regulated than residential pools, and used by millions of people every day (that's alot of people ) are set up the same way, but do have hand rails.

    Now, that is not to say that is what works best for you. However, if someone is used to getting in and out of pools already, then they are used to these dimensions. As for the spa, if it is deck level, then there should be a step before the bench. If it is raised, it is easy to sit on the edge (coping) and swing your legs over to get in/out. I do not like steps in spas since you cannot see them when the jets are on and risk the chance of catching the side and falling in.

    It is nice that the PB is offering to work with you. That may sound weird, but it will cost him some time and money, and he did truly just build it the way he most likely builds all pools. I can say that I ask what height(s) people want their spa bench(es) to be, but I have never asked about step heights in the pool. Again, that doesn't mean it is right for your pool

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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    It's 0300 and just got home from working on friend's pool. Sure am glad I can sleep in a bit in a.m.

    The width of steps from front to back can be an issue if you are considering making them less than they are. Consider if you have men's size 12 to 15 shoes....... narrow steps can be a problem for those with bigger feet. I know as my DH wears a 15 AAAA I know, skis.

    Our stairs, at this house, inside, going to upstairs, are deeper (front to back) than the last house, but he still occasionally gets his Birkenstocks' front caught on them going up, usually when he has a glass of the very dark, almost black, ice tea he drinks; wonderful for dyeing fabrics but almost impossible to get out of fabrics. Although I was taught in charm school :P :P , (really.... quite popular for girls in the 60's) to go up and down stairs with both feet pointed to one side many stairs are still a bit narrow, front to back, for size US 8 women's shoe, when in a hurry especially, which seems to be most of the time for me. Our pool steps, front to back, are 11" except for the top one, which is deeper, and no one has ever complained.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Extending step with grout?

    Okay have a new question..

    Kept the steps the way they were, but the first step is a bit shallow in the center because the copping extends too far. We are afraid it will be easy to fall off when entering the pool. The PB has taken grout or tile thin set and extended out all the steps about an inch and a half. He plans to plaster right over it. Im concerned the extra length with crumble off at some point. Currently I can tap it with my sandal and it falls off. Any thoughts?

  17. Back To Top    #17
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    That is not the way to add to a step If your sandal can get it to fall off, what does he think is going to hold it on after it is plastered and filled? Water pressure?

    In the swimming pool industry, they do not recognize a cold joint (think about an Olympic pool; there is no way it could be shot in a day, so they allow for cold joints). However, that doesn't mean that you can just slap something (grout or thinset) against the existing concrete and "hope" it sticks! He needs to mix up some concrete, fortify it with glue and properly bond it to the existing material. I have to think that he knows the right way to do it; maybe he just "forgot" or had one of his guys do it and they didn't think it through.

    Nice catch I'd take it off myself if I were you and ask him to give it another try!

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    well i asked about it and PB he says it will be fine :-\
    He seems to think the plaster will bond it on.
    I'll talk to him tomorrow and illustrate how it is easily falling off.

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Henry Porter's Avatar
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    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    Hi Liz!
    I have to chime in here and say the same thing that Bruce just did so good.
    No one with the slightest knowledge how to construct things would trying to get away with something like that, especially on the outside of a step which you strain with your bodyweight every time you step on it.
    Why the steps was to steep and shallow in the first place is a bit weird to understand. There are two very simple guidelines when it comes to calculate stairs, if PB have to go away so much from those guidelines for a particulare reason he should have asked you first.

    Just my 0,02
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  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: height of steps in pool and spa

    I have a question regarding steps in a spa, too. I just bought a home with a large pool and spa combination. The problem is that the spa has no step! Apparently, one has to sit down on the edge, swing legs over the side, and lower oneself into the spa. Not great, but do-able. The problem will be getting out of the spa, however! Having to climb out on my knees presents a big problem for me and my roommate. Neither one of us has good knees and getting up from all fours is tough, too.

    So here's my question: is it possible to add a step to an already existing gunite spa? If so, would it be terribly expensive? Could it damage the integrity of the pool, making it more likely to leak? Does anyone have any suggestions that might work in the meantime? I've considered putting a concrete block on the bench, but I'm not sure that would really work.

    Thanks for any help!

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