There are several step types that can be added to an existing pool; depending on the pools’ structure and configuration. The two types for inground pools are the “drop in” step that sits on top of the liner and the step that is built into the pool wall. Which is the right step? This depends on how much the pool owner wants to spend and how much of the pool is being renovated.
The “drop in” step is the least expensive and least intrusive … but they have issues. This step sits on top of the pool floor, has a weighted bottom to hold it down, has some “movement” when stepping on it, and over time causes liner abrasion which damages the liner.
Steps that are connected to the pool wall require the cutting of the concrete deck where the step is to installed, cutting of the pool walls to accommodate the step unit, fabrication of metal to connect existing pools to the new step unit, a new liner (in most cases) and concrete deck patching around the new step unit. However, pool owners prefer this type of step; the drawback is cost.
Below are some examples of adding a new step to an existing pool, the right way – that is securing the step braces with concrete to keep the steps from lifting!
This job had a step installed by a company that did not secure the step braces properly (no brace and no concrete). After 3 years of use, the step lifted out of the concrete and the company that installed the step would not come back to repair it. The original step was installed with a couple bags of vermiculite in an attempt to hold the step in position, instead of the required amount of concrete.
This is the step by step process:
The following is an example of the process required to remove the poorly installed step and install a new one. First, you see how the poorly installed step appears “lifted” out of the concrete.
Upon removal of the step we determined the step moved because it was not secured correctly to the pool wall and the step bracing was not anchored with concrete. The step unit was not filled with concrete to lock it in place.
After the old step was removed, the pool walls had to be modified to attach the new step unit. This process required the addition of sheet metal panels connected to the existing pool wall.
After the new step unit is secured to the new sheet metal panel it is set in place. The new step is leveled, and then backfilled with enough concrete to keep the step from moving.
The next step is to install the new liner. The final step is the concrete patch on the deck; this is done after the area has settled.
The following is an example of adding a step unit to an existing liner. If the liner is relatively new, and in good condition, a step unit can be added without changing the liner.