Do I need stairs and a ramp in a backyard swimming pool?
November 3, 2022 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Following up on this question, I've started to question why I'm setting aside space for stairs.

The pool is divided into 3', 4', and 5' depths and includes a reasonably ADA compliant ramp with guide rail down to the 3' tier. There's a 20" deep submerged ledge around the entire perimeter, so... plenty of places to sit. I think I'm happy to walk down a ramp (or just enter directly onto the shelf). Is there an argument to also have stairs? Are they easier for some people?
posted by Tell Me No Lies to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Response by poster: (In a case it matters, the total footprint is now 18' x 24'. There's room to do both a ramp and stairs, I just can't think of a reason.)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:57 AM on November 3, 2022

I have no idea. I wouldn't think it weird to enter a pool via a ramp. You do have to think what future buyers of your house and pool might think - is not having stairs in addition to a ramp weird enough to affect the sale? Maybe ask your RE Agent if you have a decent relationship.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 12:20 PM on November 3, 2022

Best answer: I use a wheelchair and swim every day. A ramp is not useful unless you have a plastic waterchair that you can roll into the pool. It would be impossible to roll up the ramp without a lot of help. This would frighten me! I get in via the steps by being helped out of my chair to sit on the edge and "bumping" down the steps sitting down. I would find it difficult to walk down a ramp.

A ramp to the pool is very useful.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:28 PM on November 3, 2022 [5 favorites]

Ramps are safer than stairs - stairs are a trip/fall hazard, especially when wet.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 12:28 PM on November 3, 2022

Response by poster: a humble nudibranch wrote...
I get in via the steps by being helped out of my chair to sit on the edge and "bumping" down the steps sitting down.

Interesting. Would you be willing to share your thoughts on the height, width and depth of the individual steps?

Mexico doesn't have a lot of official guidelines, and as it is likely my buyer would be American anyway I've been trying to stick close to the ADA. However, the ADA often specifies maximums and minimums and not that sweet spot in between that people actually find useful. I don't have the experience so the more people can tell me the better.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:25 PM on November 3, 2022

Best answer: Ramps are safer than stairs - stairs are a trip/fall hazard, especially when wet.

If I'm following, these would be stairs inside the pool (that is, underwater themselves) so I don't think the usual trip hazard standards apply?

One thing that is nice about pool steps is that it gives parents with toddlers a place to hang out and let the little ones splash around somewhat more safely than being all the way in the pool itself. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent standing on the deep side of many different pool steps while my kids played. So if this is a house that is otherwise good for families, it may be worth considering.
posted by Jemstar at 1:40 PM on November 3, 2022

Dunno, I think the bench all the way around is bad and makes it hard to get out of the pool at any random point. First you have you reach out and grab the edge of the pool and twist yourself onto the bench, then you have to twist again to continue to get up out of the pool. It confines you to only leaving the pool via the ramp or steps, it's much easier to slide down to the bench and sit around a corner or something than it would be to haul your ass out of the pool over that sunken bench thing. Corners are easier to get out of than straight places. I would put steps in the middle of the shallow end, leave the corners free and have bench seats if any clear of the corners. Old lifeguard, if you need help or support going down/up steps that's fine. A ramp is pointless, benches are nice but shouldn't be everywhere, makes it harder to latch onto the edge of the pool and you can't just hang on the side and chat with others because there's a bench in the way. Your pool is shallow enough that many could stand. I think a ramp would be much harder to navigate even with the rails because it's sloped and your feet would tend to slide, Steps don't have that problem because they're flat. So steps and handrails.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:59 PM on November 3, 2022

It's also good if someone were to fall in but can't necessarily pull themselves up over the sie or, you know, if you were to age, or have a sore shoulder or whatever. Your ledges you have might cover that though.
posted by Iteki at 2:00 PM on November 3, 2022

Best answer: I swim at a public pool and I will measure the step height, width and depth tomorrow. At a rough guess, I think the steps are about 9" high, 10" deep and about 48 inches wide. I roll my chair up near the edge and using the rail, which I estimate is about 36" high, I lower myself onto the edge and sit. Then using my arms, I can lower myself step by step until I'm deep enough to float. This provides a gradual entry that I feel in control of. The steps are quite rough so they are not slippery.

At the public pool they have a device on the pool deck that can lower or raise a disabled person in and out of the pool, but I have never needed to use it.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:34 PM on November 3, 2022

Best answer: I have a backyard pool with steps into the shallow (3') end. I spend about 80 percent of my pool time sitting on the lowest or second lowest step so that just my head is out of the water, with my drink and book in reach on the side of the pool. (I do also use the steps for ingress and egress of course, but really they're an underwater chair.)
posted by Daily Alice at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

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