How do you secure a ladder in a pool?

William Adams
 min read

Whether you have an in-ground or an above-ground swimming pool, it’s essential to know how to secure a ladder effectively.

How do you secure a ladder in a poolYou don’t want to find yourself in an emergency room when all you were hoping for was a dip in the pool.

How do you secure a ladder in a pool? Let’s begin with why

Ever tried getting in and out of a pool without a ladder?

Sure, it’s easy enough to jump into, but what about getting out?

Let’s face it, you need to be in good shape to get out of a pool without a ladder.

Many swimming pools situated above the ground don’t even have a deck, so it’s just as difficult to enter the pool as it is getting out without a swimming pool ladder.

The main reason for installing a pool ladder is not only for ease of use but also for safety reasons.

Everybody ought to get out of the swimming pool with relative ease and comfort.

For example, a child learning to swim, someone with mobility issues, or simply someone clumsy will appreciate the advantages of a quick entry and exit.

The point is that you need a swimming pool ladder, and you need to have it set up securely so it offers a firm hold for whenever somebody needs it, whoever that may be.

Three kinds of pool ladders

The 3 most basic ladder types are the A-frame, the pool deck ladder, and the pool ladder with steps.

A-frame swimming pool ladder

The A-frame pool ladder, also known as a flip-up ladder, is easily adjusted to fit the necessary height, making it easy to install yourself.

This kind of ladder can be extended by sliding the bottom part further until you reach the desired height.

Swimming pool deck ladder

This ladder type is the obvious go-to for pool owners with a deck.

They are usually stainless steel (you might find some in plastic) and offer an incredibly stylish and sleek appearance.

Many designs allow adjustments for pool height, steps with unusually deep ladder rungs, and robust products that won’t break or fade.

They’re also effortless to put away.

Swimming pool ladder with steps

This ladder is great for those particularly focused on safety.

Instead of a ladder with rungs, this ladder resembles stairs, much like typical staircases we use in everyday life.

Naturally, they come with handrails to provide the best of both worlds.

Each of the above ladders is installed and anchored differently.

Find out more about these swimming pool ladders and steps and how to safely install them in your swimming pool listed below.

How do you secure a ladder in a swimming pool? Depends upon your type of pool

Apart from the fact that pools can be in-ground or above-ground, they can also be hard-sided or soft-sided, depending on the material used in their construction.

Hard-sided swimming pools may be made from bricks, resin, plastic, or PVC.

Their softer counterparts will also have a similar and sturdy frame. However, some are entirely made from softer plastic and are self-supporting.

These usually have a deck built around them for more straightforward access.

The job of fixing a ladder to the side of the pool is naturally more manageable if the pool is hard-sided.

For example, you can drill holes into the sides, the leading rail, or the deck to firmly fix the ladder in place.

The tough edge of a deck surrounding a soft-sided swimming pool can likewise be used to affix the ladder.

If you have a soft-sided pool without a deck around it, then your alternatives are pretty restricted; however, fear not, there’s something for you too!

Tip: Read our article What do I put under my pool ladder to protect my liner? to prevent damage to your pool liner! Prevention is better than cure so take the time to read this article thoroughly!

How do you protect a ladder in a swimming pool with difficult sides, walls, top rail, or deck? 5 steps to set up a pool ladder securely

You can choose between a deck ladder and one fixed to the side for hard-sided swimming pools.

First step

Protect the pool deck ladder by screwing the rails into the sides of the pool and along the edge.

Are you opting for a side-fixed ladder? Put it into the water along the wall of the swimming pool.

The steps come weighted to remain motionless in the water and are suitable for both above-ground or pools with a deck.

Second step

Attach the ladder to the top rails of the above-ground pool if possible.

Many ladders included pre-drilled holes at the top for this precise purpose.

Also, pools with railings typically come with holes already drilled in.

If that’s not the case, then you’ll have to dust off your toolbox – or ask your neighbor to give a hand, even if that means allowing them a dip in the pool.

Third step

Ensure that the distance between the drilled holes is the same as on the top of the ladder on the rail.

If you drill holes in the ladder 15 inches apart, the railing holes must be the same.

The holes will thus line up, and you can put a bolt through the ladder into the rail to securely connect the ladder.

Fourth step

Find nuts and bolts that match the size of the holes you drilled.

If you’ve already bought the bolts before drilling, it’s the other way round: Match the holes to the bolts.

Tighten the nuts so that the ladder, when used, doesn’t sway.

Fifth phase

In the case of a deck pool ladder, you can choose to put plastic sandbags on the bottom, attached to the rung that touches the pool floor.

This will anchor and prevent the ladder from moving upwards towards the surface.

Use sandbags that are not stuffed to the brim. You don’t want it to rip or tear and find sand spreading in your swimming pool.

For a swimming pool ladder with steps, check the instructions. The stability method used will probably be described in detail.

You should find included info about the filling holes, in which you can pour sand through a funnel.

This will add ballast and weigh down the ladder firmly to keep it in place.

How do you secure a ladder in a swimming pool with soft sides only?

As discussed above, if you haven’t got any hard sides where to attach the pool ladder, your alternatives are a little more restricted.

A-frame pool ladder

You are probably limited to the A-frame style pool ladder, which sits half in the swimming pool, goes over the edge and reaches down to the ground on the other side.

This A-frame type ladder is self-supporting and needs weight to keep it stable.

Therefore, you should add ballast to it to increase weight. To do that, start off by checking out the user manual.

Chances are that you will find a guide on how to weigh down the ladder and which ballast to use.

If your ladder offers a handbook, or you’ve lost it, we’ve got you. Take a look at the following guide: How do I stop my pool ladder from floating?

Double pool ladder with steps

There is another choice to harness a ladder in a swimming pool with only soft sides: A double pool ladder with steps.

Basically, this is still an A-frame design ladder, but they are bigger and have stair-like rungs rather than the type found on a ladder.

So it stands to reason that these are safer and easier to use.

The downside is that they are bulkier and probably more expensive.

Extra pointers to protect a ladder in a swimming pool

Weigh it down

Consider putting sand or other types of material inside plastic ladders to weigh them down and prevent them from drifting upwards.

As described above, some pool ladders (like those with steps) have unique filling holes to add ballast.

While adding ballast to the frame may be obvious, check if you can weigh down the steps themselves.

They, too, might have filling holes.

Get a good ladder to begin with

Use your judgment here, and go for a ladder shorter in height and broader in width rather than one that is exceptionally long and narrow in width.

Have a look at our Heavy-duty pool ladder with 400 lbs weight limit page in order to discover various excellent options!

A-frame swimming pool ladders can be tough to stabilize.

A ladder that just reaches over the side and is too narrow for its height needs more weight to stop it from moving around.

How do you secure a ladder in a swimming pool? Conclusion

Failure to protect your swimming pool ladder is a recklessness that can cause injuries.

If a pool ladder is not safely secured, a swimmer could on the bottom rung, the ladder topples over, and the person could fall, strike their head and possibly drown.

If the pool ladder collapses under the swimmer’s weight, it could lead to broken bones for the swimmer and damage to the pool itself.

As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the pool’s safety.

We hope this post has given you a clear picture, helped you identify your options, and pointed you in the right direction for a summer full of fun in your pool.

About William Adams

I’m an engineer and a happy plus-size individual myself. I love to blog online if I can have a positive impact on the lives of others. I help other plus-size people with in-depth product guides to make shopping for products and services less stressful in their busy lives. Read More