Swimming pools are a fantastic way to spend the summer. Sadly, though, pool maintenance can be quite the hassle. It could be pricey and time-consuming. This is why you should always make sure your pool is protected and in good working order.
A pool ladder is an essential part of many pools as it provides a means for entering and exiting the water. However, without special precautions the pool ladder does have potential to damage your pool liner which can snowball into a large cost.
Although ladders for above-ground pools may pose higher risk, ladders for in-ground pools also have ability to wreak havoc on the liner.
So with that in mind, we’ll guide you on how to protect the pool liner from ladders.
Let’s jump right into it!
How to Protect Your Pool Liner
A pool liner is a vinyl layer put on the pool’s walls and ground to hold the water. When liners are damaged, they’re more likely to fracture and peel, which can quickly escalate into a leak.
Here are some suggestions for keeping the pool liner safe from the pool ladder:
Use a Ladder Guard
Ladder liner guards are safety pads that keep ladders standing vertically with a reliable grasp on the above-ground pool. The guards are usually made of strong polymers, such as vinyl.
The liner guard sits under the base of your ladder or stairs in order to protect the floor of the pool. Often the liner guard comes in a nominal thickness of 1/16”, which won’t cause any noticeable difference in your ladder height.
When selecting a liner guard, you’ll just need to simply measure the width of your ladder footing. Then, compare the dimensions of your ladder to the specs of the ladder liner guard. The guards can often be trimmed if you can’t find a size that closely matches your ladder footprint.
Installation of the liner guard is a breeze. Simply lift the ladder or stairs slightly in order to place the mat underneath. The guards are generally slip-resistant, so it should stay in place while also providing a safety footing for swimmers.
Use a Bath Mat
A bath mat is a smooth and highly absorbent pad that will prevent slips in wet areas. This makes it a great option for use in a pool.
Bath mats with suction cups can help protect the bottom of the pool without the mat sliding out of place. It may be best to use a bath mat with minimal thickness to avoid increasing the overall height of the ladder or stairs.
DIY Ladder Guards
You can also get creative in protecting your liner from the ladder if you’d rather not go the typical route of a ladder mat.
You can cut a pool noodle such that it fits the base of the ladder. You may need to use rope or zip ties to keep the noodle in place.
Or, look around the house for other semi-soft objects that would fit the ladder feet without being too obtrusive in the pool –an old pair of sandals, soles of shoes, etc.
Just keep in mind that whatever DIY solution you go with will be exposed to your pool’s chemicals, such as chlorine. Over time, the material may start to break down in the pool and may need to be replaced periodically.
Pool Ladder Bumpers
Pool ladder bumpers are essential if you have a vinyl in-ground pool with a ladder.
In-ground pools often have ladders with a base or ‘feet’ that come in contact with the pool wall. The ladder bumper is made of rubber and inserted into the base of the ladder to prevent direct contact between the metal ladder and the liner.
The bumpers are designed to fit snuggly into the diameter of the ladder base. If over time you find that the bumpers are no longer holding in place, it’s probably time to purchase a new set.
When purchasing new ladder bumpers, it’s key that you accurately measure the inside diameter of the ladder base tubing. A snug fit will keep them from falling out.
Keep Good Water Balance
Aside from physical protection from the pool ladder, it’s also critical to maintain proper pH levels. While the pH level is important for ensuring a safe swimming environment, an uneven pH level in your water might destroy your pool liner.
Any vinyl surface exposed to low pH water will become fragile, which, in turn, will increase the risk of fractures and damage. The pH level should be between 7 and 7.6.
If necessary, you can use sodium carbonate or soda ash to raise the pH levels.
What to Look for in a Pool Liner Guard
Because a pool liner is an important aspect of the pool, you should invest in a decent guard. Here are some things to think about while purchasing a pool liner guard:
1 – Durability
Liner guards for above-ground pools commonly use geotextile material. The guard goes under the base of the liner in order to prevent punctures caused by sharp objects in the ground, such as roots, rocks, and plants.
There are several types of, so be sure to opt for a liner guard that’s suitable for your needs.
2 – Size
Selecting the correct ladder guard size is fairly important. A guard too small may run the risk of the ladder being unstable, and the guard potentially falling out of place.
The guards are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. The ideal size of a pool ladder guard is determined by the size of your ladder or steps.
You’ll need to measure the size of your pool’s ladder or steps. After that, choose a mat that is at least the same size as the ladder or bigger. You can typically trim a mat if you find that it’s too bulky underneath the ladder.
3 – Slip and Chemical Resistance
To prevent accidents and injuries, you should install a slip-resistant guard. The guard should be thick enough to prevent wet feet from sliding.
What’s more, the guard shouldn’t react with the pool’s chemicals to prevent discoloration, stains, and deterioration. So, opt for a chemical-resistant guard.
4 – Price
Liner guards and ladder guard pricing can greatly vary based on their size, material and thickness. They can range from $20 to $215.
The less expensive ones will generally suffice for residential applications. However, the more expensive ones might offer some additional features that may be worth considering.
Now that you know how to protect the pool liner from ladders, it’s one less thing to have to worry about when it comes to accidental pool damage.
The pool liner can be protected from the ladder in a variety of ways, including use of a ladder guard. The guard can also help promote safety by keeping the ladder balanced and providing a slip resistant surface.
If the ladder guard is not practical for you, there are other options that you’ll want to keep in mind to assure protection of your liner.
Just as protecting the liner from the ladder is easy, it’s also just as easy to remove the ladder once it’s time to close the pool for the season!
Happy (worry-free) Swimming!
Husband and father of three (actually, four if you include the pool). I’m an avid DIY-er and weekend warrior that enjoys taking up new projects around the house to help us maximize leisure right at home. I enjoy researching and sharing various tips, tricks and knowledge to help others make their home an oasis.