It might not be the “fun” part of residential pool design, but swimming pool stairs are important to the safety of your family, so that you can best enjoy your pool.

Some regulations and guidelines exist to help pool owners and pool builders design safe entries/exits for residential pools in British Columbia. In short, many BC municipalities have bylaws and regulations in place on the construction of stairs for your backyard or indoor swimming pool.


Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada

The Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada created a set of guidelines for pool designers to follow, which cover the design of stairs or other entries/exits for residential pools.

As a member of the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada, Trasolini Pools adheres to these guidelines, except when municipal bylaws and building codes supercede the Council’s guidelines.

Read the full guideline document here


Where pool stairs must be located

Pools should have stairs, or another type of entry/exit on the shallow side of the first slope change. In short, the shallow end of the pool should have stairs.

Further, if your pool is more than 1.5 metres (5 feet) deep at the deep end, there should also be an entry/exit in the deep end.

And lastly, for any pools that are more than 9 metres (29.5 feet) deep, there should be an entry/exit at both sides of the deep end. For the most part, stairs are not recommended in deep ends that are this deep – a ladder is a better choice. This depth does not apply to most residential pools.


Alternatives to stairs for your pool

Stairs are a nice way to get into your pool, especially in the shallow end. However, they are not the only option.

You could also use one of these ways to get in and out of your pool:

  • Ladder
  • Beach entry (gentle slope that usually occupies the width of the pool’s shallow end)
  • Ramp (a slightly steeper slope that measures approximately 3 feet in width, in the pool’s shallow end)

Other options are available; however, for comfort and ease of use, we recommend installing stairs or the three options listed above for our clients.


Pool stairs best practices

Depending on your municipality, local laws might regulate the measurements of your residential pool stairs. Generally, the BC Building Code regulates the size of the tread and the rise of stairs.

pool stairs terms diagram

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For comfort and safety reasons, we often recommend a longer tread for stairs in a swimming pool. Because of the resistance and optical distortion caused by water, it is better to give the foot more area to grip each step. Where the rise is concerned, that depends on the pool owner. Some of our pools have a very high rise, whereas other pool owners like a more gradual set of stairs with a lower rise for each step.

Your pool stairs will be affected by regulations and by the design of your pool itself. They are also affected by your lifestyle, and who will use the pool. Speaking with an experienced pool designer, such as Trasolini Pools, will help you create a pool that your family will love for years to come.