A lot of older vinyl liner pools don’t have concrete steps or they have the mismatching white plastic steps. The ugly white steps seem prevalent in the Cincinnati area. I would venture to say 75% of pools built before 2010 have no steps or the white plastic steps.
In my opinion the built in concrete steps with the vinyl liner over top look a lot better looking. In the past, a downside to the vinyl liner over concrete was that the liner is a little slippery when walking in and out of the pool. The liner companies solved this by having an option to have tread built into the step liner section.
If adding built in concrete steps to an already built pool, the first step is to rip out the old liner. After the liner is gone the forms for where the steps will go. Normally I build the steps at 10″ tall and 12″ for the actual step. This creates a little bit of a big first step into the pool, but the liner needs enough water to ensure a good fit for the liner. I suggest a handrail for built in steps, but it not 100% necessary.
After the forms are built, a concrete truck shows and normally the concrete will get wheelbarrow-ed from the street to the forms. This is done to prevent cracks to your driveway, and prevent tearing up per-existing landscaping. After the concrete is placed, a worker will ensure the concrete is level and flat.
After the concrete has set up, the next step is performed. A small track, what we call f track or f extrusion is drilled and attached into the concrete. The liner will have a bead on each step that will get tucked into this “f track”
The steps then get covered with HVAC grade bubble wrap. This helps cushion the steps for sitting and also protects the liner from any sharp edges from the concrete steps. After the bubble wrap is installed, all the joints from the bubble wrap get taped.
Next, then the liner will get installed and the liner will go over the concrete steps. Normally the pool will get filled until there is about 6″ water up on the first step. The installer will continue to fine tune the liner and get any winkles out. The water gets going again until its full. Sometimes the installer will decide to stop the water at the second step in order to get more winkles out. Winkles can be pushed out with a full amount of water, but it is easier to do when the pool isnt 100% full.
Finally, you now get to enjoy your new looking pool with great looking vinyl over steps!