I can look back on this DIY and laugh…
At the time it was a total shit show and entirely my fault. I thought I could “build off the cuff” without plans or even a vision of what I wanted.
Don’t do that folks. At least have a vision.
The problem I was trying to solve was that my derriere is too large for the manufacturer’s pool ladder that comes with the Intex pool.
Yes, I could have shimmied myself sideways through it and still have been able to swim – but I didn’t want to shimmy. I wanted to get in comfortably.
(I’ll take the blame for determining the “need”, but don’t kid yourself Hubby – your keester isn’t 12″ either.)
I’m only going to show you one build photo of the project in progress because it doesn’t actually match the plans that I created after we were done.
Papa came over to help me because
I begged him to, he’s the mastermind of the operation, I wanted his company, and thank heaven for him because I could not wrap my head around the measurements and quantities of wood.
Yup, he was the brains and I was merely the brawn.
I’ve created building plans for you to work from so you aren’t hemming and hawing through each step like we did.
DIY Pool Ladder Supplies
- 3 1/2″ construction screws
- 1 1/2″ deck screws
- 2 four-step deck stringers
- Arborcoat Premium Exterior Stain
- 3M Anti-Slip tape
- 6 – 2x4x8
- 9 – fence boards ( 1x6x8)
- 7 – 1x4x8
- 3 – 2x10x10
- 2 – 18″ long
- 2 – 49″ long
- 2 – 56″ long
- 4 – 40″ long
- 2 – 53″ long
- *note: to minimize waste and maximize your wood, change the measurements in the plan below from 53 1/4″ to 53″, and from 56 1/4″ to 56″.
- 13 – 47″ long
- 6 – 48 1/2″ long
I’ll leave the measuring and cutting of the fence boards to you based on the idea that you probably have uneven ground and will need to adjust each board slightly.
The upper back section will remain open so that you can fit your Intex pool ladder inside the stairs themselves – the steps will only make getting IN to the pool more comfortable, you’ll still need the manufacturer’s metal ladder to get yourself out.
Originally, I had hoped to use the interior of the DIY pool ladder to store my patio cushions – I’m still not convinced there isn’t a way to add a hinge somewhere to make that happen – but for now, you’ll notice that the bottom step is both higher from the ground and much deeper. It’s perfect for a bench – so this was totally intentional.
Next up, you’ll want to attach your stair stringers to the boxed base. 3 1/2″ wood screws drilled in from the back and up from the bottom will give you a nice solid attachment.
Now you’ll want to attach the risers; we used 1 x 4 boards for this because it wasn’t really a structural necessity – just an aesthetic one. You will have a small gap unless you choose to rip boards to fill the 1 1/2″ space. The risers will run from the outside edge of the stringer to the outside edge of the opposite one.
After all of your risers have been installed, you’ll use your 5.5″ (1×6″) pressure treated fence boards to close in the sides. The boards won’t fit each step exactly, so you’ll need a small jig saw to notch out overlapping areas.
Once both sides have been covered, you can add the steps. We used 2×10 boards for strength. Your bottom step (aka. the bench) will have a small overhang past the front facing.
If I were smarter I would have moved the risers up so that they met with the upper step and so that the gap was hidden behind the lower step, but in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor aesthetic thing that can be fixed if it bugs me enough.
You may notice that some of the steps aren’t completely straight (my Dad notices these minute details), it’s because we built the stairs where they were going to be kept. I suggest you do this because building a completely straight ladder/staircase that is going to be placed on uneven ground is a recipe for rocking and shaking. Adjust your boards to fit the environment, checking for level on the steps themselves, and you’ll find your ladder won’t shift around when you use it.
Because the DIY pool ladder steps and frame were made from building lumber, it was important to add an exterior stain to the stairs. It will protect the wood from water, rot, mildew and prolong the life of your stairs. Believe it or not, Arborcoat exterior stain actually makes the surface less slippery as well.
If only you could see the myriad of errors hiding inside this beauty!
Don’t worry though, I believe my building plans to be pretty accurate – based on a 52″ tall Intex swimming pool.
I attached my pool goggle storage bin to the side with a Command hook and prettied it up a bit with some flowers.
Look at that! I can get my caboose into the pool sans shimmy and I can use the bench portion to eat popsicles with the kids and expand it further. lol
As a closing note, I did purchase some 3M Anti Slip tape from Amazon and ran a strip along each step just to be safe. With all the climbing in and out, the stairs do get pretty wet and I didn’t want to risk a fall. This tape is useful for so many different kinds of DIY projects. I get through so much of it that I’d love to set up a regular delivery of it from a 3m supplier, but they only deal with companies. At least I have Amazon to fall back on.
Thank you so much Papa for all of your hard work – this might have ended up a catapult without your analytical/commonsensical presence.
Have a great one!