In-ground pool ladders may all look the same, but there are actually many variations of ladders that are available for pools. Most ladders are made of stainless steel with plastic or stainless steel treads or rungs. They typically have a mirror finish that leaves a bright shine, especially in the sunlight. Ladder rungs tend to be very similar and go straight up or down the pool wall. Some models have a unique bend at the top of the ladder that provides a different look. Most have a standard rounded bend, but one style is very unique because it has humps similar to those of a camel.
The stainless steel used on inexpensive or standard in-ground pool ladders is usually a lower grade stainless steel and not as thick on the rail walls as a high-end ladder. Both kinds are usually buffed and polished. The necessary hardware for installation, as well as the non-skid pads for the treads, is often included with the ladder. Most basic ladders can hold a person up to 250 pounds, and they are generally guaranteed for one year. One standard ladder is available in colors of brown, gray, dark blue, silver, black, white, ivory, and green that are applied to the ladder in a protective powder coat that will not affect the pool water.
More expensive in-ground pool ladders made of stainless steel have frames that are constructed with thicker stainless steel tubing. They are usually guaranteed to hold a person weighing up to 300 pounds, or two people on the ladder at one time. Most are guaranteed for five years. One model has a black finish on the frame with a mirror finish on the treads for a very stylish look. Another expensive ladder is made of high impact polymer that is reinforced on the inside with encapsulated steel. This ladder requires no maintenance and does not chip, rust, or fade. It is sold with a five-year warranty. It is available in beige, gray, taupe, black, or white and colors are not affected by chlorine.
Customers who have very small pools may prefer a ladder that is especially made to fit closer to the pool sides with narrow radius bends. This ladder is available with either stainless steel or plastic treads, and its small size provides more swimming area.
Different types of ladders are made specifically for pools with vinyl liners, as well as for those made of fiberglass, shotcrete, and poured concrete. An in-ground pool ladder for a pool with a vinyl lining must have rubber covers over the edges of the ladder that come in contact with the side of the pool to avoid any rips or tears. If a pool is located in an area with extreme winter temperatures, its ladder must be able to withstand very low temperatures. These ladders are available in areas with cold winters.
For pools located near the ocean where swimmers may enter the pool with salt water on their swim suits, or if a pool is a salt water pool, a ladder that is salt resistant must be used. One interesting style has a vinyl coating over the stainless steel to eliminate slippery rails. It is corrosion resistant and keeps the rails cool to the touch in the burning heat.
If a person is thinking of purchasing a new ladder because a part of their ladder is broken, it is not always necessary to buy an entire ladder. Replacement parts are available from online vendors who sell rubber bumpers for the ends of the ladder that protect a vinyl liner for less than $5 each. They also sell stainless steel replacement steps which can be an economical alternative to buying a new ladder. These sell for around $30; plastic replacement steps cost about $20.