Things to Consider Before Installing a Pool Slide

boy on pool slide
Boys splash on a pool slide. Bob Ingelhart/Getty Images

If children will be using your swimming pool, a slide definitely ups the fun factor. Whether it is freestanding or cleverly built into a waterfall and faux-rock landscape, a slide can be an open invitation for splashing and slippery good times. But check local building codes and do your research before taking the plunge.

Size of Pool

For starters, what type of pool do you have? Some styles, like infinity, are designed to be an elegant, peaceful body of water.

A slide would look out of place. Or, if you have a long, narrow lap pool, a slide will defeat the purpose and probably wouldn't pass regulations. Enlist the services of an experienced contractor to assist you in determining if your pool is big enough and deep enough for a slide.

Things to think about when assessing your pool's size: 

  • Is the pool deck big enough to accommodate a slide?
  • Smaller straight slides can take up at least 8 feet (2.5 meters) of deck space, while larger straight slides can measure more than 13 feet (4 meters) from the ladder to the edge of a pool.
  • Left-handed or right-handed curving or spiraling slides take up less room and can be more enjoyable for swimmers.

Location, Location, Location

Real estate in your backyard may be at a premium. Consider this: most slides need a minimum area of 8 feet x 15 feet, depending on the style. If you don't allow ample decking around the slide, access can be impaired and you and your guests may end up awkwardly walking around the pool deck or ducking under the slide to reach the other side.

Placing a slide in the midst of a patio or deck seating area is going to interrupt conversations or relaxation with all the activity. Consider locating the slide at the deep end or corner, facing the patio or deck seating area, so that you can keep an eye on the activity and enjoy the happy faces of those splashing down the slide.

Safety Regulations for Pool Slides

It's pretty simple: the higher the slide, the deeper the pool will need to be. Again, consult local safety codes and regulations.

  • Pool slide ladders, steps, ramps, or stairs must have treads in place of rungs, if the incline angle is 15 degrees or greater.
  • The angle of the slide steps or ladder must be such that the slider’s center of gravity is fully balanced on each step during use.
  • Slide steps must meet specific dimension, tread curvature, slip resistance, and performance requirements; check your county or state requirements. 
  • Fasteners must be durable and not susceptible to breakage, becoming loose, or cracking.
  • The minimum dimensions apply for ladder platforms with a slip-resistant surface at the top of the slide, including handrails.
  • The load-bearing capability must be 300 pounds without failure or damage.
  • Handrails must meet specific positioning, extension height, design safety, and length requirements.
  • Pool slides must be wet for safe sliding.
  • While servicing your pool, shake the slide to detect any loosening bolts. Water on a pool deck can cause rusted bolts, so inspect for signs of rust. 
  • Check the water supply line for leaks, which could lower the pool water level and lead to equipment that runs dry and results in costly repairs.

    Maintenance

    Slides are out in the open, exposed to the elements. Because they can discolor quickly, use a glaze/polish kit to restore its appearance. Refrain from painting a weather-beaten slide, because the constant sliding friction and exposure to heat and temperature extremes will quickly make the surface appear even worse. Painted slides or surfaces can oxidize, causing powdery streaks on the backs and bottoms of swimmers.

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