Things to Consider Before Installing a Pool Slide

Sliding board by a swimming pool

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Adding a slide to your swimming pool is a nice addition that can enhance the fun for both family and friends. Sliding down to splash into the pool will provide hours of enjoyment and entertainment for everyone. Kids will compete to see whose splash is the biggest (adults might just join in the fun, too), and you'll hear a lot of laughter in the backyard during those warm summer days. But what should you be aware of when getting a slide for your pool? What options are available? Here we provide everything from the styles and colors of slides to safety regulations, maintenance, and more. 

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.

If you place a slide in the midst of a patio or deck seating area it 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 loose 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.

Choose a Style

There are a few important factors when selecting the style of slide you can place in your pool. Every type of slide will have different requirements including the amount of deck space, the depth of water required at the end of the slide, the necessary amount of overhang at the edge of the pool, and the clearance needed in front of the slide's end into the pool. Be aware of this vital footprint as you select from the three styles of slides for your swimming pool. 

  • Straight leg slide: This type of slide is best for smaller pools and is typically between nine to 12 feet in height. Straight at the top, a straight-leg slide has a wide curve at the end. It also comes in an open or closed stairway for the ladder. A straight-leg slide is best for smaller pools and a good choice for families with small children.
  • Molded slide leg: Offering a steeper design than the straight leg, the molded slide leg will have an enclosed stairway and is normally about eight feet tall. The slide will curve at the end, and the curvature will either go to the left or right. This style works well if you have a lesser amount of deck space.
  • Elephant slide leg: This slide is made for those extra thrilling, heart-pumping rides into the pool. The elephant slide leg comes in two options: the G-Force and the Stream Design. The G-Force pattern is typically about nine feet in height and sports a curvy shape that is reminiscent of the shape of a pasta noodle. The Stream design is larger in size, and is 14 feet in height, making it the tallest of slides. The stream elephant slide leg is similar in design to the molded slide leg but has a steeper drop at the beginning of the slide. The elephant slide leg will need the most space out of all the styles of slides.

Choose a Color

Once you've selected the style of a slide that will work best in your swimming pool, another consideration is the color you want it to be. Slides typically come in white, blue, grey, brown, or taupe. Just know that not all colors are available in all styles of slides. Whatever color you decide, make sure that it will blend well with the color tones of the swimming pool, deck, and pool furniture and overall surroundings.

Materials & Budget

Pools slides today are typically made from polyethylene, otherwise known as plastic, or a fiberglass gel coat. These materials are low in maintenance, durable, rust-resistant, fade-resistant, and chemical-resistant. The slides manufactured from polyethylene will usually have a higher price tag than the fiberglass ones.

The cost for a pool slide ranges from $1,000 up to $5,000. You should be prepared to spend on average approximately $4,000 for a slide if you're having it installed by a professional. The style of the slide will be a factor in price also, with the elephant leg pool slide being the highest in cost.

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.