Pool slides are a great way to up the fun factor and make your swimming pool the most popular summer destination in your neighbourhood.
What to Consider Before Installing a Pool Slide
While a pool slide is a child’s fantasy, it is the pool owners who need to consider all the options before installing a slide. Here we take a look at what you need to know and what you need to decide before you make your swimming pool a kid’s paradise.
The size of your pool
Firstly, if you’re thinking of adding a slide to an existing pool you’ll need to understand whether your pool is big enough to accommodate a slide. If you have a narrow lap pool, for example, a slide isn’t going to be suitable and is likely to fail the safety regulations.
When assessing the size of your pool, consider how much space you have around the pool as well as in the pool. Curved or spiral slides will take up less room than straight slides which can take up between 2.4 – 4 metres from the ladder to the pool’s edge.
The position of your slide will greatly depend on how much room you have around your pool. If you don’t have ample space around the perimeter of your pool to place a slide, you will have impaired access and limited usable space for lounging poolside.
Ideally, you’ll want to locate your slide facing your outdoor lounge area. This enables you to watch all the action and provides a more pleasing view rather than looking at the ladder. You’ll also want to ensure the slide is positioned at the deep end. No one wants to go down a slide only to land on the bottom of the pool!
When installing a swimming pool slide, the slide safety regulations which will include the water depth, the distance of the slide overhang at the pool’s edge and the clearance required at the front of the slide.
The slide format
There are several different slides to choose from depending on the size of your pool and the surrounding area you have to work with. The most popular slide formats are:
Straight Leg Slide
This slide is designed to be straight near the top and features a wide curve at the end. It comes in various lengths depending on your requirements, however, most range from 2.7 – 3.7 metres in height. Most Straight Leg Slides will come in either an open or closed stairway. For younger children, a closed stairway is recommended as a safer option.
Best for: smaller pools
Moulded Slide Leg
A Molded Slide Leg is typically steeper in design than a Straight Leg Slide and has a larger left or right curve. The height of the slide can be determined based on your requirements, however, they are generally about 2.4 meters tall. Moulded Slide Leg are typically built with an enclosed stairway rather than a traditional ladder for safety.
Best for: limited surrounding deck space
Elephant Leg Slide
This slide typically comes in two main designs: the G-Force pattern and the Stream Design. The G-Force is very curvy resembling a pasta noodle and is approximately 2.7 metres high. The Stream Design looks similar to a Molded Slide Leg slide however it features a steeper drop at the beginning rather than at the end. This is one of the tallest slide options averaging 4.2 metres.
Best for: thrills and spills
The pool slide materials
Most pool slides will be constructed of fibreglass gel coat or rotationally moulded polyethylene plastic. Both materials are incredibly durable and provide a friction-free surface for a more thrilling ride.
These materials are rust and chemical resistant and won’t fade quickly when exposed to UV rays. Slides made of rotationally moulded polyethylene plastic are considered a more superior material and as a result, is more expensive than fibreglass.
You can also create a custom made slide of tiles, pebbles or concrete. These materials are often covered with a wax-resin to provide additional safety. Avoid installing a metal slide as these can be too hot to use, especially if you don’t have a water supply running from the pool.
The water supply
Most slides use water from the pool to create a safe wet surface and enhance the fun. Water supply is often a safety requirement for pool slides. If it’s not possible to connect the slide directly to the pool water, you can purchase a hookup to your garden hose. This is typically installed up against the ladder so it isn’t too visible. Larger slides will, however, require greater water flow than you can achieve via a garden hose.
If you are installing your slide into a brand new pool, it’s worth getting your plumber to connect a sideline in advance. For those with an existing pool, you’ll need to plumb the slide’s water line from your pool’s return line. Most pool owners will cut out their existing deck or stone patio to install the water line at the most discrete point under the slide.
While slides are constructed of materials that won’t fade or corrode quickly, being exposed to the elements 24/7, they can discolour over time. If that occurs, you can restore its appearance using a specialised glaze/polish kit.
It is recommended you refrain from painting your slide as the exposure to heat and weathering, in addition to the constant friction, will compromise the integrity of your slide’s surface and make your slide appear even more unsightly.
Safety Tips for Swimming Pool Slides
When considering a swimming pool slide, you’ll need to consult your local safety codes and regulations to ensure you can comply. As a rule of thumb, the higher the slide, the deeper your pool will need to be.
Here are some general safety tips to be aware of:
1. Pool slide steps, stairs, ramps, or ladders must have threads instead of rungs; especially if the incline is 15 degrees or greater.
2. Slide steps need to be slip resistance, meet specific dimensions, performance requirements, and have tread curvature; check your state or country guidelines.
3. The angle of the slide ladders or steps needs to be in such a manner that the slide’s centre of gravity is well-balanced on each step during use.
4. The minimum dimensions apply for ladder platforms which require nonslip climbing surface and handrails.
5. Fasteners should be durable and not prone to breakage, susceptible to cracking or at risk of becoming loose.
6. The weight-bearing capability should be at a minimum of 90kgs without damage or failure. Adult slides are recommended to be a load-bearing capability of 130 kgs.
7. Handrails need to meet specific design safety, extension height and length requirements.
8. Pool slides should be wet for a safer sliding experience.
9. Servicing you pool slide should include checking for any loose bolts, cracks or signs of rust.
10. Regularly check for leaks from the water supply line. Failure to do so could see a reduce pool water level and lead to costly slide repairs.
For more pool advise, take a browse through our pool section of our Learning Library.