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Diving Boards, Slides, Ladders and Rails

Diving Boards, Slides, Ladders and Rails

Diving Boards, Slides, Ladders and Rails are some of the accessories you can install by your pool. They are fun and recreational things but they do need certain guidelines for installation and maintenance.

Diving Boards

Diving boards are made of wood, for flexibility and covered with fiberglass, for waterproofing, with a nonskid tread applied on the top. They are available simple platform models or spring assisted models for extra bouncing action.

Residential boards are from 6 to 12 feet in length and 18 inches wide. Commercial boards are usually 20 inches wide and up to 16 feet in length. To accommodate the smallest board, a pool must be at least 8 feet deep and at least 15 feet wide by 28 feet long.

Check local codes before adding a diving board to a pool.

Repair and Replacement

Most older diving boards you encounter will need replacement, Repair is not recommended.

If the fiberglass has cracked or started to delaminate, it may cause the board's wooden interior to rot. This CANNOT be repaired. Replace the board. If the sun has destroyed the non-skid material on the top of the board, replacing this material is the only repair that can be made safely. However, this is not normally done and it will take a professional diving board repair specialist to do this right. We recommend just changing the entire board with a new one. Safety First!!

To replace a diving board follow these instructions.

If your new board already has holes in it, you can skip steps 1-3.

  1. First, unfasten the old board. To do so, counter balance the board or have someone hold it so that it does not tip into the pool. Remove the nuts, lockwashers, flat washers, and/or buttplate from the mounting hardware that holds the board to the stand.
  2. Take the board off the stand. if the wood inside the board has become waterlogged make sure you have some help nearby for boards can be very heavy.
  3. Lay the new board on the deck. Lay the old board on top of the new one and use the old holes as a template for drilling the new holes. Drill the needed holes. Sometimes fulcrum of the stand has a rubber cushion that might need to be replaced. A new cushion comes with most replacement boards. Lift off the old cushion and push the new one in place. Most stands also have a rubber gasket or cushion on the bolted end as well. Apply the new gasket there.
  4. Install the new board by placing it on the stand, remembering to counterweight so that it does not tip into the pool. Make sure to use new bolts when installing a new board. Underneath, replace the nuts with whatever lockwashers, flat washers, and/or bolt plate that are included for the underside. If the replacement doesn't come with lockwashers, add them to minimize the vibration and loosening of the nuts over period of time. Never add nuts without washers or an underside bolt plate. The stress on the bottom of the board is enormous each time a jump is made and, over time, the nut by itself will tear through the board. The washers or bolt plate distribute that stress evenly. Do not torque the bolt so tightly that the board cracks or weakens at that point.

Always replace the board of same type and length and not with a longer one, for legal and safety reasons.


Residential slides are generally made of fiberglass with metal frames and steps. They can use significant amount of space on a pool deck and just like diving boards the higher the slide, the greater the depth needed at that location. A straight slide will be 8 to 13 feet long, requiring a lot of deck space. If deck space is limited, left-handed or right-handed curved slides are available. Never install a Slide on an Above Gound Pool.


Slide installation is simple and anchor kits are available. The slide mounts to the concrete with plastic flanges supplied from the slide manufacturer. Set the slide lag bolts into the concrete as the concrete is being poured, or after the concrete is poured. Position the slide in the desire location, then drill into the concrete and use anchoring bolts.


Slide are made of fiberglass so they tend to discolor due to sun/chemical exposure. Some pool supply stores sell a glaze/polish kit that can restore the appearance, but never try to paint it. Other maintenance that might be needed is to check for wear and tear, rusty bolts and check the water supply line (if the system has one) for leaks that might deplete the pool water level, leading to equipment that runs dry and overheat.

Ladders and Grab Rails

Though your pool probably has steps at the shallow end, you'll want an easy way, or even two, to get out of the pool at the deep end. Stainless steel ladders are popular. If you have a concrete pool, build steps into the side of the pool and add a pair of grab rails. A rail near the steps at the shallow end is also convenient.


After deciding for the desired rail or ladder, measure the available space. In the case of a ladder, it needs 36 inches of deck width and 24 inches depth below the waterline. With a rail, you measure the horizontal distance from the deck to the end of the steps. Position the item on the deck as needed and mark the spots where the legs touch the deck and pool. in the case of the rail, which also needs to be anchored in the pool bottom, the pool must be empty for this procedure. Drill out the holes in the deck and pool bottom to a depth of 3 to 6 inches, depending on how high you want the final installation to be.

Dry fit your ladder or rail. Set the item into the holes and be sure you have the desired fit and height. Slide the escutcheon plates into place (the decorative rings that conceal the holes in the deck or pool). Be sure to put them on facing the correct direction. After the item is set in the concrete, you can't remove the escutcheon plate. Be sure the item is level-that it doesn't lean to one side or the other. If you drilled your holes to the same depth, the item should also be horizontally level. Now remove the rail or ladder.

Fill the holes with the mixture of quick-set concrete and set the ladder or rail into the holes as deeply as it will go. The concrete should fill and surround the hollow pipe. Keep it in position until the concrete sets enough to hold the rail or ladder by itself. Let the concrete dry overnight before refilling the pool or applying any pressure to the item. Slide the escutcheon plates into place to conceal the installation holes and test the rail or ladder.