Steps are an essential part of an above ground pool. If your household includes kids or people with limited mobility, traditional ladder-style steps can be a bit too narrow and unstable.
That’s where this DIY project comes in handy — with less than $100, you can learn how to make above ground pool steps that are wider and easier to climb. The best part?
You don’t need to be an expert woodworker.
Materials and Tools
- 6 wooden pallets
- 3 sheets of marine-grade plywood
- 4′ x 10′ outdoor carpet remnant
- Measuring tape
- Waterproof sealant
- Hand saw and/or jigsaw
- Drill and wood screws
- Paintbrush or roller
- Staple gun and staples – Our recommendation YEAHOME Staple Gun
- Heavy-duty scissors
How to Make Above Ground Pool Steps: Instructions
These handy steps use inexpensive materials that you can source cheaply at any lumber yard. Plan to spend a full day on this project, as you’ll need time for the paint to dry.
Stack two pallets next to the pool, with the narrower sides sitting flush with the pool wall. To form the next step, cut approximately 1 foot of length off of two more pallets. Stack them on top of the bottom layer.
Cut a fourth pallet in half; stack the two halves on top of the second layer. Then, take your final remaining pallet and cut two 1-foot sections. Depending on the height of your pool, you can use one or both of the sections to form the top step.
Once your pallet “stairs” are the right height, you can adjust the length of each step by trimming each pallet layer with a hand saw. When you’re happy with the stairs, secure the pallets together using a drill and screws. Shake the stairs with both hands to make sure the pallets don’t slip.
Stand a sheet of plywood flat against the side of your pallet stairs. Ask a friend to hold it in place, or secure it with a stack of cinder blocks. Sit on the stairs and use a marker to trace the shape of the stairs directly onto the board. Repeat this process on the other side with another sheet of plywood. Using a jigsaw or a hand saw, cut out the shapes.
Using a drill and wood screws, secure the cut pieces of plywood to the sides of your stairs. They conceal the pallets and reinforce the structure. If you prefer, you can also use a hammer and nails for this part of the process.
Use a measuring tape to measure the length and depth of each stair tread. Draw them on your plywood and cut them out using a jigsaw. Lay them on top of the pallet stairs and secure them with your drill and screws. Repeat this process for the front panel of each stair.
Sand the raw plywood edges using sandpaper. You don’t need to make them perfectly smooth — just remove any large splinters or sharp pieces of wood.
Paint the tops and sides of the stairs using a paintbrush or roller. Any type of paint will do. If your stairs are sitting on a deck or patio, lay newspapers or a drop cloth underneath the edges to protect the flooring. Allow the paint to dry completely.
Coat the stairs using a waterproof sealant. Use a paintbrush to apply the sealant all over the plywood, paying special attention to the seams. Leave the sealant to dry according to the instructions on the package.
Lay the carpet remnant over the stairs, leaving a few inches loose behind the top step. Fold that excess over the back edge, straighten the carpet, and use your staple gun to secure the carpet to the back of the steps.
Fold the carpet over the front of the top step, and add a few staples along the front panel. For safety, avoid putting staples on the tread itself.
Continue folding the carpet over each stair, fastening it with staples as you go. When you get to the bottom, you have two choices. If your carpet remnant is short, fold the end under the bottom step, and staple it in place. If it’s longer, you can extend it across the grass or the pool deck as a walkway.
Use heavy duty scissors to trim the sides of the carpet. Leave about 4 or 5 inches. On the vertical face of the top step, fold the carpet edge back toward the pool. Smooth it out and staple it down. Then, fold down the remaining carpet on the top edge of the stair, creating a neat seam.
Adjust and trim as needed. When you’re happy with how it looks, staple the carpet to the plywood. Repeat this process on the side of each stair. To make the carpet easier to manipulate, cut out a square notch between each stair
Move your stairs into position next to the pool.