Many in-ground and aboveground pools utilize removable ladders or steps to provide access to the water. Ladders make covering your pool for the winter extremely easy, since they can simply be removed and placed in storage. Because ladders are made of lightweight material such as plastic, acrylic or aluminum, they can float in the water if not properly secured. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to weigh down your ladder so it stays in place, allowing you and your family to safely access the pool.
One of the easiest ways to weigh down a pool ladder is to use water. Some pool ladders and steps feature a chamber that fills with water so the ladder doesn't float or drift away. If your ladder doesn't allow for adding water, you can use vinyl or plastic water bags designed to hold a pool cover in place to weigh down the ladder. Simply use nylon rope to tie the bags to your ladder so it stays in place. The advantage of using water to weigh down your pool's ladder or steps is that if a leak should develop, there is no mess to clean up.
Some pool ladders and steps have compartments meant for the addition of material to weigh them down, but water is not the recommended substance. Instead, you can fill the chamber with sand to hold the ladder in place. If your ladder doesn't have a compartment, make your own sand-filled weights by filling plastic milk jugs with sand. Tie the jugs to your ladder with nylon rope to stabilize it and keep it from floating to the surface. The drawback to using sand is that if a leak develops, it can create a mess on the bottom of your pool that may potentially damage your filter system and automatic pool cleaner. If you notice sand leaking from your ladder, vacuum it up immediately.
Like sand, you can place pea gravel inside your pool ladder or steps to weigh them down. Some ladder manufacturers recommend gravel as an alternative to sand, so it can be used in the same way. You can also fill milk jugs with gravel to create your own weights. Gravel, however, presents an even more serious danger to your pool's filter and automatic cleaner if it should leak into the water. Monitor your ladder carefully to make sure none spills out.
If you are in a pinch and don't have any water bags, sand or gravel to weigh down your ladder, the hand weights you may use for your daily workouts can do double duty. Just make sure they are waterproof before placing them in the water. Weights made of waterproof neoprene or covered in vinyl are usually suitable, although weights designed for underwater exercise are your best option. Use nylon rope to tie them to the ladder so they remain in place.