Ladders and handrails are important safety features in residential swimming pools. There are several factors that need consideration when choosing pool ladders and handrails. These considerations improve functionality and durability of the mentioned fixtures.
The discussion below highlights three reasons why stainless steel handrails and ladders are better than their aluminium equivalent.
A Weighty Affair
The weight of ladders and handrails might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, weight is among the most important factors that determine how safe your rails and ladders will be. Heavier ladders or rails have the structural strength to bear heavier loads without warping or bending under the influence of extra weight.
Steel is heavier than aluminium. The extra weight makes it more expensive to fabricate and transport steel handrails and ladders. For this reason, steel is a more expensive choice of material. The trade-off is that the steel fixtures are likely to outlast their aluminium counterparts if both are exposed to the same level of pool traffic. The higher initial cost of purchase ends up paying for itself over the lifespan of the railings/ladders.
A Corrosive Saga
Metals and water have always had a bitter-sweet relationship. The swimming pool environment stretches the limit(s) of this relationship to the greatest extent by constantly exposing ladders/rails to the wet environment.
Addition of chlorine into pool water makes corrosion a more significant threat. The reaction between chlorine and pool water produces weak hypochlorous acid, which could easily accelerate the rate of corrosion on ladders and handrails.
Aluminium metal is more reactive than steel and this makes aluminium rails and ladders more vulnerable to corrosion in the face of hypochlorus acid. Additionally, steel handrails are fabricated with a powder-coated finish that increases their resistance to corrosion. Powder-coating is often not standard practice in the fabrication of aluminium rails and ladders.
A More Corrosive Saga
Powder coating isn't the only option for increasing the corrosion resistance of pool handrails and ladders. If you're worried that a powder coat might not hold well against the corrosive pool water, there's the option of galvanized or galvannealed rails and ladders.
Galvanization replaces the protective coat of powder on ladders or rails with a protective layer of zinc, which offers greater resistance to corrosion. Galvannealed rails and ladders will have undergone heat treatment after galvanization, which further improves their corrosion resistance. Galvanization and galvannealing are both not common practice in the fabrication of aluminium metal products.
Look into different options for stainless steel handrail fabrication if you want the best options for around the pool.