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How To Add a Handrail to an Existing Pool

There are several ways to install a handrail on your existing pool deck. These options range from labor intensive and expensive to simple and inexpensive.

When a handrail is installed on a new pool, typically anchors are poured into the deck for the handrails or ladder to sit in. These pre-installed anchors allow for the handrail to be easily removable and also easily grounded.

If a handrail wasn’t installed at the time the pool was built, there is still hope to have a handrail.

Option 1
handrail-anchor One option is to cut a section out of the deck, place the handrail anchors in the cut section, then re-pour that section of deck. This option is more time consuming than most other options because it does require re-pouring concrete in the cut section and may not result in a seamless finish. When cutting the deck, you will want to make sure you cut a large enough area to install the anchor, yet not so much as to compromise the integrity of the pool structure or cause cracking of the deck.

Option 2
coredrill Another option is to rent a “core drill.” to drill anchor holes into your deck. With the core drill option, you need to ensure to properly mark the location of your handrail, then start drilling. Remember, the common motto here, “Measure Twice, Cut Once.” While drilling, be sure not to over-heat the drill and to keep debris from getting into the pool. After the holes are drilled and the core removed, you have several variations prior to installing the handrail. First, you could put pea gravel in the bottom of the hole to stop the hand rail from going to deep and to assist in holding it in. Second, you could insert a PVC sleeve in the hole in addition to the pea gravel. If you chose this variation, be sure to choose a piece of PVC barely large enough for the handrail to slide into, you will also have to drill the hole in the deck larger to allow for the PVC sleeve to be inserted. For the third and final variation, you may pour quickcrete in the bottom of the drilled hole to provide a stop for the hand rail. If you choose this option, be sure to only put in enough quickcrete for a base, if you pour in too much, the hand rail will not fit properly. In addition, unless you want your handrail to be a permanent fixture, allow the quickcrete to set completely before inserting the handrail into the hole.

Option 3
deck-flange
anchor drilling
The final option is very simply and not as intrusive to your deck. This option utilizes an “On-Deck Mounted Anchor.” With this option, like the other options, you will need to ensure to properly mark the location of your handrail, then start drilling. With this option, you will only need a drill and a masonry drill bit. Once you have marked the location for both deck-mount anchors, drill the appropriate holes for the anchor bolts. Most deck mounted anchor sets will come with the necessary hardware for installation. Now you are ready to install the anchors to the deck, then install the handrail in the anchors. This option can be used with either a concrete or wood deck. Be sure to use the proper drill bit and anchors for your deck type.

With the first two installation options, be sure to get escutcheons for your handrail to finish the look where the handrail meets the deck.

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15 Comments

  1. Theresa says:

    Will I need to run a ground wire from my new handrail all the way to my box if I put a new handrail up on my 13 year old inground pool. I m in GA and a pool guy told me I would need to do that if I anchored it in the ground under concrete.

  2. Chiffon Conyers says:

    Hello, do you install handrails?

  3. Laci Carnes says:

    Hello! We do pool installs in the local Memphis area!

  4. Great job on the article. We install handrails here in Orlando too! It’s a tough job but somebody has got to do it. We’ve seen a BIG spike in orders lately. I guess as the Baby Boomers get up there we’ll see more orders.

  5. Dennis Stallsmith says:

    Doesn’t the metal handrail need to be electrically bonded to the rest of the pool accessories/equipment and carried all the way back to the electrical panel? I live in Michigan and I know of an individual that added a basketball net to his inground pool concrete deck and the City would not approve its installation because it wasn’t electrically bonded to the rest of the accessories/equipment.

  6. Lawrence Williams says:

    Great article!

  7. Roger Rock says:

    Great article about the handrail bolt. Gotta take down notes of these simple yet informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Evalynn J. alu says:

    What about bonding?

  9. Sheri says:

    How do you ground the handrail? I thought all metal around a pool needed to be grounded.

  10. Loren Suits says:

    Please contact me about installing a pool railing. I’m in Deltona. Thank you.

  11. Laci Carnes says:

    Hello Loren! We install in the greater Memphis area! My I suggest our other article that covers how to locate installers in your area? CLICK HERE

  12. Laci Carnes says:

    Hi Theresa! Great question! Kathy from our Sales team states, “Yes, you will need a bonding wire to ground your new handrail. Your new handrail can be connected by bonding / ground wire to the existing wire that runs the perimeter of the pool, just under the coping. A simple saw cut section in the deck, from the newly installed handrail cups to the bonding wire at the edge of pool will be suitable. This will save from having to run the ground wire all the way back to the equipment pad.”

  13. Laci Carnes says:

    That’s right Dennis! Great question! Kathy from our Sales team states, “Yes, you will need a bonding wire to ground your new handrail. Your new handrail can be connected by bonding / ground wire to the existing wire that runs the perimeter of the pool, just under the coping. A simple saw cut section in the deck, from the newly installed handrail cups to the bonding wire at the edge of pool will be suitable. This will save from having to run the ground wire all the way back to the equipment pad.”

  14. Laci Carnes says:

    Hi Sheri! Great question! Kathy from our Sales team states, “Yes, you will need a bonding wire to ground your new handrail. Your new handrail can be connected by bonding / ground wire to the existing wire that runs the perimeter of the pool, just under the coping. A simple saw cut section in the deck, from the newly installed handrail cups to the bonding wire at the edge of pool will be suitable. This will save from having to run the ground wire all the way back to the equipment pad.”

  15. Laci Carnes says:

    Hi Evalynn! Great question! Kathy from our Sales team states, “Yes, you will need a bonding wire to ground your new handrail. Your new handrail can be connected by bonding / ground wire to the existing wire that runs the perimeter of the pool, just under the coping. A simple saw cut section in the deck, from the newly installed handrail cups to the bonding wire at the edge of pool will be suitable. This will save from having to run the ground wire all the way back to the equipment pad.”

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