Modern Vinyl Liner Pool Steps

In recent years there has been a shift in the world of swimming pools.  This shift can be seen in many different aspects.  The biggest part of this shift is in the type of in ground swimming pool that people are getting.  In the past I speculate that the majority of people were getting concrete pools.  Now the trend has moved toward vinyl liner in ground pools.  The reason for this is partly due to the fact that the perception of the vinyl liner pool has improved.  I think that people used to see a vinyl liner pool as inferior to the concrete pool.  Now people are starting to realize that there are benefits to owning a vinyl liner pool that are not available with a concrete pool.  In addition to that the cost of a vinyl liner pool is in most cases cheaper than that of its concrete counter part.

In today’s world one could get a vinyl liner in ground pool with all the same design freedom of a concrete pool.  By that I mean vinyl liner pools can be made in any shape, size, and form.  It is basically a matter of what is desired.  I have even seen guitar shaped vinyl liner pools.  In the past, the design options were limited, but with new technology and know how those options are now endless.  When vinyl liner pools first entered the market, there weren’t much to them.  A basic shape, with a white thermoplastic step.  Soon after that the fiberglass step was offered as an upgrade.  Mainly due to the fact that the fiberglass step is a much more structurally sound way to go.  Today more and more people are getting pools with custom vinyl over steps.

The vinyl over step is almost to the point where it is expected in a pool design.  This style of step offers more of a concrete pool look and custom design options.  Obviously that is an amazing selling feature for vinyl liner swimming pools.  Now instead of having the same white step as the neighbor, people are now able to have a similar swimming pool that looks completely different.  There are a few different ways that these steps are created.  First of all there are two basic types of vinyl over steps.  One is what is known as straight tread, and the other is known as permanent form.  The difference is in the way that these steps are manufactured.  The straight tread design means that the entire step is made out of the same material.  Meaning that both the riser and tread of the step are either made out of steel or a non-corrosive material.  (Side note… There are major differences in the types of non-corrosive materials that are available.  To learn more check out the rest of my blog.)  The permanent form design is in my humble opinion the better type of step.  This style of liner over step offers folks a more solid structure for their steps.  This type of step is different in that the riser is made out of the steel or non-corrosive material, but the treads of the step are concrete.  The permanent form step is partly made in a factory, and finished on site.  Once the step is installed in the pool there are a couple other options that need to be addressed.

Rod and Clip Design

With a vinyl over step, the liner will need to be secured to the step.  Usually this is done in the area of the steps where the treads meet the risers.  This is done a couple of different ways.  One way is to use rods and clips.  This way would require the liner to be made with “sleeves” on the under side of the liner where the treads meet the risers.  Then fiberglass rods would be slid through the sleeves and clips would be used to secure the rods to the steps, which will ultimately secure the liner into place over the steps.  This is an effective way of securing the liner over the steps.  However please note that the rod will, in most cases be somewhat visible under the liner where the risers meet the treads.  It comes down to personal preference.  Would it bother you to be able to see where the rods are underneath the liner?  If so then you might want to go with the other way of securing the liner to the steps.  This would have to be determined prior to the steps being installed in the pool.

Bead Track

The other way is to use what is called a bead receiver where the treads meet the risers.  In the past, the bead of a liner was only found at the top edge of the liner.  This is what secures the liner to the top of the walls of the pool.  However a bead is now used to secure the liner to the steps.  The liner would have to be manufactured with a bead in the correct location.  So instead of having a “sleeve” on the backside of the liner where the treads meet the risers, there would now be a bead.  That bead would then be neatly tucked into the bead receivers of the steps to give the steps an overall clean look.  Either way, the end result would be a secure liner over the steps, the only difference is that one way, in my opinion, has a better aesthetic appeal in the end.

The difference in cost is not that much in the grand scheme of things.  Again it comes down to personal preference and what best suites you.  The fact is that many people are getting pools installed with liner over steps as a way to make their pools a unique piece of art.

For more information on vinyl liner pools, and swimming pool in general please check out the rest of my blog.  There is a lot of useful information within it that will help current pool owners stay on top of whats new, and help those without pools decide if a pool is right for them.

Liner Over Steps – Ensure Proper Installation

More and more people are having in ground vinyl liner pools built these days.

In addition to that one of the aspects of a vinyl liner pool that is also growing in popularity is the liner over step.  In a recent post I went into some detail about the different styles of vinyl liner steps.  Without repeating myself too much I want to reiterate the fact that there is one style that I consider superior to the other.  Only Alpha’s Permanent Form design of liner over step is in my opinion the better way to go as far a liner over steps go.  The other option is to go with the Straight Tread Design.  These are both very nice steps to have in you vinyl liner pool.  They will both give you that sleek look that everyone is wanting for their pools.  However the Permanent Form Design is in my opinion the superior step.  It will offer a more stable tread and as far as installation goes I find it to be a bit easier to install.  The main reason is that this type of step requires a concrete tread be poured.  These steps come from the manufacturer as just the risers.  Basically they will have to be backfilled with stone and the capped off with a couple inches of concrete.  This means that initially there is more room to work and they are far easier to backfill.

Here you can see how the support legs are attached to the bottom of the treads
The Straight Tread Design is a little more tricky to install.  With this design the manufacturer will send it out with both the risers and treads of the step intact.  This system relies on two main things for support.  One is the legs that it comes with.  These legs will be installed under the steps and give it something to rest on.  Although these legs offer some support for the step, the primary source of support comes from the backfill.  I would venture to say that the 10% of the support comes from the legs and the remaining 90% comes from the backfill.  Issues can arise if the installer doesn’t sufficiently backfill the step.  From my experience this style of step often gets poorly backfilled.  I think that this problem is primarily a result of the installer finding that the steps are somewhat difficult to backfill and they call it good before it is actually good enough.  In reality the Permanent Form Design was made to combat this issue.  If the Straight Tread Design step is not backfilled adequately they may need to be repaired at some point.  That point may come too soon, or in some cases it could take years before you notice that something is not right.  What happens is that although they have the support legs under them, the steps will become for lack of a better term “squishy” under foot, between where the support legs are located.  This means that as you walk down them you may notice the tread flexing under your weight in some areas.  This is usually because there is no backfill to very little backfill under them in that area between the legs of the step.  When it comes to composite Straight Tread Design.
The main concern is at the joints of the step.  The joint is where two parts of the step are bolted together.  For instance if the steps are 16′ wide across the entire shallow end then they will likely come in 8′ sections that will need to be bolted together to make the 16′.  The joint at which they bolt together is susceptible to giving way under foot if there is not enough backfill under them to support the weight of swimmers entering and exiting the pool.  If this happens you will notice a difference in the height of the tread at the joint.  One side will typically be a touch higher than the other and that difference will be greater when weight is applied.
How to avoid this issue.
First of all the best way to avoid this type of situation is to avoid it all together.  Insist that your builder use the Permanent Form Design step.  With the Permanent Form this is a non-issue.  However the permanent form design is a touch more expensive than the Straight Tread design.  If you are having a pool installed with the straight tread design be aware of how the installer is backfilling them.  They should literally be stuffing the underside of the step with stone.  They should also be checking the tread surface periodically by walking the length of the treads to ensure they are properly supported.  If they find an area that is “squishy” they will need to address it by stuffing even more stone under them in that area.  As the owner of the pool you should absolutely feel free to assess the steps yourself prior to the pouring of your deck around the pool.  If you feel that there is an area that is suspect of inadequate backfilling, feel free to mention it to your builder.  Being that you are the owner and it is your money going into the building of the pool, you should be comfortable with the way the steps feel as you walk down them.
How a builder can fix a composite Straight Tread Design step if the joint gives way.
This repair is not all that difficult to do and really doesn’t take too long.  First the pool will need to be drained down to a point at which the problem area is exposed with enough room to work provided that the liner itself is salvageable.  Next a hole will have to be cut in the tread of the step next to the joint that has the issue.  For this I will typically use a 4″ hole saw (do not lose the piece that is cut out).  Next use the hole in the tread to add backfill material.  Depending on how big the void under the steps is they may need to first add stone to bring the backfill to the appropriate height.  Once that is complete I always finish filling the hole with concrete (quick-crete works well for this).  Make sure that the material going into the hole is pushed down as much as possible.  The goal is to pack that hole with as much material as possible.  Once the hold is completely full, the piece that was cut out can be inserted back into the hole.  For this next step the builder will need to contact the manufacturer ahead of time to procure an industrial strength two-part epoxy.  They will need to use that epoxy to secure the piece back in place.  After the epoxy hardens they should sand down the area until they again get a smooth, seamless surface.  At this point the they can either add some step foam, or just put the liner back in place depending on their preferences.
The Straight Tread Design step can be a wonderful addition to any pool.  However the quality of the step is ultimately dependent on the quality of the installation.  Obviously, in any situation that you are not quite sure of it is important to ask questions.  If your builder comes to you proposing the installation of a Straight Tread Design step over a Permanent Form Design step take the time to ask them about it.  Have they installed this type of step before?  Have they had any problems with this type of step in the past?  If you are still unsure, you can always insist that they install a Permanent Form Design instead.
Builders will typically have a harder time backfilling a full width step as opposed to a corner step or bench.  Keep in mind that it is your pool, your property, and your money.  Be aware of what is going on, ask questions, and demand the very best from your builder.
For more information on the different types of liner over steps check out my other blog posts related to this topic.  You can also check out Only Alpha’s website at  From there you can navigate through the different parts of the website and see the different styles of steps available as well as the differences between a steel wall pool and a composite pool system.

Straight Tread Design VS Permanent Form Design Steps

When it comes down to deciding what type of steps you want for you new vinyl liner in ground swimming pool there are several options available to choose from.  Years ago there were really only a couple choices available.  Basically either thermoplastic or fiberglass acrylic.  Both of these types of steps are those that get bolted into the wall of the pool and the liner would have to be cut out in the area for the steps.  These types of steps are still used today and are for the most part very reliable.  I would say that out of these two types, the fiberglass steps are the better bet.  They are more structurally sound and in some cases the thermoplastic steps have been known to warp or not hold their shape as well.  This brings me to the main topic of this post.

Straight Tread Design

The newer style of steps that is all the rage is liner over.  This means that the liner is manufactured so that it perfectly fits the steps of the pool.  There are two different ways that the steps themselves are manufactured.  One way is that they are made completely out of the same material.  This style is referred to as straight tread design.  This means that the treads and risers are all the same material weather it is steel or composite.

Permanent Form Design

The other way they are manufactured is by making the risers out of steel or composite material, and leaving the treads out to be filled in on the job site with stone and concrete.  This is referred to as permanent form design.  Either way you go the outcome will look very similar.  The liner will be made so that it fits these steps perfectly.  However there are some key differences in these two styles that should be noted.  One difference is the cost.  The permanent for design steps are a bit more pricy.  This is due to the fact that the quality is substantially better, and in my opinion they tend to be a little bit easier to install.  The straight tread design steps tend to be a bit tougher to install properly.  The issue mainly comes down to backfilling.  The straight tread design requires that they be backfilled with stone all the way up to the bottom of each tread.  Sounds easy enough right?  While it can certainly be done, it can be rather difficult to do and ensure that it is done adequately.  If there is not enough backfill underneath each tread it can become a problem later on.  An easy way to test that each tread has enough backfill underneath is to step on them.  If there is not enough backfill then you will likely notice spots on the treads that sink under your foot.  By sink I mean that you will feel that there is a void underneath them.  If that void remains under the tread you will be able to feel it every time that you enter the pool.  While this style of step is less expensive and might require a bit more elbow grease to install than the permanent form design it can still be a very good step for any pool.

On the other hand, the permanent form design step is in most cases a more structurally sound way to go.  As I said before, the step risers of this design are made of either steel or composite material and have no treads on them at all.  This allows the builder to fill the steps with stone leaving the last two or three inches open to be filled in with concrete.  This creates a much more stable tread surface and you will feel absolutely no voids underneath them.  Being that this type of step is more structurally sound than the straight tread design, it stands to reason that they will cost a bit more.  Both of these designs are being used over and over by builders all over the country, and they both offer pool owners the beautiful look of having their liner over their steps.  It really makes the steps and pool look more uniform.  Rather than having a nice pattern throughout the pool and the step which would traditionally be white, blue, or grey.

Rod and Clip

You may be wondering how the liner stays where it is supposed to be on the steps.  There are two ways in which this is done.  One is a design called Rod and Clip.  This design requires that the liner be made a special way with sleeves where the treads meet the risers of the step.  In addition to they require the use of plastic rods that get slid through the sleeves.  After that a series of clips are used to hold the rods in place at the point in which the treads meet the risers.  This is what holds the liner down.

Bead Track

The other option, and in my opinion the better option is bead track.  This system does away with the rods and clips and instead uses a specially designed track made to accept the bead of the liner.  In addition to that the liner will again have to be specially made with beads in place of the pockets where the treads meet the risers.  The bead track is attached to the risers of the step just behind the treads.  The bead of the liner for the steps in inserted into the bead track.  I like this system better mainly because it is less noticeable than the rod and clip.  With the rod and clip design you will likely be able to see where the rods are behind the liner.  With the bead track design there will be no areas in which you could see where the bead is simply because it will  be tucked away behind the tread of the step.

I wanted my readers to know that there are other options available for choices in steps in addition to the thermoplastic and acrylic fiber glass step.  Both the straight tread and permanent form designs are amazing designs and will give your pool a clean, uniform look.  With this information you can hopefully now make an educated decision when it comes time to choose which type of step you want for your pool.

For more information on the latest and greatest pool products available, and general vinyl liner in ground pool information check out my other blog posts.  For more information on Only Alpha Pool Products check out the website at

Fiberglass Swimming Pool Steps – Not Created Equal

In the swimming pool industry today there are several different types of entry systems that one could choose from when having a pool built.  They are all a little different from one another and they all offer something different than the others.  So how do you know which is best for you?  In my opinion the best way to go about solving this question is to ask yourself a few more questions.  First which style has the most appeal?  Then decide which is the most practical for your family.  Finally determine how much you want to spend on your entry system.  These are some of the things that you will have to consider in your decision making.  In addition to that it may be a good idea to talk to your builder and see what they recommend.  They will be able to tell you which type is their best seller and may even be able to tell you something about the structural integrity of the different steps.  For instance I know that the thermo plastic steps may eventually warp and not look the best.  Another thing that should be considered is the manufacturer of the steps.  Not all manufacturers make the steps the same way and in some cases the way the steps are made makes a big difference.  Today I want to take the time to explain to my readers why all acrylic fiberglass steps are not created equal.

Only Alpha’s Fiberglass Steps

In the past I have gone into great detail about the differences between Only Alpha Pool Products and other manufacturers.  Basically the difference is that while Only Alpha strives to be the best and create new and better swimming pool components, their competition seems to only be doing what is necessary to get by.  This is also true when it comes to the acrylic fiberglass steps.  The steps made by Only Alpha are made with the highest quality material available.  In addition to that the up most care is taken to ensure that everything that leaves their facility is free of defects and blemishes.

Other step manufacturers use a filler material like talc in their steps to cut down on their cost of material.  What this means is that the steps bought from them are not made with quality in mind.  Instead they are thinking about how they can increase profits by using filler material in their steps and charging the same amount for them as if they were a high quality product.  In my opinion this is wrong.  Nobody should ever buy anything under false pretenses.  Most consumers will never realize that their expensive acrylic fiberglass steps are made poorly until it is too late.  At that point they will have a large eye sore in their beautiful swimming pool.  So what makes Only Alpha so different?  They use only the best material in their acrylic fiberglass steps.  In addition to that they don’t use cheap filler material to help cut costs.  So their customers receive the highest quality step on the market every time.

For more information regarding in ground swimming pool products and general swimming pool information please check out my other blog posts.  Also please take the time to check out Only Alpha’s website at and really see what makes them better than the rest.  From there you will have access to different links and information pertaining to their products and get side by side comparisons of different products so you can actually see why their products are superior.

Vinyl Liner Inground Pools – Step Options

Today I am going to discuss the different types of steps that you can get in your vinyl liner inground swimming pool.  If my memory serves me correctly I may have discussed this a bit in a previous post.  Today I will go into more detail about each particular type of step.  There are four main types of steps that are available to you.  They are thermoplastic, acrylic fiberglass, and two types of liner over steps, the permanent form design and the straight tread design.

To begin I want to start with the thermoplastic step.  This type of step is made by heating a sheet of thermoplastic material making it malleable and easily manipulated and forming it to a step mold.  Once the material cools, it again becomes rigid making the solid step for the pool.  This type of step is in my opinion the least desirable for your pool.  You must understand that this type of material is susceptible to heat.  It can be recycled over and over again due to the fact that when heated it can again be formed into any shape.  This means that it can potentially become warped or mis-shaped after it has been installed in your pool.  I would be a little bit irritated if I spent all that money on a pool to have my step eventually warp.  I am not saying that it would definitely happen or that it happens often, but what I am saying is that there is the potential for it to occur.  This type of step uses a gasket, and strap system to keep the liner in place and ensure that there are no leaks.

Another type of step is the Acrylic Fiberglass step.  This type of step is a bit more structurally sound than the thermoplastic step.  It is not as susceptible to heat like the thermoplastic step.  However depending on the manufacturer the quality of the step may be sub par.  I know that some manufacturers use talc as a filler product to save money on the cost of making the step.  The problem with this is that it weakens the steps.  Other manufacturers like Only Alpha Pool Products use absolutely no filler material in the composition of the step.  In fact they use eight layers of material in the manufacturing process to ensure that the step is of the highest quality possible.  Both the thermoplastic step and the acrylic fiberglass step use standard PVC support legs to aid in the support of the step.  Like the thermoplastic step, the acrylic fiberglass step uses the gasket and strap system to keep the liner in place and ensure it doesn’t leak.

Both of these types of steps have been used for years in vinyl liner inground swimming pools, however there are some drawbacks to this type of step.  One is that these type of steps are limited in the color they are available.  Also there is a limitation to the style of the step and placement in the pool.

Another potential problem comes with the gasket and strap system.  You have to understand that for these steps a section of the liner has to be cut out and screwed to the step.  By simply cutting and putting holes in the liner you have the potential for leaks.  However most pool builders take the upmost care in cutting in the steps of the pool to make sure that they do not leak, and even if there is a leak the builder should make the necessary repair to correct it.  These are things that you have to think about when deciding what kind of steps you want in your pool.

The next two types of steps are the liner over style.  Which is just the way it sounds, the liner gets installed over the step.  I think that these are my favorite type of steps that are available.  There are two types to choose from as well.

Straight Tread Design

First is the straight tread design.  This type of step is made entirely out of steel or non-corrosive material, depending on the pool.  If you have read my other blog posts you know that vinyl liner inground pool walls can be made out of steel or a non-corrosive material and that there are differences in these materials depending on the manufacturer of them.  I am not going to get into that today, but if you are curious as to what the differences are please just check out my other blog posts about the types of vinyl liner inground swimming pools.  The point is that depending on what your pool is made of, the straight form design steps will likewise be made of the same material.  This design will include the riser and the tread of the step made out of either steel or the non-corrosive material.  The liner will be held in place at the point where the tread meets the riser by either a bead track or rods and clips.  The bead track is basically an opening in the corner where the bead of the steps can be tucked into to secure the liner.

The Liner will be made with a “bead” in the corners of the steps in order to secure the liner to the steps.  The rod and clip design uses fiberglass rods that get slipped into a pocket on the underside of the liner where the treads meet the risers of the steps.  This type of design will allow you to have as many color options as there are liner designs available.  There are a couple drawbacks to the straight tread design as well that should be addressed.  One is that they are somewhat limited to their shape.  The other is that depending on the builder there may be voids underneath the step resulting in areas that may flex or feel “spongy”.  This is because this type of step relies heavily on the backfill underneath to aid in their support.  Usually these steps come with support legs that get installed underneath them for support, but the spaces between the support legs rely on the backfill for support.  If the builder doesn’t properly backfill the step then you will likely be able to feel where the spaces between the support legs are.

Permanent Form Design

The other type of liner over step is what is commonly referred to as the permanent form design.  This is absolutely my favorite type of step due to the fact that it is the most customizable and can be made to any shape you want.  The difference is that the riser portions of the step are the only things made from steel or non-corrosive material.  All of the treads will be concrete or pool bottom mix depending on the builder (I prefer concrete).  Being that there are no treads initially, the builder has the opportunity to backfill them completely and ensure that they are structurally stable.  What the builder will do is fill the steps up with a non-compacting material like stone chips, or pea gravel leaving the top few inches open to fill with concrete.  This will give you the most stable type of step available for your in ground vinyl liner pool.  This type of step also uses the bead track or the rods and clips to secure the liner to the corners where the risers meet the treads.  If I you are thinking about having a vinyl liner inground pool built I would recommend getting the permanent form design liner over steps with the bead track option.

Rod and Clip
Bead Track

I personally think that the bead track option is better than the rod and clip due to the fact that you will never be able to feel where the bead is whereas with the rod and clip it will be obvious where the rods are in the steps.  It may seem kind of trivial but in my experience it is these types of things that you will be concerned with after the fact.

Thermo Plastic

Take a look at these next few photos to give you an idea of what the finished products will look like.

Acrylic Fiberglass
Straight Tread (Liner Over)
Permanent Form (Liner Over)

How To Clean Fiberglass Pool Steps

It is not uncommon for fiberglass steps in swimming pools to develop stains over time.  I have seen them in a variety of colors.  They can be caused by different types of algae, and in some cases can be the result of having metals in the water such as iron.  Regardless of the cause, it is possible to clean steps and restore their original color.  In this post, I will describe some of the more common stains and what causes them, and offer some advice on how to remove the stains.
If you have had a pool for some time, then you have probably experienced this problem first hand.  For those who have only had their pool for a short period, then you may have been alarmed at the first sight of these stains on your steps.  Rest assured that these stains can be removed in a number of ways depending on what caused them.  Even though some stains are not green, they can be caused by algae. It is important for you to know that algae can appear in a variety of colors, even though many associate algae with the color green. Depending on the type of algae, it may be yellow, pink, brown, or black.  Regardless of the type of algae, there are ways to clean them.  Before you go about cleaning algae off the step, you need to make sure you also work toward keeping the algae from coming back.
You will want to shock the pool and add the appropriate amount of algaecide. I want to point out that black algae is typically more difficult to get rid of.  You will want to take the same steps as with the other types of algae, however, you will need to get an algaecide that is specifically formulated for killing black algae.  Additionally, you will want to scrub all of the areas of black algae with your pool brush.  Black algae has a hard outer layer that will help to protect it from the algaecide and you will need to break through that layer with the brush to allow the algaecide to effevtively kill it.  Once you have treated the pool for the algae, you are ready to tackle the steps.  Typically, once the chlorine and algaecide begin to work, the algae stains on the steps should just scrub off with a brush.  If that does not completely clear the algae, you may want to look into some products that are available for cleaning steps.
The other cause of step stains in a pool is the presence of metals in the water.  These can leave yellow, or rusty colored stains on the step, which are more visible on white steps.  In some cases, these stains can be removed by using a brush, but that does not always work completely.  I have found that stubborn pool step stains can be adequately removed by using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  This actually works rather well.  Depending on the severity of the stain, you may have to look into specific product for cleaning metal stains off of pool steps.  Check out this video posted on YouTube on how to remove metal stains from a fiberglass step using a specialty product  The easiest way to keep stains from getting out of hand is to stay active in keeping the steps clean and maintaining your pool water chemistry.  With properly balanced pool water, these types of stains should not be a problem.
For more information on algae in pools and other pool water problems check out my post titled “Pool Water Problems” and feel free to look at my other posts which cover a number of swimming pool related topics. I am always open to any feedback you may have regarding any of the topics I post about, so feel free to comment.

Vinyl Liner In-Ground Swimming Pool Steps

When starting the process of having a vinyl liner in-ground swimming pool built, you will have to talk to the builder and answer a series of questions about your wants or needs in regards to the pool itself.  These questions range from what size of a pool you want to what style of steps do you want.  Depending on the location of the pool, the builder will usually offer some suggestions.  Considering they typically have a lot of experience in building pools, you should probably consider their opinions.  After all, they are the professionals, and they have a better idea of what will work best for your pool.  However, once the basic size and shape of the pool are determined you will have to decide on what style of steps you want in your pool.  There are a few different options available.  I want to focus on a couple types / styles of steps that are available and give some information regarding each of them. (Some styles may not be available depending on your location and which manufacturer your builder uses.)

90 Deg. Corner Step
To start, let’s take a look at the basic fiberglass acrylic steps.  This type of step is pretty versatile and there are quite a few options available.  There are different types based on the location in the pool.  There is a 90 degree corner step, as well as steps that are manufactured to be placed in the center of the shallow end wall.  There are also steps that are designed to be installed on a radius, for free form / lagoon style pools.  There are also a variety of sizes available in each style.  You can get wide steps or more narrow steps depending on your preference.  The styles may also be available in either cantilever, or bull nose.
Radius Bull Nose
These two types differ in that the cantilever requires that a concrete form be installed to give it a finished look, and with the bull nose style the concrete is just poured up to the step without a form yet still has a nice finished look.
Radius Cantilever
Buddy Seat
In addition to steps, with fiberglass there are “buddy seats” available.  These are basically seats that are molded out of fiberglass and installed in the wall of the pool much like a fiberglass step.  So if a “buddy seat” is available, and is something you want in your pool, then it would probably be a good idea to go with a fiberglass step in order to maintain a uniform look to your pool.  Also, depending on the manufacturer, the fiberglass steps come with a limited warranty.  This will allow you peace of mind knowing that they are manufactured such a high degree that the manufacturer is confident in them enough to offer a warranty.  In addition to that, there are usually a few different colors you can choose from, the most common being white.
Liner Over Step – Full Shallow End
Liner Over Step With Bench
Another type of step is called liner over step.  This type of step allows for the pool to have a completely uniform look.  With this type of step the liner will actually be installed over top of them.  In my opinion, this style is very aesthetically pleasing.  This style also can be made in almost any configuration, and is capable of being placed in any location of the pool wall.  They can be made to be corner steps, or be made to span the entire width of the shallow end.  The corner steps can also be made to have “benches” in them, giving swimmers a place to just sit and relax without being in the way of others that might be entering or exiting the pool.  This type of step offers pool owners a high end look to their pool without the high end cost.
These are a couple examples of possible vinyl liner in-ground swimming pool steps that are available.  So, if you are thinking about having a vinyl liner in-ground pool installed, talk to your builder and see what step choices are available.  After seeing what these steps look like, and having read some basic information regarding them,  now you just have to talk to your builder to see what is available.