Top Rails for Above Ground Pools: Issues and Options

Above-ground pools are a great way to enjoy the summer with your family and friends. However, many people find that installing above-ground pool top rails is not only helpful in keeping children and pets out of the water but can also be an attractive addition to any yard. There are several rails available on the market today that offer different features and options for above-ground pool owners who want to keep their loved ones safe while having fun around the water! In this post, we will explore some of these popular products and highlight what makes them so appealing.

Before we get started, check out some other pool-related posts on here such as how to build a wooden platform for a pool and also is a lattice fence around an above-ground pool a good idea.

Above Ground Pools Come In Many Different Shapes And Sizes

Swimming pools come in many different shapes and sizes so there’s no one standard-size rail design available on the market today like there used to be decades ago when most were made from aluminum because they have since been replaced by more durable materials which usually result in lower maintenance over time but at a significantly higher initial cost up front as well as requiring special installation tools that are not readily available at your local hardware store.

Rails on your above ground pool can be used in two different ways: as a safety railing to keep young children from accidentally falling into the pool or as an aesthetic feature that enhances the appearance of any above ground pool.

Above Ground Pool Top Rail Replacement

A top rail on an above ground pool is a great safety feature that can keep both children and pets out of the water. If your current rails have seen better days, it may be time for a replacement! Fortunately, there are many options available to meet all budgets.

PVC Top Rail Replacement

The most common type of replacement rails has been constructed using polyethylene plastic or PVC pipe. This type of material costs about $30-$40 each but they don’t require any special tools to install them into place. They also come in various lengths from 18 inches up to 72″ long so you will find one perfect for your needs no matter what size your pool happens to be! These types of safety rails often attach around the perimeter of the pool with brackets included.

Stainless Steel Top Rail Replacement

The next most common materials for rails after aluminum – stainless steel and iron — typically require more maintenance over time than does aluminum because these metals will rust if they come into contact with water (particularly salt water) so periodic cleaning is required using some form of an anti-rusting agent like WD-40.

A more expensive option is a stainless steel pool rail. These rails can cost anywhere from $50-$200 depending on the size but they should last much longer without rusting or needing maintenance. It may take a little bit of time to install these types with some special tools, brackets, and bolts included in the purchase price as well as patience to help align the railing around your pool’s perimeter.

Stainless Steel is a more expensive choice that will be much less likely to need repairs in future years.

AluminumTop Railing Replacement

The most popular type of rail design on the market today is aluminum because it’s durable and long-lasting.

It has some advantages over metal ones like being lighter weight when they’re installed so moving them around might require less work than other types if you plan to move your pool often. Installing these does require fasteners such as bolts, brackets, etc., and should be installed by a professional.

Powder Coated And Other Options

You also have many options for finish including brushed, polished, satin-nickel or powder coat finishes so that you can choose one that best suits both your budget and desired aesthetics!

Above Ground Pool Replacement Bottom Rails

In a similar process to the top rail, there are many options for Above Ground Pool Replacement Bottom Rails including plastic, stainless steel, and aluminum rails. Plastic is the most economical option but it may not stand up to rusting as well or last very long without needing replacement so it depends on your budget and desired longevity. You may also want it to match the top rail.

Above Ground Pool Rails Installation Process

  • You don’t want it too close to the edge of the pool because they can cause accidents.
  • You also won’t want them too wide apart either, especially if children may play around the bottom railing.
  • The distance between posts should be about 18″ apart but this is just one suggestion so make sure to do some research before finalizing where to put holes etc.
  • The rails should be long enough to extend at least a few inches past either side of the pool and any steps that are near it to prevent anyone from falling in or over the edge.

When you decide to install Rails on your Above Ground Pool, there are a few things that you may need.

  • PVC pipe or T-bar for connecting rails together depending on the rail type;
  • If installing stainless steel rails, you will need a hacksaw to cut the pipes and T-bars;
  • Rubber Cement or PVC glue depending on your rail type for connecting rails together.
  • You may also need shims of various thicknesses to attach the rails securely if they are not held in place by concrete at both ends, which is recommended.

If you have purchased a kit, see installation instructions for more information about how to install the rails, because how to proceed will depend on the design of the railing system.

FAQ For Top Rail Installation On Above Ground Pools

Do I need to drill into my pool?

No, rails can be bolted or screwed in place with pre-drilled holes so they won’t require any drilling of concrete surfaces.

What are the benefits of installing metal rails instead of plastic?

Plastic is less expensive than aluminum and stainless steel but it will start to wear out over time as it degrades from exposure to sunlight, chlorine and other elements that may cause corrosion on the surface which could lead to breakage down the road if you don’t plan for replacement eventually. Metal is much more durable over several years without needing routine maintenance like painting or replacing parts though there’s an extra cost upfront when purchasing this type of railing system vs plastic ones.

What is the top part of an above-ground pool called?

This is what is known as the top ledge. Besides the top ledge, the structure of the pool also includes the walls under the ledge. Its most common material is aluminum or steel. The ledge is designed to hide the top rims and wall edge from swimmers as well as provide a solid point for steps and ladders to be attached to. This is also referred to as coping.

Are pool top rails universal?

No, pool rails are not universal. This means that you need to find a railing system specific for your type of above ground pool and needs before buying the product.

Can you paint top rails on above ground pool?

Yes. But these type of rails are usually made from a metal, so you need to be sure that they can take the paint before doing it.


In conclusion, replacing the top rails for your above ground pool is a crucial decision that can enhance the safety and aesthetic appeal of your pool area. While PVC top rails are the most common and economical option, they may require more frequent replacement due to corrosion. Stainless steel top rails are a more costly but durable alternative that requires less maintenance. When installing top rails, it is important to consider placement and distance between posts to prevent accidents and ensure stability. By following the tips and suggestions in this article, you can choose the best replacement top rail option for your above ground pool and enjoy a safe and stylish summer swimming experience.

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