Introducing the Blue Diffusions Step

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The acrylic step will also be available in a greystone liner pattern, pictured above.The acrylic step will also be available in a greystone liner pattern, pictured above.

Vinyl liner patterns give customers the unique opportunity to be creative and to blend their vinyl liners with design elements from their home. In doing so, many strive for cohesiveness, which is reflected in a growing trend: a necessity for the vinyl liner to match the pool steps.

"A lot of pool owners want that look where there are no breaks in the pattern of the liner," says Michael Gibson, vice president sales at Alps Mfg.

Gibson says the only way that was previously being done was with a steel step, which for builders can mean a list of complications. "Dealers don't like putting vinyl over steel steps. It's not easy to do," says Gibson. "It's typical to get a loose fit, and it's a place where customers often complain."

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In order to compete with the steel step market, Alps Mfg. now offers an alternative — the Blue Diffusions Step, a printed Blue Diffusions liner pattern (the print is carried by a number of vinyl liner manufacturers throughout the U.S.) on straight cantilever acrylic steps eight feet or less. Eventually, a 10- foot option will be available. The steps also come in a greystone liner pattern, which the company plans to launch at the 2020 Pool & Spa Show in Atlantic City.

"This is not a vinyl over steel step," says Gibson. "It is the only printed, acrylic step on the market."

Builders can avoid loose fitting liners and cut down on installation time. "The print cannot be scratched or bleached off because it is underneath the acrylic," adds Gibson. "The step also has a builtin tread system, so it isn't slippery."

The company is also implementing a step skin, a thin cap that is molded to the exact profile of the step and available when the liner needs to be replaced down the road. "Whatever pattern is the hot pattern at the time of replacement, the new cap would be printed to match the liner pattern," says Gibson.

As the steps enter their first season in 2020, they will be available in limited edition. "There is a lot of excitement from customers and pool dealers that have looked at the product," says Gibson. "Already the feedback is very positive."

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