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Thread: Age old question - Sand or Vermiculite

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    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    Coppell, TX
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    Age old question - Sand or Vermiculite

    We will start the dig on our inground vinyl pool in about 4 weeks. I have to admit a real frustration over which to do the bottom with. It seems that the de-facto answer to sand is don't use it. But, nobody seems to want to elaborate on why not, other than footprints or high water table.

    We had a 16x32 oval above/below ground for 17 years with a sand bottom and didn't have any problems. Yes we did have a few small "dents". Nothing serious enough to matter or detract from the look of the pool.

    We really do like the feel of the vinyl over sand. Walking on it is much more comfortable and hitting your head on the bottom doesn't result in a concussion. Over the years we got tons of comments about how soft and comfortable our pool felt compared to others.

    I'm on high ground in the Dallas area and have absolutely no high water problems. We actually have the reverse of high water issues with our clay. Gunite pools have real issues with cracking due to ground shrinkage and expansion between dry and wet seasons. It seems to me that "logic would dictate" that hard or semi-hard vinyl pool bottoms would have the same issues.

    At this point I'm leaning hard towards the sand bottom, but I could be convinced otherwise. We have decided that concrete is absolutely a non option.

    TIA
    Under construction - Inground Vinyl Lagoon 18x36x28; 3ft-8ft depth; 107' perimeter; 24K gal; waterfall; Pebble bond finish perimeter decking

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Age old question - Sand or Vermiculite

    Sand works just fine. Won't be as easy finding a qualified installer as most do vermiculite but it can surely be done.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    May 2013
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    Albany, NY
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    Re: Age old question - Sand or Vermiculite

    From my understanding, sand is the norm on a flat-bottom AG-style pool, but vermiculite is used in situations with a hopper / deep end, as it mixes and sets, making it easier to lay out on a slope. I'm assuming your new pool will have a deep end?

    Vermiculite also does have [some heat-retention properties, but whether it's enough to make any noticeable difference, I'm not sure.
    Eric Adams, Technical Specialist, Radiant Pools

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    Aug 2015
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    Coppell, TX
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    Re: Age old question - Sand or Vermiculite

    Our above/below was 3' shallow end with 7.5' deep end hopper. A 2" deep layer of sand can hold a shape pretty good.
    Under construction - Inground Vinyl Lagoon 18x36x28; 3ft-8ft depth; 107' perimeter; 24K gal; waterfall; Pebble bond finish perimeter decking

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Re: Age old question - Sand or Vermiculite

    You should also consider Pool-Krete or another sand and cement mixture
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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