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Thread: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

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    Question Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    I'm investigating installing an above ground pool and looking for any tips or suggestions. Our yard has a slope in one area, and is mostly flat above and below it. So, our plan is to dig a "U" shape into the slope, build a retaining wall, and install the pool there. It works out that a deck on the upper part of the slope (over the retaining wall) would then be about the same level as the top of the pool. The deck will go completely around the pool, but mostly be on the upper slope, along the long side of an oval pool. (Oval fits the terrain better)

    (1) Are there certain brands or brands+models considered to be better? The $50 Taylor test kit seems to be a standard recommendation, is there the same type of common recommendation for above ground pools? We're looking at something on the larger end of the range at around 15x30 to 18x33, depending on the size a brand offers.

    (2) A local pool store appears to sell Fox Pools Ultimate Pool, at nearly $9000 for that size range. Am I better off buying a pool locally or is an online store okay? I also see that size range for closer to 4k in other brands online. Something I liked about the Ultimate Pool is that it has an option for a composite wood top-cap that would match our existing decking material, and doesn't scream 'above ground pool' like the resin top caps. Another pool store with a different brand was also about 9k DIY (Doughboy I think), so are these pools that much better than pools than those that are half that?

    (3) Are the coatings on steel pools good enough now that aluminum isn't much of an advantage?

    (4) Do all AGP have walls that bow out between the uprights? I thought the extruded aluminum pools might have rigid panels, but they all seem to have multiple vertical seams between uprights that still allow the walls to bow out.

    Thanks

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    I am not an expert on above ground pools, having only ever owned 1, and it was a basic Intex Easy-set I bought for a pool care experiment. There are certainly some brands that are better than others, Dough Boy is well regarded, so is Sharkline, etc. Basically there is a pool for every budget, you just have to find the right one for you. Hopefully more people will chime in with advice soon.

    Ike
    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
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    Chasmengr's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    Take a look at Radiant Metric. See link in my sig for pics of our 16x32 Radiant Metric. They can be AG, BG, or partially buried; walls do not bow. Retaining wall is not required.
    Chas & Cheryl (first-time, second-year pool owners)
    Radiant Metric Oval AGP 16'x32'x52"; Pentair: Clean&Clear 150 Cartridge, OptiFlo 1.5 Hp 2-spd, and 320C Feeder (all mounted below water level); Taylor K-2006 & SpeedStir; Maytronics Dolphin E10 (aka Einstein)
    installation pics (2015-2016)

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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    I'm not the original owner but my Doughboy (24" round) was installed in 1985 and is still going strong. It was installed by the dealer who is still in business here. I bought the house in 1998. Good luck on your quest!
    17,500 gal. ABG Doughboy Pool
    1/2 HP Pump/150 sq.ft. Cartridge Filter
    TF100 Test Kit And Speedstir

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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    The Radiant looks very nice: the rigid walls and narrow top cap would make it not look like an AGP. I looked at another pool that could be buried, but I don't think the additional cost would be worth it for me. In my situation, only one side would be partially buried. Also, I found a price of 13k for the Metric, at which point I'd probably just do a professional in-ground.

    Does the Metric require concrete around the base of the wall? Dealing with concrete is a step I'm trying to avoid.

    The retaining wall doesn't bother me much. it won't be overly large and putting dirt next to steel makes me nervous, regardless of warranty.

    I've been eyeing the Sharkline Matrix, but I'm not sure where it falls in the good-better-best range. I'm willing to pay more now to save in the future. For example, I plan on a VS Heyward pump. I want a resin top cap that doesn't get hot in the sun, and I think a resin bottom cap to avoid rust from ground contact.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    We have an inground pool up North, a blazing summer a couple years ago we talked about a pool for here. I didn't really think with my work schedule and how busy we were having a pool was a good idea for us, so I went with a decent size above ground figuring in a season or two if we didn't use it, it was easily taken down & I would have a spot partially ready for a pond and gazebo area. Well I was wrong about the pool, it's used daily through our season. Getting an inground one has come up a few times, but everyone just ends up saying it makes no sense to take this one down, we all enjoy it. And... knock on wood the deer, opossums, groundhogs, all the critters who love to swim up north haven't decided to swim in this one so that's a major plus in my book.

    We went 27' round I believe our brand is Swim and Play ~ Tropicana Model, Sand Filter. If I am "upset" about anything it is the fact that the filter I have is not a "common" brand so there is limited information available about it, but that's been a non issue because it is a sand filter, sand is readily available if needed and Hayward gaskets fit the multi-port. Had the birch tree sheddings not fouled my sand the sand would be a non issue, as it lasts forever. Having had both a sand filter and I DE filter I personally prefer the sand filter over the DE one, but I know others with the same experience probably prefer the DE. With this method and the sand filter I have not yet, in the years we have had the pool, seen water that even came close to the health, beauty and sparkle ours has. I don't anticipate seeing water that even comes close to ours.

    I bought local, only because my Mom had delivered mail to a company for 30 some years and they were wonderful about price. We had the spot professionally leveled and installers put the pool up. We could have handled it ourselves I have no doubt, but I sent my daughter off to school in the morning and wanted the pool up and filled by the time she came off the bus. Everything from start to finish was about $3500.00 and $770.00 of that was water.

    Most certainly shop around, talk to folks who have them and see what brands they prefer, more importantly what brands they had trouble with, the nature of the trouble and how customer service handled their issues.

    This pool we have the walls don't bow out between the uprights. It's very solid, we have had no rust or leak issues. Winters here are crazy, you cannot even begin to imagine the wind that comes through this place ~ I haven't managed to keep a cover on through one winter (tried everything, this year though I am covering and placing 2 huge tarps over the top,staking them in, regular covering will not work here). Even with the disastrous winter conditions this pool has held up and we have gotten our money's worth. My boys are large men ~ 6'4" 200+ pounders, there is room for them, me, the neighbor kids, my bother has a wife and 3 kids, plenty of room. We gather each weekend, cookout, swim. It's plenty of pool for a large family. We are cautious, no one sits the rails, kicks off the sides, etc. (basic things with an AGP) & I am meticulous about maintaining healthy water (this method is the only method, in my book).

    I do hear a lot of recommendations for Doughboy. I knew nothing about AGP's before I got into this one, I may have gone that route had I looked into them more, but I can say without a doubt this pool has served us well and it is durable. Even with it being one just to test the waters we have no interest in replacing it at this time with one that goes in the ground.

    While you are looking keep an eye on your wind, you will want to set the skimmer so it catches everything and the winds determine it's placement. Some prefer the filter and pump out of sight as well. A lot of folks cover their pad with their deck. I left my pad exposed. I have watched the neighbors duck under the deck for filter maintenance and I personally didn't care to do that. A couple King Tut/ Egyptian Papyrus plants and no one sees it or hears it ~ we are too tall of a family to be working on our knees to maintenance something. Might not be an issue for you, but worth a mention. With decking around the pool you will want to make sure you have access to the rails and uprights, should something take a left you don't want to have to disassemble your whole deck for repair so keep that in mind as well. You can easily incorporate access planks in your deck build.

    Can't really think of anything more. Talking to folks, you'll collect information you need to make informed choices. They are going to offer advice on the pool and products. You have products covered right here, so unless they are promoting BBB/ TFP methods smile politely and just ignore that part of the conversation. That includes "professionals" too. Once that pool is filled you will handle the initial dosing and maintenance of the water.

    Best of luck finding what you like and putting the plans in motion to swim. Keep us posted as you toss ideas around.
    AGP: 27' x 52" : 17,500 gallon
    300 lb. Sand Filter (75 gpm) / 1.5 hp pump
    Full Sun ~ All Day

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    dremin2flyhi's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    I think you have to look at everything with the pool..
    How long are you planning on keeping it? Budget ?? Going to use a SWG ?? Self install or have it put in for you...

    Here is my experience.. I am now on my 2nd above ground .. First one lasted 16 years.. Yes it was a cheaper brand -- an Asahi/Mighty pool .. I say I got great service out of it for the price I paid-- which at the time was about 1150.00 with a liner . I went thru 2 liners with it . It was an all steel pool. No issues --except for the minor rusting on the top seats and they did get HOT in the summer. I installed and done the prep work myself .

    Now I just had a Sharkline Venture hybrid installed just last week .. It has the resin seats and rails and 52" height. Hope I get at least the same amount of years if not more with this one. I opted to go with a local installer this time--as I did not have the time and knew the work involved in putting the pool up.. He charged 1k for tear down of old pool and setup of new one.

    The doughboy was way out of my league.. I really liked the Radiant models but seen where people had issues getting warranty issues resolved --so that put a cloud of doubt in my mind. I read good things about Sharkline/Wilbar and found the prices to be where I wanted and needed to be. I did buy online and found the best price at Poolsupply world.. Plus you can use a TFP member discount there as well.. Local pool places were outrageous for the same pool I got.. Cheapest local quote installed was 4200.00 .
    Look around for the best price --because they do vary all over the place.
    24' x52" Sharkline Venture (May 2016) ABG (13,500)
    Hayward S180T15932S --Sand filter/ Flo-Matrix pump pack
    Aquatrol-RJ SWG-- Nitelighter NLMC
    Dolphin E10
    Duraspa G2- Premium hot tub --Rotomold style

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    Chasmengr's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by joshhighley View Post
    Does the Metric require concrete around the base of the wall? Dealing with concrete is a step I'm trying to avoid
    My oval required about 3CY of concrete for a foundation beneath the straight wall sections. I think(?) no concrete is required for a round metric.


    Quote Originally Posted by joshhighley View Post
    . . . and putting dirt next to steel makes me nervous . . .
    Metric has no steel; it's all aluminum.
    Chas & Cheryl (first-time, second-year pool owners)
    Radiant Metric Oval AGP 16'x32'x52"; Pentair: Clean&Clear 150 Cartridge, OptiFlo 1.5 Hp 2-spd, and 320C Feeder (all mounted below water level); Taylor K-2006 & SpeedStir; Maytronics Dolphin E10 (aka Einstein)
    installation pics (2015-2016)

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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    Shopping for a pool is crazy difficult if you're like I was, having no clue about anything other than the fact you want a pool. After alot of research, I finally made a decision and bought online, here are a few things I've learned.

    Oval pools cost more to buy & more to install unless you DIY. I know that's what you're looking at getting and if that's what you want and have space for be sure to get what you want. But consider that a round pool (if you have the space) of equivalent size is actually bigger than an oval, costs less, and is more structurally sound. Not knocking ovals, I originally wanted one too but after I saw how much they cost compared to rounds well let's just say I'm budget minded. My post prob won't be the most helpful if you're prepared to spend tons of cash, but I ended up with a very good pool for not alot of $.

    Definitely shop around, the prices on these things vary so greatly that if you buy one of the first couple you see in a pool store you're going to regret it. I don't have any pool stores local, but managed to make the drive to 2 of them and the first one quoted me $3500 for a pool that you can get online for $888 (very very basic, small structure pieces, thin wall). The other quoted $3888 for a vogue and $7800 for a radiant. BTW the radiants are beautiful but I read about some warranty issues people were having with their new pools, combined with reading an article that said that the same pools used to be sold under the name Dover and marketed as an inground until salesman started carrying around samples of their walls showing how they oxidized in the words of that author "like Swiss cheese", however they could be much improved these days, but it scared me off.

    Disclaimer: I hope I haven't offended any radiant owners, like I said they are beautiful pools! And could very probably be improved and last for the rest of forever, and i would probably have gotten one if the cost wasn't so much more than i was willing to spend, I was just a bit frightened after reading that :/

    Just shop around, figure out what features you absolutely have to have and what you don't really care about and go from there. As far as steel vs aluminum, I personally don't see the that the increase in cost is worth it. I've seen several complaints of 15+ year steel pools rusting, but I've seen quite a few people asking how to repair the holes that are oxidizing through their aluminum walls. It actually makes no sense to me how some places are marketing aluminum pools for SWG use, when from what I can tell salt speeds up oxidizing.

    My last piece of advice is compare the prices between putting your own equipment package together, and buying in a package with the pool. Most of the time one is more beneficial. Be sure that if it's a package, that it fits your needs. An oversize filter with a smaller pump is recommended, when most places actually sell undersized filters with oversized pumps. 2hp looks impressive on their ads but it's actually overkill. If given an option go with a 2speed or variable speed pump, it will save on electric costs if that's important to you. Also consider checking around for gently used equipment in your area via Craigslist or similar. I chose to get all my equipment/accessories used paid a little under $300 for a pump/filter, wedding cake steps (the receipt for those was $400) solar, leaf & winter covers, 2 vacumms and a bunch of other accessories. Plus I ended up getting a Confer ladder the other day for $50 just incase we don't get around to building the deck this summer. My thoughts were get what I had to have to get by for the summer pump/filter wise now, and I can always upgrade next season when I don't have the expense of buying the whole enchilada all at once lol incase you're curious I spent a lil less than $2k on my 30' and used equipment. You don't have to spend a ton of $ to get a pool you are happy with! Set a budget and stick too it and you can't go wrong, whether it's $2k or $20k there is something for everybody out there. Just be sure to include the cost of anything additional you're going to add to the pool/area like Decking, lighting, seating etc. All that can easily cost more than the pool and if someone spent $9k on the pool by the time its done they could easily be into inground prices.

    Sorry for the novel, hope it helps, happy shopping!
    30' Round Doughboy AG (diy install on 8/30/16 after 2 months of rock removal to level area LOL) 200lb Hayward sand filter w/ 1.5 HP pump. TF-100.

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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalf1990 View Post
    Shopping for a pool is crazy difficult if you're like I was, having no clue about anything other than the fact you want a pool. After alot of research, I finally made a decision and bought online, here are a few things I've learned.

    Oval pools cost more to buy & more to install unless you DIY. I know that's what you're looking at getting and if that's what you want and have space for be sure to get what you want. But consider that a round pool (if you have the space) of equivalent size is actually bigger than an oval, costs less, and is more structurally sound. Not knocking ovals, I originally wanted one too but after I saw how much they cost compared to rounds well let's just say I'm budget minded. My post prob won't be the most helpful if you're prepared to spend tons of cash, but I ended up with a very good pool for not alot of $.

    Definitely shop around, the prices on these things vary so greatly that if you buy one of the first couple you see in a pool store you're going to regret it. I don't have any pool stores local, but managed to make the drive to 2 of them and the first one quoted me $3500 for a pool that you can get online for $888 (very very basic, small structure pieces, thin wall). The other quoted $3888 for a vogue and $7800 for a radiant. BTW the radiants are beautiful but I read about some warranty issues people were having with their new pools, combined with reading an article that said that the same pools used to be sold under the name Dover and marketed as an inground until salesman started carrying around samples of their walls showing how they oxidized in the words of that author "like Swiss cheese", however they could be much improved these days, but it scared me off.

    Disclaimer: I hope I haven't offended any radiant owners, like I said they are beautiful pools! And could very probably be improved and last for the rest of forever, and i would probably have gotten one if the cost wasn't so much more than i was willing to spend, I was just a bit frightened after reading that :/

    Just shop around, figure out what features you absolutely have to have and what you don't really care about and go from there. As far as steel vs aluminum, I personally don't see the that the increase in cost is worth it. I've seen several complaints of 15+ year steel pools rusting, but I've seen quite a few people asking how to repair the holes that are oxidizing through their aluminum walls. It actually makes no sense to me how some places are marketing aluminum pools for SWG use, when from what I can tell salt speeds up oxidizing.

    My last piece of advice is compare the prices between putting your own equipment package together, and buying in a package with the pool. Most of the time one is more beneficial. Be sure that if it's a package, that it fits your needs. An oversize filter with a smaller pump is recommended, when most places actually sell undersized filters with oversized pumps. 2hp looks impressive on their ads but it's actually overkill. If given an option go with a 2speed or variable speed pump, it will save on electric costs if that's important to you. Also consider checking around for gently used equipment in your area via Craigslist or similar. I chose to get all my equipment/accessories used paid a little under $300 for a pump/filter, wedding cake steps (the receipt for those was $400) solar, leaf & winter covers, 2 vacumms and a bunch of other accessories. Plus I ended up getting a Confer ladder the other day for $50 just incase we don't get around to building the deck this summer. My thoughts were get what I had to have to get by for the summer pump/filter wise now, and I can always upgrade next season when I don't have the expense of buying the whole enchilada all at once lol incase you're curious I spent a lil less than $2k on my 30' and used equipment. You don't have to spend a ton of $ to get a pool you are happy with! Set a budget and stick too it and you can't go wrong, whether it's $2k or $20k there is something for everybody out there. Just be sure to include the cost of anything additional you're going to add to the pool/area like Decking, lighting, seating etc. All that can easily cost more than the pool and if someone spent $9k on the pool by the time its done they could easily be into inground prices.

    Sorry for the novel, hope it helps, happy shopping!
    Yes, our deck will probably cost more than the pool.

    To expand on my questions: what typically fails first? It seems I should expect to replace the liner before the structure. Is replacing rusted steel inevitable? I will have decking shielding all 4 sides, so can I expect 15 years from steel components? Will a resin bottom plate prolong structure life?

    I'm trying to figure out what separates the $9k pools from, say, a Sharkline Matrix.

    Since I'll have a lot of money Ina custom deck up to the pool, I want the structure to last as long as reasonable.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    I suspect a lot of that price difference is overhead for the local dealer, maintaining a store front, employees, and of course there is the question of labor for installation.
    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
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    I suggest you give INYO pools a call. They tend to specialize in AG pools and AG pool parts and I think will treat you well.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    JoeSelf's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    Oval pools that I have seen have bowed sections on the straight sides. My pool came with resin bottom rails. Its partially in-ground on one side and out of ground on the other side (shortways).
    13700 gal, 32'x16'x54" AG oval, vinyl, Echo Canyon II, 8500 series, Narrow Yard, Safety Fence & Stair, Sta-Rite Crystal Flow T-210WF, 44 GPM, Hayward SP1580TL 1HP Pump, Aqua Luminator, Festiva wedding cake steps, March 2006, TFT-100, Speed-Stir, Sample Sizer. Avatar Credit: TJ Townsend

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    violet-mermaid's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations for buying an above ground pool?

    My oval pool arrives today- and I ordered online from The Pool Factory. Mine is a Wilbar Pool, which from what I understand is related to the Sharklines. The price was amazing compared to the prices at my local pool stores. I do have an installer lined up, and they start the install on Monday- we are going in the ground with it. The company installing it specializes in burying these pools, and uses the slurry mix, etc. My cousin recently got one installed and it came out awesome.

    If I would have had a Radiant pool dealer close to me, I may have been more inclined to go with the radiant. But, for the price and budget we had, the Pool Factory was the winner!

    Good luck, it can be quite overwhelming picking out a pool!
    12 x 24 Buried AGP 6,800 Gallons | Intex 16" Sand Filter | Intex Krystal Clear SWG
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