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Thread: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

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    Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Hi all. I just purchased a 15x48 Intex Ultra frame pool and have staked out my potential site, but I need some guidance before I start the digging process and potentially make a mess.

    The site itself has a low spot where a tree used to be (the stump is long gone), so I plan to use our tiller to dig down so the lowest point there. Once the ground is tilled and the initial soil removed, then I'll start the process of leveling, either with a laser or straight board. At that point, should I be leveling just the soil, then level again if I choose to put a layer of sand down? I've read on here about people using pink insulation sheets; is that used in place of sand or on top of sand? I'd personally would rather not bother with sand if I can help it, as this isn't going to be a permanent setup and the pool will be taken down in the winter.

    I guess the gist of it is, what kind of sandwich am I making here? Soil, sand, insulation, tarp, pool or is it soil sand and/or insulation, tarp, pool? As far as the pavers go, what am I leveling them to (the ground/sand or the insulation)?

    I'm sure I'll be asking more questions throughout the process, but that's probably enough to start.

    Thanks for any and all help and advice!

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Hi splash79...I'm new here too. One year we had a quick set 16' or 18' round pool and learned fast how important leveling is. Tried to level it out then dumped sand to even it out which quickly settled and eroded and made it lean. So...this week we bought a 20' x 52" which I am well aware the importance of 'level' for this beast! Still working a shovel here...pool isn't out of the box yet. I read about the pink foam sheets under it. I can really see how that would help for insulation and comfort especially on concrete. I don't live in a cold climate so prob won't go that route. But with past experience I found if you use sand it has to be contained by some border and packed tight before setting the pool if you choose to do that. I'm also wondering what the pavers should be level with. Seems to me we won't know exactly where the pavers should sit until we actually start assembling the pool..would be awkward to dig out a spot for the pavers to be flush with the ground while setting up the pool but I have questions just like you have. Hopefully our level work should be done by this time tomorrow.

    I was going to start my own thread but if it's OK with you I'll ride along with this thread as we are basically in the same stage. I will me making some upgrades to ours such as the pump and filter at some point. Hopefully someone will chime in on the leveling process. AND I would like to know any insight before setting up the pool. I really don't want to put it up and fill it with 8,000+ gallons only to hear someone say "First thing you should have done is...."
    20' x 52" ultra frame Intex

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    If you check out my build thread (I think there's a link in my signature), you'll see how I put up my Ultra Frame. However, after years of assembling/disassembling each year, I now leave it up over the winter.

    I carefully leveled (using a board/level) the dirt, added a very thin layer of sand, leveled that, then put down foam board, triple taped the board joints with gorilla duct tape, and then put a heavy duty tarp (not the one that comes with the pool) on that. The pool liner was then put on top.

    One of the first things I did, though, was level my pavers for under each leg. My plan called for my foam board and pavers to be the same height. You want the feet of the legs and the bottom of the pool at the same level. So if you use foam, etc, you need to account for that.

    Honestly, after so many years of putting it up, taking it down and storing it, I'm so glad I decided to leave it up last winter. With the proper prep, the pool was fine, and it is waaaay less work each spring and fall.

    Good luck with your construction!
    Pool/Equipment: 20'x52" round Intex Ultra Frame AGP (~8,800 gallons)--Intex SWCG (CG-28669, 15K gallon model)--Intex Sand Filter Pump (SF60110, 16", 120lbs sand, 3K gph)--Hayward SP1091LX Through-Wall Skimmer--Hard Plumbing--Taylor K-1766 Salt Test Kit--TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Exactly the info I was looking for! So pavers need to be level with bottom of the pool. Guess that means I should dig spots for the pavers to be flush with the ground if not using the foam board. Being in the south I wasn't going to use the foam because of storage space in the winter. But if you are ok leaving it up in the winter up there I should be good here!
    20' x 52" ultra frame Intex

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Quote Originally Posted by VWbusguy View Post
    Exactly the info I was looking for! So pavers need to be level with bottom of the pool. Guess that means I should dig spots for the pavers to be flush with the ground if not using the foam board. Being in the south I wasn't going to use the foam because of storage space in the winter. But if you are ok leaving it up in the winter up there I should be good here!
    Yes, if you think about it, pretend you're putting the pool up on top of a concrete slab. The legs/feet and the bottom of the pool would be at the same level in that example, and if you put anything under either one (pavers under the feet, foam under the pool liner), you need to somehow compensate under the other to maintain the height.

    You absolutely NEED to put thick, large pavers under the feet, so you're going to have to figure out how to compensate for the liner level.

    I don't know how cold your winters are, but once the water temperature drops (and stays) below about 60F, algae doesn’t readily grow. So then it's a matter of keeping debris out of the pool (with covers or by manual cleaning) and ensuring you don't wait too long in the spring to open and get on top of the chemistry.

    Once fall was too cool for swimming, I continued to maintain the chemistry and run the filter with a mesh cover over the pool until the leaves were down. I then drained the water to about 6" below the lowest plumbing port in the pool wall, and removed the pump/filter and plumbing from the pool and stored them for the winter. I added bleach to get the remaining water to shock level, and then put my winter cover on. This was held in place by the cable that came with it, as well as about 10 or so bleach jugs I saved and half filled with water. I hung them from the cover grommets with bungee cords. I bought my winter cover extra large, because it is designed to lay on the water surface, not to be suspended above it. It needed to fit a ways down the outside wall of the pool, over the top rail, and down the inside wall of the pool to lay on the lowered water surface. This way I didn't have to worry about pumping water off the cover or the weight of snow/ice wrecking a suspended cover.

    It worked great, and come spring I was pleasantly surprised to find I still had chlorine in the water, months later.

    OK, probably more than you wanted to know...

    Good luck!
    Pool/Equipment: 20'x52" round Intex Ultra Frame AGP (~8,800 gallons)--Intex SWCG (CG-28669, 15K gallon model)--Intex Sand Filter Pump (SF60110, 16", 120lbs sand, 3K gph)--Hayward SP1091LX Through-Wall Skimmer--Hard Plumbing--Taylor K-1766 Salt Test Kit--TF-100 Test Kit

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    Wichita Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    What 911 said. You level the dirt to undisturbed earth. That surface while "level" is really not smooth and true. Some people, me included, will use something like screenings on top of the dirt to give a truer, smoother surface. Then a thin layer of sand followed by the pink foam. In my case the concrete blocks are level with the top surface of the screenings which is my base.
    AGP: Esther Williams 15' x 30' - 10,500 gal city water filled, S210S Hayward sand filter, SP1592 Hayward PowerFlo Matrix pump.

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Level the soil. The sand is primarily to get a nice pool bottom to walk on. Not necessary if you have pink sheets. To figure out where the pavers go, you assemble the top rim of the pool and put it on the ground. Use a laser transit or water level to check that all the pavers are level within 1". That is more important than the pool floor being perfectly level.
    Intex Ultra Frame 24'x12'x52" (732cm x 366cm) rectangular pool
    Intex SF80220RC (1600 GPH) pump/sandfilter
    Intex SF10220 (1050 GPH) pump/sandfilter driving the
    Intex Automatic Pool Cleaner
    Intex 8220 ECO SWG, Brilix XHP100 9kW heatpump

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Ah great idea to assemble top rail to know where pavers go! Harbor Freight has cheap tools not always good quality but they have a laser level for $29 and I have a 20% off coupon somewhere...seems like a decent investment. The shovel I got the other day was $8 and doing a heck of a job...good thing there's no laws against child labor in your own yard!
    20' x 52" ultra frame Intex

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Thank you all so much; this was exactly the info I was looking for! VWBusguy, absolutely feel free to ride along, so we both can learn and 911medic, your thread was excellent and extremely helpful!

    I'm planning on digging either tonight or tomorrow, since I'm off the next two days and can put in some work before it gets seriously hot later in the week.

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Still digging here! Called the nearest landscape place and told them my project and needed a price on sand to provide a 1" layer for a 20' diameter pool. They did the math and said I would need 4 scoops. Mason sand worked out to be $151 and white sand would be $178...not delivered. I'm not paying that much to make multiple trips in a Ford Ranger and then have to shovel it when I get it home too...not happening. The 1/2 inch foam sheets are about $10 each at HD...not sure how many it will take but that's the route I'm going...has to be cheaper and a LOT easier to work with versus sand and a shovel.
    20' x 52" ultra frame Intex

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    You'll be happier with the foam flooring. Took 16 4x8 sheets to do my 24ft pool just to cover the floor area so it might be a panel or 2 less for a 20footer. Definitely worth it tho. Last pool had sand base and after a while it was all uneven and horrible.

    24'x52" Artesian w/ Portifino liner - Hayward 1hp powerflo matrix w/24" sand filter - AquaTrol RJ SWG. Solar heating to come. -

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    I'm going to ride along on this thread also if that ok? We just started our install of the Intex 18x48. We have the pool area framing done and level. Just got the dirt preleveled and packed. We are going to level more then pack again. Next we were going to add the sand...

    then I came across this post and did not know about the foam sheets we could use as we are also planning on leaving it up year round. Thanks so much for the info!

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    - - - Updated - - -

    When you do the pavers, make sure to allow room for the legs to slightly "kick out" as the pool fills. I'd guess mine moved about 2-3". I accounted for that but still had a couple of legs near the edge of the paver. They stayed on though, so it's okay. My build in in my signature.
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
    26' X 52 Intex Ultra Frame Install
    You can lead a horse to (clear) water, but you can't force him to swim in it!

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Quote Originally Posted by VWbusguy View Post
    Still digging here! Called the nearest landscape place and told them my project and needed a price on sand to provide a 1" layer for a 20' diameter pool. They did the math and said I would need 4 scoops. Mason sand worked out to be $151 and white sand would be $178...not delivered. I'm not paying that much to make multiple trips in a Ford Ranger and then have to shovel it when I get it home too...not happening. The 1/2 inch foam sheets are about $10 each at HD...not sure how many it will take but that's the route I'm going...has to be cheaper and a LOT easier to work with versus sand and a shovel.
    The sand I added was really probably a 1/4" or less overall. After leveling the ground, I just added a bit of sand to fill in the minor imperfections, as sand spreads more evenly. I'm sure I could have skipped it and been fine.
    Pool/Equipment: 20'x52" round Intex Ultra Frame AGP (~8,800 gallons)--Intex SWCG (CG-28669, 15K gallon model)--Intex Sand Filter Pump (SF60110, 16", 120lbs sand, 3K gph)--Hayward SP1091LX Through-Wall Skimmer--Hard Plumbing--Taylor K-1766 Salt Test Kit--TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickelin View Post
    Level the soil. The sand is primarily to get a nice pool bottom to walk on. Not necessary if you have pink sheets. To figure out where the pavers go, you assemble the top rim of the pool and put it on the ground. Use a laser transit or water level to check that all the pavers are level within 1". That is more important than the pool floor being perfectly level.
    Level to within 1"? I used a home made water level and got all my pavers within 1/4"..... Still in the process of finishing off the sand topping and then going to use 3/4" pink foam board on top. Setting the legs on the foam as well..

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    We've managed to make some progress on ours as well! We've got it all dug and started leveling it out last night. We had some low spots, but not terrible. Most were an inch or less and almost all were less than a foot in diameter. I doubt it was the right thing to do, but we ended up filling in the holes and tamping them down. We also watered it, which I read today wasn't what we were supposed to do. Oh well; live and learn.

    Tonight, we're double-checking how level it is, will put in the pavers, and hopefully start to fill it up. I just ordered the TF-100 kit, so I'm hoping that the water won't get too bad before it arrives.

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    Re: Questions about leveling for new Intex Ultra pool

    ....
    Hopefully within 2 weeks of 5/21/2017
    Intex 16x32x52" Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool 14,364 Gallons
    Intex 2,800 gallon per hour Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Saltwater system
    Hayward H300FDN Universal H-Series, Low NOx, 300,000 BTU, Natural Gas heater

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