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Thread: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

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    DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Hello TFP,

    Over the past few weeks I have been obsessed with this forum. I am so relieved to know there are so many people out there willing to help. I've been posting tons of topics with questions galore and have received a response to each and every one of them. I'm in the process of getting a Radiant 14x22 freeform pool installed semi inground. I will be chronicling my adventure very soon. I've been fortunate enough to get my pool permit approved in less than 2 weeks and scheduled to break ground 7/14. I'm seeking the help of my fellow TFPers for advice on pavers for my semi inground installation.

    I am going in 24" and plan to deck or install pavers and a block wall around the pool. I still haven't decided between a deck 2/3 around the pool or go pavers all around. My question is what should I be considering if I go with pavers. I was told I should wait till next season before installing pavers especially a block wall. And if i did decide to do it this season am I supposed to have the installer add sonotubes by the pool wall. I think I can tackle on a pavers project but I just don't know what pre work needs to get done before hand. My installer should be pouring a concrete collar all around the pool. Any help would be great. I would hate to do extra work especially if it may not add on extra money to the install.

    Thank you.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    I'll be very interested in any advice you get, as I'm going to be doing something very similar with a round 24' radiant. We're just trying to decide on paver coping over the pool rail, or up beside it. We've locked in just about everything else now.

    24' round Radiant Metric, Partial IG install, 14000 gal, Circupool RJ30 SWG, Hayward Super VS, 250#Sand Filter, TF100 test kit.

    Marion, NY

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    No problem. In sure to see some advice shortly.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    And congrats with the pool!


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    I guess. It depends on what you are going to do deck or paver. I like the look of pavers over the coping. It make it look more custom. The great thing about the coping is that the liner goes in like an inground so you won't have to worry about access.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Hey mapromonyc - sorry I didnt reply to your PM sooner. Glad to see you are getting started!!! Here is the deal on Pavers - this is my opinion so as far as taking it as advice thats up to you! LOL. I am far from a pro I just know how to break things - As you know I installed my own Radiant FreeForm. Aside from excavation and leveling of the base, "connecting" the electrical and the actual paver work I did the wall and rest of the pool install myself with the help of one and sometimes 2 friends.
    Sonotubes are a good idea. I did not use them. Is it going to cost you extra for piece of mind - yes. My paver guy told me it wasnt necessary. We used so much 3/4 stone and another 10 or more yards of stone dust it would take a good size mortar to disturb my pavers. The key is compacting the rock, using a fabric barrier between the compacted rock and the stone dust (compacted as well) notice i mention compacting a few times? LOL --- Drainage is so important. The last thing you want is all that water from one of my cannonballs making its way towards the pool wall. With Pavers youll likely put joint sand/silica sand between them. Although it hardens and locks them in place youll probably put a few more bags down over time (at least one maybe 2 more "fill-ins" during the first year). Water will get through the paver joints, youll want to make sure its draining into dust/rock then dirt. Makes it harder for the water to pool under your structure. You live on Long Island, if your "soil" was similar to what I remember my LI soil was like you DO NOT want to use that as part of your wall/base structure. Rock is cheap, its back breaking to move but you can hire guys off craigslist to move it for you. $400 per day here in North Jersey. Many of them will have a compactor, tell them you are only moving a little bit of rock. You dont need them all day - have them move it and compact it for you.
    As far as the retaining wall - The size/length and the height you are looking at is a good 3 day project if you have some help. I dont know for certain because it will depend on the block system you go with, but many of the manufactured blocks do not require you to bury a full block if your wall is under 2ft or 3ft. Youll need to trench at least 1.5 times the width of the block and fill and compact with crushed stone. Lay your first course level front to back and with the adjacent block - once your first course is level the next 2 courses are a piece of cake (aside from the fact they get really freaking heavy after a while! LOL). Whats cool is you dont have to make the wall straight - there is tolerance to give it some subtle curves which is great if you want to make one area of the deck wider or you want to follow the contour of the freeform bumps. Stay away from cinderblock. It sounds cheaper on paper but you need to pour a footer, the cost of the concrete would have doubled my price compared to the Lowes blocks I used. Not to mention block is just block, wall blocks have lots of character.
    I have the basic coping on my pool. My pavers butt up to the pool coping. All but 8 or 9' of my pool is decked in pavers. I did that for the tax man. My Plan is to build a water feature in that area, not sure if I will get to it this year but definitely next year.
    Good Luck! It's much easier than some make it out to be. Just take your time. Prep work is the ultimate key to success. Patience helps as well!

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Thank you so much for the detailed information. Great job by the way on the pool. What do you suggest info if I go with the block wall close to the pool wall? How close do you think I can go? With your wall are there any issues with the pool wall integrity? I guess it would be the same as going all the way in the ground.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    I am thinking about trying to mimic this look for my pool. I was actually fortunate to get a great deal on this pool. It was quite the dimensions I was looking for but I had to make it work. I was thinking the paver route so that I won't ever have an issue with the town and at least I can take advantage of every square inch.





    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Thanks - lots of work but well worth it. Are you worried about the wall and material pushing against the wall panels (leaning in towards the pool/water)? If so I wouldnt. Once you get the concrete collar poured backfilled and fill the pool with water, the outward pressure of the water will be greater than the rock. You can go as close as you want - stack right up next to the wall (using some kind of material like 3/4 or gravel behind the wall next to the pool - youll need something because of the offset - 24" ). If you are worried about scratching/denting a panel I wouldnt. The radiant panels are tough. The aluminum or whatever type of metal is heavy gauge on both interior and exterior sides. I am 6'3 240 - 230 on a good day and I was able to stand on the panels without any issue. That collar if poured the right way is solid. Top it with a gravel backfill, tamp it down and its basically an inground pool that sticks out a bit. If you used blocks like the Lowes blocks I used your gonna go about 3 courses high plus the capstone (to level with your 20" out of ground wall height you may or may not need to partially bury the first course - blocks are 6" high plus the cap I think 2" - all gonna depend on how much of a grade difference you have around the pool - you might find in an irregular yard, to make it level, 4 courses might do the trick - block needs to be stepped down for adjustments in grade) - if your run is contoured with the pool you are gonna have anywhere from 2-4" to a foot of space between the wall and the pool - youll have to fill that area behind the block/between block and pool - regardless if you block right up to the wall or if you went out 10ft wider. Hope this makes sense - kind rushed to reply. Ask me to clarify if it doesnt.

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    its all in the prep work. trench the contour of the pool 1.5 to 2x's width of the block level the trench with gravel - put down first course be sure to level it. Build up along the pool wall. If you do something like this where the block is close to the pool do not rely on gravity alone to hold the block in place. I would use the heavy duty landscape adhesive on each course - its just an extra precaution to keep the wall in place. little extra CYA cant hurt.

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    This is very helpful. I should be 28" above grade. If my calculations are correct with the lowes type blocks then can I have the first run completely in the trench the then stack 4 blocks up to give me 28" then use the cap. My pool actually came with a paver coping and thinking of using the cap right over the coping.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    I guess my concern is if I should do the pavers and wall next season. If I do it this year I just want to make sure I prep for it. My installer said he was going to backfill with the same material he dug out.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Check out page 34 http://radiantpools.com/sites/defaul...stallpgs15.pdf I would really push for at least some gravel backfill. Even if you can do half dirt half gravel you would have better drainage around the pool. I think with the paver coping you should be able to put the cap right up to it. I gotta tell you, its MUCH easier to make cuts in pavers than it is to cut larger cap stones to the contour of the pool. In the end if you do it yourself it will be cheaper as well. Making a mistake cutting a .50 cent paver is a lot cheaper than making a mistake cutting a $6-10 capstone. Even if you went with 3-4 rows of pavers next to the pool it would only push the wall out a foot or so. After messing up on the capstones I improvised and didnt have to cut any of them to make the wall work. I will post a pic showing how I put some mortar in between the joints to avoid cutting when I go back outside.

    4 courses high you will probably need to bury at least half the first course so your thinking on the right track!

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Mapromonyc - do you have any pictures of the coping you have? I have been speaking with a forum member who works at Radiant, and he made me aware that there are two paver copings - one with a single track (for the beaded liner) and one with two tracks (liner and winter cover). I'm thinking of going with the double track version, but I'm a bit unclear on two things. One, how is the coping shaped to the pool (round in my case) as it is extruded aluminum. Secondly, do the cap stones sit level - the coping makes it look like the pavers should sit angled up (away from the pool) - but I can't picture how that would look right.

    Also, just curious - on the cap stones, are you going to go with something that is a bull nose on the water side, or just standard flat faces? Again, I've been going back and forth on this.

    Thanks!
    24' round Radiant Metric, Partial IG install, 14000 gal, Circupool RJ30 SWG, Hayward Super VS, 250#Sand Filter, TF100 test kit.

    Marion, NY

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Not sure on the coping. When I get home I'll check. I thought there was only one type of paver coping. If a paver were to go over the top of the coping then the opposite side wouldn't be accessible.



    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    A couple points that you all should take into consideration.

    The first is bonding. Decks and coping around pools require bonding grids per the National Electrical Code. Its one of the most important things you can do with your pool. So you need to plan on installing a bonding grid under the deck. Also while a composite pool shell is not required to be bonded the water must still be bonded to the deck and the pump etc.

    The second is compaction. Sonotubes are great but they are worthless of the material under them is not properly compacted. It is very important that the material next to the pool be placed in six inch lifts and well compacted by hand with each lift. DO NOT USE A POWER COMPACTOR NEXT TO THIS POOL. Even properly compacted it doesn't hurt too wait six weeks watering every day to get it to settle down and further compact.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Thank you gwegan. I am actually getting the pool bonded at the same time. After the pool is installed the installer will be coming the next day to backfill. What do you suggest I do? He's going down 24" then adding the concrete collar. MMM293 how much stone do I need fill in? 24" down will be bringing me down to undisturbed earth. Can i just use the same dirt and water everyday for six weeks to settle?


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Another thought do I need to put in a French drain? Can I set on top of the concrete collar?


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    A french drain has to drain somewhere. Or you can put in dry wells. But you only need to do this if you have a high water table or water near the pool or if the ground really saturates after a rain.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: DIY pavers / block wall for semi inground pool

    Good point. I don't think I have a high water table.


    14x22 radiant freeform, 6800 gallons, Semi AG, DE Hayward, Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX Series 1-1/2-HP, installing 7/14/2016, TF100

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