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Thread: sinking an above ground pool

  1. #1
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    sinking an above ground pool

    I am in the throughs of buying an above ground pool.

    I wanted an inground pool but way to expensive. I looked at half in half out pools and still on the expensive side.

    So I found that the above grounds can be sunk up to 30 inches.
    That is perfect for the height I wanted 54 inch.


    I have two great deals. I am looking at any input to help make the descion.
    Any experienced help would be greatly appreciated!

    Both pools are oval and 21x43x54

    The first one is stainless steal and the system offered with it is Perma Salt
    and a 1.5 hp pump and sand filter

    The second one is 4 genration aluminum sides offered with an Aquatrol Salt system
    2hp 2spead pump and choice of sand or cartridge filter


    My questions:::

    Which would be better for the 30 inch drop steal or alluminum?
    What problems has anyone encountered with sinking the pool to that depth?
    What should I expect having a dropped pool?

    Also:
    From your experience which deal looks better?

    Thanks for the help in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Welcome!

    I can't offer advice about the pool specifics other than to say I've been quite happy with my 2 speed pump and anytime you can go with a 2 speed, I think it's worth it. Great savings on the elec usage.

    Good luck with your build!
    Helpful links: Pool School; The Pool Calculator; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    NO LONGER FRUSTRATED thanks to TFP.com
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  3. #3
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    When you say above ground pools can be buried, what exactly do you mean?

    Unless they are specifically stated as for burial, they probably cannot be.

    I was looking into these and the lowest priced one that was approved for burial was $5,800 for a 18x33.

    What do you consider a bargain?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    We had our Doughboy buried, leaving about 8-10" above ground and a 7' deep end. Crown told us we could have had it completely buried and the warranty would still be 100%. It was way less than an inground. And because it's an above-ground pool (even though it's buried), Collin County can't raise the value of our house to tax us more...because it's STILL an above-ground pool!

    Also, we replaced our single-speed pump with a 2-speed last fall and absolutely love what it did for our electric bill! We run it 24/7.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns
    Move over Aquabot Turbo - Pool Blaster Max is lighter!
    BBB and learning more every day!

  5. #5
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    We have a aquatrol unit on our 24' AGP and if I'm not mistaken it's only good up to 15k gals. The other thing is the cell is mounted to the return. Our pool is 52" and the lower fitting for the cell would be underground if I sunk it 30".
    Just something to think about.
    We've had our pool for a year now and I wish I new then what I know now.
    With that said one of the last things I would do is bury it.
    My opinion is if it needs to be in the ground, save some money and get a inground pool.
    Noob Here!
    24' Above Ground
    Aquatrol SWG
    1 1/2 hp pump, sand filter

  6. #6
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    I looked at the Perma Salt system and was told there was no "written" information on it for me to review. The salesman at Watson's said it was "new this year", that they developed it and documentation was not available yet (I found a post linked below of someone that had it installed a year ago). He said there is no reason to check salt levels ever. After further searching on it I found this post and decided it was not something I wanted and was basically a mineral system. I had already got taken on a previous mineral system this company sold us when we got the pool. All in all, we overpaid for what we got, got an inferior install and got products that forced us to buy their overpriced private label chemicals. Luckily I found out about the BBB method within a year of pool ownership and the rest is history. I could go on an on about how I feel about Watson's (and their associated companies), but I will save it.
    24ft AGP 52in deep ~13,500 gal
    Hayward Sand Filter 250 lbs
    SWG
    1.5 HP pump

    425 gal stand alone QCA Hot Tub 15-20 yrs old

  7. #7
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Hi. All steel wall above ground pools can be buried without problems. Try to keep at least a foot of pool out of the ground and never drain the pool unless you have to.

    I have never been impressed with aluminum walls, the ones I have seen corrode very quickly, this would worry me if I were sinking a pool.

    Maybe others can provide more input on the aluminum walls.

    don't forget the photos, Dennis
    Pro pool installer for over 35 years
    Shadebuilder.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Dennis, I'm just curious...why leave at least a foot unburied? I was just perusing the Doughboy site to see what others did with their pools and they have some who completely buried theirs. We're glad we left some atop, because it gives us more deck design options (when we get around to doing our deck). But I wondered if there's a reason to not completely bury it!
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns
    Move over Aquabot Turbo - Pool Blaster Max is lighter!
    BBB and learning more every day!

  9. #9
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Hi Cherie, yes, there is a reason. The weight of the water against the side wall is the only thing keeping the pool from collapsing from the weight of the dirt on the outside. If you go above the water line with the dirt, the pool caves in around the top. Six inches is minimal, that puts the dirt close to the water line and is usually OK. One foot is so much better.

    An example. The pool is six inches out of the ground and you are on vacation. After a week the water gets a little low, near the bottom of the pool. A storm rolls in and water logs the ground around the pool and it caves in. The dirt has become unstable and there is no water pressure pushing against it. The pool becomes a very expensive mess to fix. When the wall caves in around the top, the metal rods come off, and usually wind up through the liner at some point.

    The first one I did for my self was in the ground as far as I could put it. I also kept the water as high as possible at all times.

    Later, Dennis
    Pro pool installer for over 35 years
    Shadebuilder.com

  10. #10
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Dennis, perhaps we need to PM this, but while Doughboy permits "inground installation" of their pools without warranty issues, Wil-Bar, one of the larger manufacturers, does have warranty issues if buried more than about 18" "inground", but that assumes that dirt is against the walls. You could dig a pit and, as long as the walls were not touching the "dirt", it would be OK.
    http://www.swimmingpool.com/

    "Leave the gun...take the cannolis"

  11. #11
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    DH and I debated the "bury" issue for a long time (It's actually what led me to find this site ). We have quite a slope in our back yard and at least a 18" would have been in the ground on one side. I think if we lived in a warm climate, we might have done it. But whoaaaa, we live in canada and didn't want to risk the frost heave in spite of the fact we leave more than enough water in the pool in the winter.

    We left it as a ditch for the past two summers and recently built a pressure treated wood retaining wall on that side anchored in with 6 feet of rebar. Actually turned out looking pretty nice even though no one's going to see it under the new deck that's coming.
    15' x 24' x 52" Buttressfree Concorde (Atlantic) ABG installed 2007, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1 speed Pump, Royal Entrance Steps, Clear Solar Blanket, New Deck, and maybe soon a heater.

  12. #12
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Dennis,

    Thanks for the great information, AGAIN!

    Interesting. All this marketing for those "allowed" to be buried, seems kind of like a sale pitch as usual.

    So winter heaving could be an issue. Hmmm. Makes sense.

    Corrosion of the aluminum is the other issue. They have these "packs" used to neutralize the electrical/corrosion issues with buried LP(Propane) Tanks. Wonder if these would benefit the walls of the pool too.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    "Interesting. All this marketing for those "allowed" to be buried, seems kind of like a sale pitch as usual."



    It wasn't a sales pitch for us. We were the ones who brought it up first to the salesman, although he was happy to share with us that it is still fully warranted even when fully buried - although I believe Doughboy is the only one who warrants their pools like this.

    I've started a thread on burying AG pools in hopes that other buried AG owners will come forward and share their experiences for the benefit of everyone, but particularly those like the OP here.

    Thanks.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns
    Move over Aquabot Turbo - Pool Blaster Max is lighter!
    BBB and learning more every day!

  14. #14
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Thanks so much for all the great information and experiences.

    Has anyone who has buried the aluminum wall (generation 4) ever encountered a corrosion problem from the bottom up?

    I never heard of the doughboy pool before and as a result of this thread researched it in my area.
    I have talked to two sales people about the doughboy and compared what they said about the in ground burial system.

    First thing I was told was that lowmart, embassy , and doughboy share the same manufacturing plant here in America and all are top quality according to doughboy standards-- posts and walls. Although I haven’t actually fully researched this I thought it was interesting.

    The only pool the sales persons would say was fully buried in ground guaranteed was the INTRIGUE by doughboy. The reason being is not the walls but the posts!
    There are 26 posts on a 21X41 oval. I think we calculated that is about every foot and a half to two feet around the circumference of the pool.
    The embassy pool also had this.

    The posts are what Doughboy is counting on to counteract the dirt fill and water pressure equalization so the walls won’t buckle.
    Ok, that makes sense to me for their guarantee.

    Because the doughboy guarantees the whole thing to be buried then they also guaranteed the walls corrosion and all.
    But, the walls are not coated any different than other walls I have seen.
    So the corrosion part I wouldn’t have to worry about, unless I use the salt water system.

    I didn’t understand about the big deal with salt water system corroding the pool.
    The sales person told me that when you splash the pool sides that the water would touch the on top rails and may drip onto the inner walls and touch the screws (where aluminum wall and steal screws touch --two different metals) that would facilitate corrosion.
    So due to chemicals the warranty wouldn’t cover that.

    Well that means I am still in a pickle because I believe I want the salt system.

    To me the only way to counteract that type of chemical corrosion would be to put some kind of liquid gasket type spray around each screw. Also because doughboy has metal top rails there would have to be something up under the railing that covered the screws and connects. Not to mention I would have to really watch that the rails coating on top did not become scratched.

    Ok so doughboy costs much more. And the burring into the ground the dig would cost about $2000 for my area. And in TN it’s not a guarantee they won’t hit rock. So I decided against the whole thing being in the ground.
    So the total on a fully buried large Intrigue doughboy (oval 21X41) , gravel sand and dig, would be around $3000 for construction and $11,800 for pool itself. Still not a bad deal if I wanted to do the whole thing in ground.

    About $15,000 for an above ground fully buried. BUT the half in half out non above ground , where they put concrete at the bottom and steal wall panels also costs that much..
    So not to much difference there.
    For me the in ground is not option anymore.
    But hopefully what I found can help someone else


    So I am back to the other two deals I found.
    I really liked the second deal (see first post) because it comes with the saltwater system, a 22mil liner and 2speed 2 hp pump. The pool is a Blossom (from SPA DEPOT in Nashville)
    21X43 X54, and of course the sales person put in lots of "extras" nice for me but that didn’t sell me on it. The top rails are the heavy wide pvc...no fuss for me with salt water.
    And they were willing to spray gasket screws with the install.
    That pool can be buried not past 30" (leaving two feet above ground) and still be warranted by the manufacture for the walls.
    This will allow me to get the pool height very close to my deck height ...so I won’t have to do so much creative decking.
    (of course i'm going to get this in writing)

    Then comes the topic of drainage for the in ground part. My yard is pretty level but I am not in a flood zone. The sales person said a sump pump at first and gravel for the backfill.
    Well I asked him to talk to the construction person to see how much more gravel.
    The construction person told him not to use gravel...but to do the back fill with the dirt from the dig and create a FRENCH DRAIN.. eliminating the use of a sump pump??
    OK I have no clue as to what a French drain is except It is suppose to pull water away from the mote around the pool.

    So I am off to do more research about that.

    If anyone can add their experience with going all the way in ground or part in ground please comment. I really want to know about the corrosion issue and the wall buckling issue.
    If you know how many posts you have pleas also leave that in the comment.

    Thank you in advance for your input!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    jt, according to Dennis, even landscaping rocks can eventually work their way down the walls and cause a collapse. I don't know how to link the thread here for you to read the discussion between Dennis and myself. But if you'll search "To Bury or Not to Bury and Above Ground Pool", you'll see the thread. I also included pictures of our pool install, so you can see how many posts. After our bury, we had to keep piling the dirt back up against the pool because the rain sinks it. We now have a good, slight slope against our pool so the rain hits it and flows away from the pool. When we get our deck up, we won't even be concerned with that issue (not that it's an issue anymore anyway).

    Crown Pools told us that the sides would not rust - didn't think to ask about the nuts/bolts. Can't help you on the salt system, we do the plain jane BBB. We've considered the salt system, but our kids occasionally swim in the neighbors IG with salt and they hate the water. So we'll stick with lugging the bleach home -- although our Wal-Mart has been completely out of their 174oz Ultra for at least three weeks now

    You're certainly to be commended for doing your homework! Great job....
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns
    Move over Aquabot Turbo - Pool Blaster Max is lighter!
    BBB and learning more every day!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Oops! I meant to mention also that we bought the Autumn Breeze ($4600) and went with their thickest liner (30 mil, I think) for an extra $500. And our Autumn Breeze is covered 100%, even with the bury.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns
    Move over Aquabot Turbo - Pool Blaster Max is lighter!
    BBB and learning more every day!

  17. #17
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    On our AGP with the salt water, all the fasteners have started coroding.
    I've replaced some with stainless steel screws, need to do the rest.
    If your still considering the salt make sure you get one sized for your pool.
    Noob Here!
    24' Above Ground
    Aquatrol SWG
    1 1/2 hp pump, sand filter

  18. #18
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    Re: sinking an above ground pool

    Hi, just a quick comment about the INTRIGUE pool by Doughboy. This pool has been sold under several names for over twenty years. It started as a King Canyon years ago. It is still the same exact pool, and still the best pool Doughboy has ever made. In my mind it is probably the best pool that will ever be made by anyone. It has all steel construction, no resin fluff in dumb places, it is as sturdy as an above ground pool could ever be.

    But, there is nothing special about this pool to cause them to say it is strong enough to be buried. I went to their website, read it myself, and I would have no idea why they would say that.

    I have installed hundreds of these pools in the ground, and like any other pool, if you leave a foot out of the ground and always keep water in it you will never have a problem. If you let it sit empty it will collapse as fast as any other pool on the market. It is not, and no above ground pool is, self sustaining without water.

    There is a whole class of in-ground, steel walled, vinyl lined pools that are meant to be installed in the ground all the way. They have heavy steel panels that bolt together and can withstand the pressure of outside dirt even before the water is added. These pools are self sustaining without water and are a lot more expensive than an above ground pool.

    As for the extra supports on the Intrique, not sure where that comes from, the top rails are all about four foot, just like they always have been.

    Dennis
    Pro pool installer for over 35 years
    Shadebuilder.com

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