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Thread: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back lol

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    Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back lol

    Hello and great site.

    I think my yard was the dumping ground for every rock in the sub-division when the house was made. I am in SW Va and have clay soil(if it can be called that) and at least 10-20 rocks per foot of digging. I've read up alot and am trying to not disturb the soil as I attempt leveling but I dont think that will be possible. I'm getting ready to order some type of bottom pad for liner protection but would really like some advice on leveling a PITA(Pain in the ...) yard.

    Even choosing the flattest part of the yard I still need to dig down the high side about 6 inches. A tiller is the only way I can get this done and know I'll need to tamp the area after. Anyone done this successfully or are there other methods that I've missed? Does the ground need to be fully level or does the sand take care of irregularities?

    Im looking for advice or tips or a stiff drink.

    PS - Whoever put the "setup on 45 minutes" on the Intex boxes should be fired, it's just mean

    EDIT: Intex Metal frame 15x48
    24 Ft Sharkline Matrix , ~15,200 Gallons
    Pentair SD60 w/ 2 speed 1.5 HP Dynamo pump
    Taylor K-2006 --- BBB

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    77

    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    I'm new here too, so I am not sure I should be commenting. But when we looked at setting up our agp we decided it was worth the cost of having a landscaper come in and do the leveling. But we aren't real diy'ers either.
    Cindy

    4.8 K gallon AGP: sharkline opera 12'x17'x52"
    Sandpro 4511 sand filter and pump

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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    Would love to hire someone but kind of goes against me telling my wife I could do it on the cheap

    Think I'm going the tiller and compactor route, much easier on the back
    24 Ft Sharkline Matrix , ~15,200 Gallons
    Pentair SD60 w/ 2 speed 1.5 HP Dynamo pump
    Taylor K-2006 --- BBB

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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    It might be worth a call to some places, at least get some quotes. You might be shocked at how cheap it is.

    I paid $300 to get my spot level, had to go down about 12 inches on the high side. That also included a dump truck worth of sand. Two guys showed up with a bob cat and a laser transit, and were done in about 45 minutes. This was for a 15x30 foot oval. Well worth it imo.

    But if you want to do it with a tiller, I'd set the depth for about 5 inches, and dig the rest...

    The sand will help, the padding will help more. But I think the rocks have feet, and are completely mobile. I found a bump in my lining today, and I'm praying it's a stone, and not nutgrass trying to poke thru. That bump was definitely not there last year.

    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    77

    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    Completely understand! Like I said we aren't real diy'ers, if we could have paid someone to put up the pool for us, we would have!!! Our ground is like bedrock just a few inches below the sod. My husband tried to dig a shovel down to show me how far off our site was from level and could hardly put a dent below the sod.
    Cindy

    4.8 K gallon AGP: sharkline opera 12'x17'x52"
    Sandpro 4511 sand filter and pump

  6. Back To Top    #6
    cramar's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    My pool has been up for a few weeks, take the time and level the site as best as possible, you wont regret it!!!!
    Our soil is mostly clay and it was a chore, the longer the site was exposed the drier it got and the harder it was to remove dirt, you can always spray the site down a bit to get it easier to level.
    I had to dig down 8" so I know how hard it is, one tool I made was a long board (2X6X12) with a 4' level attached, I nailed that to stake in the center of the pool site (stake was also hammered down to the level plane) and then simply went around the site removing earth until it was level.

    Don't rely on the 'sand' you add to level the perimeter, it has to be level prior to adding 'sand'. And don't rely on adding soil to make the site level, pool manufacturers will void your warranty if you build your site up instead of down, you will never compact soil anywhere near many tonnes of water will compact that soil!!!!

    It took me a solid week or so to do this myself, but you won't regret it. Pools carry a lot of weight and when your filling it up you'll be glad you went the extra mile.
    If you pay someone to do it, get that board and level and check their work.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    Don't forget the pavers under each leg of the frame. Our site was level and we barely had to dig so I thought it would plenty firm, but wished I had done the pavers after a few weeks.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  8. Back To Top    #8
    cramar's Avatar
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    Sault Ontario
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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    And each paver has to be level to the one on either side of it and pool center as well......ohhh the memories of this. Bottom line is there are no shortcuts to leveling the site properly, pay money to have someone do it or do it yourself but do it right.
    If the pool goes up and there are problems due to site level, imagine the black cloud that will settle in on you when you come to that realization.

    Site leveling is a simple concept, but it is slow process and hard work.
    I spent the better part of a whole day just on pavers.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    First thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate it.

    I don't plan moving dirt to the low side, just use the tiller and compactor on the high side to help with the amount of dirt that must be removed. I want to get the ground as close to level as possible but use machines instead of a shovel

    Is that plan not advisable? I'll do the by hand deal if need be but there will be a lot more swearin

    Thanks in advance
    24 Ft Sharkline Matrix , ~15,200 Gallons
    Pentair SD60 w/ 2 speed 1.5 HP Dynamo pump
    Taylor K-2006 --- BBB

  10. Back To Top    #10
    cramar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Sault Ontario
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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    Ya, the tiller is an option, for sure, the video from my pool manufacturer suggests using one.
    I contemplated using my neighbors, if I had my own I probably would have tried it. I'll admit to a fair share of cursing from rocks!!

    Sounds like you have a good plan of attack!!
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

  11. Back To Top    #11
    poolnew-b's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    Quote Originally Posted by cramar
    My pool has been up for a few weeks, take the time and level the site as best as possible, you wont regret it!!!!
    Our soil is mostly clay and it was a chore, the longer the site was exposed the drier it got and the harder it was to remove dirt, you can always spray the site down a bit to get it easier to level.
    I had to dig down 8" so I know how hard it is, one tool I made was a long board (2X6X12) with a 4' level attached, I nailed that to stake in the center of the pool site (stake was also hammered down to the level plane) and then simply went around the site removing earth until it was level.

    Don't rely on the 'sand' you add to level the perimeter, it has to be level prior to adding 'sand'. And don't rely on adding soil to make the site level, pool manufacturers will void your warranty if you build your site up instead of down, you will never compact soil anywhere near many tonnes of water will compact that soil!!!!

    It took me a solid week or so to do this myself, but you won't regret it. Pools carry a lot of weight and when your filling it up you'll be glad you went the extra mile.
    If you pay someone to do it, get that board and level and check their work.
    Same here.

    Taking the time to get a level base is key to these pool.

    I did the same thing after a few failed attemts at leveling.

    2x6x10 with a 4ft level . I started at the lowest point and slowly dug out to get it level and to the point where anywhere I put the level it was level.

    Took a few days and alot of digging but It was well worth the back ache lol.

    This is the most important thing :
    Don't rely on the 'sand' you add to level the perimeter, it has to be level prior to adding 'sand'. And don't rely on adding soil to make the site level, pool manufacturers will void your warranty if you build your site up instead of down, you will never compact soil anywhere near many tonnes of water will compact that soil!!!!
    Intex Ultra frame 16x48
    Intex 1600GPH Sand Filter
    Taylor K-2005 test kit

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    I'm beginning to think the back-breaking way is the best Guess I need to suck it up and get the shovels out
    24 Ft Sharkline Matrix , ~15,200 Gallons
    Pentair SD60 w/ 2 speed 1.5 HP Dynamo pump
    Taylor K-2006 --- BBB

  13. Back To Top    #13
    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    Nah, like I said, if I had a roto-tiller I would have tried it, unfortunately with alot of clay the site quickly became very dry and hard so I don't know if it would have worked well.
    The best thing I made was that wooden broom handle on the end of my 2x6x12 (you can see it in the pic), since the board was hammered into the center stake, to move it all I had to do was grab that end handle at waist height and move it, to top it off I bought a 4' level that had a top side site. I can't tell you how much these 2 little factors saved my back.

    I must have walked that board around that circle 500 times, but when the pool was up I measure it to be 1/4" off of level, so I'm pretty happy with that.

    PS, get the best flat edged shovel you can find, not a spade shovel. I found that a garden edger helped also, cut the soil up into manageable pieces for the shovel. In the end I found that the "shallow" side was way harder than the deeper side, removing 1" was harder than 8" as I had less room for error.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

  14. Back To Top    #14
    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    A pitchfork is all that works to dig in our yard (yet it does work beautifully with minimal effort). Poke it in, stand on it and heave up a big chunk. Shovels are for after all the picking has been done to loosen the soil. I put sod down last year around the pool area. Pitchforked the whole yard up and then sifted the soil of all but the tiniest of rocks. Then dance with flat shoes on the sifted soil. What a PITA.

    We also leveled the pool area in this way years ago before I ever heard of foam pads for pools, sifting the rocks out probably is the only thing that saved the pool floors. (sifter is just a rectangle of 2x4's with chickenwire mesh tacked to one side, shake or press the soil through - leaves rocks and vegetation in the screen) The diameter got larger over the years so this had to be re-done each time we got a new pool. I should put the video of the kids dancing on the pool area up on you tube or something. It's kinda funny.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Help with leveling, advice needed before pool goes back

    I fought the yard and the yard won!

    Next step is a tiller
    24 Ft Sharkline Matrix , ~15,200 Gallons
    Pentair SD60 w/ 2 speed 1.5 HP Dynamo pump
    Taylor K-2006 --- BBB

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