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Thread: Fiberglass pool backfill: sand vs. gravel

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    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Newton, NC
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    Fiberglass pool backfill: sand vs. gravel

    I know this topic has come up before, but I'm struggling with what decision to make.

    I have one PB who normally uses sand. If I want to pay for the extra cost of gravel, he will use gravel. He says that none of the fiberglass pools he has installed (over 200) have ever had a problem due to settling or eroding of the sand backfill. I am in red clay country here in North Carolina. I don't know if that makes a difference in deciding whether to go with sand or gravel. The pool will be installed in an area that slopes. So, they will have to make a cut into the slope and build a retaining wall. So, there is the potential for water runoff down the slope. Overall, the ground is fairly high...so I'm not worried about the water table.

    My understanding from a PB who does Viking pools is that Viking will not honor their warranty if the pool is backfilled with anything other than sand. I've read the River Pools and Spas article about this topic which includes the quote from the president of Viking Pools regarding sand backfill. So, I guess the comment from the PB about the warranty could be true.

    I'm waiting for a price on how much more gravel will be than sand. I think it will be about $1,000.

    I've never heard of a fiberglass pool problem caused by gravel backfill. But, I have heard of problems attributable to sand backfill.

    So, do I spend an extra $1,000 for peace of mind?

    What say you, pool experts?
    Vince L

    16' x 37' fiberglass pool, 8' fiberglass spa, Hayward Swimclear C3030 filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Goldline Pro Logic PL-PS-8, Goldline SWCG, Goldline Sense & Dispense pH control, Fiberstars LED's in pool & spa, AquaCal SQ175R heat pump, SR Smith Typhoon slide, Polaris 9300xi robotic cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Sebring, Florida
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    Re: Fiberglass pool backfill: sand vs. gravel

    I've never heard of a fiberglass pool problem caused by gravel backfill. But, I have heard of problems attributable to sand backfill.
    Well, that would do it for me....and I also agree with that statement.

    I used #57 rock which can be around 1" in diameter or a little smaller. It is used under concrete frequently. I had a large deck (2500') poured and have yet to have the first crack after 7 years....I'm sure I will at some point, but I haven't yet.

    Here in Raleigh, good masonry sand is actually a little more than #57 rock so I am not sure about the +$1000....something doesn't seem quite right. A truckload of rock usually costs me about $250 delivered.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Apr 2012
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    Newton, NC
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    Re: Fiberglass pool backfill: sand vs. gravel

    Thanks for the reply, Dave.

    I was surprised at the PB's comment that it could be $1,000 extra for gravel.

    I'm planning on putting river rock everywhere inside the pool fence that isn't pool or decking. Told the wife that I have no intention of ever having to bring a lawnmower through the gate into the pool area.

    I've got the names/phone numbers of several local places that sell sand, stone, gravel, etc. to get prices on river rock. I think I'll do some comparison shopping on sand and gravel, too. Then compare with the PB when he gets back to me.

    The more research I do, the more I learn how much I need to learn.
    Vince L

    16' x 37' fiberglass pool, 8' fiberglass spa, Hayward Swimclear C3030 filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Goldline Pro Logic PL-PS-8, Goldline SWCG, Goldline Sense & Dispense pH control, Fiberstars LED's in pool & spa, AquaCal SQ175R heat pump, SR Smith Typhoon slide, Polaris 9300xi robotic cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Fiberglass pool backfill: sand vs. gravel

    We did gravel but I'm here in Texas on a rock/clay mix.
    ____________________________________________________________ ______________________
    In the process of building a Lonestar Fiberglass Pools : Savannah in Caribbean Blue. 13,000 Gallons SWG, 4 therapeutic jets, Pentair 1 HP superflow (348023) pump, 200 Clean & Clear cartridge filter (CCRP-160353), Pentair salt cell IntelliChlor IC40, 3 LED lights, 1 skimmer, cantilever coping with integral light wheat color, and salt-rock pool decking finish.

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    Samantha Sabrina's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
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    Bloomsdale, Mo
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    Re: Fiberglass pool backfill: sand vs. gravel

    Vince,

    While you are checking prices check the price of screenings, it is very fine gravel, but has alot of "dust" for the lack of a better word, and around here most quarries are selling that for $2.40 a ton, and once it is packed and gets wet it will get as hard as concrete, but it will wash out like sand if it is subject to heavy rain and running water. If it is surrounded by a retaining wall it will stay put and settle very little if at all, it will give your pool plenty of support, and is fine enough to not worry about doing any damage.
    Samantha

    In the process of building for a 22' Intex Ultra Frame, (completion date up in the air at this point).
    We could not beat our backyard into submission so we "Buried It".

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