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Thread: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

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    Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Hello, last August I sold my house that had an inground pool, and moved to a new house that has no pool. The community pool is just four houses away, so I don't feel like forking out for another pool, but my wife for some reason won't swim in public, and so we agreed to a compromise of building an above ground pool. The cheapest one I found online (but haven't bought yet) is $655 including liner. (Not sure if that includes a pump though... the ad was vague about that.) One thing I'm wary of about it is that they recommend a cartridge filter, and I prefer from experience using a sand filter over a cartridge filter, and I'm not sure that that pool will work okay with a sand filter, so I guess I'm still shopping around. I'm confused though why any pool would be incompatible with a sand filter, but the Q&A says they recommend using the cartridge filter, as that's what the pool lwas designed for.

    Anyway I've been reading about ground preparation. If anybody's interested, here's some pictures of the site on my backyard where I'd like to put up an 18 foot diameter 48" deep above ground pool:







    I put red flags to show the perimeter of an 18 foot wide circle.

    I read somewhere that when levelling the ground, I should go an extra foot around (i.e. 20 foot wide circle). Why is this needed? Also, how do I calculate the amount of sand to bring in? And why is sand needed, if the ground is already level? I'm guessing to make the bottom of the pool smoother to walk on? My yard looks pretty level, but I can't really know how level it is until I get out a level and measure it. I read a tip of using an 8 foot 2x4 and putting a level on it and sliding the wood around the region noting the readings on the level, but I don't have an 8 foot piece of wood. I'm thinking of going on my lunch hour tomorrow and buying one from Home Depot, so I can take the measurements to see if there's actually some kind of slope, and how much a slope it is. Chances are, there must be some kind of slope there, but I hope not too much, as I assume the more the slope, the more digging needs to be done.

    If I singlehandedly try to level it with a pick and a shovel, does that sound like a lot of work? I do have a pile of dirt nearby, and any dirt I remove, I'll just add to the pile. I'm planning on spreading the dirt around my yard elsewhere, as my lawn in general is of very poor quality, as that's the state it was in last year when I bought the house.

    Also I read somewhere that while filling up the pool, when there's about a foot of water, I should walk around to feel the bottom to make sure it's still smooth, and if any legs have shifted and are no longer centered on the concrete footings you guys recommend, I should make adjustments. How can that be done? Don't the concrete footings need to be sunk into the soil, so that the tops of the footings are level with the ground? It seems like to move them I'd have to get under the pool and do more digging to create a new spot for the footing, possible upsetting the work I did levelling the ground. (Also upsetting the layer of sand that's on top of the soil.) I hope that won't be necessary.

    By the way, when the time comes for sand, I do own a Silverado pickup truck, so I think I can go buy it and a landcaping supply store, and deliver it myself to my house, and I suppose wheelbarrow it a load at a time out to the backyard. Is there a particular type of sand I need to look for?
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    One thing I'm wary of about it is that they recommend a cartridge filter, and I prefer from experience using a sand filter over a cartridge filter, and I'm not sure that that pool will work okay with a sand filter, so I guess I'm still shopping around. I'm confused though why any pool would be incompatible with a sand filter, but the Q&A says they recommend using the cartridge filter, as that's what the pool lwas designed for.
    The pool does not care what filter it is attached too...to put it another way the filter just filters water, it does not care what it is contained in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    I read somewhere that when levelling the ground, I should go an extra foot around (i.e. 20 foot wide circle). Why is this needed?
    The 18' is typically the inside diameter, so you need room for the vertical supports and the pavers under them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    Also, how do I calculate the amount of sand to bring in? And why is sand needed, if the ground is already level?
    It protects the bottom or the liner and allows you to build a cove at the edges to also protect the liner. You need enough sand for a minimum of 2" thick, plus what you would need for a 6" cove. One alterntive to sand (what I have) is extruded polystyrene foam for the bottom and foam cove.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    Chances are, there must be some kind of slope there, but I hope not too much, as I assume the more the slope, the more digging needs to be done.
    You may be surprised as I was when I found that my "flat" area was 8" out of level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    If I singlehandedly try to level it with a pick and a shovel, does that sound like a lot of work? I do have a pile of dirt nearby, and any dirt I remove, I'll just add to the pile. I'm planning on spreading the dirt around my yard elsewhere, as my lawn in general is of very poor quality, as that's the state it was in last year when I bought the house.
    It is alot of work, many people rent a sod cutter to cut up the sod and then also use it to scrape the high points off. Remember to dig down to the lowest undisturbed soil, never add.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    Also I read somewhere that while filling up the pool, when there's about a foot of water, I should walk around to feel the bottom to make sure it's still smooth, and if any legs have shifted and are no longer centered on the concrete footings you guys recommend, I should make adjustments. How can that be done? Don't the concrete footings need to be sunk into the soil, so that the tops of the footings are level with the ground? It seems like to move them I'd have to get under the pool and do more digging to create a new spot for the footing, possible upsetting the work I did levelling the ground. (Also upsetting the layer of sand that's on top of the soil.) I hope that won't be necessary.
    Are you talking about an intex type pool or a more standard semi-permanent metal walled agp? If intex, then yes you can adjust. If a standard agp, then you need to be level before you set the pool up on the pavers.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    pfancher's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Zinder, if you are talking about putting up a Metal Frame pool it might be of some help to take a look at my install thread. my-2-years-2-pools-build-project-in-pics-t44761.html

    It starts off with my first install of an inflatable ring pool then to my 16' metal frame.

    Even if you are planning for a permanent metal sided pool the leveling process is the same.
    Intex 16'x48" Metal Frame Above Ground. 5061 gallon.
    Two 1000 gph/750 flow rate Intex cartridge filters.
    Memphis, TN
    my-2-years-2-pools-build-project-in-pics-t44761.html

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Well actually, my wife suggested I go visit the pool store that I bought an above ground pool from 18 years ago (2 houses ago). The same two partners that own and run the store are still there, and they showed me a pool they thought I'd like, and they also offer a service of doing all the ground preparation (for a price) and the assembly of the pool. I think my wife wants me to go this route, as we'd have the pool faster, and I already have a backlog of a lot of other house projects going on right now. Plus we've hired these guys before, and we think they do good work.

    I have two things I might want to pass by the experts here:

    1) He suggests I get an automatic chlorinater. I personally have used and like salt systems, but he claims that for a smaller pool (the one I'm looking at would only be a bit over 7600 gallons) the amount of chlorine I'd need isn't that much, and that a salt system would be expensive to install, and the benefits of chlorine savings for a pool that small wouldn't be that much. Plus he claims every few years I'm suppose to replace the generater cell in a salt system, which is expensive too. So from an economic standpoint, he likes the automatic chlorinator.

    One thing I didn't point out to him, but should have is that I used to have an automatic chlorinater, and one thing I didn't like is that it was hard to fine tune the amount of chlorine it puts out. I'd test the water, and it'd need more, so I'd turn the dial just a little bit, and either it'd have no effect, or it'd significantly overkill the adjustment, and now I have too much chlorine. With a salt system, there was a digital panel, and I could change the generating output in increments of 1%, so I could really fine tune the amount of chlorine.

    2) He wants to give me a 1 HP pump, which he admits is overkill. I think it has a flow rate of something like 60 GPM, which means the whole entire pool could be filtered in a little over 2 hours. I asked about a smaller pump, and he says 1 HP is already about as small as he likes to sell, because in his opinion, the 0.5 HP pumps aren't built as well and tend to have more repair/maintenance problems. Does that sound right to you guys?
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    I agree with your wife on public pools, they always look cloudy and smell. I'd be curious to bring my test set to see what's in there.

    As for SWG, I have an Intex one for my 18'x33' pool, 4 hours a day is more than enough to maintain the correct chlorine level. It's so much better than messing with bleach every day and was cheap. I'm on my 3rd year with it.

    1HP seems large for the pool listed but my knowledge on that side of the house is limited. When he lists chlorinator what type is it? Does it use pucks or something else? I'd only use a SWG or liquid chlorine.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    The automatic chlorinater is a vertical tube that you fill with chlorine tablets. The pump diverts a bit of the water flow through it so it dissolves the tablets into the pool water. I think typically you can get 1" or 3" tablets.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    1) Aqua-trol makes a good small unit for aboveground pools. There are several others too, that's just a popular model.

    2) I'd request a 2-speed pump. A 1hp is fine if you get a 2-speed. P. S. That about the smaller pumps needing more repairs is bunk.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    The automatic chlorinater is a vertical tube that you fill with chlorine tablets. The pump diverts a bit of the water flow through it so it dissolves the tablets into the pool water. I think typically you can get 1" or 3" tablets.
    Tablets add CYA, ok for when on vacation but not so good to stay on indefinitely unless your water gets changed now and then.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeInNH
    I'd only use a SWG or liquid chlorine.
    Out of curiosity, would liquid chlorine be manually applied, or is there an automatic way to have it slowly released into the pool over the course of a week?

    By the way, I'm still waiting for my HOA to approve my request for an AGP.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Most people do it manually, it was only about a pint for my pool. I think there's something called a liquidator that will put it in for you but I don't know much about them. HOA, loads of fun there.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    2) He wants to give me a 1 HP pump, which he admits is overkill. I think it has a flow rate of something like 60 GPM, which means the whole entire pool could be filtered in a little over 2 hours. I asked about a smaller pump, and he says 1 HP is already about as small as he likes to sell, because in his opinion, the 0.5 HP pumps aren't built as well and tend to have more repair/maintenance problems. Does that sound right to you guys?
    Actually I would go with the 1 HP pump because you will be able to vacuum effectively with it. 1 HP may be overkill for standard filtering, but drawing through a vacuum head/hose, it's probably about right.

    Also, if you develop problems that need clearing (algae/clouding), you'll be very glad to have the extra power at your disposal when you need it.
    10k gal IG w/ salt system, spa, gas heater, and auto cover.

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by anderson110
    Quote Originally Posted by Zindar
    2) He wants to give me a 1 HP pump, which he admits is overkill. I think it has a flow rate of something like 60 GPM, which means the whole entire pool could be filtered in a little over 2 hours. I asked about a smaller pump, and he says 1 HP is already about as small as he likes to sell, because in his opinion, the 0.5 HP pumps aren't built as well and tend to have more repair/maintenance problems. Does that sound right to you guys?
    Actually I would go with the 1 HP pump because you will be able to vacuum effectively with it. 1 HP may be overkill for standard filtering, but drawing through a vacuum head/hose, it's probably about right.

    Also, if you develop problems that need clearing (algae/clouding), you'll be very glad to have the extra power at your disposal when you need it.
    I would chose a 2-speed then so you can run on low most of the time.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    There are plenty of videos on line showing how to install a pool and prep the ground, I'd highly recommend watching a few of those so you understand the process.
    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

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    You may run into roots with it being that close to the tree depending on how far down you have to go level, you definitely don't want roots growing under.
    27'x54" Matrix Resin - 200lb Pentair sand filter - 1.5hp Pentair optiflow 2 speed pump - Aquatrol SWG - Gorilla Pad

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Well, I just received approval from the HOA to have the pool built, but with the proviso that if I build any decking, it must be at the ground level, and not up at the 52 inch level. I'm not sure what I think of that. Actually, I never intended to build a deck up there for groups of people to sit, but I was considering building a sort of wooden stairway leading up and a platform that you could stand on before jumping in the pool. It sort of sounds like that is disallowed.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    I'd say if it's just a landing at the top it's not a deck it's just a style. But it doesn't matter what "I" think.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Maybe get more detail and tell them you want enough to sit on but not put a patio set on? I love our deck. I'd push this one some. What about a pool that has a small metal deck already attached?
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeInNH
    What about a pool that has a small metal deck already attached?
    I've not seen anything like that. I'll have to look into that.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    If having the pool installed is economically feasible, I would have them install it. I don't know how much the installed price is more than the raw materials cost of the pool. It looks like you have plenty of easy access for a small tractor to do the leveling. The leveling, even if you are doing the build yourself, is one thing I suggest hiring out no matter if it's a DIY build or you have them build.

    As for the pump, a 2 speed is better but I would stay at 1HP and enjoy shorter run times and plenty of power for an Aquabug vacuum or similar. I would consider foregoing the auto-chlorinator and start with manual methods. You can add a small SWG or a Liquidator later if you prefer more automation (for a higher installation cost).

    As to the decking, I have a pool similar in dimensions and possibly my yard is even similarly sized. My is a smallish 30x60 (sort of big in my town). I didn't want my deck at the top of pool for safety reasons, cost reason and that I didn't want to feel I was on display when on my deck. In your yard, you are nearly at the top of the fence when you are on a 52 inch high deck. I started with this deck


    it is about 12 inches above grade in most areas except next to my concrete deck. It's about 18 inches by the deck, its nice to sit on. it is about 38 inches from the deck surface to the top of the pool's top seat.

    I have added a smaller "jump deck" that is nearly at the top of pool. It was made by building two section of the 18 in the 3 foot splash deck at Deckplans.com. You can see that in my thread. I don't like thread jacking
    LINK
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: Thinking of new pool, ground preparation questions

    What about partially burying the pool -- that way your deck could be significantly lower than 52", and maybe they'd be okay with that. You'd have to be sure to buy a pool that can be partially buried. There are several threads on this site showing those pools and IMO they are a terrific compromise between the cost of an in-ground and and above-ground.
    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

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