Hi, we are installing a used 15 x 30 oval steel wall pool. We're trying to decide whether to go with a foam, dirt or sand cove. Our pool instructions say to use dirt for the cove, not sand. Reading posts on this subject has left me more confused than ever. Some people who formerly had sand coves are much happier with their new foam coves. Other people say that the foam cove eventually breaks down under the weight of the water and flattens out to almost nothing.
If our budget wasn't so tight, I would probably buy a high density foam cove. The price of the high density cove is $130. I can get a regular foam cove on ebay for $59 with free shipping. I haven't seen any posts discussing the two grades of foam so I'm wondering which type most people are using. Would it be worth it to buy the high density foam or is the cheap stuff good enough? We're planning to use 2" of sand for the bottom. Should we set the foam cove on top or under the sand? It does appear to be notched at the back to fit over the rail. If the cove is only 3" tall, wouldn't it be a bad idea to have 2" of it covered by sand?
Some people have posted that their sand cove washed out. We live in the high desert of southern California where it rains very little. Is it safe to assume that a sand cove would be very unlikely to wash out in this area? Our soil is very sandy but it does has small pebbles that would probably have to be sifted out in order to use the dirt for building a cove as recommended by the pool manufacturer. I wouldn't know what type of screen to use. Would it be worth the effort to sift the soil or would a sand cove be a better option? A pool supply place told me that 90% of the pools they install have sand only for the cove and bottom. He said that they build the cove 8" up and 8" out, spray it with water and tamp it down really hard on the cove and pool bottom to avoid any footprints. Is it true that it is a lot of work to build a sand or dirt cove?
Sorry for the long post but I have one other question. We decided against investing in an expensive pool bottom. However, we have some cheap 1" foam that was used for packing material around furniture. It crumbles easily. I'm guessing that this would not be suitable to use as padding under the pool liner?
Any opinions would be much appreciated. Thank you.