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Thread: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

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    Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    Hi, we currently have an intex 16 x 48 but we are upgrading to the 22 x 52 intex. I have learned the hard way not build up to level the yard. We will hire a contractor and he will use a Bobcat. From other posts I see some putting down a Styrofoam board for cushion and stability. If I decide to go that route would I put that down first or would I use sand and then the board? What is the best type of cushion to buy? In my current pool the bottom is filled with dips and you can still manipulate the sand with your foot and it is off about 5 inches on one side and that is what I am trying to avoid this time around. Can anyone please guide me as to what are the proper steps after the contractor levels the ground. Is sand needed or should I use something else and how much should I use? The contractor said he would compact the sand and last time we used a tamper should I use a compactor plate? Do I need to let the ground sit for a while or can we install the pool the same day as the leveling?Thank you so much in advance for any advice!!
    Discovery LX resin pool 16,400 gal 1.5 hp Pentair sand filter counter sunk 2 ft

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    Taterfink's Avatar
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    Re: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    Sand is not advisable under an intex pool as it can shift and/or wash out from under the pool and the legs stand a better chance of sinking. With a hard sided pool the walls hold the sand in place and keep it from washing away. With intex, there is no such wall to retain the sand.

    I have an intex ultra frame 26' x 52" and I leveled the ground, inset 12"x12" concrete stepping stones to ground level for support of the legs. Then I lay down 2 layers of tarp, topped that with 3/4" extruded polystyrene insulation, and one last tarp on top of it all. If you use the insulation, tape it, taking extra care, with gorilla tape as advised elsewhere on this board. I used duct tape and it released in some spots and the weight of the water has pushed the insulation apart a little bit.

    My pool has been up since May of 2012 and the legs are quite stable. I am off level 1" in total which bugs me but, realistically I feel is not too bad considering the size of the pool.

    As for the leveling / compacting, I had a contractor level my pool site after I had a tree removed. He compacted his little heart out but I live in Florida and our dirt is sand and difficult to compact. Works great when it is wet but once it is dry, it's loose soil. This is also why I invested in the insulation, added stability. I went ahead and began my pool installation when he finished the leveling and mine is doing fine. Make sure he digs down the high spots to match the lower spots. Do not build up the low spots to match the high spots because that added soil will not compact sufficiently to support the weight of the pool. The added soil will cause the pool to sink in those areas and if that happens to be under a leg, it will sink.

    If you do use insulation under the pool, use the extruded polystyrene. Regular foam insulation will not support the weight sufficiently. When I was installing my pool, I contacted The manufacturer and was told that regular foam insulation will collapse under the weight and will flatten like a pancake.

    This is my experience, others on this board may have additional input. They were all invaluable to me during my install. There are some great minds on here and they are so kind and helpful.

    Best of luck with your install!
    Angie M.
    AG, 26' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame, vinyl, 14667 gal. And LOVING it!!! Hayward S15922S 1HP, 2SP pump and Hayward S220T Sand Filter. Hard plumbed with PVC, added second return, intex SWG, Hydro Pool widemouth skimmer. Set up in May 2012!
    N.E. Florida. TF100 - Best investment EVER! (Well, for the pool anyway)

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    Re: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    Thank you so much for the great tips! I was feeling a little uneasy and almost wanted to cancel the pool but I see it can be done. Thanks again
    Discovery LX resin pool 16,400 gal 1.5 hp Pentair sand filter counter sunk 2 ft

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    Taterfink's Avatar
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    Re: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    You are most welcome.

    Now you need to take pictures of the process and post them here so we can share your joy!
    Angie M.
    AG, 26' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame, vinyl, 14667 gal. And LOVING it!!! Hayward S15922S 1HP, 2SP pump and Hayward S220T Sand Filter. Hard plumbed with PVC, added second return, intex SWG, Hydro Pool widemouth skimmer. Set up in May 2012!
    N.E. Florida. TF100 - Best investment EVER! (Well, for the pool anyway)

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    Re: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    X2 what taterfink wrote. I have an Intex 18x48 Ultra Frame, and I leveled the yard myself using a 4' level on top of a 2X4, swinging around in a circle. I got it as level as I could, but I now wish I'd done a better job of it. Some of my legs are sinking a bit. He is right about not filling in low spots, the weight of the pool will compact any areas that were filled in. Sand can, will, and does shift. I have some under mine, and wouldn't do it again given the chance. I also used " pink insulation board on top of the sand, under a tarp. I wanted some kind of cushion, and that's what was in the budget at the time. It's better than nothing. I could definitely feel it last year, haven't been in the pool yet this year to feel how it's held up.

    I'd put the pool up as soon as the leveling is done. That way there's no rain or wind to throw it off.

    Another thing I'd recommend is to ditch the pump that comes with the pool. We've had 2 or 3 inflatable ring pools before the current ultra frame, and the pump that came with all of them (this one included) was woefully inadequate. Nowhere near strong enough to vacuum, and didn't move enough water to filter effectively. I bought a small sand filter at the pool store (yes, the pool store) and can say that a larger pump/filter is DEFINITELY the way to go, at least it was for me. I can now vacuum, and only need to run the pump a few hours per day. It is currently taking care of an algae outbreak that a little cartridge filter could never handle(I wasn't able to keep up with the pool as well as I needed to last fall, details in my thread). I also don't have to buy those little paper things anymore. One package of filters is roughly the same price as a bag of sand that never needs to be replaced.

    Welcome aboard!
    Intex Ultra Frame 18' X 48" 7600 +/- gallons
    Columbia 50 LB sand filter/ HP pump, $$ WELL spent(2nd best thing bought for the pool)
    Virginia Beach, VA
    TF100 test kit- Money WELL spent (best thing I've ever bought for the pool)
    Leisure bay hot tub

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    Re: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    Thank you Big_kid for more welcomed advice. I agree the pump/filter definitely needs to be upgraded. I noticed last season that it was not up to par. I could only vacuum my pool with the kind that you attach to a water hose. It did the job but only added more water to an already unlevel pool. Not a good thing I am really looking forward to starting over now that I am learning the correct way to install the pool.Thanks so much for the advice. Enjoy your weekend!!
    Discovery LX resin pool 16,400 gal 1.5 hp Pentair sand filter counter sunk 2 ft

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    Taterfink's Avatar
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    Re: Round 1 unlevel pool won by a TKO, Round 2 I win!

    I hope your project is going well!

    I agree with Big Kid about the pump. I didn't even bother taking the intex pump out of the box it came in. Plan to sell it to recoup a bit of cash. I opted for a sand filter from the get-go. Haven't regretted it one bit. The SandPro filter/pump I have may not be on the same level as the Hayward's of the world but it gets the job done and I've had no issues with it. It does vacuum pretty well too. It was what I could afford at the time since I was getting everything at once and had a budget. When and if it dies, i'll be able to replace it with a better multi speed pump.


    Oh, and.
    Angie M.
    AG, 26' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame, vinyl, 14667 gal. And LOVING it!!! Hayward S15922S 1HP, 2SP pump and Hayward S220T Sand Filter. Hard plumbed with PVC, added second return, intex SWG, Hydro Pool widemouth skimmer. Set up in May 2012!
    N.E. Florida. TF100 - Best investment EVER! (Well, for the pool anyway)

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