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Thread: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x48"

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    nate81's Avatar
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    First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x48"

    After searching the forums I've had trouble collecting all the bits of information and compiling them. I'm hoping to ask some of the most common questions and have all the answers in one location for future users, as I couldn't find a step-by-step install 'guide'. If there are more questions I missed please ask! I've also noticed that a lot of photos don't even show up any longer (anything older than a year or two,the pics are gone).

    some info on my current situation...I've broken ground for my intex 16'x48" ultra frame pool. I removed all the sod and I'm now having someone come out and level for me, its turning out to be quite the dig as the slope is steeper than I originally anticipated. Here is a picture. I intend on leaving this pool up throughout the Winter so, of course, I'd like to get it right (or close to it ) the first time.

    Questions about setup/install:
    The soil here seems sandy to me, I'm no expert, but its really easy to put a shovel in it and dig out. Is this going to be a problem? I've read that you do not want to use sand as a pool base.

    Should I use patio blocks under each of the support posts?

    I went to Lowes Home Improvement and did not see any of this 'pink foam'. What exactly am I looking to purchase here? I saw 4'x8'x1/2" sheets of foam (some had a silverish lining on it) These sheets were about $10 each and there were about 3 different options, I have no idea what the differences were, but none were pink.

    What is the proper order of ground cover? I was thinking of using earth > tarp that comes with pool > foam and then assemble pool on that.

    Questions about upgrades to Intex pools

    So from what I've read the paper filters are a joke, and that sand filters are the way to go. How do I know which one I can use? wally world has dozens of options and the descriptions don't seem to be very detailed, and I'm pretty sure they have the same filters listed several different times with just different lettering of the description. I was thinking of getting the intex krystal clear 1,600 gallon sand filter.

    I ordered the intex krystal clear saltwater filtration system from walmart. Once I get the sand filter, is that all I need? I see a heritage wide mouth pool skimmer on sale, should I go ahead and get that also?

    What are the pros/cons of 'hard' plumbing all the pumps/filters?

    So there is only one pump in this setup? That will circulate pool water through my sand filter, and then through the saltwater filter and then back into the pool? And again, the sand filter is for small debris and the saltfilter is for bacteria/naturally chlorinating the water so I don't have to manually add chemicals?

    Any other tips/tricks/questions for total newbies I might be missing?


    For me, pictures are worth a thousand words...so I'd like to take photos of the whole install and post along the way if anyone is interested.
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    Don't worry about the soil, it will be fine. When it's recommended not to use sand as a base, it means loose sand as fill.

    Yes you should use blocks under each leg.

    The foam is optional, but if you want to use it, whatever you find is fine.

    Your order of assembly sounds good.

    The 2650 sand filter/pump is the one you want.
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    nate81's Avatar
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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    I just ordered the Intex 2,650 sand filter/pump. Do you have any recommendations on a skimmer? I believe that sand filter comes with one but reviews say its not a good one.

    Anything else i need to purchase? pH test kits or anything else i don't know about?
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    The reason you don't see the pink stuff at Lowe's is because they don't sell Owen's Corning (pink). They sell Johns Manville. Same stuff, just a different company.
    Intex 18' X 48" Hard Plumbed running the 1800gph pump that came with it. Using BBB method

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeepfreak81
    The reason you don't see the pink stuff at Lowe's is because they don't sell Owen's Corning (pink). They sell Johns Manville. Same stuff, just a different company.

    Funny you say that, I was literally just searching home depot site and they carry the pink..but anyways....i'm going to need about 8 sheets for my pool and this stuff is like $ 10-$12 a board....any cheaper alternatives??
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    Quote Originally Posted by nate81
    its turning out to be quite the dig as the slope is steeper than I originally anticipated. Here is a picture.
    It's amazing once you start digging to see how unlevel it is, isn't it? I describe my yard as flatter than a Walmart floor, but I ended up about 8-10 inches down on 1 side of the area to level.

    What is the proper order of ground cover? I was thinking of using earth > tarp that comes with pool > foam and then assemble pool on that.
    I don't know the "proper" order, but I did mine with foam on the earth and tarp that came with it on top of the foam. I did that for a smooth layer between the tape I used on the joints of the foam panel edges. When I taped my edges, I ran a strip of heavy duct tape along the seam, then 2 strips each overlapping the first strip on either side for strength. You don't want those panels to shift.

    I ordered the intex krystal clear saltwater filtration system from walmart. Once I get the sand filter, is that all I need? I see a heritage wide mouth pool skimmer on sale, should I go ahead and get that also?
    You will like the salt water system. It is not a filtration system, that is what the sand filter does. It generates chlorine from the salt in the water and is used to sanitize the organics in the pool.

    As for the skimmer, you could always upgrade that at a later date. I am using the stock floating Intex skimmer. It works fairly well for me.

    What are the pros/cons of 'hard' plumbing all the pumps/filters?
    Some others can give more definitive answers to this one. I believe I have read something like the water flow through the 4 foot corrugated Intex hose is the equivalent to 100 or 150 feet of hard pipe. This impedes the flow rate going through the system.

    Has to be noted though, for every elbow or turn you add to hard pipe, it will impede the water flow as well, but judging by the equivalent 4 foot of Intex hose vs. 100 or 150 feet of hard pipe, seems to me you could have a million elbow in the pipe and still be better off.

    Hard piping can give you some different options easier than the Intex hoses. For example, if you wanted to divert up through a solar heating system up on the roof of your garage, it would be easier to tie that into hard plumbing than it would using the Intex stuff.

    So there is only one pump in this setup? That will circulate pool water through my sand filter, and then through the saltwater filter and then back into the pool? And again, the sand filter is for small debris and the saltfilter is for bacteria/naturally chlorinating the water so I don't have to manually add chemicals?
    Water goes into your skimmer. The skimmer has a basket that holds large debris. From the skimmer it goes to the filter where it filters the small particles. Then through the SWG (salt water generator) where the SWG cell will extract the chlorine from the salt and return it to your pool chlorinating the water for sanitation. The only pump is the one that is with the sand filter.

    Note, you are still sanitizing with chlorine. That is a common misconception. It is just being generated by the SWG rather than you manually adding chlorine daily. It is almost hands off, you still want to test for Free Chlorine, Combined Chlorine, pH, and alkalinity. The chlorine will be adjusted by how you set the SWG. The pH and alkalinity (and whatever else you want to test for) may still need periodic attention for adjustment. You can learn all about that above in the Pool School button at the top of the forum. Just for the record though, I installed my pool exactly 1 year ago today, got water on Tuesday after Memorial Day, started my SWG on Wednesday, and never touched the water to adjust until I closed in October. I did test every day at the beginning and ease off to every few days once I got the hang of what it was doing. I never had to adjust pH or alkalinity other than balancing the initial water fill.

    Funny you say that, I was literally just searching home depot site and they carry the pink..but anyways....i'm going to need about 8 sheets for my pool and this stuff is like $ 10-$12 a board....any cheaper alternatives??
    Sand is mostly not recommended for leveling your area. It was pretty common to use sand as a base to make a nice smooth and soft feel on your feet. I don't know when folks started using foam, but I have read that foam just gives less problems used as a base such as you can eventually end up with heel marks in the sand.

    There is a thin foam available, it is about 1/4 inch thick. It is called Dow Protection Board 2 (PBII), commonly referred to as "Fan Fold Foam" (FFF.) Perhaps you could use that since you say your earth is pretty sandy. I only know of FFF from flying RC airplanes as this is the stuff folks design foam scratch built aircraft from.

    Cheapest for me was scrap at work, LOL. I guess you would have to manufacture foam panels at work in order to do that though.

    Even though I make foam at work, I still purchased. I sorted through a giant scrap pile (it's actually polypopylene rather than polystyrene like the stuff at the store) and couldn't find a single piece that was good enough. Most had very large chunks taken out (hence, in the scrap pile.) A bummer too since first, it is a very soft polypropylene and thus far stronger, and second, they are our 6' x 6' puzzle pieces and thus wouldn't need tape to hold the edges together. The puzzle sections lock together. They are manufactured as an artificial turf athletic field underlayment They are glued together polypropylene beads rather than extruded solid panels or steam molded beads. That would have been great since they are designed porous for water to drain through.
    Mike

    22' round Intex UltraFrame pool, Intex 633T 2500gph paper cartridge filter/pump
    with broken Intex SWG, using bleach this year
    TF-100 test kit

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    It's amazing once you start digging to see how unlevel it is, isn't it? I describe my yard as flatter than a Walmart floor, but I ended up about 8-10 inches down on 1 side of the area to level.
    oh boy are you right....I was a good 10"-11" on one side...check out the picture http://i.imgur.com/OS7Nhuj.jpg

    I've leveled it more than what the photo shows, but i'm having real issues fine tuning it..i want this thing perfect and the whole 'swing a 2x4 around in a circle' thing isn't working out well for me. I'm thinking about having some pros come in and finish, but i hate to pay too much because i've already dug 3 days straight

    Anyone here happen to live in the Raleigh, NC area and like beer?


    edit: I went out and took another photo of where i'm at now http://i.imgur.com/zm1B4OR.jpg and I also meant to thank you all for your answers! its much appreciated!!
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    What I did when I dug mine is, I dug a trench across from the lowest spot to the highest spot and made that level. Then I dug a 2nd trench perpendicular to that so I had a cross. I think I divided that up more and ended up with what looked like a pizza cut up into slices. Then I scraped layer by layer down between the trenches until it was all level.

    Best thing I did was run out and get a larger flat shovel. I started with a little shovel like you show in your picture. It was too much shoveling with too little production from the size. I then went to a spade but that didn't work from it not being flat. I ran out and bought a spade sized shovel that was flat.

    I didn't dig down, but basically shaved the dirt off little by little until the section was even with the trenches I mentioned above.

    It took me a little over a week by myself. Would have gone quicker if it wasn't 95°. All that work in the heat, along with laying out the foam with the sun reflecting in my face in record breaking 95° end of May heat and when the pool was finally filled..... We had 2 weeks of 70° weather
    Mike

    22' round Intex UltraFrame pool, Intex 633T 2500gph paper cartridge filter/pump
    with broken Intex SWG, using bleach this year
    TF-100 test kit

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers
    What I did when I dug mine is, I dug a trench across from the lowest spot to the highest spot and made that level. Then I dug a 2nd trench perpendicular to that so I had a cross. I think I divided that up more and ended up with what looked like a pizza cut up into slices. Then I scraped layer by layer down between the trenches until it was all level.

    Best thing I did was run out and get a larger flat shovel. I started with a little shovel like you show in your picture (looks like you are using a roofing shovel for removing shingles....) It was too much shoveling with too little production from the size. I then went to a spade but that didn't work from it not being flat. I ran out and bought a spade sized shovel that was flat.

    I didn't dig down, but basically shaved the dirt off little by little until the section was even with the trenches I mentioned above.

    It took me a little over a week by myself. Would have gone quicker if it wasn't 95°. All that work in the heat, along with laying out the foam with the sun reflecting in my face in record breaking 95° end of May heat and when the pool was finally filled..... We had 2 weeks of 70° weather
    Mike

    22' round Intex UltraFrame pool, Intex 633T 2500gph paper cartridge filter/pump
    with broken Intex SWG, using bleach this year
    TF-100 test kit

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    Working in small strips is a good way to get the soil level, if you access the link in my signature you can see how I did it.
    This tool is extremely usefull for cutting down a certain depth into the soil and then removing with a shovel.
    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
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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    wow, cramar...your setup looks totally proffesional! amazing work So when ya coming down to the southeast US to help me level mine out? lol...actually, i'm going to hire a guy to finish fine tuning my setup...i just can't seem to grasp the whole leveling thing unfortunately. I seemed to get a section level...then section 2 level....but then section 3...didnt match section 1...so...i got a guy coming out tomorrow...i really hope he can do it properly. I hate to be so picky, but i'm getting a bit obsessed over this whole level thing....
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    So I dug for three days straight to get the 'bulk' of the dirt out of the way of what turned out to be an almost 12" slope....and had trouble getting it perfectly level...i hired a guy and he came out this morning and got it closer....but i've got water in the pool now...but my tape measure is showing close to 12" on one end...and about 9" on the opposite. Looks like i need to drain all the water (most of which seems to be below the drain line, so i'll have to figure that one out) and attempt to get it level again, by myself....i actually only used pavers on half...because i noticed it was unlevel after assembly...so removing half the pavers made i tlook level to my eye....I also used a level on the top rail and it said everything was reallllly close....but now that i have a few hundred gallsons (?) of water in....its not looking good. suggestions? if i fill it with 12" on one end and 9" on the other am i going to be ok? maybe its just the wave/rolling dirt underneath and not the frame itself? i'm lost and getting reallllly discouraged about this whole pool thing
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    You need pavers under every single leg!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: First time setting up an above ground pool -- Intex 16'x

    I can definitely put the pavers back in place...but am i right in measure the 'levelness' of my pool so early in the filling process? and should i be measure from the bottom of the pool liner to the top of the water or do i measure from the top of the water to the top of the railing? When i use my level all the way around the railing its no more than 3/4" off ....but looking at the little blue squares (which happen to be 1" each) caught my eye ....so thats when i measured with a tape... is it too early to tell if the pool is unlevel?
    Intex 16'x48" Ultra Frame
    Intex 2,650-Gallon Sand Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater Filtration System
    Taylor K-2006

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