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Thread: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

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    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    East Texas
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    New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    First, thanks for any help that is received in the matter. I have been doing a lot of reading on this site for the past month and have learned a lot. Now on to my issue.

    We started installation of my new 24' AGP last weekend, got everything marked, off electric run, and the pool base dug out. My yard is extremely unlevel with more than a 2' drop from one side to the other. I had my father-in-law come dig my base as he does dirt work for a living and has been doing it for 45 years, he is very good at it. The main issue is after about 4 inches of top soil I have nothing but hard pack clay. We got it mostly level but we do have some high and low spots that got worse over the week after baking in the Texas sun. I have tried digging a test spot to see how difficult it will be to level the stones for the uprights, it will be almost impossible. I tried using a little water to soften it up so that I can work with it but all it did was turn to mush and stick to everything.

    So here is my plan and I want to know if this is possible. I want to back fill with an inch or so of non-clay dirt and tamp it to help get the ground flat and to keep the clay from drying and cracking. I will tamp it and only apply the dirt where it's necessary. Once the ring is level, I will use 3' of pavers sand to get the bottom smooth.

    I want this done right, so here I am asking for guidance.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    Nothing but clay after the grass here when I buried mine either! And my yard slopes from the back of the house to the street. Dug down deeper to 2 ft. than the back is. I'd be more concerned about it being level in the middle. A good sharpshooter/drain spade should take care of burying and leveling those blocks for the uprights. We're only talking about an inch or 1.5 inches. Easier to use sand to just smooth out the middle---I did NOT say build it up-just level. They did mine!@ Welcome to the forum.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    Thanks for the help, I noticed your in East Texas so we probably have pretty similar clay. I have a drain spade and it won't even dent it. I bought a pick axe, that get through it but doesn't leave the smoothest of surfaces for leveling. Maybe I just need more practice. I read some older posts on similar problems, someone recommended a sod cutter, others recommended tilling and adding concrete.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    Patience grasshopper!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    We just call ours Georgia concrete. You can only dig it 2-3 days after a rain. I have used augers to dig holes for trees. I use a pick ax sometimes, But for our slop and poolk we rented a skid steer. I have a small hobby farm and we hav e"boot sucking " mud in some places, can't tell you how many times I have had my rubber boots sucked off... I just dug out by hand with a pick under my pool legs to level our pro-series.....
    AG proseries 22ft. round. 52". 11400 gal.Intex SWG.2000 gh/2650 gph,sand filter intex/ Hayward Aquabug vac. well.Ga. t-50 test kit.

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    msgtdan's Avatar
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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    I rented a walk behind skid steer with a harley rake to get mine close before a hydraulic hose blew. I finished with a pick axe and shovel, hot work in July.
    Dan D
    Used 2003 Aqua Leader 27'x52", 17,800 w/10" hopper, SwimPro SW256T 250# sand filter, Hayward PowerFlo LX pump 1hp impellor, Emerson 1 1/2 hp motor, setup Aug 2012 Summer 2011 used Summer Escapes Ring pool 14' x 42", Intex 1600gph sand filter, HTH 6 way test kitTF-100 w/stirrer, Well water @ FC=0, PH=7.2, TA=290, CH=320

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    I owned a pick axe once...........somehow or other, the handle seemed to spontaneously combust. I keep the head around just to remind me........."Never Again"!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: New pool install troubles, nothing but clay

    Sounds like you could use a compact able base stone, like modified 2A, to level out the last couple inches. Add 4-6 inches and then run a plate compactor over it to give you a level surface. Make a pad larger than the pool
    -- 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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