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Thread: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

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    Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Had a small Intex 10’ Easy set pool this year and my daughter just loved it. Yesterday I ran across an Intex Ultra Frame 14’ at Target on clearance for $95. I could not pass it up so it followed me home. My wife and I have been debating between going to a full blow above ground next year, but at this price we will settle on this Intex for a few years first.
    So with that being said we are now going to start prepping the site so we are ready to install the pool in the spring. Everyone says you should dig down to the lowest spot, and not to fill. The problem is we would like to get as close to our existing cement patio as possible, and it we excavate to the lowest spot we will need to dig out about 10” up against the patio. So my question is fill, has anyone been successful in putting in fill to make the location level? We are on clay, so I would be using sand to fill in the lowest area. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    18x36 Vinyl lined SWG in ground pool
    Pentair Pump and Sand filter Aqua-Rite SWG

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Using fill under a pool is never a good idea and using sand as fill is even worse. Sand will not compact and will move from under the pool.

    Lets take your 14' pool as example. Say it has 36" of water in it. Your pool will weigh about 30,000 lbs. That's a lot of weight to set on a built up sand base.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Your situation and conditions need to be considered on there own. As stated above you are dealing with a considerable amount of weight and dynamic forces.

    That being said; I did raise my grade to the desired height for my pool. The retaining wall is filled with compactable crushed gravel that was compacted in layers as it was put in, sand would not have been appropriate. About 4" on the patio side and about 30" on the far side.

    Below is an under construction picture, followed by a "finished" picture. I also put down 3/4" polystyrene as a pad under the pool that's not shown in the pics. Wrapping up the 2nd summer; no issues thus far.

    [attachment=1:3mw7rvoa]pool construction.JPG[/attachment:3mw7rvoa]

    [attachment=0:3mw7rvoa]pool sparkle.JPG[/attachment:3mw7rvoa]
    18'X48" Intex Easy Set, 2650 GPH Intex sand filter, Intex SWCG, Intex deluxe skimmer

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    I have a 14' Intex pool. We tried digging up the high spots once, but our soil is pretty hard and difficult to dig. Instead, we decided to get a few bags of top soil at Home Depot which were pretty inexpensive. I have to replace the soil each year when I'm setting up the pool because I find that the previous year's soil shifts over the winter. After a few years of setting up this pool, I have a good idea of where the low spots are, so I know where to build up the soil and where to not place any at all. I use a metal gardening rake (not the wide fan-shaped kind for leaves) to spread the top soil around where I need it. Once I think I have it right, I lay a tarp/groundcloth over the site I've just prepared and spray the whole thing with the garden hose to see if the water is mostly running off in the same direction, indicating that the ground is still sloping. If it is, I remove the tarp and use the rake to move the soil around as needed.

    I've had both the inflatable top ring/sloped walls Intex pools and now the metal frame pool, and I think the metal frame pool has been more forgiving of ground that's not perfectly level.
    23,000 gal. IG gunite pool, DE filter, elevated spa with spillover, Polaris 280 cleaner

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Do not use sand for back fill. It will wash our rather easily.

    If you need to use backfill use a compactable gravel that will stay in place. You will still have to use some dirt or PT wood around the low side to keep it under the pool but it will perform far better than sand.

    Here in NC, the quarries have a product called "screenings" which would be excellent for that purpose.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Thanks for the information so far. What I am planning on is something like what JCP posted, but not as elaborate, and square. I did some grade checking tonight and I would need about 16" of fill in one corner and that is the max. The other three corners would be at current ground level. I would use either 4x4's or the retaining wall blocks to hold back the area that needs the fill.

    As for the fill material I will stay away from the sand and look for a compact-able gravel. I am hoping to get the site ready this fall so that if there is any major settling I can fix it up again in the spring before putting up the pool.

    Thanks for the help, and if anyone has additional suggestions I am open.

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    18x36 Vinyl lined SWG in ground pool
    Pentair Pump and Sand filter Aqua-Rite SWG

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    If you are filling 16" you could probably use some solid fill like cement blocks or pavers along with the stone dust.

    To JCP. Please don't take offense. I just can't help myself, I have to ask why don't you get a better pool. Your yard and patio and masonry work look like something out of better homes and gardens and then you have a disposable pool that cost less than $100.00. My pool is better than that and I couldn't even afford the blocks in your patio.

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Quote Originally Posted by 1380ken
    If you are filling 16" you could probably use some solid fill like cement blocks or pavers along with the stone dust.

    To JCP. Please don't take offense. I just can't help myself, I have to ask why don't you get a better pool. Your yard and patio and masonry work look like something out of better homes and gardens and then you have a disposable pool that cost less than $100.00. My pool is better than that and I couldn't even afford the blocks in your patio.
    I had the same thoughts about the pool initially also. The main reason for going with the pool I did was water depth, and my kids heights. I can run the pool at a lower water level than the "hard side" pools I was looking at. Another bonus benefit is I get to insure there are no issues with the fill before putting something more permanent on top of it. That being said I'm way more impressed and satisfied with the pool I have than I thought I would be. It may be longer before I "upgrade" to a hardside pool than I initially planned .

    Just so browsers aren't mislead that's not a $100 pool, especially if you consider the cost to outfit it with a proper filter (which I would consider a must do; hindsight being 20/20).

    18x48 Easy Set about $375 with tax (you can probably find for $300 ish year end)
    2650 sand filter about $185 with sand
    PVC stand for skimmer $25

    So I'd say more like $585 before you even start considering everything else you're going to want or need.
    18'X48" Intex Easy Set, 2650 GPH Intex sand filter, Intex SWCG, Intex deluxe skimmer

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    Well started on the excavation tonight. Had some landscaping to remove, and a few bushes to transplant. I am planning to use some gravel for the fill. If I do that would you recommend a thin layer, say 2", of sand on top of the gravel so the pool is on a smooth surface?
    18x36 Vinyl lined SWG in ground pool
    Pentair Pump and Sand filter Aqua-Rite SWG

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    If you are using compact able base / crushed gravel; I would level that and put down a polystyrene pad. I would skip the sand altogether. I ended up with a big sand mess between fall and spring after my tarp broke down from the sun and wind. I have since removed all the sand and put the foam directly on top of the level compacted base. I will tarp my polystyrene pad to protect it from sun this winter, but if the tarp breaks down I can just retarp it without the big mess.
    18'X48" Intex Easy Set, 2650 GPH Intex sand filter, Intex SWCG, Intex deluxe skimmer

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    You need the correct gravel and a plate compactor. Screenings, crusher run, etc, are some of the names. Tell them what you want it for and they will supply the local name. Rent a plate compactor and find a friend to help you move it around. Have extra gravel around because you will be surprised how much it settles when you run the compactor over it. Put a pad over the gravel once you have it level and compacted and you are good to go. Water is heavy and you can't begin to compact gravel by hand like you can with a powered plate compactor.
    16,500 gallon, 18" x 38" Grecian; IG Vinyl, Hayward DE

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    Re: Placing an Intex pool on some fill

    I'm not exactly recommending what I did, but it has held up well for two seasons now. If I were installing it now I wouldn't do it this way, but we installed the pool before we found this website, and I didn't know what I was doing other than knowing that the pool had to be level.

    I initially started on it myself, and then realized the site wasn't nearly as level as I thought it was, and the job would take me a lot longer to do than I originally thought. Since it was already mid-July I didn't want to waste any more time and just wanted to get the water in asap so the kids could swim. So I hired a landscaper who has done work for us in the past, and this was his idea. He laid out a 16' circle and dug down 8" on the high side and built up 8" on the low side. He reused the dirt that was there and packed it down, then cemented in some stones around the low side. He added a layer of gravel, packed it down and then covered it with compacted sand.

    It was a lot of work. About a day for two guys with a machine like a rototiller. There were an incredible amount of tree roots that would have been extremely difficult for me do dig up manually, but the machine made short work of it. Unfortunately the machine also made short work of some lawn sprinkler hoses, and that delayed the project while I had to get the sprinkler guys to come out and fix that mess.

    Finally, they cemented in the stones and we had to wait for all that to dry before putting the sand down. I put the blue Intex tarp over the sand and then I set up the pool. Here is a shot mid-construction.[attachment=0:2qjdhcem]JS7_7416 (Small).JPG[/attachment:2qjdhcem]
    If I were doing it again I would have made the circle larger to have some level ground around the pool, and I would have put down foam boards rather than sand under the pool. Actually, I will be taking the pool down this month, and when I set it back up next spring I will re-level the sand and then put foam on top of that, and pavers under the legs.

    Over the winter I leave the blue tarp over the sand and cover it with rocks to hold it down. It survived Hurricane Sandy last season so I'm not too worried about it anymore.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jim
    Intex 15' x 42" -- 4,000 gallons
    installed August 2012
    Intex 2650 sand filter, Hayward skimmer
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