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Thread: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

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    duckcmmndr's Avatar
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    My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Let me start by thanking everyone on this board. It's packed with great info and I learned a lot of good tips/tricks for this project.

    I have put up two AG pools in the past and neither were level and neither had a good pump/filter combo. I hated both of them. I was very, very close to putting an IG pool in this year but decided to hold off for a couple of years and really put more thought in to exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it all laid out. So I bought a new Intex 18' x 48" to put up for my daughter to have something to swim in. I told myself that I was not going to waste my time putting up an pool that was not level again...so this is where all the work started. (the worst part!)

    I choose an area of the yard that was as close to level as I could find. I have a commercial grade transit that I bought when I built my house and this made finding the most level spot I had to work with an easy task. I used marker paint to paint a 19' circle on the ground where I wanted the pool to go. This spot was pretty level North and South...but East and West was about 6" - 7" off. Oh well, that's what shovels are made for right? I used a level, both by itself and on a 10' 2x4 to start making a East/West level trench that would establish the grade that I wanted to follow.


    After creating that level trench, it was just a matter working my way around the circle. I must have checked level 1,000 times during this process. I think I moved about 4-5 yards of dirt in this process. It was many, many wheelbarrow loads. This was one of the worst things I have ever had to do. I don't like shovel work in the first place and to make matters worse it was the hottest days of the year that choose to show up while I was digging.




    A few blisters, a sore back and a couple of days later....I have a level spot.


    The next thing I did was set 12" x 12" pavers around the edge of the circle where the legs were going to rest. I started by once again painting a 18' circle centered in the 19' circle I leveled. I then spent some time with the calculator figuring out the spacing so I would know where to place them. As a double check I assembled the top rail of my pool with the T joints over my marks to make sure my spacing was right. Sorry I did not take pictures of this process. Once I knew the spacing was good I set the pavers in place checking level from one to the other and digging down where necessary. Once they were all in place I used my transit to double check each one. They were all less than 1/4" of one another. After that it was time for the sand. I used 2 yards of sand and spread it out making it level with all the pavers. I did this by setting a paver in the center o the circle that was level with the other pavers and used a 10' 2x4 to screed the sand. Getting the sand to pack was tough! Lots of water and hand tamping were required to make the sand firm. Here is the finished product ready for pool to be setup.


    Ok...fast forward to the next day (mothers day if I recall), time to put up the pool. This went off without a hitch. I put the ground cloth down that came with the pool to add that tiny layer of protection and more so to help keep me from disturbing the sand while setting up the pool. After I got it setup I put 2" of water in and then pulled and tugged at the bottom to get rid of the wrinkles. My daughter wanted to help...so I put her in there and believe it or not....she was a big help! We ended up with only 2 tiny wrinkles in the whole pool floor, which is great considering that it looked like a leisure suit that had been stuffed in a ziplock baggie when we took it out of the box.


    I used four 15" x 15" x 4" concrete blocks to make a level pad to install my Intex sand filter/SWG onto.


    Ok...fast forward till the next weekend, time to build a deck. I had planned on making a small 6' x 8' on one side to make getting in and out easier. My wife took a couple of extension cords and laid them on the ground where she wanted the deck to be. Guess what....way bigger than what I was planning on. So here we go, it's about 340 sq. ft. of deck. I choose to use pier blocks for this build (first time) and I love them. I dug each block down about 2", just so it was setting on solid compacted soil.


    Then I put up the 4x4's with their bracing and started the supports that will support the floor joists.


    You will have to excuse the big jump in pictures....I got busy building and skipped a day or so of taking progress pics. So here is what it looks like after it's pretty much done.








    I built some metal brackets that I used to attach the ladder to the deck. This is actually pretty solid....I am pleased with the way it works.




    I bought a couple of 9' patio umbrellas and made some attachment points using some 1.5" schedule 40 PVC. There are 2 umbrellas and I can move them in 5 different places by just pulling a pin and dropping it into the other PVC. This will be handy with the sun in different positions.


    I installed the Hayward thru wall skimmer like everyone on here suggested. HUGE difference!!! I have not had to skim with the pole a single time since I put it on. Awesome upgrade! I installed it with the pool level right where you see it in this pic. I split the gasket and no leaks at all.


    Well that's were I am to date. I have been working on getting the water perfectly balanced and I am 98% of the way there. (got the Taylor K-2006 kit with speedstir) I have all the stuff to hard plumb the pump and add a fountain...just have not had time. I also built a little "shade frame" over my pump/filter so it's not setting out in the broiling sun all summer long. It has a hinged roof so I can tip it up if need be. I don't have a pic of it just yet....I will wait till I get the hard plumb done. I also want to do some landscaping around the areas I can't mow right up to, I have not decided on that. I want to use river rock I believe....I am afraid that mulch might have some sharp pieces in it if it were up next to the pool...anyone use mulch up next to their pool?

    Here is my take on making Intex to 1.5" PVC. This is the nut from the Intex hose and a 1.5" male threaded adaptor that I cut the threads off of. I then glued on a female threaded part so if I change up my plumbing...I can simply unscrew and reuse this hard to build piece.



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    PAGirl's Avatar
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    Re: My Pool Install and Deck Build

    Very nice job! Still waiting for my deck, two years later, ha ha.
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
    26' X 52 Intex Ultra Frame Install
    You can lead a horse to (clear) water, but you can't force him to swim in it!

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    Pysiek's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    "duckcmmndr" Si is that you?????
    I love your deck. Especially the idea of screwing down the lumber sections to hide deck edge by the pool. I think I will do same thing. What size lumber did you use for that?
    30'x54" Quest Above Ground Round Pool , About 21,000 Gallons , Hayward Perflex EC50 D.E. Filter System 1.5HP Power-Flo Pump , TF-100 Test Kit , Two Hayward Main Drains on the Bottom , Hayward CL200 In-Line Above-Ground Chlorinator.
    77"x77"x21.5" Hot Tub

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Looks great!

    However, my back hurts just looking at those levelling pictures.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    duckcmmndr's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Pysiek View Post
    "duckcmmndr" Si is that you?????
    I love your deck. Especially the idea of screwing down the lumber sections to hide deck edge by the pool. I think I will do same thing. What size lumber did you use for that?
    LOL...I was a Phil Robertson fan long before the Duck Dynasty days.

    I had planned to use a 1x4 for the pool coping...but I had several of the 5/4 decking boards left over...so I ripped the 5/4" x 5.5" decking boards right down the middle. This gave me a finished sixe of 1" thick and 2.75" wide. This leaves you with an edge that has two square edges. I used a router with a 3/8" round over bit to round over 1 of those square edges...the other square edge I left alone and placed it on the outside bottom edge so that it makes a nice joint where it meets the decking.

    If I remember correctly....the angle I had to cut to get the miter joint to fit together nicely was 10.5 degrees. That was for the Intex 18' Ultra Frame pool...so your mileage may vary.

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    Pysiek's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Quote Originally Posted by duckcmmndr View Post
    LOL...I was a Phil Robertson fan long before the Duck Dynasty days.

    I had planned to use a 1x4 for the pool coping...but I had several of the 5/4 decking boards left over...so I ripped the 5/4" x 5.5" decking boards right down the middle. This gave me a finished sixe of 1" thick and 2.75" wide. This leaves you with an edge that has two square edges. I used a router with a 3/8" round over bit to round over 1 of those square edges...the other square edge I left alone and placed it on the outside bottom edge so that it makes a nice joint where it meets the decking. The more I look at it the more I like it. Probably will purchase some lumber after work and finish it that way

    If I remember correctly....the angle I had to cut to get the miter joint to fit together nicely was 10.5 degrees. That was for the Intex 18' Ultra Frame pool...so your mileage may vary.
    I have some leftovers too but I used 2X6 for decking
    30'x54" Quest Above Ground Round Pool , About 21,000 Gallons , Hayward Perflex EC50 D.E. Filter System 1.5HP Power-Flo Pump , TF-100 Test Kit , Two Hayward Main Drains on the Bottom , Hayward CL200 In-Line Above-Ground Chlorinator.
    77"x77"x21.5" Hot Tub

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Very, very nice!
    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: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Awesome job! Your deck looks great! We are looking at how to make the deck meet our pool better at the edges. We started with part of a used pool deck and it doesn't fit up against the pool quite like we'd like.. little feet can find their way through.
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist buy w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panels mix 2, TF-100 test kit.

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    duckcmmndr's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Looks great!

    However, my back hurts just looking at those levelling pictures.
    Trust me....I have had to do some pretty crappy tasks in my lifetime and this went right to the top of the list. A tractor would have tore up too much yard and really been overkill. This is just one of those things you have to do by hand and there is no way to make it easy or fun! I am glad I took the time to do it right. The last pool I put up was a 12'x3' with the inflatable ring around the top and it looked like a drunk monkey set it up. I "thought" prior to setting it up....the water will be level and that ring will be too. It was...but the whole pool leaned to the low side.

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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Your pool looks amazing, especially the deck! I literally feel your pain about leveling, my back is still aching from finishing this past week
    16' round Intex Ultra Frame, Sand filter, filled May 25, 2014

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    Pysiek's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    This is sand. Imagine doing this in clay
    30'x54" Quest Above Ground Round Pool , About 21,000 Gallons , Hayward Perflex EC50 D.E. Filter System 1.5HP Power-Flo Pump , TF-100 Test Kit , Two Hayward Main Drains on the Bottom , Hayward CL200 In-Line Above-Ground Chlorinator.
    77"x77"x21.5" Hot Tub

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Very nice work!!! And a great little photo tutorial
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Nice job.

    With regards to your question about mulch; I used rubber mulch around mine, wasn't cheap but I like it. I used the shredded variety but would consider the nugget type if I was going to do it again. Only because the shreds tend to stick to my feet or shoes a bit when I'm working around the pool and I track a bit out. Not a big deal.

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    duckcmmndr's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Quote Originally Posted by jcp View Post
    Nice job.

    With regards to your question about mulch; I used rubber mulch around mine, wasn't cheap but I like it. I used the shredded variety but would consider the nugget type if I was going to do it again. Only because the shreds tend to stick to my feet or shoes a bit when I'm working around the pool and I track a bit out. Not a big deal.
    The thought of rubber mulch crossed my mind until I priced it. You are right...it ain't cheap! Regular mulch would be easy and cheap...but I really think the little sharp bits in there might end up poking a hole and pine bark would likely float out. I am leaning towards round smooth river rock. I can get it for free by the bucket full straight from the source.

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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    I love the way the deck matched the octagonal shape of the pool... It looks great...
    Intex Rectangle 18 x 9 x 52', 4544 gallon (18000 litres), 0.75 hp pool pump, 100 sqft Zodiac Titan Cartridge Filter - 40mm, Stenner Peristaltic Pump chlorine injection system, Intex Over The Wall Skimmer, Intex Fittings with 40mm plumbing Lil Patch Of Heaven. Build/Construction http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...lice-of-heaven

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Wow! Man you are one handy dude!
    Very nice job indeed!
    River Rock is the way to go! Especially if it's free!
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Quote Originally Posted by duckcmmndr View Post
    I am leaning towards round smooth river rock. I can get it for free by the bucket full straight from the source.
    BTDT! Couldn't take it with me but was just offered it back by the ex husband. As soon as I get my shoulder back, I'll be hauling the river rock again.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    Wow! Man you are one handy dude!
    Very nice job indeed!
    River Rock is the way to go! Especially if it's free!
    Duckcmmndr is indeed one handy dude! Personal experiences with my family member and great friend. Mac and I call on him for a lot of "help" and opinions! I'm just jealous that they started two weeks after we did and is already this far. Low pressure "Fred" (as called by a local meteorologist) is putting a big slow down on building our deck...

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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Great job! Really like your deck, I need to do that to mine. Extend mine from the house with a walkway, and around the pool.

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    Re: My First "Level" Pool Install and Deck Build

    Love the deck. I just finished leveling today. My back is sore and my hands are numb from using the spade fork. I have clay to contend with so it was not easy. As for the deck, my wife doesn't want to do it because she is still thinking of getting an inground pool. So my goal for the upcoming months is to convince her to forget about the inground pool and save the money for kid's education.
    Intex 18' x 48" Ultra Frame Round Pool - AG, Intex Krystal Clear Model 28633EG 2500 Filter Pump, Intex Krystal Clear SWG #28663EG, TFT100 Test Kit, Hayward Skimmer

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