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Thread: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

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    TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    It's June and I still don't have my pool up. I have an 18' intex metal frame pool. My husband is not really on board so I'm trying to make this happen as painless as possible for him.

    The ground has been leveled. I want to build a wood frame (lumber has been purchased) to fill with sand. Approximately how much sand with I need for an 18' pool?

    I found this on the Intex Thread:

    1. Choose area, use a can of marking paint to paint a circle 2' larger that your pool. ie 18' pool = a 20' circle.
    2. Cut sod off and dispose of. (if you do not do this it rots and stinks terrible)
    3. Attached a 4' level to a 10' 2" x 6" pegged to the middle of the circle.
    4. Swing board in a circle trimming away any high spots and filling in any low spots.
    5. Tamped entire area with a hand tamper. (lots of work, rent a plate compactor it goes alot faster and not as hard on the back and shoulders.)
    6. Put down 1 1/2" or 2" styrofoam (the pink stuff). Tape the seams with Gorilla tape. Cover it all with a HD tarp. (don't use the tarp that they send with the pool, get a good HD one)
    7. Setup pool, place 1 1/2" or 2" pavers/patio blocks under the legs.
    8. Fill pool with 2-3" of water and smooth all wrinkles out.
    9. Fill up the pool with the rest of the water.
    10. Test water with your new TFTest kit (you did order one right?) use results on The Pool Calculator and add BBB (if needed) to your Pool.


    I need to purchase sand, pavers, and TFTest kit? Anything else before getting ready to set up?


    Any pointers for me as we attempt this so that it will go as smoothly as early possible so that my marriage will not be ruined (total joke.....sorta....lol)?

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Yes on the sand purchase, about 4 cubic yards, figuring a 2x4 edge.

    Yes on the pavers, one for each post, and 6 for your pump and filter to sit on.

    Definitely on the TF-100 test kit. It is almost a guarantee you will get algae if you try to use test strips or a pool store for testing.

    What pump comes with the pool? For that size of pool you need no less that the Intex model 633 (2500 gph) cartridge filter or the 2650 gph sand filter.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Where are you located? As long as you can excavate level to the lowest point of your proposed site, why do you think you need sand? A frame around it for landscaping, maybe. But sand is an unnecessary element, especially if you intend to put down the EPS foam. Good luck!
    18'x4' AG Intex Ultra Frame, 6,700 gal., assembled new 2013; Mods: Hayward EC50C90 Perflex filter & 1 h.p. PowerFlo Matrix pump, Fiber Clear cellulose D.E. substitute, Hayward H100ID1 100,000 BTU NG heater, a pair of 2'x20' Sungrabber solar heaters via the original Intex 635T pump, grey Hydro Tools through-the-wall skimmer, Confer steps/ladder system & Cover Free chemical pool cover. The Summer of Mods!

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    duckcmmndr's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    You probably know this already...but it is very important that the pool be level. Really, it's the pavers need to be as close to perfect as you can get them, the ground in the middle can have some minor high and low spots without consequence.

    Once you have your circle excavated and roughly level, the "straight" 2x4 and 4' level will get you to this point, you will need to place the pavers where the legs will sit. The easiest way to do this is to assemble the top rail and T joints, center it in the circle and mark where each T joint is so you can put a paver there. The frame will have some play...so you may want to take some measurements across it a few places to make sure you have it in a circle shape and not more oval. Once your happy with the placement and markings for the pavers, place the pavers where they need to be.

    This is where you want to make sure you take your time. You will want to start with the lowest paver and make the rest of them the same height (level) with that low one. You can use the 2x4 with the level running from each paver to the center of the circle to find the paver that is the lowest. Once you find the lowest paver you will start with that one and the one to the right of it making the two level without moving the low one. The pavers will be close enough together that you can use the 4' level to check level between the two. Once that one is done....keep moving right and adjust the next one....moving from one to the one next to it and so on all the way around. When you get back to the "low" one....it should be level with the last one that you just adjusted to it's left. This can be tedious...but the end result is worth it.

    Now you can add the sand and level it with the pavers, some people use the foam board...It's more expensive and some people have had issues with the joints separating if not taped correctly. I used sand with mine. This part does not have to be 100% perfect....you will feel any uneven spots in the bottom of the pool. I placed an extra paver in the middle of my circle and leveled it with one of the outter pavers using the 2x4 and level....then used that to screed my sand. Once I was done....I took the center paver out and filled in the void. Tamping the sand can be a pain....I sprayed lots of water on my sand before it would tamp without poof'ing out.

    The whole process up to the pool going up is labor intensive if done correctly. Here is the link to my install with pics....so you have some idea of what the process looks like that I followed.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...and-Deck-Build

    Best of luck
    Intex Ultra Frame 18 X 48" AG (6,420 Gallons), Intex 16" .95HP Sand Filter SWG System (2650 GPH), Hayward thru wall Skimmer, Hard plumbed with fountain, Taylor K-2006/SpeedStir/SampleSizer

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    jeffchap's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Be aware that most people here recommend digging down instead to level, but here's how I built a sandbox to overcome an 8" drop in elevation. Three years now, and it's worked well for me, once I finally got it level.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...tra-frame-pool
    25000 gallon free-form gunite
    Jandy Stealth pump/CL340 cartridge filter
    Pentair IC40 SWG
    Pentair MasterTemp 250HD heater
    Jandy AquaLink RS automation

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie_R View Post
    Yes on the sand purchase, about 4 cubic yards, figuring a 2x4 edge.

    Yes on the pavers, one for each post, and 6 for your pump and filter to sit on.

    Definitely on the TF-100 test kit. It is almost a guarantee you will get algae if you try to use test strips or a pool store for testing.

    What pump comes with the pool? For that size of pool you need no less that the Intex model 633 (2500 gph) cartridge filter or the 2650 gph sand filter.

    Thank you for the reply!

    I actually have a SWG pump (I think that's what it's called?) for the pool.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by CeeElGee View Post
    Where are you located? As long as you can excavate level to the lowest point of your proposed site, why do you think you need sand? A frame around it for landscaping, maybe. But sand is an unnecessary element, especially if you intend to put down the EPS foam. Good luck!
    I want the sand because this area is kind of included into our landscaping. I will be taking down the pool (probably) in the fall and making a fire pit type area in the sand for the off season.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by duckcmmndr View Post
    You probably know this already...but it is very important that the pool be level. Really, it's the pavers need to be as close to perfect as you can get them, the ground in the middle can have some minor high and low spots without consequence.

    Once you have your circle excavated and roughly level, the "straight" 2x4 and 4' level will get you to this point, you will need to place the pavers where the legs will sit. The easiest way to do this is to assemble the top rail and T joints, center it in the circle and mark where each T joint is so you can put a paver there. The frame will have some play...so you may want to take some measurements across it a few places to make sure you have it in a circle shape and not more oval. Once your happy with the placement and markings for the pavers, place the pavers where they need to be.

    This is where you want to make sure you take your time. You will want to start with the lowest paver and make the rest of them the same height (level) with that low one. You can use the 2x4 with the level running from each paver to the center of the circle to find the paver that is the lowest. Once you find the lowest paver you will start with that one and the one to the right of it making the two level without moving the low one. The pavers will be close enough together that you can use the 4' level to check level between the two. Once that one is done....keep moving right and adjust the next one....moving from one to the one next to it and so on all the way around. When you get back to the "low" one....it should be level with the last one that you just adjusted to it's left. This can be tedious...but the end result is worth it.

    Now you can add the sand and level it with the pavers, some people use the foam board...It's more expensive and some people have had issues with the joints separating if not taped correctly. I used sand with mine. This part does not have to be 100% perfect....you will feel any uneven spots in the bottom of the pool. I placed an extra paver in the middle of my circle and leveled it with one of the outter pavers using the 2x4 and level....then used that to screed my sand. Once I was done....I took the center paver out and filled in the void. Tamping the sand can be a pain....I sprayed lots of water on my sand before it would tamp without poof'ing out.

    The whole process up to the pool going up is labor intensive if done correctly. Here is the link to my install with pics....so you have some idea of what the process looks like that I followed.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...and-Deck-Build

    Best of luck
    Thank you! I'm going to print off your reply so that I do not mess anything up when I'm relaying the info to my husband.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffchap View Post
    Be aware that most people here recommend digging down instead to level, but here's how I built a sandbox to overcome an 8" drop in elevation. Three years now, and it's worked well for me, once I finally got it level.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...tra-frame-pool

    I LOVE that! I'll be showing hubby that thread as well! Definitely what I have in mind.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    I take my pool down in the off season, it sounds like you might as well. Keeping the sand in place in the off season was a pain for me. The first year by the spring my tarp deteriorated from the sun and wind and eventually got torn from the spring winds. Sand got blown and washed around and mixed in with my mulch edging. I ended up removing the sand down to my compacted base (only about an inch) and putting down foam.

    I would not use sand at all if I was doing over.
    18'X48" Intex Easy Set, 2650 GPH Intex sand filter, Intex SWCG, Intex deluxe skimmer

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    I just wanted to add my two cents on the husband not being totally on board thing. I bought my Intex 18x48 pool 9 years ago. My husband wasn't really that in to it then, nor is he now. He helps with the initial setting up every spring, but as soon as the water starts going in he disappears. Don't ever see him in the pool much until it hits around 95 degrees. (Has a lot to do with he is taller than I am and says it is not deep enough. I on the other hand, am not the best swimmer, so I like the depth in this one). It has never kept me from enjoying it one bit. I do all the maintenance and keeping my water sparkling clean. I hope yours gets more enjoyment with you. Anyway, just saying if you are a pool lover, swimmer kinda person you will love it!!!
    18x52 Ultra Frame with 1600 gph sand filter and intex skimmer

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Coastal Carolina View Post
    I just wanted to add my two cents on the husband not being totally on board thing. I bought my Intex 18x48 pool 9 years ago. My husband wasn't really that in to it then, nor is he now. He helps with the initial setting up every spring, but as soon as the water starts going in he disappears. Don't ever see him in the pool much until it hits around 95 degrees. (Has a lot to do with he is taller than I am and says it is not deep enough. I on the other hand, am not the best swimmer, so I like the depth in this one). It has never kept me from enjoying it one bit. I do all the maintenance and keeping my water sparkling clean. I hope yours gets more enjoyment with you. Anyway, just saying if you are a pool lover, swimmer kinda person you will love it!!!
    I am complete waterdog. When it gets hot, I want to be in or near water all the time!

    I am a teacher and have summers off so I feel like it's money and time well invested. I have two sons and we stay home most of the time in the summer because I just enjoy being there. We have a front porch across the front of the house, and a screened in porch on the back. We have lots of land, my oldest son enjoys riding his four wheeler. We spend many evenings by the fire pit in the summer. I like to landscape and play in my flowers. And most summers I grow a vegetable garden (just have peppers and tomatoes this year). So I just think having a pool, even a little one, is a nice addition to our summer fun.

    I think my husband will enjoy it when we get it up.

    I plan on doing all the maintenance and keep up once it's up as well.

    I'm excited!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie_R View Post

    Definitely on the TF-100 test kit. It is almost a guarantee you will get algae if you try to use test strips or a pool store for testing.

    okay, even if I have the salt generator pump, is the TF-100 the correct kit?

  10. Back To Top    #10
    duckcmmndr's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by speakerbox33 View Post
    okay, even if I have the salt generator pump, is the TF-100 the correct kit?
    Yes....I was under the assumption that with a salt water pool you just set it up and let it go, till I did some more reading. I have a SWG and once you get the run time figured out it will that takes care chlorine par of the pool, but outside of the FC measurement you still have to balance the PH, CC, TA, CH, CYA levels of the pool. There is nothing to it...the "pool school" on here and the "pool math" make it very easy to figure out what you need to add if anything. But before you can do that you will need accurate readings and the good test kit is the only way.

    I used test strips on previous pools and usually ended up with green water at some point when I thought all was good. This new pool I just put up I bought a good kit and it gives you piece of mind knowing exactly what your numbers are.

    People on here lean towards the TF-100, so I don't think you can go wrong with that one. I would also recommend the Taylor SpeedStir and the Taylor SampleSizer. You have to mix while adding the drops and the speedstir does that for you plus adds a light so you can see the color changes easier. The samplesizer works with the sample tube that comes with the speedstir. It has two ends and is used to displace the pool water in the tube leaving you with exactly 25ml or 10ml of water for testing (depending on which end you use). I know this may sound trivial and most people think "I am capable of pouring water out of a tube down to a line". I was in that camp and while it can be done that way....all it takes is pouring out a tiny bit too much and you have to stick your arm back 18" in the pool to refill the test tube and start over. This little tool takes all the guesswork out of that and gets it right every time. Well worth $15.
    Intex Ultra Frame 18 X 48" AG (6,420 Gallons), Intex 16" .95HP Sand Filter SWG System (2650 GPH), Hayward thru wall Skimmer, Hard plumbed with fountain, Taylor K-2006/SpeedStir/SampleSizer

  11. Back To Top    #11
    mac.dblues's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Coastal Carolina View Post
    I just wanted to add my two cents on the husband not being totally on board thing. I bought my Intex 18x48 pool 9 years ago. My husband wasn't really that in to it then, nor is he now. He helps with the initial setting up every spring, but as soon as the water starts going in he disappears. Don't ever see him in the pool much until it hits around 95 degrees. (Has a lot to do with he is taller than I am and says it is not deep enough. I on the other hand, am not the best swimmer, so I like the depth in this one). It has never kept me from enjoying it one bit. I do all the maintenance and keeping my water sparkling clean. I hope yours gets more enjoyment with you. Anyway, just saying if you are a pool lover, swimmer kinda person you will love it!!!
    From the side of a husband that didn't have any desire for a pool... I am glad my wife bought that little floating ring 16' easy set last year. I just knew it wouldn't get taken care of and we would have a blue frog pond in the backyard. But guess what! I found I actually enjoy that cool water on our 90F and up summer days. And believe it or not, I actually enjoy keeping the water balanced, the floor vacuumed and the surface skimmed. I kinda find all of it therapeutic. So to the OP, don't count him out just yet. I was adamantly against us getting a pool and after having one half a summer last year, I surprised my wife by buying the big Ultraframe we just set up.

    Here's a link to our build in case you missed it. It includes a wooden frame and we only used sand under ours as well.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...)-pool-install
    Mac.Dblues and ProfessorDaisy's Lower Arkansas Pool Install
    Intex UltraFrame 20ft x 52in deep, 9,400 Gallons / Approx 78,500 lbs, Intex 1600 GPH, 14" sand filter, Hayward Dyna-Skim SP1091LX, Taylor K-2006, SpeedStir, Sample Sizer
    First Fill May 2014, Deck finished June 2014, Mods happening probably on a continuous basis. Stay tuned.....

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Pigeonlove's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Ha ha! My husband also has zero interest in our pool, but the kids and I love it. Maybe if it was muddy and full of trout he'd be all over it.
    12 x 28 Doughboy Dinosaur (j/k: Breckenridge) partial bury, continuous depth 9,000gal. Doughboy Power Pak I digital 1hp pump, Hayward Pro-Series 300lb sand filter. Foam panel base, Gladon wall foam, Gladon cove.

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by duckcmmndr View Post
    Yes....I was under the assumption that with a salt water pool you just set it up and let it go, till I did some more reading. I have a SWG and once you get the run time figured out it will that takes care chlorine par of the pool, but outside of the FC measurement you still have to balance the PH, CC, TA, CH, CYA levels of the pool. There is nothing to it...the "pool school" on here and the "pool math" make it very easy to figure out what you need to add if anything. But before you can do that you will need accurate readings and the good test kit is the only way.

    I used test strips on previous pools and usually ended up with green water at some point when I thought all was good. This new pool I just put up I bought a good kit and it gives you piece of mind knowing exactly what your numbers are.

    People on here lean towards the TF-100, so I don't think you can go wrong with that one. I would also recommend the Taylor SpeedStir and the Taylor SampleSizer. You have to mix while adding the drops and the speedstir does that for you plus adds a light so you can see the color changes easier. The samplesizer works with the sample tube that comes with the speedstir. It has two ends and is used to displace the pool water in the tube leaving you with exactly 25ml or 10ml of water for testing (depending on which end you use). I know this may sound trivial and most people think "I am capable of pouring water out of a tube down to a line". I was in that camp and while it can be done that way....all it takes is pouring out a tiny bit too much and you have to stick your arm back 18" in the pool to refill the test tube and start over. This little tool takes all the guesswork out of that and gets it right every time. Well worth $15.
    I agree with everything here except having to stick your arm in the water to refill the sample tube. Just use an old water bottle and fill it half full once (dunk it top down and bring it vertical when you are at elbow length to fill it), bring the entire bottle in to fill your sample tubes. I still agree with the sample sizer though, much easier to overfill the sample tube and dunk the sizer in than try to line up the meniscus with the line. (If you don't know what a menisicus is, you would benefit from the sample sizer)
    8638 gallon 20'x52" Intex ultra frame round AG. 2650 gph Intex Sand Filter. Intex krystal Klear SWG. (newer model that includes copper ion generation) Hayward 1091LX skimmer, Kreepy Krauly lil shark. Taylor K-2006 w/speed stir and sample sizer. New this year, Intex PureSpa - dichlor-> bleach method for sanitizing.
    New pool, 16'x36' (approx 18000 gal) in ground pool, Haywood DE filter

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pigeonlove View Post
    Ha ha! My husband also has zero interest in our pool, but the kids and I love it. Maybe if it was muddy and full of trout he'd be all over it.
    Yeah, I hear you! My husband has a bass boat and he is all about that! I tried going with him down to the coast last summer. It was hot sitting out there trying to catch flounder, and all I could think about was wanting to be home in my cool pool! To each his own as they say!
    18x52 Ultra Frame with 1600 gph sand filter and intex skimmer

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Pool Update: still not up

    However, there IS progress. I won't give up!



  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    It's going to be great! Any progress is GOOD progress!
    ~ Green as algae, but willin' to learn! ~

    ~26' Intex Ultra Frame Pool - finally leveled!
    ~approx. 17,000 gal
    ~2,500gph pump w/ cart. filters~Taylor K-2005 test kit

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Question about my sanity….

    My dad (greatest man on Earth) went ahead several weekends ago and got sand for the base of our pool. We didn't have the frame built and he needed to use his dump truck, so he went ahead and dumped it in his barn lot. So now he's very busy with work and cutting and putting up hay. So the sand is sitting. I ask him to move the sand to my house and he said he would as soon as he got the chance. My husband works swing shirts and is on nights. Plus the backhoe is messed up (tractor that has bucket is in use for hay). So here I am with nothing really to do today and I'm antsy for that sand.

    Am I a crazy person to load up my kids, put plastic tarp in the back of my tahoe, and go shovel sand into tahoe then dump into the wooden frame? I think I may go attempt it and see how it goes.

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Pigeonlove's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    You may be crazy but it sounds like something I'd do. You would not believe the things I have hauled in the back of my Suburban - and those little helping hands really do help even from their car seats!
    12 x 28 Doughboy Dinosaur (j/k: Breckenridge) partial bury, continuous depth 9,000gal. Doughboy Power Pak I digital 1hp pump, Hayward Pro-Series 300lb sand filter. Foam panel base, Gladon wall foam, Gladon cove.

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    Well, I'd do the same! I won't even tell you what I've had in the back of my Jetta!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: TOTAL NEWBIE - intex metal frame pool setup (tips/pointers/etc)

    I'd definitely get all the wheelbarrows out and anything you can, have the kids bring their buckets haha.

    But going back to the beginning, having put up and taken down my AGP for a few years now, really take the extra time to make sure the pavers for the legs are level every which way, then level to all the other pavers. Even though it's a pain in the butt (and lower back), that makes a world of difference. The leveling of the ground and pavers is the hardest part, the rest is fun once you get in the swing of it.

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