Here be part 6 - wherin we’ll discuss leveling the pool and pouring the retaining collar.
You now have the pool squared, the panels in the right place, everything is pinned down. Been sounding ~ not so easy so far, you ain’t seen nothing yet
Those rebar pins you’ve used are OK for keeping the pool ~ where it needs to be , but it’s time to set this thing in concrete and once it is, it ain’t moving again – at least not easily! (if you neglected to (and I think I forgot to make this point, put a couple extra rebar pins in the middle holes on the panels and the corners!) Make sure that the walls are within ~1/4” of being vertical at all seams! Now using a sight transit or a laser level check the height of every seam between the panels against your ‘bench mark’ level (ie – the patio or bottom step off the house) – if it’s less than a 1/2 “ (at it’s highest point) difference, all is good! (if it’s more, something went wrong and you may need to rethink whether adjusting the pool height is worth the work or if you can make it work another way) As long as you’re close to where you wanted to be, reset your benchmark to be the highest seam on the pool. Using that as a reference point, bring all 8 corner seams up to that level. To do this you need 1 or 2 people with picks to pry under the steel and lift the pool to where it needs to be while another person slides shims (shingles) under the seam to keep it at that height (tip -- 5 shingles shoved ~1/2 way in raise the pool as much as 3 shingles shoved in to be flush with the wall – it’s better to have all but the last shingle flush with the wall – you have to remove any parts of the shingles that violate the pool base before you do the floor!!) Once the corners are to height, you can proceed around the pool doing all the side and end wall seams (don’t be surprised if a seam or 2 is too high – skip them and do the rest, it’s usually just a little ‘tweek’ being caused by another section being low – they should come back into line when the cause is raised – but you do have to go back and shore them up) All seams that aren’t resting on ground should have shingles under them to keep them from settling when the concrete is poured!
Once all is level, you need to pound the stakes into the deadman’s plates on the A braces. This will insure that the pool stays square! (* I had mentioned that the stairs might not want to go into place at first – you can angle the stakes to drive the stairs into the pool or away from it, you’ll want someone on the inside checking with a tape measure and the string while you do this). Once all is set you want to recheck with the transit all the seams. You also want to install the supports for the stairs, checking and double checking that they are level across the back and have the same pitch that the deck will - and then triple checking that they are still at the same height as the walls (I’ve made that mistake before and it’s a costly one )
So you think you’re now ready to pour the retaining collar – maybe or maybe not! You’ll have to plumb the pool – it’s your choice whether to include the pipe in the collar or to lay the pipes on the collar -- we include ours in the collar, but either way is acceptable – if you run the pipes on the collar, you need to put a few inches of sand below and above them to protect them.
Before you are ready to pour the collar, you should make an appropriate sized form for the equipment pad, so you can pour it at the same time. Also, there should be deck braces included in your pool kit, you want to place the bolts for them around the pool before you start the pour – as a general rule, they should be placed 4 -5 feet apart and need to be installed while the concrete is still ‘wet’. (I can give more info on playing with concrete if necessary – including how to do the pad correctly – but y’all gotta ask for that info – I’m having enough trouble keeping these posts ~short) PLEASE be careful around the light cut out!! The retaining collar should be 4 – 6” at the walls and go out far enough to include the deadman’s plates on the A braces, but make sure that you don’t go so high at the light that you can’t get the niche in or the retaining plate!!! – a little lower there is better than having to chip out some crete to get the light in!!
I’m kinda rushing things at this point so that they’ll be here for y’all before turkey day - I’m out from Wed PM til Mon (taking DD to the Vineyard for the long weekend and I won’t have my computer) *EDIT*
I said I was rushing, and indeed I was I neglected to mention the TOPS of the walls as the concrete is being formed Before the crete sets up you need to make sure the top beam is straight and level! To do this, first run a string along the top edge of the walls (just like when we squared the pool, only this time the strings are at the top of the panels and you don't need to use a tape to do the end walls) . After the collar is all poured you need to go around and adjust the A braces (pull all the seams back so that they don't foul the string) using the 2 bolts so that they just touch the string - start at the corners and use the 4' level to get them right so that the strings run true. The size wrench I use is 15/ 16", but the guys I work with just use adjustable wrenches to tighten the bolts.
As another note on the deck braces, they come straight, but end up looking like "7"s, jam the bottom into the bottom of the panel and then bend it to take the prepositioned bolt (*watch out for pinching your fingers as you bend it!!*), tighten the bolt and then pound on the brace (vibrate it) so that the crete fully locks it in.
Also while you're pouring the crete, make sure to pack it into the corners and 'nooks' by simply using a shovel like a butter churn (it's ok if that's not done, but IMHO - air pockets are sloppy) After you're done walking through the wet crete, use a shovel to ~ level out the footprints (this is aesthetically pleasing, but the real reason is that you'll be walking on the collar and footprints in concrete create a DEFINATE trip hazard!
Yet another tip I forgot to mention is to place a 2X4 in front of the bottom of the steps, secured by 5 or 6 rebar pins, to keep it from bowing out from the weight of the crete.
...Well I guess I sort of hacked up the original posting of this, but now I've edited it :P and no one will ever know *end edit*
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! To all TFP folk! Enjoy the overindulgence and your families
LUV N LUK