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Thread: Anyone not using Sand for Pool Base ?

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    pool4me's Avatar
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    Anyone not using Sand for Pool Base ?

    Just a quick question. (ok... the question is quick but the description is long... :P

    My last above ground install (many years ago) used road-mix / screenings as the pool base and just a "skim layer of sand". Turned out to be like a slab of concrete and a great base.

    I've seen online and (I think a few on various forums) that a few have used a road mix as well. Right now I've got appx 6" of screenings. Everything is level and it's like a perfect "slab" after 2 passes with the plate compactor. (I could park a car on this thing and not leave a mark).

    I'll be using the Galdon Pool Cove and the ARMOR SHIELD (both just arrived). Since I have a butress free pool, I 've got the corrugated steel and metal straps for the supports under the bottom of the pool.

    My neighbors pool also used screenings (we have very rocky / solid rock since we are on a big hill). On the corrugated metal, the "grooves" were filled in with screenings and then a layer of sand on top of that for the actual pool base. (He has no Happy bottom,. Gorilla Pad etc - everything has been fine with his install).

    My question:

    I've been told to just use the screenings for the pool base and go right over with the ARMOR SHIELD since the screenings are so darn smooth. Still . . . I'm thinking that I still need at least a "bit of masons sand" just to make everything nice and super-smooth (Even though our old pool literally just had the liner sitting on top of screenings for 10 years with no negative effects).

    Can I get some opinions before I do my final prep?? Right now, I'm thrilled with the level and the smooth surface. I'm thinking that at thin layer of sand would make things extra smooth.

    Any thoughts would be a big help.
    33'x15' x 52" Aqualeader
    Gallons ? - (I use appx 13,500 to calculate "stuff")
    33 x 15 x 4.3 x 5.9 = 12,558. or . . The Pool Calculator = 14,400
    Hayward S-166T 100Lb Sand Filter - Hayward Power-Flo LX 1HP Pump
    Intex S.W.G.

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone not using Sand for Pool Base ?

    Go for it - either way you are going to have a smooth base, but the mason's sand will take 1-2" over the ridges to help get everything level , as in covering the straps, pressure plates and channel edges - Happy Bottom will keep the bottom smooth and kind of cushy. If I had to do it again, I would have put the Gladdon in over our sand.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    pool4me's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone not using Sand for Pool Base ?

    NWMNMom,

    I managed to dig out a few pics of an A/G installation that a neighbor had done. What they did was (pretty much exactly what I did). They used the screenings and a plate compactor for a level base almost like a concrete slab. (Which mine is pretty much like right now).

    They also used screenings after the pool wall was up to cover the corrugated metal "grooves" and straps. The screenings were used to fill in the grooves of the metal until it was almost level with the "bumps" and they they used a sand base inside the pool.

    The pool bottom rails (mine are the composite ones) were still sitting on the screenings and the sand was on the inside of the pool only. (As opposed to some installations that level the entire area with sand and then the bottom frame of the pool sits on the sand as well).

    After seeing so many pools where the bottom rails began to sink after splashing / rain began to wash out the sand under the bottom rails, I really like the idea of having the bottom track sitting on the firm "concrete-like" slab that the screenings provide.

    I think I'll duplicate what they did over there which was: Using the screenings to fill in the grooves of the corregated metal and cover the straps and then a nice layer of sand appx 1.5-2" for a nice bottom before I install my Armour Shield pad.

    I think it would be fine if I just used screenings with the pad over top (goodness knows that I have appx 25 tons left from the 50 tons I had delivered for my back yard projects). But sometimes the top layer is a little pebble-like so I think the sand really would be needed.

    I'll post some pics as I get further along.
    33'x15' x 52" Aqualeader
    Gallons ? - (I use appx 13,500 to calculate "stuff")
    33 x 15 x 4.3 x 5.9 = 12,558. or . . The Pool Calculator = 14,400
    Hayward S-166T 100Lb Sand Filter - Hayward Power-Flo LX 1HP Pump
    Intex S.W.G.

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Waaay NW MN
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    Re: Anyone not using Sand for Pool Base ?

    Nobody should EVER put their pool on sand as an acutal pool base for the very reasons you stated. It should only go IN the pool bottom to give a smooth liner base, not any of the equipment.

    We dumped yards and yards of masons into ours, spread to smooth and the liner went in - the cove was also built first with the sand, a vapour liner duct taped 2' up the sides over the top of the cove draped down onto the floor and the rest of the sand went on top of that.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    pool4me's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Anyone not using Sand for Pool Base ?

    I hear you.

    I'm floored evertime I see an AGP sitting on sand. I've seen all kinds of rock walls, barriers, partial burial of the bottom of the pool etc - all constructed to alleviate a pool that was built on 2 inches of sand and now the bottom track is sinking.

    To me it seems pretty logical : Sand on the INSIDE of the bottom track.

    My Masons sand should arrive on Tuesday so I should be moving right along. A quick "second pass" with the plate compactor last night has give me a surface I think I could now land a plane on so hopfully I should be in good shape.
    33'x15' x 52" Aqualeader
    Gallons ? - (I use appx 13,500 to calculate "stuff")
    33 x 15 x 4.3 x 5.9 = 12,558. or . . The Pool Calculator = 14,400
    Hayward S-166T 100Lb Sand Filter - Hayward Power-Flo LX 1HP Pump
    Intex S.W.G.

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