Confused if my pavers should be set to be at the same height of the dirt, or should they be a little higher and be at level of the foam pad?


Apr 4, 2021
Toronto, Ontario

I just finished digging out the Sod and creating a nice levelled dirt area where my AGP from Bestway will sit. I have 12"x12"x 1.5" thick paver stones for all the legs, but now am confused as to how deep they should be placed.

I am planning on installing a 1" Extruded Styrofoam base on top of the dirt. so my question is should my paver be levelled with the dirt or should i just dig down 1/2 so that the paver is levelled with the foam ?
Or doesn't make a difference, and my pavers should be levelled with the dirt, because the increase in height of 1" on the base wont matter

Thanks in advance, this is my first pool install attempt, and am also building a deck around it. if it all works out and ends up being something we use, we will be going bigger in the next few years as kids grow.


Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2020
London U.K.
Pool Size
Liquid Chlorine
top should be level with dirt. The foam will compress due to weight of pool.
I’ve not seen it in practice so can only quote the theory (I’ll find out this summer as I’m just about to put some under my Intex pool) but I think how much the foam compresses would be dependant upon its type and grade.
In the uk typical xps (extruded polystyrene) strength is 300kpa. That means it should support 30 tonnes per m2 and compress less than 10%. Long term compressive strength ( compressive creep - measured over time for a compression of 2%) is typically a lower value say 18 tonnes per m2.

An 18ft round pool is roughly 25m2 in area (sorry I normally work in metric) and a 52” depth will be 32500L so 32 tonnes total weight. My maths make that roughly 1.3 tonnes per m2 so well below the compression thresholds for XPS. (Hopefully my high school maths is ok and I’m not factors out)
XPS is made to go under 5”+ thick concrete floors and it can’t be compressing too much otherwise it would cause massive problems in the buildings.
(there is other common insulation such as EPS and PIR that are thermally better than XPS but have way less strength).

That’s the theory, I’d be interested to hear from people who have XPS insulation on what compression they have. Also how much does human feet cause dents?


Apr 4, 2021
Toronto, Ontario
If you are putting down foam, the top of the pavers should be level with the top of the foam. If If it is the pink or blue foam, it should hold up well under the liner. Maybe get some heel prints but it is more than strong enough to hold the weight of the water.
Yeah that is what I was thinking. I have been reading that I run the risk of the 1.5” pavers cracking with the weight of the pool, what are your thoughts of setting the pavers levelled with the dirt. Then adding 5/4 board on top of the pavers under legs, this would bring it within 1/4 level off the 1” foam.
I haven’t set the pavers so I can go either way, set the pavers on 1/2” into the dirt or build up with wood. Considering the amount of work I put into this already I really don’t want to run the risk of the paver cracking and the legs dipping.

who would have thought a 12’ pool would require so much work. Lol, and I am building a deck as well. Crazy. !!


Well-known member
May 14, 2020
Erie, PA
I went with 4" x 8" pavers under each of my legs, leveled to the dirt. I used 1" foam boards and the top of the foam was about the top of the bottom rail. The bottom rail was leveled across the pavers and the dirt. This put the foam boards on top of the dirt/pavers nice and flush, right up to the rail.

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support


Jul 19, 2020
That looks great! what is the foam you used underneath? It looks nice and thick. Everyone mentions "foam" but not specifically what to buy (ie brand, etc). It looks like you made little cut-outs for the legs? And your foam looks a little higher than the pavers? Did you end up using the 2" thick pavers?


Apr 4, 2021
Toronto, Ontario
The foam , is rigid insulation, it comes in pink or Blue( now graphite color) which is what I used. Sold at most big box stores. I went with 1” thick. The plan was to actually raise the legs on wood to match the height of the foam, but I wanted to try it without first and see how it went as I had read some folks didn’t bother. I can say that it actually is holding up fine and have no plans to raise the legs. I made the foam pad bigger then the base of the pool, that is why you see the cutouts. For the pavers, I went with 1.5” thick, again, not recommended for bigger pools, so far none have cracked, but would recommend going 2” thick at minimum.

installed some lighting around the pool and will be doing some rubber mulch to finish it off. Here is the progress so far. My river stone was delivered this week so will be filling in the top flowerbed on the deck this weekend.
Last edited:
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread