First Timer with a few questions

Jun 13, 2019
SW Missouri
After about 2 weeks of intensive research I made the dive (pun intended) and ordered my first "real" Above Ground Pool (only inflatables up to now). Ever since that moment we have been none stop leveling, clearing, collecting supplies, and praying for rain to go away. This post is long, but I tried to do as much research around these topics as possible before posting and here is the questions I could not find solid answers to.
I have some "background information" in between questions for extra information, but if you want to just jump to each set of questions I have numbered them.

- Saltwater 8000
- Solaxx Saltron Retro XL
- Hayward S180T 18" Sand Filter system with 1.5HP Power-Flo pump
- 25 Gauge Unibead Liner

We have also purchased:
- Cheapest Solar Cover I could find on Amazon
- Taylor K-2006
- Taylor K-1766 (salt test)
- Blue Wave Peel and Stick Cove
- 400 lbs of Salt
- 150 lbs of Filter Sand
- 20 Concrete Pavers
- Bonding supplies (100ft #8 with a bunch of split bolts and direct burry bolts)

Still to get:
- Limesand (for level skim)
- XPS 1" Tongue and Groove Foam
- GFCI box installed (electric already run)

The Plan:
I have dug about 18" on 3 sides of the pool and plan on semi-inground.
I will have native ground level within 1/4" on my wall line and 3/4" inside that.
I will then add Limesand for a final level and tamp it solid.
Foam Board on top of that, followed by my foam cove.
Still trying to figure out the backfill on my 18" hole.

The Questions:
Right now, we have the ground cleared and we have a 2 foot ring around the outside of the whole that is within 1/2 inch across the entire circle (using a transit to level).
Our next step is to remove the rest of the ground in the middle of the pool to make it as level as possible.
Here is where my first questions come from.
1) We are aiming for 1/4" across the 24' for level on the outer ring. Is this a typical tolerance? should we be trying for 1/8 or should we be happy with 1/2?
2) On the center we will be happy with 3/4" difference as long as its smooth, but my guess is it will naturally turn out better than this because of the outer circle as a reference.

After we fine level with Limesand and bury our patio stones, we plan on placing the foam directly on top. We are currently not planning on getting any "precut pad" we have no nut grass or anything we are worried about growing.
So, this leads me to my next question.
3) Should we have anything between the limesand and our foam?
4) Should we have anything between our foam and liner (perhaps to hide the tape seems)?

Once the pool is up, we need to bond the pool. I live outside of any city limits and in a county were there are no permits. I understand the purpose of these permits is for a safer experience and since my family will be swimming here for a long time (knock on wood) I don't really want to cut corners. Having said that some of these bonding requirements seem overkill, but I am open to being convinced otherwise. So here we begin my bonding questions.
5) Is the ring really necessary considering my pool will be only 4" above that 4' mark where these become necessary? My alternative would be a large grounding rod connecting the pool seam and all the electrical components.
6) I am burying 3/4 of the pool, so should the grounding ring be 4" below the top of the bury all the way around?
7) my SWG doesn't seem to have a bonding location, should I worry about bonding this, if so how?

This leads to my last set of questions surrounding burying the pool. My pool is covered by the warranty to be buried. But I am concerned about having dirt right up against the pool wall. I have a couple of options I am considering.
8) What should be directly against my pool wall 18" underground:
a) earth
b) concrete slurry mix
c) foam insulation board
d) black garden fabric
e) rubber mulch

Ok if you have hung in with me this far, THANK YOU! I can already tell this forum will be solely responsible for taking this pool from a 5-year pool to a 20+ year pool!


Well-known member
Feb 18, 2018
Chattanooga, TN
Looking forward to this build....hope you post lots of pics. I"m in a 12 foot intex right now, but have been eyeing the saltwater 8000 for next year, so would love your opinion once you get it up and running.

The only question I can answer is regarding the foam. I put that under my pool last year and lovvved it! I put mine on the ground and a tarp over. The tarp isn't required. I read someone else's post that they put the foam and then the gorilla pad and can't feel any seams at all, which would be nice, imo. I'm sure others will chime in and give you more info. Be sure to tape the seams of the xps really well. I used gorilla tape and put three layers on each seam.

Can't wait to see your progress!!

edit to add: I've seen others post about burying pools (that's what I hope to do) and they typically suggest a slurry mix. I think that's what doughboy recommends when you bury their pools.
Jun 13, 2019
SW Missouri
Thanks for your response! I am really excited, but also nervous. This is a large investment for my family and I and I want to make sure this is not a green eyesore (or worse a mangled mess) 5 years down the line. I am confident with this forum I have the resources I need to make sure that happens.

As for the XPS I am leaning towards a gorilla pad on top, just so I can tape the seems extremely well and not worry about the seems showing up.
As for the slurry mix, that is probably what I will do, considering that is what the manufacture recommends too. I want to stick to that as much as possible for my warranty.

Picture are coming! But right now you would get a picture of a small pond! GO AWAY RAIN!
Jun 13, 2019
SW Missouri
I found another thread with a licensed electritian who just finished his own pool, and got all of my bonding questions answered.
Quoting him here for the sake of anyone searching this in the future.

Just because you're in a county doesn't mean permits aren't required. May want to check with your county building department. I live in a county but anything over 42" in depth is required where I am.

Safety of your friends and family should be paramount and I would recommend if you have the time to check out this series. Mike Holt Enterprises - The Leader in Electrical Training.

Below are my answers to your questions in red.

1) Is the ring really necessary considering my pool will be only 4" above that 4' mark where these become necessary? My alternative would be a large grounding rod connecting the pool seam and all the electrical components.
In my opinion yes it is necessary. But it's up to you.
2) I am burying 3/4 of the pool about 18", so should the grounding ring be 4" below the top of the bury all the way around, or can I lay it at my dug level (18" most of the way)
It can be at the dug level, I don't believe a particular depth is of that much importance for a ring.
3) my SWG (Solaxx Saltron Retro XL) doesn't seem to have a bonding location, should I worry about bonding this, if so how?
If there isn't a bonding lug on the unit I would just make sure it's plugged into a GFI Weather Resistant Receptacle and make sure it's working properly.
4) I have purchased grounding lugs from Menards, but I am not sure if they are ok for "Direct Bury" since they don't say.
If they aren't stamped DB chances are they are rated for direct burial.


New member
May 30, 2019
I came across your post because we just got the saltwater 8000. We have our hole dug and leveled. We are putting in our patio blocks for the uprights, but are currently waiting for the rain to go away too! I called the pool factory (that’s where we ordered from) and the rep said that we should put roofing felt against the pool and we can backfill with the clean dirt that we excavated. We are doing the foam too. Are you putting in 2” of sand and then the 3/4 foam?
Jun 13, 2019
SW Missouri
Thanks for the info on roofing felt, I will keep that in mind as an option.

We are not putting 2" of sand under the foam, at most we are going to do a "level coat" just for final level to make sure all the bumps and smoothed over.
And even that coat we are looking at doing a lime sand or very fine crushed rock. Something that compacts very hard.
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