Ground prep for 12x24 intex ultra frame

G_Unit

New member
May 9, 2017
4
Jerseyville,IL
#1
Hello TFP members,

First of all, I will completely embrace my ignorance when it comes to pools! Now that we have that outta the way...:p This will be our first pool. Although I am a DIYer, I have to admit to having some anxiety on this project. I've never put up a pool before! My 1st question and biggest concern, (among many), is what would be the simplest/ideal method for leveling ground for a rectangular pool such as mine? How large of an area do I need to prep for my particular pool? I was shooting for 14x26. Most of the videos/instruction I have found have been for a round pool. I guess same basic methods apply. I intended to use stakes/string/line level. I plan to use Foam sheets instead of traditional sand. I planned to start with level ground, add foam sheeting w/seams gorilla taped, tarp, and then pool. Do I need anything else? I intend to keep this pool up year round and winterize like a standard Above Ground pool.

Thanks in advance for any help for this poor pool Newbie!
 

Mickelin

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 3, 2015
261
Stockholm, Sweden
#3
The support legs stand out at an angle, making the footprint of the pool 13'10"x25'10". Add to that 12" pavers and you need to level an area of at least 15'x27'

Now what is really critical with the rectangular Intex pools is to get the pavers perfectly level. Use at least 2", preferably 4" thick pavers. Thinner pavers will crack and cause all sorts of problems. Since you plan on leaving the pool up during winter, you should definitely use pavers, not pressure treated wood.

To get the pavers perfectly level all around, use a laser transit or a water level. Strings and stakes will not do. Check, re-check and check again. Aim for within 1/4 inch. This is where you don't want to take any shortcuts.

How much effort you spend on getting the rest of the area perfectly level is less critical, but aim for within 1".

Here are some pics from my install
 

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G_Unit

New member
May 9, 2017
4
Jerseyville,IL
#4
Thanks for the replies! I appreciate the help. The detailed response w/pics is a huge help Mickelin! The deck around pool looks great! I definitely plan to use thick pavers and not wood. I noticed from your pics that you opted to use a homemade water level. How much hose did you use? Enough to reach end to end on all the pavers? How did you figure out exactly where all pavers should be placed? I also noticed that you did not use sand or the foam method that I plan to use for base. Is that rock screenings? If so, is there a reason why you chose that over other materials? I appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks again!!
 

Mickelin

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 3, 2015
261
Stockholm, Sweden
#5
Thanks! Yes, homemade waterlevel made from graded test tubes, gardenhose and jacks. Very simple and effective, particularly since I did everything singlehanded. I could place one of the jacks on my reference paver and move around the other jack, checking all the other pavers. I needed a very specific height to match the house. The lenght of the hose doesn't matter as long as it is not too short. Longer hose just means more water.

My base was a mix of clay, soil, rocks, boulders and bedrock, in a slope.Impossible to dig or scrape to a 1" level. I therefor opted to dig to a fairly decent level with a bobcat and then add 5" of gravel which I compacted with a 500 pound compactor. I then placed and leveled the pavers and finally added 2" of "stone dust" (not sure of the proper English term, very finely crushed stones), which I watered down and compacted. The result is almost like a tennis clay court surface, level with the pavers. On top of that I placed the Intex tarp and then on top of that an outdoor grade thick patio carpet. The result is a level, firm but pleasant bottom of the pool. Foam boards will work just as well I'm sure. As you can see, my waterline is exactly on the seam. Very pleasing after all that work!

Figuring out where to place the pavers required some drawings and then careful measurement. This picture is helpful, but you also need the distance from paver to paver. I'll check those measurements for you.
 

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G_Unit

New member
May 9, 2017
4
Jerseyville,IL
#7
Nice! I definitely intend to make/implement a water level after seeing the results you have gotten. I have a couple orange safety parking cones I think will work nicely for that. I really appreciate you taking the time to thoroughly explain everything! Also looks like I need to increase my original base dimensions (to at least 15'x27') based on your data. Thanks for checking on the distances between pavers as well. Look forward to hearing what you have to say on that matter. All your specific info will definitely help me immensely on installation process. This pool rookie will take all the help he can get! :bowdown:

- - - Updated - - -

Eaglei22, I believe Mickelin provided that info in the above response with pool schematic. Hope that helps!
 

Mickelin

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 3, 2015
261
Stockholm, Sweden
#8
Hi Eaglei22

I guess gravel is a generic layman's term. You should use crushed stone (macadam), not natural riverbed gravel. Crushed stone, when compacted, interlocks and creates a stable base that still drains well. I used crushed granite of a quality called 8-16 (all stones between 8 and 16mm), guess it is called something else in the US. This quality drains well, while still manageable for hand shoveling. You need to put geotextile down first, then the macadam on top. This prevents the macadam from mixing with the soil below. My research said to use 10-12", but I ended up with only about 5". Seems to work ok. A construction engineer would probably have a calculation based on load, ground conditions etc.

Proper compacting is really important. Make at least 3-4 runs with a good size plate compactor, should be available at any rental place. I compacted the soil first (see pic, very messy since it had been raining), then added the geotextile and the 8-16 and compacted again.

On top of the compacted 8-16, I put a couple of inches of 0-4 stonecrush, primarily to get a smoother surface. I did not put a second geotextile between but instead watered the 0-4 down into the 8-16. Then the tarp and carpet on top.

more pics
 

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G_Unit

New member
May 9, 2017
4
Jerseyville,IL
#10
Thanks for the follow up Mickelin on the paver measurements! I truly appreciate you taking the time to post all the information/photos. It will be extremely helpful!! Next time I'm in Stockholm I'll buy ya a beer! :cheers: