Ground Prep for Intex Pool - Nuances

Russell23

Member
May 4, 2020
10
New Orleans, LA
Hi folks I am new to the forums, please forgive me if this should be obvious. I am the lucky owner of a 15' x 48" intex prism pool. I've been scouring the forums to learn what kind of ground work prep I need before I set up the pool. Based on what I have read, this is roughly what I plan on doing:
1. Level the dirt by taking away from high spots, NOT adding the low. rent a vibrating compactor if possible. Herbicide the ground.
2. Place 12" square concrete pavers under each of the vertical poles. the pavers should be level with the next (foam) layer
2. Add a layer of pink extruded foam base, triple taping the seams like this (it sound like you could use sand instead, but most people prefer the XPS foam)
4. place a heavy duty tarp, pool liner, and/or gorilla pad down
5. setup pool on top

Some thing I'm having trouble finding answers to are:
- it seems like people are using anywhere from 1/2"-2" for their foam base. Is the thickness just preference for cushion and insulation from the cold ground?
- It seems like most people recommend herbicide/roundup instead of using landscaping cloth. is there a reason why?
- I've read lots of posts with people talking about their pavers cracking. Is there something one can do to prevent this?

Thanks for much for all of your help!
 

sammckin

Bronze Supporter
May 9, 2019
407
WV
Hi folks I am new to the forums, please forgive me if this should be obvious. I am the lucky owner of a 15' x 48" intex prism pool. I've been scouring the forums to learn what kind of ground work prep I need before I set up the pool. Based on what I have read, this is roughly what I plan on doing:
1. Level the dirt by taking away from high spots, NOT adding the low. rent a vibrating compactor if possible. Herbicide the ground.
2. Place 12" square concrete pavers under each of the vertical poles. the pavers should be level with the next (foam) layer
2. Add a layer of pink extruded foam base, triple taping the seams like this (it sound like you could use sand instead, but most people prefer the XPS foam)
4. place a heavy duty tarp, pool liner, and/or gorilla pad down
5. setup pool on top

Some thing I'm having trouble finding answers to are:
- it seems like people are using anywhere from 1/2"-2" for their foam base. Is the thickness just preference for cushion and insulation from the cold ground?
- It seems like most people recommend herbicide/roundup instead of using landscaping cloth. is there a reason why?
- I've read lots of posts with people talking about their pavers cracking. Is there something one can do to prevent this?

Thanks for much for all of your help!
I used half inch foam on top of crush and sand. I love it. I think its more comfort under foot than insulation.

I just used some round up before I laid my foam, 1 year and so far so good.

I use 4 inch thick paver,.no cracks yet.

Your plan looks good to me, keep us posted on the progress.
 
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scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
386
Northwest GA
I dug my pavers in the ground, level with the ground. I use the foam, but I was worried it would compress over time under the pool. I hope someone will clarify as I've always read to dig the pavers level with the ground (not the foam)?? I don't think you need to rent a compactor as long as you dig down. You're setting it up on undisturbed earth so it should be compacted already.

To your questions: I used 1/2 inch foam. It feels nice to walk on. The thickness is for your comfort. You can just use sand if you want. I've used both. I like the foam better bc it just feels better to walk on. The floor of the pool was smoother over time with the foam than the sand. I didn't use any weed killer bc I had to level down, so most of the grass was gone due to that. I've read others use it bc rotting grass has an odor, so it's better to kill it. I've never experienced that, so I don't know. You can use thicker pavers or go with pressure treated wood. (intex instructions advise to use wood) I used wood the past 2 years. Changed to pavers this year, so we'll see. I also have the 15' round prism frame.
My setup: ground cloth that came with pool, foam, tarp, pool
Good luck with your project!!
 
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jmcdtucson

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2014
359
Tucson, AZ
Some thing I'm having trouble finding answers to are:
- it seems like people are using anywhere from 1/2"-2" for their foam base. Is the thickness just preference for cushion and insulation from the cold ground?
- It seems like most people recommend herbicide/roundup instead of using landscaping cloth. is there a reason why?
- I've read lots of posts with people talking about their pavers cracking. Is there something one can do to prevent this?
1. Seems like 1/2" foam is fine. Any more seems excessive to me.
2. Pass - I live in the desert and nothing grows here but cactus
3. Use 4" pavers and you won't have a problem.
 
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JCummins

New member
May 20, 2020
2
Spokane, WA
My setup: ground cloth that came with pool, foam, tarp, pool
Good luck with your project!!
I'm looking to do something somewhat similar to Russell23. We've had AGP's for several years now, but looking to move the pool so I'm doing some research on ground preparation and "under-layment." We've always put the pool either over a tarp or just directly over the grass/sand. My question for you, scout123, is in regards to your setup. After reading several forums today I'm reading things like: pool pad, ground cloth, foam, etc. Most likely we will be installing this over sand. I'd like to cushion it because over the sand is harder on the feet than over the grass. But when you say "ground cover" is that basically a tarp? The ground cover we received with our pool is essentially just a tarp. But then you have tarp listed as well, so I'm wondering if your ground cloth is something similar to a pool pad? At this point I'm thinking of finding a pool pad (with good reviews for cushion) to go over the sand and then just the pool over that. What would your advice be? Thanks in advance!
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
386
Northwest GA
I'm looking to do something somewhat similar to Russell23. We've had AGP's for several years now, but looking to move the pool so I'm doing some research on ground preparation and "under-layment." We've always put the pool either over a tarp or just directly over the grass/sand. My question for you, scout123, is in regards to your setup. After reading several forums today I'm reading things like: pool pad, ground cloth, foam, etc. Most likely we will be installing this over sand. I'd like to cushion it because over the sand is harder on the feet than over the grass. But when you say "ground cover" is that basically a tarp? The ground cover we received with our pool is essentially just a tarp. But then you have tarp listed as well, so I'm wondering if your ground cloth is something similar to a pool pad? At this point I'm thinking of finding a pool pad (with good reviews for cushion) to go over the sand and then just the pool over that. What would your advice be? Thanks in advance!
You are correct, it's just a tarp. The pool box lists it as the ground cloth, but it's essentially a thin tarp. I should have been more clear. If you want a pool pad, look at the reviews. On my first install, I wanted a cushion bottom and some of the pads advertise as providing cushion, but when reading the reviews I realized that the pad was really thin and not any better than a thick tarp.
 
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jmcdtucson

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2014
359
Tucson, AZ
Yeah, tarp that came with the pool. Then buy the 4x8 foam insulation pads from Home Depot or wherever. 1/2" thick is what I have. Tape the pads together with gorilla tape and place on top of the tarp. I think I did a triple layer application of tape. Mine's been solid for 6 years now.
 
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