Has intex quality dropped?

WagonQueen

Active member
Jun 29, 2014
35
Pittsburgh pa
Last year was our 5th (I think?) summer with our intex ultra frame 18' pool. Frame is getting rusty and I think our salt water chlorinator has stopped working. Now we're at a cross roads of replacing the Intex or putting in a "real" pool which would be tied to a bigger project of replacing our deck. Intex has served us well and that route would be easiest. However reviews seem to indicate a drop in quality, significant rust after one season, etc.

Thoughts? Anyone buy an intex pool last year, how did it fare for you?
 

scout123

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2018
153
Chattanooga, TN
I bought a small 12 foot intex prism frame last summer. The uprights (I guess that's what they're called) had rust spots 3 weeks after setting it up. I uncovered it a couple weeks ago and the rust is not horrible, but still, it's less than a year old and shouldn't have rust at all imo. That's the only issue I've had. Good luck with your decision.
 

chayne

Bronze Supporter
i just bought the new Intex XTR pool. i am hoping that it lasts me a few years. it says on the box that it is more rust resistant, and stronger. i have taken all the poles out of the box and they seem pretty strong. guess only time will tell
 

FixItFelix

Member
Mar 25, 2019
7
Dallas, TX
Our 3x12 Intex with a salt-water system lasted two summer seasons, showing rust in the 2nd season, and completely failed (pictured here) that winter. Amazing that it remained standing, actually.

97120

For less than the cost of a replacement frame from Intex, I built my own:

97121

It's a full day of working with wood, but the result will probably last a lot longer.

97122
 

Townlakecakes

Member
Aug 24, 2016
8
Sugar Land, TX
We had a friend that bought the Ultraframe 20’x48”last spring. It was on sale for $400. We were looking to upgrade our 15x36” easy set pool that my youngest had outgrown. So we followed suit and bought one too. We put it up beginning of May, and by October 3 of the horizontal supports had rusted completely through. We had a very busy fall and weren’t able to take it down until last month, and Once it was drained, all it took was a windy spring day and it completely collapsed. When we went to take it apart, there wasn’t a single horizontal piece that was structurally sound.
Now we were, in fact, using as SWG for our chlorine, but 5 months life span is still ridiculously short.
Our friend that bought and erected their pool within weeks of ours had the exact same experience. This was their first pool and they got the SWG at my recommendation.
For reasons I won’t go into, we have had another identical pool in the garage since last year, and we just put it up with the expectation that it will have a similar life span. But it is a stopgap until we are able to save for a proper resin and steel AGP. I’m done with Intex. Photo of collapsed pool attached. I wish I had gotten closeup pics of the extent of the rust. 003E7659-6A1C-4F65-B41E-589E1F827BAE.jpeg
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Chickinvic

FixItFelix

Member
Mar 25, 2019
7
Dallas, TX
Ya... our neighbors around the corner are in a similar boat. Their frame looks similar to yours, Townlakecakes, in terms of kind. I believe theirs was 4 ft by 18ft?... and they had the exact same story as us. Pool was up for 2 full summer seasons... rust got really bad this past winter. Maybe it was the winter in Texas?... they were not using a salt-water system. We're starting our own neighborhood competition: how to rebuild an Intex pool without Intex. lol :)

chayne, it really was just a day of working with wood. The legs are just cut up 2X4s I had laying around. I had originally routed notches in the top of them thinking I was just gonna replace the legs and put the metal frame on top, but then the top rusted out too... so... I went down to the local fence supply store and bought two of their smallest diameters galvanized steel pipes, and had them cut them to size for me, so I ended up with this:

97158

Then... for the joints, I just cut up a 4x4. In my case, the angle of the cuts was 15 degrees (12 joints, two edges per joint). Miter saw is best suited for that task:

97161
(that's my prototype you see on the ground there... for the actual day, I used all untreated wood... don't want anything leaching into the water)

Anyways... then you have to drill the joints. Again, a bit tricky because of the 15 degree angle.

97162

this probably took the longest of all the tasks because I had to block and clamp every hole I drilled (24 holes).

Since my poor little drill press only has about 4 inches of press action, I had to finish the holes to depth by hand:

97163

Lastly... I needed to "attach" the legs, so I decided to just re-use the routing I had already done on the legs to create a type of mortise and tenon joint. This involved 2 steps: step 1, drilled out as much material as I could with the drill:

97166

and then step 2) finish with a router that is extended out way past the manufacturer's recommended safety depth setting. lol :)
97167
(you gotta be real careful and strong doing this because the router can have a real kick when it catches sideways)

But... once you've done that, then just hammer the legs together with a mallet:
97168
(some of the 2x4s I used were left over from when I was leveling concrete on a different project, so a little sanding was needed, but otherwise all the boards are all still rough and untreated).

The last step was to round off all the sharp corners:
97169

and you are ready to assemble (which you can see on my previous post).

This design has no nails, no screws, no bolts, absolutely nothing that will rust. :) I previously had created wood footings for the old frame, so this new frame just went on those same blocks. I really got inspired when I saw how thrashed the original frame was and how it didn't collapse. The weight of the water is what made it work, and that's what makes this design work. The frame was pretty solid before I filled the pool, a lot more solid than the original. Once filled with water, it locked up stone tight, dwarf style. :)

I'll probably start making plans to upgrade to a larger 4 or 5 foot round next spring, and based on everything I've seen and read here, I'll probably apply this same principle then, and just skip putting up the Intex frame altogether (other than to measure it for my replacement). :)
 
Last edited:

amick

New member
Apr 21, 2019
4
Waco, TX
Wow, nice setup with the galvanized pipe and wood! I would never be able to that myself.
I was wondering if someone has sprayed the intex pipes with Rustoleum galvanizing compound spray to help prevent rust?
We had an ultra frame pool several years ago, the ground wasn't completely level so when we took the pool down to re-level the yard a wind storm
blew everything around and bent the frames. My neighbor had an ultra frame pool set up on concrete and that thing was up for the 6 years we lived next to him! I'm not sure if he ever had any rust on his frame.
The one we had did start to get some rust so I am planning on using the galvanizing compound spray before we set it up and hopefully
can get quite a few years out of it.
I also plan on putting some interlocking foam on top of the concrete and under the tarp so that the pool doesn't get torn on the concrete.
Thanks!
 

_cOnZi_

New member
Jul 26, 2016
1
Cochran, GA
Thanks for posting this Felix.

We’re starting our 3rd swim season with our 22’ “Coleman” Above Ground... its semi- buried at 2’ deep. We’re in south(ish) Georgia. So, we’ve left ours up year-round.

I too am using a SWG. Thanks to this site, i took the time to paint the inside of every single pole with rustoleum (sp?) rust prevention enamel using a rag on a stick... I dipped it in the paint and ran it through... i applied 3 coats to it this way.

Well, this year I noticed the rust starting to appear at the joints of the vertical poles and the T’s as well as on the under sides of the joints.

Today, I started taking the wire brush to them with my drill and repainting all of the metal (on the outside). Unfortunately I found that 3 or 4 have started to rust through. One even has a little bow to it. I’d like to get one more year out of it as it is. So, I’ve got to come up with a way to reinforce that one.

In summary, i think pre-painting the raw metal insides does help tremendously. But i think we also need to come up with a way to seal all of the T joints to keep water from getting to the raw edges.

I’m going to try to continue to strip away all of the rust and repaint the metal from the outside.. im also going to look for something to go over these joints and connector pins to help keep water out. Spray rubber sealant, maybe? Or some sort of shrink tubing? Idk yet.
 

GJones

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2016
70
Lemoore, Ca
Our 3x12 Intex with a salt-water system lasted two summer seasons, showing rust in the 2nd season, and completely failed (pictured here) that winter. Amazing that it remained standing, actually.

View attachment 97120

For less than the cost of a replacement frame from Intex, I built my own:

View attachment 97121

It's a full day of working with wood, but the result will probably last a lot longer.

View attachment 97122
I want the design plans on the poles and T's. That is freaking AWESOME!
 

FixItFelix

Member
Mar 25, 2019
7
Dallas, TX
Hi GJones,

not sure I can help you with that... as I didn't really create any design plans. It was just a thought that rattled around in my head over the winter... and then finally "popped out" in the Spring. lol :) The only key was that I had to start with a pool that was still standing, so I had something I could measure. I kinda had to guess on a cross bar length. Otherwise, it's just a lot of routing, and then tracing the pattern with a pencil and drilling and routing some more (to connect the legs and joints). It's tedious for sure, especially drilling the holes with all of the blocking and clamping, but I think I'll be pleased with the time I invested on this one. When we do our "final" edition (the 5 foot with a deck) next year maybe, I'll be starting out with this same approach for the frame. May even see about just buying the liner, and skipping the box that includes the frame entirely.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
Thinking about general reports we have seen on the forum. It sure seems like in the last few years the quality of the Intex pools was reduced. We used to see them last for much longer than the 2 years that seem to be common now. Now sure if they started using cheaper, thinner metal for the frame or if the paint is just not as good or both?

And I have not noticed that SWG pools were failing any faster either.
 

Stang Guy

Active member
Jun 20, 2016
26
Long Island, NY
I bought a 15x48" intex ultra frame last summer on sale under $300. It has the plastic T connectors. When I took it down in the fall I saw some very minor surface rust on the inside of the top frame pieces. I sprayed 2 coats of rustoleum in all framing best I could. I'll probably spray another coat before I put it back up this year. I am also going to use silicone tape around all joints to prevent any water getting inside. This should hopefully work well.
 

skinner30

New member
Jul 13, 2019
1
PA
What would work great to keep the rust out is a product that could easily be sprayed inside the tubes and at all joints its called fluid film it can be bought at lowes and we did a test with a piece of metal one side untreated and the other we sanded down to clean steel and coated with fluid film and after 6 months our in the weather and its been rainy here in PA and were a rust area. But the piece of metal looks like we just sanded it. So the stuff sticks on even through the rain. I think this would work but this wood frame you built is awesome
 
  • Like
Reactions: SarahV

valerie_7

Member
Jul 21, 2019
6
NY
Hi GJones,

not sure I can help you with that... as I didn't really create any design plans. It was just a thought that rattled around in my head over the winter... and then finally "popped out" in the Spring. lol :) The only key was that I had to start with a pool that was still standing, so I had something I could measure. I kinda had to guess on a cross bar length. Otherwise, it's just a lot of routing, and then tracing the pattern with a pencil and drilling and routing some more (to connect the legs and joints). It's tedious for sure, especially drilling the holes with all of the blocking and clamping, but I think I'll be pleased with the time I invested on this one. When we do our "final" edition (the 5 foot with a deck) next year maybe, I'll be starting out with this same approach for the frame. May even see about just buying the liner, and skipping the box that includes the frame entirely.
Your rebuild looks great.
Did you treat the wood with anything afterwards to deal with the water and overall outdoor elements?
 

ashtonfitzgerald

Well-known member
Sep 27, 2016
207
Oshawa, ON, Canada
Our Intex metal frame pool is into season 4 now and showing some rust blisters on the cross beams and uprights near the joints, but minor IMO still. Seeing as we will be upgrading possibly next year I'm not concerned. For the price if I can get 5 years out of it I'll be happy. Two years or less and I may as well have just got an inflatable ring version for all the trouble.

The real challenge with coatings and paint is the waves caused by swimming get the pools rocking and in turn the metal rubs at the joints. This exposes fresh steel which becomes a gateway for rust. I don't think there is a topical coating that will be perfect, but perhaps worth a shot if it gives a extra year. Personally I'm not thrilled with taking down the pool each winter to reapply.