New 27' AGP Partially buried Build - update thread

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
Hi All,
I have asked a few questions here and there and I am sure someone might appreciate the build process. Also could use some tips as we progress through this. It has been a challenge to date by partially burying the pool but we making progress. Some lessons learned and it does feel a bit overwhelming. =)

We have a 10" slope in the yard, so we plan to go down 27" on one side and 17" on other below ground. This allows the maximum bury that warranty will allow on the pool. In reality it looks to be about 24-25" in ground and we will add a couple inch grade away from pool. I have the pool and 21 boards of 1" XPS in garage waiting.

What we have done so far.
We marked out where we want the dig. A little over a week ago, contractor started the dig but got stuck in the mud with his first load at drop off site. This was only place we found at the time to drop it off and now had no place to put the dirt. Even if it dried out, he didn't feel comfortable with the drop off location. We have been looking for a couple weeks and no luck, this was only place we found. We decided to proceed with dumping the dug out dirt in our yard and figured we would figure this out another day. We wanted to work on installing the pool.

It has been raining over the last week so we have had to pump the water out of the dug out hole and haven't been able to work on the pool nor get the dirt removed. Lesson number one, be patient, find a place to dump the dirt and do not do it in your yard. Our grass is gone now in most of our back yard due to where it was dumped, as well as now where the bobcat now had to go to move the dirt. Our lawn grade will need to be redone as well where we dumped the dirt, lots of sod or seed will be needed. Looking back we probably should have just waited, but we won't dwell on the decision and move forward. It was about 39 cubic yards of dirt dug.

This past weekend someone else was able to remove the dirt, found drop off location but it was pretty far away. Took some time to get there and back, but got it done. Neighbor has a laser level so we leveled the 18 footing stones the pool will sit on. Even though I rented a laser level for the group digging out the site, we learned while leveling the footing stones the dig was off by 4-5" from one side of the pool to the other. Disappointed, but moving forward. With the footing stones leveled, some of the stone will be ground level and slowly grade up 4-5" to other side. We took some of the backfill dirt and built up around the stones that were high.

We have 4 tons of sand being delivered today. I am guessing on the amount needed, hopefully it enough. We have dirt we can put down on the high side as well. One side of the pool will need a lot less sand than the other below the XPS and foam coving.

This is where we are today. Every step seems to have been taking longer than imagined. I may have underestimated the effort here by a lot. lol. I will add some pictures below and keep up with the progress. I did have one outstanding question which I started another thread on regarding winterizing around the outside of pool underground. Will add more in a few, want to save and make sure I do not lose any of this...
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
Thread to my other question about winterizing. Please reply here if you can to consolidate. Will use this thread for further questions as I am sure I will have a lot.

water.jpg
29' dig that filled up with water all week while raining. I noticed the grade difference by the water levels and knew we were going to be off, but didn't realize the dig was that far off.

Hole before leveling.jpg
This is the hole after laser leveling the stones (and guy removing the dirt knocked some back)

track.jpg
This is best picture of progress, but was when we laid down the track before laser leveling to get an idea on where the stones would go. We measured out 13.5' from center and double checked we were 27' across and perfectly circular.
 

Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
347
Dardenne Prairie, MO
Keep at it!

Rain was the most frustrating thing for us last year when we put ours in. It was six weeks between when we broke ground and when the water was turned on to fill it. Like you, we had to re-grade our complete backyard, side yard and part of the front because of the equipment traffic. Luckily, we had perfect weather in the fall and the seed germinated really well. We over seeded this spring, and it is finally starting to look like the existing grass.

It's one of those hidden expenses that the contractors don't mention. Between buying the top soil and paying an operator to spread and level it, and buying the seed, fertilizer and straw, it was about $1,500.
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
forgot to add link to my in-ground winterizing question. - Partial burying AGP - Anything to consider during backfill for winterizing?

Tonight, we plan on laying down the track again to confirm stones are in right place after laser leveling then get the sand from driveway to center pit for leveling. I am assuming wall install goes up before leveling as that would mess up the sand leveling. What about the gap under the rails if we install wall before leveling, any support issues? I could just do dirt now and was planning on leaving an inch under rail open so I can slide the XPS under it for stronger support. This how people are doing this or it better to get dirt level up to rail before wall install and then level sand and trim XPS to wall? Does running the XPS under the rail provide advantages?

Thanks!
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
Keep at it!

Rain was the most frustrating thing for us last year when we put ours in. It was six weeks between when we broke ground and when the water was turned on to fill it. Like you, we had to re-grade our complete backyard, side yard and part of the front because of the equipment traffic. Luckily, we had perfect weather in the fall and the seed germinated really well. We over seeded this spring, and it is finally starting to look like the existing grass.

It's one of those hidden expenses that the contractors don't mention. Between buying the top soil and paying an operator to spread and level it, and buying the seed, fertilizer and straw, it was about $1,500.

Thanks Chasarms! did you just back fill your semi in ground with dirt or do anything special for part underground to prepare for winter? Haven't seen anything really required but construction neighbor was surprised I wasn't doing anything about that. We are actually in Dardenne Prairie, real close to O'fallon so curious how the last winter went and what you did in that regard since we experience pretty much the exact weather. =) Thanks again!
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
we had these 4" thick stones at house that can be used for footing. Here is a picture. With a round pool, will the base shift much as we are filling water, aka is this footing stone big enough? Hopefully this is the last of the questions and we can post some actual progress photos. This leveling base is most important so want to make sure I get this right.
footing.jpg
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
422
Northwest GA
The builds I've seen on here level the top of the paver with the surrounding ground. The wall goes up and the xps foam is cut to the inside of the pool. I did see someone write that they slid a paver under the track that was not on the ground. So you are doing sand and foam? Did you get the foam cove or are you using sand for your cove?
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
The builds I've seen on here level the top of the paver with the surrounding ground. The wall goes up and the xps foam is cut to the inside of the pool. I did see someone write that they slid a paver under the track that was not on the ground. So you are doing sand and foam? Did you get the foam cove or are you using sand for your cove?
Hi, thanks for the reply. Foam coving.
 
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Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
347
Dardenne Prairie, MO
Thanks Chasarms! did you just back fill your semi in ground with dirt or do anything special for part underground to prepare for winter? Haven't seen anything really required but construction neighbor was surprised I wasn't doing anything about that. We are actually in Dardenne Prairie, real close to O'fallon so curious how the last winter went and what you did in that regard since we experience pretty much the exact weather. =) Thanks again!


We backfilled with top soil. The pool was unaffected by the winter. We just covered it and waited it out.

My pool is a Doughboy. They say if you are up to 27”, it’s okay to just use dirt. Bury it any deeper and you have to use concrete slurry.
We did wrap the part of the pool that is buried with heavy plastic before we packed earth against it, hoping it would prolong the life of the steel walls.
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
Update and more lessons learned? What we thought was level before wasn't. The pool was a slightly oval when we remeasured side to side. So we had to adjust to fix this as it was off by 5 inches and the stones we picked had little room to just adjust the foot plate. Blocks needed to be moved again.

We spent a lot of hours trying to level blocks and measure to make sure rail was round. We learned the dig out has a 4-5" grade from one side to the other causing some footer stones to be buried at ground level and others on other side of pool to be raised. We eventually got it leveled and base plates on the stone, every little movement to the track bumped them off a bit. Plus 80% of the pool rails were off the ground 1-4", so we needed to raise the ground to help support them.

First problem for those about to do this, the stones pictured above was just adding way too much work trying to get it in the right place for the plate to sit on. Additionally, when we get to the point of adding the wall, I just do not see this being large enough to allow movement and adjustments easily. Get larger blocks.

We went and bought some 12x12x2 stones and put them into place where old footers were. This added more digging\adjustments and really made the 4-5 grade now more of a problem. With the thinner footing stone, this lowered the rail on high side which meant the blocks on opposite site that were just below ground level now had to go deeper into the ground. Not something I wanted to do with a shovel, and we would still need to add elevation under all the rails on the more than half of the pool.

We decided to take the hit and remove it all and start over with level ground. Having that much of a grade difference was turning out to be a lot of work and seemed to go against the idea of not building up anyways. Guy we hired to dig the pool offered to come back to help grade it so it is more level, hopefully tomorrow. With a much more level ground, it should be a lot easier to place and level the larger footing stones as well as get track more level with ground as well.

Hopefully it doesn't rain tonight too much and they guy coming over with the stand behind front loader to level the ground is able to do this tomorrow.

For those who have done this, does it get a lot easier once the footing stones are level and in place? Does the wall and everything else go up fairly easily or better to hire it out? I keep telling myself this is the hardest part and it all down hill from here.
 
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Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,916
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
The ground prep is the hardest part. I used 2 guys and myself to install me pool last Saturday at 10am. It was filling by 1pm.
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
not making much headway with guy who initially dug hole. We now thinking of just renting a tiller Saturday to help break up some of the high points and get it close to level ourselves. Wife also out of curiosity found someone who would haul the sand from front yard we already bought to back, set the footings, final leveling, install pool for $800. No idea if that good price or not, he estimated 12 hours with 2 people to level and install. Not as "fun" as doing it ourselves but would help get this done faster than what we have been able to do. Still debating. thoughts?
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,916
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
I would be very careful about who you're hiring for install. If it's just a regular joe off the street then you're going to get what you pay for. Has he done this before and if so. how many pools has he installed? If I were close, I'd come over and help you just to get out of the hotel but you're a haul away from me and it's just not feasible.
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
Thanks Casey. This guy has worked for a local pool company for 10 years and is spinning off to start his own business. He seemed knowledgeable. Thanks for bringing that up.
We are renting a tiller Later today to help dig out the high side and level out the space a bit more. It rained last night pretty good so hoping it dries out enough to start that late afternoon. Then pool crew can do their magic before a tropical storm leftovers is supposed To hit our area with lots of rain Tuesday. We hooping to also use the tiller to help grind up the pile of clay we have set aside for backfill to make that easier too
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
422
Northwest GA
I don't think I'd have any problem paying someone $800 to move the sand and install. I'm wondering too, if he has the experience and is starting his own business, could you throw a bit more money his way and have him do the leveling? I'd think he'd have the equipment to do it. Of course the tiller will work too; that's how I leveled my 15 foot pool, it was just hard to get it smooth with the tiller....that may be the operator's fault though :giggle: Are you backfilling just with the clay soil, or doing rock too?
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
Yesterday the Tiller we rented broke twice but after swapping it out, it went a bit smoother. The pool guy also cancelled yesterday and said he can come by this morning. We spent most of the day making sure the footings were level as well as making sure there were no high points from center. We have 4 footings left to do, got too dark to see well enough last night. The pool guys offered $100 off because we did level of stones.

Wife and I and some neighbors (for hour or two) spent 10-12 hours making sure it was level. Remember the grade was off by 5" on 27', now all 18 footings are level with ground and center but middle is dug out to be level as well, just needs sand for minor fill. Feels like we did a heck of a lot more than $100 of work, but then again, we still need to bring in the sand, install pool and XPS. For install, we were still responsible for getting it close to level for him which we have done.

Will take a picture when we get the track done, going to head out soon and try to get this done before pool guy gets here. Hoping he sees what we have done and comes down a little bit more.

As for backfill, where the dirt was that we dug out and removed there is still about 6-12" deep and it is hard clay. I plan to take the tiller and really grind that up while pools guys are building pool to make it a lot easier to move and should be a good fill. If someone thinks we should do rock over that, please let me know. =)

Thanks all.
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
picture of round 2(ish, not going to admit how many times we did this) of footings and track installed. No sand or tamping been done yet. We would like to think this is better as footings are in ground all way around opposed to some being 4-5" high on one side....Feeling good we decided to pull back and do it over.newTrack.jpg

Picture below is where the dirt was dumped with initial dig and then later hauled out. I am hoping to use the tiller to break this up and use as back fill one pool it up and hopefully help level out the side. backfildirt.jpg

Will be dumping sand here soon and then work on wall...
 

Jason7191

Member
Apr 29, 2020
11
Southeast Virginia
What did you end up doing with your tracks that had gaps underneath? I’ve been fighting rain water as well. Pumped probably 600 gallons of water out this morning from a storm last night
 

derekvli

Active member
May 7, 2020
25
St. Charles, MO
What did you end up doing with your tracks that had gaps underneath? I’ve been fighting rain water as well. Pumped probably 600 gallons of water out this morning from a storm last night

We basically dug down and leveled the space more and tried to get the tracks on current ground so there was no gap. Little gaps we filled with dirt.

I feel for your pain with the rain! Best of luck that you can get some dry weather!

We slightly worried we will get the pool up just in time for Tuesday storm and wind to come in. We really hoping to start filling today so it don't blow over. I hear it takes a couple days to fill and you cannot backfill until it full? Then we hoping to have enough time to start backfilling before the outside gets filled up with water from storm.

Not sure what would happen in above scenario or if pool would be ok? We do not want to find out...
 

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