Newbie Mom With Intex 18’ x 9’ x 52” pool. Help!

crickette24

Member
May 31, 2020
6
Virginia
Newbie Mom here. Thank you in advance to anyone who reads this post and can offer advice.
After much anticipation, our new intex 18 x 9 x 52” pool arrived. I’m a mom of three little kids, and I’m scared of this thing, and how to put it up safely. I am planning to take it down every year. I was just going to put it in the backward as-is and let the kids have fun, but now I am worried that there’s much more involved. Is there an easy list somewhere of what I need to to set this up?

(1) What size area do I need to level to accommodate this 18’ x 9’ pool? Would 20’ x 12’ feet suffice? An extra two feet on each size for the support beams? I hired a landscaper to come and create a level area in backyard for the pool, but don’t know what area is needed to tell him.
(2) I bought two pads for underneath. A “gorilla pad” and an “elephant pad“. Our yard is compact hard clay under the top thin or even bare soil, so we are not going to use sand. Just dig out the 2-3 inches that aren’t level to match the lowest point and put down the pads. Landscaper said he will use a laser level. Does this seem okay and safe?
(3) I was just going to put the frame down as is. But now sounds like I need some sort of wood or concrete bases for the metal frames? What do I get? With covid restrictions now, I am pretty limited to ordering what I can find online. Would interlocking wood deck pavers or interlocking rubber pavers work for this purpose? What size? 12”x12” interlocking deck pavers?
(4) Worst case scenario, would it be safe to just fill the pool up to 42-45” instead of 52” full if can’t get the darn thing level? I just want something for the kids to do this summer, it isn’t going to stay up permanently, and I have limited financial and location resources due to covid. Trying to keep this process as quick and simple as possible, but safe.
Thanks for any tips or advice. I wish I had ordered the EZ set pool now. But they were sold out everywhere. :(
Goal is to just keep the thing from collapsing. I’m pretty bad at this and don’t have much help.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

NJSwimmom

Well-known member
May 4, 2020
55
New Jersey
Newbie Mom here. Thank you in advance to anyone who reads this post and can offer advice.
After much anticipation, our new intex 18 x 9 x 52” pool arrived. I’m a mom of three little kids, and I’m scared of this thing, and how to put it up safely. I am planning to take it down every year. I was just going to put it in the backward as-is and let the kids have fun, but now I am worried that there’s much more involved. Is there an easy list somewhere of what I need to to set this up?

(1) What size area do I need to level to accommodate this 18’ x 9’ pool? Would 20’ x 12’ feet suffice? An extra two feet on each size for the support beams? I hired a landscaper to come and create a level area in backyard for the pool, but don’t know what area is needed to tell him.
(2) I bought two pads for underneath. A “gorilla pad” and an “elephant pad“. Our yard is compact hard clay under the top thin or even bare soil, so we are not going to use sand. Just dig out the 2-3 inches that aren’t level to match the lowest point and put down the pads. Landscaper said he will use a laser level. Does this seem okay and safe?
(3) I was just going to put the frame down as is. But now sounds like I need some sort of wood or concrete bases for the metal frames? What do I get? With covid restrictions now, I am pretty limited to ordering what I can find online. Would interlocking wood deck pavers or interlocking rubber pavers work for this purpose? What size? 12”x12” interlocking deck pavers?
(4) Worst case scenario, would it be safe to just fill the pool up to 42-45” instead of 52” full if can’t get the darn thing level? I just want something for the kids to do this summer, it isn’t going to stay up permanently, and I have limited financial and location resources due to covid. Trying to keep this process as quick and simple as possible, but safe.
Thanks for any tips or advice. I wish I had ordered the EZ set pool now. But they were sold out everywhere. :(
Goal is to just keep the thing from collapsing. I’m pretty bad at this and don’t have much help.
I'm a single mom of 2 boys and I put up the pool entirely without any help. You can do this!!! I have the Intex 24' x 12' Rectangular Ultraframe and put mine up last week.

It's good that you have someone coming out to level the pool because that's the one step that would be almost impossible to do solo. A good rule of thumb is to add an extra six inches to each side for total leveling so for my 24x12 I had them level 30' x 18' (maybe even a foot more for the length and width). My landscaper guaranteed in writing that the ground would be within 1" of level for when I put the pool up (or they have to come out and re-level), so see if yours can put a guarantee in writing also.

After the leveling, I put down a heavy high quality tarp directly on the ground the same dimension as the pool. I didn't bother using the Intex tarp because that thing falls apart after the first season and looks pretty ragged. I also didn't use any sand.

On top of the tarp, I put down 1/2 inch thick 4' x 8' foam boards triple taped together with All Weather Gorilla tape (both sides taped). I used 9 foam insulation boards total which came out to the same size as my 24x12 pool (actually the foam ends up sticking out about a foot on all sides, which works out well). You'd be able to use less foam boards with the 18 x 9 pool. Foam is very comfortable on the feet. You'd want the large pink foam insulation boards that they sell at Lowes and Home Depot. Note that I underestimated how large 4'x8' foam boards would be to get into my SUV but I just barely squeezed them in. I definitely didn't have any room for any passengers in the car because they're too thick to bend.

Then I opened up the pool liner directly onto the taped foam boards and assembled the entire thing myself. It took a couple of days and some profanity along the way but I managed to do it. The hardest part was getting the corners to stand up without having a helper with me. But it can be done with one person if you use both arms to pull up the top frame while using the rest of your body to hold up the corner. We ordered takeout for dinner every night that week so I could have extra time to assemble the pool.

Once the pool was up, I dug 2 pavers to go under each support leg. I was originally going with just one 2-inch thick paver for each support leg, and then read on here that many folks have had them snap in half. What worked perfectly was to get solid half cinderblocks without the holes, and then place two side by side under each leg. They are 16"x8" and 4-inches thick and be warned that each one weighs 33lbs each. I found them at Home Depot next to the full size cinderblocks. You have to make sure the bricks are perfectly level and I found the only way to do this on your own is to use a water level. There are lots of youtube videos on how to make one cheaply. I personally used 20 feet of 1/2 inch clear PVC tubing from the Lowe's refrigerator section and then attached each end to the top of a yard stick (also at Lowes for about $1). You also need to attach the two yardsticks to two identical objects that will stand up by themselves. I used two orange cones that we had laying around from soccer but you can really use anything. Then you just put in some water and food coloring (or in my case I used fruit punch powder since I don't have food coloring).

Then that's it. Fill with water, and you're all set other than setting up the filter, hoses and chemicals. By the way, even with the 52" pool completely level, your maximum water height will probably be around 46". The 52" includes the top grey area above the water line. Yes, it will definitely be more work than you ever imagined when you started this journey. But once you're floating on a raft on a warm sunny day in your completed pool, all of that aggravation will be forgotten. Good luck!!
 
Last edited:

crickette24

Member
May 31, 2020
6
Virginia
This is so helpful, NJSwimmom! You are one brave lady for tackling such a large project solo. I’d hug you if I could for the encouragement. Thank you!

I'm a single mom of 2 boys and I put up the pool entirely without any help. You can do this!!! I have the Intex 24' x 12' Rectangular Ultraframe and put mine up last week.

It's good that you have someone coming out to level the pool because that's the one step that would be almost impossible to do solo. A good rule of thumb is to add an extra six inches to each side for total leveling so for my 24x12 I had them level 30' x 18' (maybe even a foot more for the length and width). My landscaper guaranteed in writing that the ground would be within 1" of level for when I put the pool up (or they have to come out and re-level), so see if yours can put a guarantee in writing also.

After the leveling, I put down a heavy high quality tarp directly on the ground the same dimension as the pool. I didn't bother using the Intex tarp because that thing falls apart after the first season and looks pretty ragged. I also didn't use any sand.

On top of the tarp, I put down 1/2 inch thick 4' x 8' foam boards triple taped together with All Weather Gorilla tape (both sides taped). I used 9 foam insulation boards total which came out to the same size as my 24x12 pool (actually the foam ends up sticking out about a foot on all sides, which works out well). You'd be able to use less foam boards with the 18 x 9 pool. Foam is very comfortable on the feet. You'd want the large pink foam insulation boards that they sell at Lowes and Home Depot. Note that I underestimated how large 4'x8' foam boards would be to get into my SUV but I just barely squeezed them in. I definitely didn't have any room for any passengers in the car because they're too thick to bend.

Then I opened up the pool liner directly onto the taped foam boards and assembled the entire thing myself. It took a couple of days and some profanity along the way but I managed to do it. The hardest part was getting the corners to stand up without having a helper with me. But it can be done with one person if you use both arms to pull up the top frame while using the rest of your body to hold up the corner. We ordered takeout for dinner every night that week so I could have extra time to assemble the pool.

Once the pool was up, I dug 2 pavers to go under each support leg. I was originally going with just one 2-inch thick paver for each support leg, and then read on here that many folks have had them snap in half. What worked perfectly was to get solid half cinderblocks without the holes, and then place two side by side under each leg. They are 16"x8" and 4-inches thick and be warned that each one weighs 33lbs each. I found them at Home Depot next to the full size cinderblocks. You have to make sure the bricks are perfectly level and I found the only way to do this on your own is to use a water level. There are lots of youtube videos on how to make one cheaply. I personally used 20 feet of 1/2 inch clear PVC tubing from the Lowe's refrigerator section and then attached each end to the top of a yard stick (also at Lowes for about $1). You also need to attach the two yardsticks to two identical objects that will stand up by themselves. I used two orange cones that we had laying around from soccer but you can really use anything. Then you just put in some water and food coloring (or in my case I used fruit punch powder since I don't have food coloring).

Then that's it. Fill with water, and you're all set other than setting up the filter, hoses and chemicals. By the way, even with the 52" pool completely level, your maximum water height will probably be around 46". The 52" includes the top grey area above the water line. Yes, it will definitely be more work than you ever imagined when you started this journey. But once you're floating on a raft on a warm sunny day in your completed pool, all of that aggravation will be forgotten. Good luck!!
 
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Reactions: NJSwimmom

NJSwimmom

Well-known member
May 4, 2020
55
New Jersey
This is so helpful, NJSwimmom! You are one brave lady for tackling such a large project solo. I’d hug you if I could for the encouragement. Thank you!
Thank you!! All of the heavy labor is complete. So I spent all day yesterday just laying on a raft in the new pool, saying to myself...now THIS was definitely all worth it!
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
371
Chattanooga, TN
I have a round pool so can't comment about the size of the pad, but seems like you have the covered in above post. The pads seem fine. You don't need anything under an intex pool. A lot of people, including myself, put down foam, but it's not necessary and can be costly to do. You do want pavers or pressure treated wood under the legs. The first two years with my pool, I used wood that had here at the house already. This year, I put pavers I got at Lowes. The Lowes here does curbside pickup if that helps any. You will want the entire leg (or brace or whatever it's called on the rectangle pools) to be on the paver or wood. I think you'll need to fill it as directed in the instructions. I'm not sure the height of the inlets and return, so that may determine water height necessity. Plus, with the videos I've seen of these pools, I think the water is what pushes the sides out and straight. I could be wrong on this, but, in the end, the pool needs to be level no matter the water height. The above poster had a great idea about getting the landscaper to put in writing that it'll be within an inch (2 inch out of level is where it get's iffy). Good luck! I'm also a single mom and did my pool, even the leveling, by myself, so it's definitely doable.
 

crickette24

Member
May 31, 2020
6
Virginia
Thank you, Scout123. Really good advice. I have some leftover tile pavers in my garage that might do the trick, as well as some thick plastic utility ones. I’m most concerned about the leveling. The grade is only about 2” off, so hopefully the landscaper knows what he’s doing. I assume you have to dig the pavers into the ground? Is that something the landscaper should do, or me? Worried it might throw off the level either way.

I have a round pool so can't comment about the size of the pad, but seems like you have the covered in above post. The pads seem fine. You don't need anything under an intex pool. A lot of people, including myself, put down foam, but it's not necessary and can be costly to do. You do want pavers or pressure treated wood under the legs. The first two years with my pool, I used wood that had here at the house already. This year, I put pavers I got at Lowes. The Lowes here does curbside pickup if that helps any. You will want the entire leg (or brace or whatever it's called on the rectangle pools) to be on the paver or wood. I think you'll need to fill it as directed in the instructions. I'm not sure the height of the inlets and return, so that may determine water height necessity. Plus, with the videos I've seen of these pools, I think the water is what pushes the sides out and straight. I could be wrong on this, but, in the end, the pool needs to be level no matter the water height. The above poster had a great idea about getting the landscaper to put in writing that it'll be within an inch (2 inch out of level is where it get's iffy). Good luck! I'm also a single mom and did my pool, even the leveling, by myself, so it's definitely doable.
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
371
Chattanooga, TN
You can ask if he'll do it; I'm not sure. When I dug mine in, I placed the first one and then moved to the next one and stuck a level on them and just continued this all the way around. I was worried that'd I'd get to the last paver and it wouldn't be level with the first one, but, to my delight, it was. Getting the ground ready is the hardest part of the entire build. Once that's ready, the rest will be much easier and go much quicker. Good luck with everything!
 

Bookerfam

Member
May 14, 2020
9
Ontario
Hi! Just wondering if you mind sharing a bit about how you did the levelling? I am also doing the pool myself?
You can ask if he'll do it; I'm not sure. When I dug mine in, I placed the first one and then moved to the next one and stuck a level on them and just continued this all the way around. I was worried that'd I'd get to the last paver and it wouldn't be level with the first one, but, to my delight, it was. Getting the ground ready is the hardest part of the entire build. Once that's ready, the rest will be much easier and go much quicker. Good luck with everything!
 

NJSwimmom

Well-known member
May 4, 2020
55
New Jersey
Hi! Just wondering if you mind sharing a bit about how you did the levelling? I am also doing the pool myself?
In my case I hired a pool contractor with a bobcat skid steer to do the ground leveling and they used a Transit to confirm the level. I had them level 6 Feet wider and 6 feet longer than the actual dimensions of the pool and it turned out to be a good size for leveling. Then after the pool was actually up, I leveled the cinderblocks myself using a water level that I made for about $10 materials at Lowe’s.
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
371
Chattanooga, TN
I leveled using a tiller, a shovel, and a 4 foot level taped to a 12 foot 2x6. I got it close, and then I found my lowest spot, dug in my paver and then leveled from paver to paver all the way around. Then I went back and finished leveling the middle. I have a 15 foot pool. When I move to a bigger hard sided permanent pool, I'll hire it out. It's a lot of work, but it can be done. Good luck.
 

crickette24

Member
May 31, 2020
6
Virginia
Follow up question: our pool is about 1/2 way filled with water now (yay!) and it seems to be bowing in a lot on the long 18 foot sides. Is this normal and to be expected? Looks a little unsafe and I’m anxious. Thank you!

In my case I hired a pool contractor with a bobcat skid steer to do the ground leveling and they used a Transit to confirm the level. I had them level 6 Feet wider and 6 feet longer than the actual dimensions of the pool and it turned out to be a good size for leveling. Then after the pool was actually up, I leveled the cinderblocks myself using a water level that I made for about $10 materials at Lowe’s.