Noobie with a starter pool

swtaspie

Active member
Jul 10, 2012
27
NE Ohio
Hi glad I found this site. Wish I would have sooner so I could read more before the pool goes up.

The pool just came in the mail yesterday and the kids are agar to get it going. We are leasing our home with a purchase option (not mine YET!) and we have a small lot, so this was the best option. It is a little over city limits and will need a fence but I have ideas on working that out. I plan on only fencing the pool.

Our home is 7 years old and was not properly landscaped. The yard was 1/2 ***ed done. 7 years later I still find rocks surfacing. The lawn is very bumpy and lumpy and their is not nearly enough dirt in our lot. (ie: the stray cats can crawl under the patio slab :shock:)

Any tips you have for leveling or fencing would be great! Oh anything else I need to know before this sucker goes up? :party:
 

techguy

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2010
2,697
Antelope, CA
The number one tip is to find the lowest point in your desired pool area and dig down level with that spot. A cut and fill leveling will likely sink on the fill side. I had a tractor guy do mine. I have very hard clay and some rocks and it took him less than 3 hours to get me laser level. I made a drainage trench in previous landscape renovations and it took me at least 40 hours with a pick axe and shovel to made a shovel wide and deep trench 40 feet long. That tractor money was the best I ever spent.
 

swtaspie

Active member
Jul 10, 2012
27
NE Ohio
@techguy thank you for the tip! I will be going to get the long 2x4 board to find out how unlevel I am. I'm going to try to scrap the top layer off and maybe drop in about an inch or two below the rest.
 

techguy

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2010
2,697
Antelope, CA
Most recommend a 2x6 on edge as opposed to a 2x4 on edge, the 2x4 will bow and deflect and make for low spots. Some people have good luck with sod cutters. They can remove grass and another couple inches of dirt. When you get close, less than 1/2 inch or so, you can add a compact-able sand and level it using the 2x6. Some use different foam products under their pool to make for a softer floor. if the sand will no compact, it will move too much under the pool. Some use screenings from quarries, I called my local rock yard and asked for my choices with compactable sands and gravels. I choose a finer sand without rocks. Every region will have different options based on what rocks are common locally.

I don't. I had my dirt leveled, I added some sand and the foam coves (not needed with an Intex), a 1/4 inch liner pad and the liner to my pool. It is hard, but softer than a gunnite pool.
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
I just wanted to clarify that you'll be scraping off dirt, and NOT putting it onto the lower side to level it up. Right?

If not, if you're thinking of using the scrapings to raise the low side, don't. You want to dig down to the lowest point and level it from there as a base. If you put dirt on the low side trying to build it up, once the water gets on top of it, it'll compress and make your pool lean. No building up, always dig down.
 

Flawed

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2012
115
frogabog said:
No building up, always dig down.
^^^ +1 for that!

I live on rock too. I *wish* I had taken the time to laydown the foam backing boards. Just the el cheapo stuff from home depot. But, this is my first pool, so I went smallish and am just learning as I go along. Next year I'm dropping down a big pool.

Good luck! (you've come to the right place, these people know their stuff)
 

swtaspie

Active member
Jul 10, 2012
27
NE Ohio
techguy said:
Most recommend a 2x6 on edge as opposed to a 2x4 on edge, the 2x4 will bow and deflect and make for low spots.
The 2x4 was just to get a visual of where a level spot was and to swing around to spray paint the circle to dig. :)

I'm undecided on using anything under the legs (lol is that what they are called) I have some of those $1 patio pavers that I never used, if I need them. Would those need to be level with the dirt?

techguy said:
Some people have good luck with sod cutters. They can remove grass and another couple inches of dirt.
I did consider it! :rant: but hubby is seeing $$$ signs. We do not have a truck to rent one and he don't want to spend much more on this kiddy pool project I insisted would be cheap & easy! :mrgreen:

frogabog said:
I just wanted to clarify that you'll be scraping off dirt, and NOT putting it onto the lower side to level it up. Right?
Right, right! We are digging down. Much more down that I had planned!

Flawed said:
I live on rock too. I *wish* I had taken the time to lay down the foam backing boards.
Foam Boards? I've seen that term here. What exactly are they using? I did not see anything in the pool area at Home Depot or Lowes.


Flawed said:
Good luck! (you've come to the right place, these people know their stuff)
I'm excited I found it. This place is great!
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
You can use wood for the footings. We used cedar fence boards cut up. They are on year three, doing great. A whole two boards worth.

And, every thing has to be level. Level, level, level... be OCD about it.
 

Flawed

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2012
115
My pool was about 3" off kilter after I got it up and filled. Nothing disastrous, we run the pool short anyway, so my five year old can touch bottom. I used scrap 1x4 flooring for the "under foot" supports. Used a car jack to jack the poles up level. wouldn't of done that if I had started *level*. I'm attaching pics of the type of "pink foam board". Its not in the pool section. Its for insulating walls. There's a post around here somewhere about laying em out, taping, and cutting them circular for underlayment.
 

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supertune

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2011
447
Clearwater, FL.
Hi swtaspie and welcome to TFP! :)
I had a 16' foot intex for my first pool and didn't realize how much weight was on the legs and with the Florida sand my legs sank, so took it back down after the 1 season and used pavers under the legs and was WAY better!
Only thing is I didn't know crappp about keeping up the pool water and was a circus with the pool store!
Please for your own sake read this Pool School link here:
pool-school/

Also read this about testing your own water and get a kit, most of us use the TF-100, but if your on a hubby budget :whip: get the K-2006 kit.
pool-school/pool_test_kit_comparison

I know it will be overwhelming at first, but we can help you learn!
Go here and read this also:
what-we-need-to-know-to-answer-your-questions-t10341.html

Thanks to Trouble Free Pool I have the nicest pool in my neighborhood and my pool water is always perfect and screaming at us to come swimming every minute of the day! :party:

By the way I did get rid of my pool!
(my intention after the 1st year not knowing about TFP)
But for the right reason: To go Bigger!

Chuck
 

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swtaspie

Active member
Jul 10, 2012
27
NE Ohio
Well my pool is up. Leveling a rocky, clay yard, full of sun is a *****, 'Nuff Said!

Being a chic and digging the whole with my kid I called it quits after 3 full days of digging and scraping. I gave up on it and began scooping clay up, putting it in the low spots.

I know, I know. I had my opinionated mother breathing down my neck. It don't matter... its just going to be there a few weeks... its not a big pool... you don't have any other options. blah blah blah. Agar to get her home and my pool up I caved! There I said it!

Anyway, I knew when I put it up I was unlevel and I tried to compensated the uneven areas by building up, soaking it, and compacting it as much as we could. I edged the slant in my lawn (nothing I could do about the slant without MAJOR amounts of dirt, $$$, and no truck access) with bricks added sand and was over generous with the low area.

While the pool was filling up, I worked on spreading the wrinkles outwards and positioned and re-positioned the legs where I needed them, the entire time. The uprights kept wanting to shift as it filled up. All of the upright legs are straight for the most part and we have not shifted anymore.

With the water to the recommended fill depth I'm unlevel approx. 1 1/4" - 1 1/2" We did swim in it and the kids got a little rough in there today. I did have a slight wobbliness to it but I'm pretty sure that is from the size & type of pool it is, considering I'm able to slightly re-position the legs with it full of water. (Trust me I'm not super woman.) None of these seems major and I did not feel unsafe but I did remind the kids to limit the rough play to the dry land. (My kids can destroy anything if you let them!)

Thank you all for your help and guidance. :)

I've now started working on a cheapy diy fence to keep the stray cats and kids out. I'm right on the board for needing a fence in my city. I could do without but I know its enough to drowned in. Having kids myself I'm going to try and prevent any accidents.

On a side note: I'm pretty sure I will have the city inspector showing up soon. The old folks that live on the street behind me have been gathering at their fences to point and talk among themselves, pointing and looking at my dirt circle and now my pool. It was a grey area in the city laws. The law has not been updated since the 1970's (before I was born!) Temporary kiddy pools are exempt from permits. All though it has a mature 'real' pool look to it, I still say its temporary kiddy pool! After all my 3yr old is able to touch the bottom, adults and older kids do not have room to "swim," and it will come down before Fall starts. And the fence part will be connected to the pool and not the land so I did not get a permit for that either. I don't know. Hope all is well! I just hope the old folks don't start a battle they can not finish. I'm a good neighbor but if we want to nit-pick I will complain about things not up to code in their lots and win the war!! *Evil Grin*
 

Flawed

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2012
115
:party: pics - or it didnt happen.... just saying...


hahah - glad you got done, I can sympathize on the clay soil thing.
I got *lucky*, Mom didn't have a clue...
swtaspie said:
Temporary kiddy pools are exempt from permits.
I think that's gonna be the tipping point. :"define temporary", "define kiddy pool" - that's where I would start.

again, congrats on the set up!
 

swtaspie

Active member
Jul 10, 2012
27
NE Ohio
Flawed said:
:party: pics - or it didnt happen.... just saying...
^ LOL

I'll take better ones today but here is what I have in my phone:

This is the crappy yard (not ready for the pool yet)



Fill'er up



Sorry it was dark. It was almost done filling up.



All Done, well sort of... (it's messy still but the pool is up and filled!)
 

Flawed

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2012
115
<<<<<< Smartest move I ever made for my pool. TF100 a close second.... Just saying..



shooooottt... that's *level* enough, splash away!!
sahweeeeet lookin set up!! :whoot:
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
I think your pool looks lovely! Congrats on a very nice job.

Intex pools... I am pretty sure fall into the temporary category. A lot of people have them, and haven't been bugged about fences. Good luck on that one though.
 

swtaspie

Active member
Jul 10, 2012
27
NE Ohio
Thank you all for walking me through it all.

I'd change/tweak a few minor things the next time I need to refill it. Hopefully not until next Spring/Summer! Defiantly need to make things look better before my neighbors really start hating the pool!

Any suggestions? Getting something to protect the edges will be a must all the way around. I live in a wind tunnel and I've already notices things trying to get under the bottom edge.

Oh, has anyone paneled one of these in? Like the wood ones but more of a mod. I have a vision of my 12 year old mowing the lawn and a rock blowing the side of the pool out. *knock on wood!*
 

techguy

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2010
2,697
Antelope, CA
I guess for quick and easy, get some plastic bender board and make a ring about the pool about 12-18 inches away from the edge, Fill the area between the bender board and pool with large tanbark or rock.

I know I can get wood chips for free from the local utility company from their tree trimming department. You call up and they deliver them to your driveway/street. The challenges are you don't always know when they are going to deliver, you have no control over what wood is in the mix and they only deliver full loads, several cubic yards normally... but it is free.

OK... so they changed. I went looking for the details and now you bring your truck to their place and scoop your own.
 

supertune

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2011
447
Clearwater, FL.
Hi again swtaspie,
Have you tested your pool water yet? :roll:
Better get on that, or your going to be crying the greens. (blues) :cry:
I don't wish for you to have to deal with trying to clean up a swampy pool so close to end of swim time next 2-3 months. :(

Chuck