Please help...DEP Sand/Clean Screenings base?

Liza27a

New member
Jul 8, 2020
2
Central PA
At long last, we are nearing the point where our new-to-us pool can go up! I've spent lots of time searching and reading, but I have a few questions I can't find a suitable answer to...I'm hoping this is the place to get informed answers.

Here's the background info - Our widowed neighbor gave us her 26' round Esther Williams pool. We've taken everything down, it's in nearly perfect shape (28ish years old), and I've found the necessary pieces to replace those that were marginally unsuitable. Our backyard is sloped, more than desirable by lots, but we had things excavated and prepared to create a solid, level pad. Our original plan was to have "limestone dust" leveled on top of the ground, then compact it to make it like concrete, use a liner pad, and be set. Long story short, we've ended up with "DEP sand/clean screenings" instead, that does not need compacted (this is the sand used in sand mounds). We've got our pavers set and level (4"x 8"x 16") and are at the point of needed just a bit more "sand" to level up the track and base area.

Here's where I start to worry...can I use the DEP sand only, not mason sand, then a Gorilla Pad/Armour Shield/etc. on top of the DEP sand, then the liner? I'm not too worried about cushion effect, but I don't want it so thin that you feel bumps and anything tears the liner. My contractor (not a pool guy) who prepared the site and brought in the DEP sand assures me I'll be fine if I use the liner pad on top of the DEP sand. The sand has crusted over after rain and doesn't show footprints when you walk on it, unless you try to dig in, so I think if we level things out, spray it down with water, and let it crust over, we could place the liner pad and be okay. I can't seem to find any info about this type of sand as a suitable base. Just wanting reassurance from pool people that we're on the right track and not needing to get something different!

Lastly, is there a preference as to what brand of liner pad I should purchase (or the foam cove)? I'm planning to order both online and the choices are endless. Our liner is hopefully arriving in about a week, so I want to be prepared.

Thank you for your help!
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
2,925
Tampa, FL
Hello, I’m sorry you haven’t received any replies yet. I think your screenings layer sounds like it will work, since it appears to compact well. How deep is it?

Gorilla pads are thin, but they are tough. I have one under mine and while it doesn’t offer any padding, it does protect the liner.

I don’t have any suggestions about the foam cove. Hopefully someone else will chime in. @kimkats ?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,321
Tallahassee, FL
The Gorilla brand of pad has a good name. It is thin but tough like Kelly said.

Foam cove is foam cove. Find the best price you can and go from there. I WOULD use a foam cove as it is much easier than trying to use sand..

As for the "sand" so long as your area is flat you should be good. My sand was almost purrfect when my installer finished with it. Over time small dips and such have formed It is no big deal so it is what it is.
 

Liza27a

New member
Jul 8, 2020
2
Central PA
Thank you both for your replies! I've been a bit anxious about the base material, and most places I've called aren't too helpful because they either don't quite know what I'm talking about without seeing it - or because I'm just some gal on the phone who isn't a customer! I was hoping to hear from those in the know.

The current depth of the DEP sand is probably an average of 2-3"? One side is deeper and one is a bit slim.

At this point, I'm thinking we'll just get another load of the DEP sand to bring the base level under the track, it has settled a touch since we started and we weren't leveling to finish when we got the first load. We've since set and leveled the pavers (which are all within 1/4" - yay!) so now can see that we won't need very much. I'm considering adding another layer of something under the Gorilla Pad just for peace of mind, maybe regular landscape fabric or similar ground cover. It seems like more hassle than worth to bring in two types of sand when we don't need much!
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
2,925
Tampa, FL
Make sure you are leveling down, not filling in. Otherwise further settling can mess you up.

I use a tarp under my gorilla pad.