Pool Kit - Seeking Advice


Bronze Supporter
Aug 22, 2018
Hi Everyone,

We purchased an 18x44 in-ground steel wall pool kit. As of today, I have a 22x48 hole (no hopper yet) that is anywhere between 36" to 42" deep. Next, I am planning to do the following:
  1. Use a skid steer and laser level to attempt to level the bottom of the hole as much as possible
  2. Use #57 stone to create a surface for the steel panels
  3. Set the panels but leave a section off to allow access for a mini excavator
  4. Dig hopper using mini-excavator
  5. Complete installation of panels
  6. Poor concrete collar
  7. Apply vermiculite mix
  8. Bonding and plumbing
  9. Backfill the remaining trench around the pool
  10. Install coping/liner
  11. Complete deck

I would be grateful for anyone that could provide advice on the order of the steps above and the following questions:

Is the use of crushed stone to help with the leveling of the panels a bad idea? I live in Mississippi and the ground is moist all year long, as a result, it's impossible to get a smooth surface using heavy machinery as the dirt creates clumps of clay that pretty much stick to anything it comes in contact with.

Digging the deep end with most of the panels in place seems risky, is it common practice outside of YouTube?

Thank you!
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TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
Morris Cnty NJ
That's the hard way. Use the big excavator to sit in shallow end and dig half the pool. Leave the slopes of hopper to dig from the sides and back if machine isnt big enough to reach. You can use teeth to scratch down into hopper floor amd pull it from there amd build that back flat with clean stone. I concrete pour the hopper floors amd equip pad at time of collar. Then back your way out leveling off the shallow end. I always add clean stone to the whole pool floor and use it for base under panels if clay soils. I only bring a mini inside the pool for after rains clean up or heavy clay that's too much to hand dig. It's slow going with a mini to dig amd reach over walls to empty bucket you make a mess of the over dig unless you have a loader waiting to catch spoils. That's a big pool to do that with.