Tips and Tricks to keeping our water clear and our pool in great shape!


New member
May 12, 2020
Hello all!

I appreciate your input on helping us maintain our 12' Bestway above ground pool with filter pump maintained all Summer long!

This is our FIRST experience with pools of any kind and I'm not naïve enough to think we fill it with a hose and call it a day.. I want to maintain it well and do it RIGHT! Do you recommend a test kit and what kind? What kind of cover would you recommend? We are putting it on a relatively flat brick paver patio, but would like to put something underneath it. Ive read a lot about all different kinds of foam mats. What are some things I should consider? Does it need to be a certain thickness? Does it need to be mildew resistant?

Thank you all SO MUCH for helping us get started!


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 14, 2013
south east Arizona
welcome to TFP! :handwave:
I suggest you read Pool School - Trouble Free Pool
lots use foam boards or those puzzle mats (triple taped), but they aren't needed to enjoy a pool, they are mostly aesthetic - softer bottom with some protection from rocks and such
solar cover (the kind like bubble wrap) will help the most with keeping temps warmer, get a cheaper one, they all fall apart in a year or two
biggest tip is make sure the ground is level, beware patios usually have a slight drainage slope and that will do what it is intended to do - get water off the patio, if it is more than an inch or so out of level you can have a catastrophic pool fail. water is heavy.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
Hiya Kay :wave: Welcome to TFP! I'm glad you're aware you need to do more than just fill and go play. Water needs sanitation and chlorine is the best one. You can use basic liquid "shock" from a pool store which is usually 10-12% strength or simple plain unscented, non-thickened, non-Cloromax'd basic bleach from the laundry aisle of your market. Its the same as liquid "shock" but weaker in strength (like 6-8%). In Walmart's pool section they sell some great Pool Essentials 10% liquid chlorine for ~$3.75/gallon. We have a cool program called PoolMath that will tell you exactly how much to use of all the chemicals after you input some pool size and type information. The webpage version of PoolMath is found at the bottom of this page, but more convenient is the phone App version.

You also will need a bit of CYA stabilizer, which acts to "protect" the free chlorine from the sun burning it away. One just from Lowes or HD, even Wallmart should be enough.....again use PoolMath. You'll want to have about 30-40ppm of CYA in the water.

That's all you'll need immediately. Later on you may need to adjust pH or Alkalinity, but I'd wait to see before buying anything.

Most import is a good test kit- get the TF-100 for the best one on the market. It WILL save you bucks by helping you avoid putting in to your pool anything it doesn't need.

Take a look at Pool School.... you'll find lots of useful info there. Ask questions and we're happy to help too!

Maddie :flower:


Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
May 11, 2018
Delta, PA
Be sure to get the speed stirrer when you order your test kit. The results of your testing will be more accurate and consistent. I didn't order one initially, but after getting some inconsistent results from "hand swirling", I broke down and bought it and never looked back. I consider it an essential part of my test kit. It's a little extra, but worth it right from the start!