What I'll never do with above ground pool

RalphD12

Silver Supporter
Apr 27, 2020
7
Columbus OH
This may just be me, I'm sure I'll have some who disagree and others who agree. But here's what I learned.
I first built my AG pool in July, 2016 and had to rebuild it in August, 2019. Because of something I learned, and never ever... NEVER IN MY LIFE WILL I EVER AGAIN build an AG pool directly on the earth. To prepare to install a very nice 24' AG pool - as a family of four we worked over a day trying to get the ground level. After all it was on a very gentle slope, not like the side of a hill or anything. We dug, and smoothed, dug and smoothed. Used a 2x6 board about 14 feet long, with a 3' level secured to the top of it to move as a radius to ensure we were level, just like the videos showed. We got it level, then moved in about 2 inches of sand over that dirt and smoothed and leveled the sand with the same device. Proceeded to build the pool and daggone it if it didn't come out about 1 to 1.5 inches out of level. That was 2016. But late summer 2018 it was over 4 inches out of level. Not good and we swam carefully that summer, slightly afraid it could bust wide open!
So after a very wet spring and early summer of 2019 we tore it down. I did the math to build a 16-sided wood frame with ground treated 2x8 wood decking boards, a diameter of 27' for the 24' foot pool. Carefully cut them and angled them to form the frame, leveled the top of each to the very 1st one that was installed securely into the ground. Checked and re-checked all way around, then struck a line with a sharpie that was 1.5 inches from the top of each board so that too would be a level line. It made it very easy for a team of 4 concrete guys to come in and pour and smooth a concrete slab right to that level line, and it took them about 90 minutes -that's all! It varies between 4 and 6 inches deep all the way around. I even had them come back later with a concrete drill, and drill me a hole on outside of the pool, to drop the main pipe for a permanent basketball pole.
So that's what we did - tore that pool down. Built a 27' concrete pad for it. And it turned out to be just about exactly 1 concrete truck full for this load, which made the price a little cheaper. I'm pretty sure I got a good deal on the concrete - it was about $3800 for the load and the work (It could be $5K in some places). I am so, so glad we decided to do this. The pool is 100% level to a millimeter. The 16 side supports are 100% level up and down. We did put down 2 pads underneath the pool to soften the bottom.
It's about 5 more days before I open the pool for 2020. So very, very excited as I know this will be 100% level, and will remain level for the next 30+ years. So - if you're thinking about building an above ground pool - go for it! But if you're spending more than $1500 for a nice one I'd protect and take the stress out of my investment and put it on level concrete. As mentioned, I never in my life would build an above ground pool directly on the earth.
 
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nettelec

Member
Jul 12, 2011
13
NW Iowa
Before I put up my hard sided pool I had put up two different soft sided pools. I thought both times, it would have been way easier to pour a level concrete pad than to level the sand. It is a difficult task to not only get the sand level, but then to also level each block that goes under the legs, and to make sure you have the blocks in the correct spot. I 100% agree with you, pour a concrete pad and save yourself the headache.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,510
NY
Hands down its the smart way to do it if you know you are going to be long term ABG owners. Heck if you got sick of the pool 20 years later you could paint and repurpose the slab as a patio, basketball court etc.
 

QueenP

Active member
Jun 9, 2016
29
Basehor, KS
This may just be me, I'm sure I'll have some who disagree and others who agree. But here's what I learned.
I first built my AG pool in July, 2016 and had to rebuild it in August, 2019. Because of something I learned, and never ever... NEVER IN MY LIFE WILL I EVER AGAIN build an AG pool directly on the earth. To prepare to install a very nice 24' AG pool - as a family of four we worked over a day trying to get the ground level. After all it was on a very gentle slope, not like the side of a hill or anything. We dug, and smoothed, dug and smoothed. Used a 2x6 board about 14 feet long, with a 3' level secured to the top of it to move as a radius to ensure we were level, just like the videos showed. We got it level, then moved in about 2 inches of sand over that dirt and smoothed and leveled the sand with the same device. Proceeded to build the pool and daggone it if it didn't come out about 1 to 1.5 inches out of level. That was 2016. But late summer 2018 it was over 4 inches out of level. Not good and we swam carefully that summer, slightly afraid it could bust wide open!
So after a very wet spring and early summer of 2019 we tore it down. I did the math to build a 16-sided wood frame with ground treated 2x8 wood decking boards, a diameter of 27' for the 24' foot pool. Carefully cut them and angled them to form the frame, leveled the top of each to the very 1st one that was installed securely into the ground. Checked and re-checked all way around, then struck a line with a sharpie that was 1.5 inches from the top of each board so that too would be a level line. It made it very easy for a team of 4 concrete guys to come in and pour and smooth a concrete slab right to that level line, and it took them about 90 minutes -that's all! It varies between 4 and 6 inches deep all the way around. I even had them come back later with a concrete drill, and drill me a hole on outside of the pool, to drop the main pipe for a permanent basketball pole.
So that's what we did - tore that pool down. Built a 27' concrete pad for it. And it turned out to be just about exactly 1 concrete truck full for this load, which made the price a little cheaper. I'm pretty sure I got a good deal on the concrete - it was about $3800 for the load and the work (It could be $5K in some places). I am so, so glad we decided to do this. The pool is 100% level to a millimeter. The 16 side supports are 100% level up and down. We did put down 2 pads underneath the pool to soften the bottom.
It's about 5 more days before I open the pool for 2020. So very, very excited as I know this will be 100% level, and will remain level for the next 30+ years. So - if you're thinking about building an above ground pool - go for it! But if you're spending more than $1500 for a nice one I'd protect and take the stress out of my investment and put it on level concrete. As mentioned, I never in my life would build an above ground pool directly on the earth.
Question for you...the first time (in 2016), did you till up the land prior to leveling?
 

RalphD12

Silver Supporter
Apr 27, 2020
7
Columbus OH
Yep, we leveled the earth to what we thought was less than an inch as described in the original post. Then added sand which I figured needed to be leveled as well. And yep - the legs and uprights were installed on pavers all the way around.