You want to have the best above ground pool possible, and while style and shape and functionality are important, so is a proper install. Above ground pools installed properly will lead to many years of enjoyment and relaxation of your newest backyard recreation, so I have here some important points to share about getting it right the first time!
Above Ground Pools Installed by DIY or Contracted Out?
Swimming pools purchased online come without an installer, other than you! Above ground pools installed by yourself or with some helpers is a classic do it yourself (DIY) job. You can also choose to contract out the task. This is a common practice as described in purchasers’ reviews of above ground pools. One major online distributor in Canada, Discount Pool Supply, suggests that a do it yourselfer can install a basic round package in a day; two days if it is an oval shape. A comparison statement from Home Depot, a big box outlet, claims that their pool package is a “quick assembly”. If you buy a package from a local pool shop, then you may have the option of paying for an install from the dealer. The success of above ground pools installed by a do-it-yourselfer really depends on the DIYer’s abilities.
Alongside this text you can see an example of a smaller pool, the Intex 15 x 33 Prism Frame. Intex promises ‘easy assembly’ for this above ground pool model. I went to the site and read the purchaser comments; if people are going to complain, you will read it in the comments section. No complaints about assembly; about two hours, easy, and not a problem was the feedback, so Intex’s claim of easy assembly seems to be true. Let’s try another, more sophisticated model.
The Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame Pool still has soft sides, but is significantly larger than the previous example. This unit ships with a DVD and promise that you will be “Ready for water in 60 minutes, follow the instructional DVD for easy set up, and enjoy the fun! “. Hey, if I could do an above ground pool installed in an hour, I’d be a happy camper!
How Complete Are the Instructions?
I find it of note that the more you spend on a pool, the more the manufacturer emphasizes the ease of above ground pools install will be! The Blue Wave Belize looks like a pretty nice pool alright, and Blue Wave spends a couple of paragraphs on how they have prepared a package with complete instructions to support their customer. A DVD is not provided with this unit however and an instruction booklet is the alternative. The reviews on the installation of this pool were mixed, however most seemed to comment on how the process was challenging.
In summary, it is obvious that above ground pool prices are related to sophistication of installation. The more sophisticated the important it may be to consider help to install it. A big part of underlying issues seems related to preparing the groundwork. The success of the larger pools stems from a good foundation. Above ground pools installed even with a comprehensive set of instructions can be a chore if you don’t start right.
Prepare the Ground !
Remember, you are installing an on ground pool, and so that means that preparation of the ground is key. Water weighs a lot; 5 pounds per gallon, and if you putting up a 15 foot diameter pool, which is one of the smallest dimensions amongst the above ground pools considered above, the weight on the ground surface will be approximately 4000 gallons x 5 pounds per gallon equals 20, 000 pounds! Above ground pools installed properly will begin with some work on the supporting ground. It should be levelled, sanded and tamped down to minimize sagging under the weight of the water.
There should be three inches of sand with sides raised against the pool wall. This raised sand is called the cove and should extend to seven inches in total. Without a cove, your pool is at risk of blowing out the bottoms of the interior liner.
You can also purchase a ground liner which will help minimize any ground imperfections that may penetrate the pool liner. Here are some ground liners that are highly rated on Amazon. Click the picture for details.
Some years ago we installed a hot tub in our backyard. It is a big tub and holds 1600 gallons, so water weight is 8,000 pounds. Add the weight of the hottub which I am guessing is 400 pounds or so, and you have not quite half the weight of the 15 foot diameter pool mentioned above. It is a lot of work to prepare a hottub site. You cut the grass sod out and level the dirt very carefully. We put in gravel and tamped it tightly and then laid down timbers to serve as the main supports for the hottub. I have noticed over the last couple of years the hottub has developed a slope of approximately one inch toward my house.
I share this because preparing the site for an above ground pool is even more important than for the hottub. The fact is that the above ground pool is a larger structure of much more weight. There is much more water to deal with if there is a leak or major structural failure. An above ground pool installed slanting toward your house could lead to disaster in your basement. In the event of a breach you want those 20,000 gallons of water sloping away from your house!
Site Location for Solar
If you are going to use a solar pool heater, you would like to have as much sun as possible on the heating unit. That may be close by the pool or perhaps 20 feet away on the top of a shed. Exposing the pool to as much direct sunlight will result in maximum heating effect upon the water. Full exposure to sun will help warm your pool and keep your utility electric bill down! Above ground pools installed in the path of direct sunlight for maximum sun will pay off in dollars!
Above ground pools installed without the supporting components are not ready to use. It does not stop with the structure itself. There are pool liners, pool covers, pool heaters, a pool vacuum, a pool pump, pool lights, and of course pool decking should you require it. There is a lot to installing an above ground pool. it is easier on the pocket book than an inground pool, but requires more planning and effort.