24 ft Round Pool Install

by Jonathan
(Mountain Grove, MO)

I have searched YouTube and Google for information about installing above ground pools and I am getting mixed information about the proper way to install.

I purchased a 24ft Heritage Pool from Wal-Mart (yeah, I know they suck) and have been getting everything ready to install it. I am planning on building a deck off the back of my house to join into the pool.

My backyard is pretty un-level and drops about three feet over a 24 foot run. I didn't want to build a two tiered deck to connect to the pool, so I decided to basically dig a couple of feet down so that my pool could connect to my deck at an even level.

I probably made a mistake by doing this, but the damage is done. On the lowest elevation part of the pool it is only in the ground about 12 inches. However, the other part is buried about 3 feet. I have read different people online saying you can backfill if you use a special mix (3 part sand 1 part cement) blah, blah, blah.

Other people say that the pool wall could collapse if you backfill. Others say that the wall will not collapse, but will rust. My question to you is, since I basically have a huge hole in my yard and can't really go back and install it differently, what are my options of backfilling? Or should I not back fill and just basically have a two foot gap of space around my entire pool. I could send photos of this mess if you think it could help.

Thanks, Jonathan



Hi Jonathan. I would take a cheap steel wall above ground pool over a soft sided pool any day. It just means you will be considering upgrades on your filter, ladder and liner. But that can all be done over time, you have everything you need to get started. You would be amazed at what you can find in the way of pool equipment on Craigs List, for next to nothing.

The only other thing about your pool is that it will rust faster than some of the more expensive models. I would buy a couple of gallons of roofing tar and paint the outside of the wall before you backfill around it.

Never use sand to backfill with, it would take lots of concrete mixed in before it would ever set up solid. A proper slurry mixture uses an insulation material like Vermiculite, concrete and water. This works fine but is very expensive. I would use dirt with just a couple of precautions. Tar the pool and keep the water level above the level of the dirt. I would also get the pool full and watch it closely for a week or so. Make sure the liner is not leaking and that you are able to clean it without putting holes in it, meaning keep the vacuum away from the cove area of the pool. It will take the dirt about a year to set up around the pool before it is safe to drain it, so be sure everything is the way it should be before you backfill.

Be sure to leave yourself plenty of room to work around the outside of your pool as you are constructing it. There is nothing worse than trying to put a 24' pool in a 24' hole. I require all my customers to allow me three feet around the pool if they choose to do any digging.

I have put several hundred pools in the ground with very few problems. The problems I have seen have been from people sinking the pool to deep and having dirt above the water level, or draining the pool and letting it sit empty. Once the ground is set draining for a liner change is no problem. Drain, change and re-fill. It's when the pool sits empty, and a good rain comes along, that the dirt will give in and the pool will collapse. I have had the pleasure of digging out pools after this has happened. A couple of days later the hole is re-dug, the pool wall hammered out flat again, and everything re-installed back to the way it ways. It's a very expensive process.

The liner that comes with you pool is not the best but it should easily last four years or more. This gives the dirt around the outside of the pool plenty of time to set up firm. When you remove the liner closely examine the pool walls, sand and paint any rusted areas. With proper care you could easily get fifteen years or more use out of the pool. Since you know it's going to rust, stay one step ahead of it and don't let it happen.

The dirt around your pool, in my opinion, makes the pool stronger. I would go ahead with your plans and I would love to see photos as you progress.

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