Base for Above Ground Pool

by Fran

I want to put a pad in the bottom of our pool this time to fight the super grass that keeps coming through our liner. Which one is better, happy bottom or gorilla pad?

Hi Fran. I prefer happy bottom over the gorilla pad. It lays smoother and is easier to work with. Be sure you have a very smooth base to work with before using the happy bottom. It is thin and when the weight of the water will compress it. If the base is uneven this will show through the happy bottom. Smooth compacted sand or concrete are the two best bases to work with.

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AGP Base Material

by Bill
(Cape May Court House ,NJ)

Hi, I have been reading about people using Styrofoam as a base for an above ground pool. There are so many types, I'm not sure which one to use.

I already purchased the foam cove base which looks like polypropylene foam which cost a arm and a leg in 4x8 sheets 1 inch thick.

Is there a special type that I can use? Seems like I can press in on the ones sold at Home Depots and it will leave an indentation.

thanks, Bill

Hi Bill. Any of the 4 x 8 sheets of foam make a nice base, it does not have to be the most expensive. The weight of the water compresses the foam so the indentations are very minimal. The base actually stays smoother than the results you would obtain with sand or other types of pool pads.

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Foam Under Vinyl Liner

by Andy

I've read and learned a lot on your website. I'm putting up a 24'x52" round AG pool. I'm planning on getting the dirt as level as possible then using an inch or so of sand to get it leveled the rest of the way, then foam on that. I'm using preformed cove, and 1/2 foam board on the walls.

In my research most people say to use 2" foam for a base. But you recommend 1 - 1 1/2". You seem to know a lot about it, so I was wondering, is there any advantage to using 2" over 1 1/2" or even 1"? Or is 2" just a waste of money?

Couple more things too. What’s the best solar cover in your experience? (I'm looking at the clear bubble 12mil one). And, what's your take on the HAYWARD/GOLDLINE AUQATROL RJ chlorine generators?

Sorry for so many questions, most places you ask you never know if you're talking to a pro or a 12 year old! I know I can trust you. THANKS!!

Hi Andy. Thanks for the kind words and I am glad you have found some useful information here. There is nothing at all wrong with using 2" foam. You will loose another 1/2" of water depth and it is more expensive. Those are basically the reasons I recommend the thinner sheets. They all do the same job and make a very nice pool base.

There are many brands and styles of covers to choose from and I have used several without noticing any major differences worth taking note of. The thicker 12 mil is good and a warranty is nice also.

I have never used a chlorine generator and have only installed a few. They are just becoming popular with mixed reviews from what I have read. Some people quit using them and go back to using a floating chlorinator and others swear by them and would never use anything else. I would have to personally know someone who is using the unit, and loves it, before I would buy it. There are a lot of models to choose from. I'm sure the time will come when I will have one on my pool, but till then I'm not much help.

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Best Base For Above Ground Pool

We are going to be installing a 21 ft above ground pool and were wondering what the best base for underneath the pool is, in your opinion. Sand or foam?

Hi. A lot has been written on this site about the best base for an above ground pool. You could probably learn a lot by reading these pages.

Pool Cove and Foam Pads

Gorilla Pad, Happy Bottom and Foam

Styrofoam For Above Ground Pool

The Best Above Ground Pool Base

Base For Above Ground Pool

Foam Pool Base

Pool Floor Pads

Pool Underlay

My preference is sand with Styrofoam coming in second. Using sand works out best for my type of installations where the sand is spread and smoothed and the liners installed from outside of the pool. Stretching liners into place, using the pools existing framework, leaves the sand nice and smooth. This puts the liners into place without wrinkles and leaves no footprints in the sand.

The foam is fine, but it is more expensive and time consuming. Plus you would need to buy the preformed pool cove also which is another expense. Either way is fine, however, if done correctly.

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Is Foam Base The Best?

by Hugh

I'm replacing my existing 24' X 48" pool with a new one. This one has been in place for over 20 years and has an existing sand base and a center bottom drain along with a regular skimmer. I'm probably going to use 1 1/2" tongue and groove foam with duct taped joints on top of the existing sand unless you can recommend something better. I'll also use the preformed cove.

Since I'll be using a 48" beaded liner will that extra rise in the floor of 1 1/2" cause me any height problems with the liner?
Is it possible to install the bottom rails directly on top of the foam with the foam extending beyond the 24' perimeter of the pool?

Thanks for all of your help.

Hi Hugh. My first choice would be to use the beaded liner with the understanding it will probably be to big on the sides and will get pulled over the wall and attached like an overlap liner. I do this a lot with beaded liners because I hate the wrinkles caused by to much vinyl on the sides of the pool. I would much prefer installing an overlap liner and not have to worry about an exact wall height.

Beaded liners are nice if you plan to deck over the pool top rails in a way that makes then non removable. Otherwise you are better off going with an overlap.

The idea of putting the pool on top of the foam is very doable. We set up indoor displays like this all the time, with the entire pool sitting on the foam and the preformed pool cove snapped into the bottom track. I have never seen this done in an outdoor setting so I'm not sure if the foam would deteriorate over time.

As a precaution you could cut out squares in the foam and insert patio blocks for each post. The foam needs to be beyond the pool by a couple of feet and this could be covered in plastic and landscape rock. Otherwise the birds might have their way with it. Let us know how it goes.

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