Digging a Deep End

by Danielle
(Virginia)

I have several questions. In 2005, we had a 24' Doughboy Mystic Garden above ground pool installed. The walls are 4 foot tall. At that time we choose not make a deep section. Well, the kids have gotten older and we need it deeper. I do not have the money to call the installer back to make this pool deeper. (He wants $1200.00 just for labor) I was wondering if you knew of any books or web sites that would be helpful to us?

Second, we have a sand bottom now, do we need to think about a padded system for the walls and floor?

And last but not least, do you have any keys on setting the new liner? I've been told we can not make the pool more than 6 ft deep from top of the pool wall to the deepest part of the center. Is that true?

We are pretty good "handymen" and we really think we can do this! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!

Nick and Danielle



Hi Nick and Danielle. Everything you need should be on this site. Let's see what we can do to help you.

For starters you will find some general liner changing tips on the Vinyl Liner Replacement page. The installation process is pretty well illustrated on these two pages.

Expandable Liner Installation

Above Ground Pool Liner Installation

If you want half your pool deep and the rest shallow this is what it would look like.

above ground pool deep end


The slopes at the end are fairly steep while the one going into the shallow section is more gradual. The other option is to have a deep center in which it would all look like the deep section in the photo. You would leave about a one and a half foot ledge and start sloping towards the center.

The slope will be determined by the depth of the hole and the actual size of the deep area. You need enough angle to be able to pack sand on so do not make it to steep.

Sand is the best base for a deep end. If the sand is good and damp, it will stick nicely to the slopes in the deep area. Pool pads of any type will not stay in place on the slopes and could be impossible to keep the wrinkles out of.

A doughboy expandable liner can easily expand an extra two and a half feet. Long ago three feet was the norm but somewhere over the years they decided 2 and a half feet would be better. On a hot sunny day in July the liner could easily stretch into a very large 3' deep center pool.

Plan your installation so that most of the fill time occurs when the sun is directly over the pool. It might be helpful to round up as many hoses as possible trying to get the water out of the deep area before any portion of the pool is in the shadows. Vinyl that is not in direct sunlight takes on completely different properties and could easily become the problem area for wrinkles.

The pool should be left up and assembled while you are digging the hole. The wall can be opened to allow a wheel barrow to go in and out, but leave the rest of the pool assembled. Most Doughboy pools still use the bar to close the wall. If so, spray it good on both sides with WD-40. I lock a large pair of vise grips onto the bar and start tapping the grips up with a hammer. Done carefully the bar can be removed without damage t the bar or the wall. My vice grips usually fall apart after a couple of years but the pools are never damaged. The grips will slip and pop off several times, just tighten them a little, reset and tap some more.

One last tip and I'm done, promise. Before we start digging we carefully scrape the usable sand and pile it around the outer edge and in the shallow area. More sand will still be needed to finish the job, but not nearly as much using this method.

Comments for Digging a Deep End

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Sep 11, 2010
Deep End With Existing Strapping
by: Anonymous

I have a 10 meter by 5.5 meter above ground pool. I would also like to make a 6 ft deep end but our pool has straps that go under the pool, one side to the other to hold the pool together. So if you have some great tips to make a deep section that would be great!

Next Question. I have also bought a second hand fiberglass entry steps that attach to the pool giving the pool a larger opening & in-ground pool look. Can the steps be attached easy without leaking on any brand of above ground pool?

The entry steps are roughly 1.4 meter wide therefore making the pool 1.4 meter bigger around the pool. Would I need an extra post?

I hope somebody can understand my questions. I know they are not easy ones but I sure need help??

My husband is a carpenter builder and so is very handy. I just want to help make his job easier.



Hi. This page gives an example of how to eliminate straps for digging deep ends on above ground pools.

Above Ground Pool Directions

You simply cut out the straps, add an L bracket to the underside of the buttress and install a couple of 8 x 8 x 16 inch building blocks. The pressure plates on the inside of the pool must stay in place, so your deep end cannot start until you are several inches past the pressure plates on the inside of the pool. This page talks more about deep ends on oval pools.

Oval Pool Deep Ends

As far as the entry steps go, I would not use them. I would use the type that set in the pool, but not the type that involve cutting the sidewall. These are probably OK on pools that are designed for them, but not a modification I would advise making on just any pool.

Above Ground Pool Steps

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