Pool Base Options

by Pamala
(Shawnee, Oklahoma)

Is there anything besides sand I can put on the bottom of the pool? Styrofoam is to expensive and I can't get masonry sand. I have sand but it is fill sand, which is full of rocks and shells.

I thought of using the sand and using an alternative base to keep the rocks and shells from puncturing the liner. Any suggestions?



Hi Pamala. You could go with a thin layer of sand. Smooth it out, wet it down and pack it down good. Over top of that you could use carpet foam, carpet felt, indoor/outdoor carpet, something along those lines that can be found in the remnants, cutoffs or discount racks of carpet stores.

Several bags of an insulation called Vermiculite also makes a nice inexpensive base. It is very soft and can be used over top of the sand, right out of the bag.

I have seen people use several layers of thick black plastic over the sand, this helps a little but I would want something thicker myself.

The commercial foam pads for pools might work but they are thin and somewhat expensive. You would have to do a good job of packing and tossing out the larger rocks in the sand.

I have seen peat moss used, but you spend so much time picking out the twigs, it is not a good choice in my opinion.

Those are a few ideas I have tried in the past, hope it helps.

Comments for Pool Base Options

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Jul 31, 2017
Triple screened peat moss
by: Anonymous

We use only peat moss. It's tripled screened meaning no twigs
It's more expensive then sand but a lot less laborious.

Bottom remains soft

Not sure if it's somewhere local that does the triple screening or not but it's available around here

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Installing 18 ft. Round With No Sand

by Daniel
(Burgin, KY)

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question! I am a beginner pool installer, and I have been doing all the work myself.

Up to this point, I have tilled up the sod and removed it. I started from the lowest point and began to level using a shovel and a board (and level) with a length of the radius + 6 inches.

I don't have a transit, so I am a little worried about getting it all level. Next, I am going to spray the ground, once leveled, with weed killer/preventive and ant killer. Beyond this, I have purchased a Gorilla pad base, wall foam, and pool cove.

My question is: will the Gorilla pad be enough padding beneath the liner? My fence won't allow me to bring in any sand (unless I bring it in one wheelbarrow at a time!). Is it necessary to have sand above the Gorilla pad?

I guess, I am asking, do I need to just breakdown and remove part of the fence to bring in sand or another type of barrier to put above the Gorilla pad? Or, am I going to be okay without it?



Hi Daniel. Gorilla pad, as well as all the other pool pads on the market are thin. What ever the ground looks like under the pad is what your liner will look like once the pad and been flattened by the weight of the water.

It is not usually possible to smooth dirt out enough to get by with just a pad over it. I would use enough sand to smooth the area out.

Practically all of the pools I built, thousands of them, had the sand delivered to the driveway. From there we moved it to the backyard one wheel barrow at a time.

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No Sand Bottom

by Tim
(somers point NJ)

I have a 24ft pool and I don't want to use sand on bottom. Could I use a pad and sand on walls to make cove? The ground is level.



Hi Tim. You have many options for you above ground pool base. If you are just going to use a pool pad you may also want to use the preformed pool cove, it's a nice combination.

Above Ground Pool Preformed Pool Cove

When just using a pool pad be sure the ground under the pad is smooth. They work great on concrete. That's about as smooth as your ground should be before laying the pad down. The pad compresses and once the weight of the water is on it, every little bump, or rock, will show through the liner. These lumps and bumps will be felt by your feet and by your pool cleaner.

An option that might be better for you is using 4 x 8 sheets of Styrofoam. The foam can be from 1/2" up to 2", whatever you can get a good buy on. The foam sheets do a much better job of hiding ground imperfections and feel great on the feet.

Here are some good pages about pool bases.

Gorilla Pad, Happy Bottom and Foam

Foam Under Vinyl Liner

Styrofoam For Above Ground Pool

The Best Above Ground Pool Base

Base For Above Ground Pool

Foam Pool Base

Pool Floor Pads

Pool Underlay

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