Oval Pool Install Issues

by Jessica

We just had a 15 x 30 oval resin/steel pool installed 2 days ago. As we were filling it, we noticed the vertical uprights were spreading as the pool filled. They did not look even, straight up and down, they were bulging out on either one side or both in some instances.

Also, we got in it for the first time tonight, and in one area I could feel the metal strap through the liner, and there are many large (6" max) indentations, or mounds around the pool. Shouldn't it be smooth or at least not as noticeable. The installer leveled and used sand, but I am extremely dissatisfied.

Hi Jessica. I would start a siphon hose going to drain the pool ASAP.

You do that by putting the garden hose in the pool and running some water through it. You then unhook the hose from the tap and it should run backwards. It helps to weight the hose down on the inside of the pool. I usually do this by sticking it under the ladder.

Anytime you feel metal under the liner you are in trouble. If you have bare metal, and deep indentations, you have a very poor installation.

One thing I would do as it is draining is to check the level. Measure down from the top rail to the water level all the way around the pool. If your installers did such a poor job with everything else the pool is probably not level. You will be in a better position if you can proof it.

You may want to request different installers to fix the mess left by the first ones.

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Oval Pool In-ground Without Supports

by Sarah
(Nashville, TN)

I'm installing an 18x33 oval above ground pool. I dug the hole and am setting it up in-ground.

There is at least a 1'2" clearance around the perimeter of the pool (which is more than enough for walking around and setting up the wall braces). However, the 4 straps that lay across the pool extend farther than that clearance to allow for the angled buttress supports that attach to the vertical wall braces.

Your instructions for sinking it in-ground said that the backfill dirt actually makes the walls stronger. So I'm wondering since backfilling with dirt makes the walls stronger, would it be possible to forgo installing the angled buttress braces. Meaning that the vertical wall braces and backfill dirt would be enough to support the weight of the water. Thank you in advance for all your help!

Thank you-Sarah

Hi Sarah. This is not something I would recommend doing. I have seen it done just once in over forty years.

The pool needs to be able to fill full of water before the dirt is backfilled. That means it needs to be built just as if it were on top of the ground. There is no way to backfill and pack the ground around the pool as it fills. The ground would not pack enough to keep the walls from leaning out, no matter how hard you tried.

The one case where I saw this done, the person had built an elaborate structure out of lumber, one on each side of the pool. This structure was built between the pool wall and the edge of the hole all along both sides of the pool. This would allow the pool to fill without the wall bowing out. The dirt was then backfilled in and around this structure. Years down the road, when the wood rotted away, the dirt would be solid enough to hold the wall in place.

oval braces in ground
This job was a real pain to install. The backhoe could not safely dig close enough to the home, so we did it with a jackhammer and shovels. It was not any fun but the pool was supposed to be a certain distance from the home and the braces had to be used.

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Side Uprights on my 16x32 Doughboy Oval

by Jayson Bastar
(Shawano, Wisconsin USA)

After setting the 4 side uprights on my 16x32 oval I noticed that they are not directly across from the four on the other side. They maybe off by 6 inches. Will this cause problems with the rest of my installation?

Hi Jayson. It could easily make a difference in the outcome of your pool. If it is not too late I would reset them.

Take a tape measure from the outside of the end brace on one side and measure to the outside of the opposite end brace on the other side. Now measure the opposite end braces.

This is called "squaring", a method used in all different kinds of construction. The two measurements need to be as close as possible.

You can use this method to find the starting point for setting the braces, once you have them all pulled up. Use the crisscross measurements to set the two outside braces, the center two will be set by the length of the bottom rails.

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Wall Lifts Out Of Bottom Track

by John
(Philadelphia, PA)

I just had my first ever pool installed by a professional company and after draining it twice the wall still lifts out of the bottom track when it is filled. It is a 15'x 30' oval swim and play pool with external support struts (not the yard saver kind).

The first two times the contractor drained my pool he replaced broken concrete blocks under the support struts. The weight of the water had cracked them and he said when they cracked it caused the uprights to lift and take the wall out of the track with them. The second time he replaced the concrete blocks with thicker block, they didn't crack, but the wall still lifted out of the bottom track.

I have no idea what should be done or if this even matters. The pool is not leaking, but something tells me that this is bad. Can you give me any guidance?

Hi John. You are right, this is a bad thing. The pool wall should not be pulling out of the bottom track.

A leveling issue is probably the cause. Every end rail connector, every brace, front and back, and all the track in between the connectors, it all needs to be perfectly level. The next time there is water in the pool measure down from the top rail to the water level all around the pool. These measurements should all be the same. Just a half inch difference form one post the next could cause the wall to come out of the track.

Another common mistake on oval pools is not making the ends round. Looking down the sides of the pool the transitions going in the round ends should all be the same. That means all four corners of the pool need to have the same angles on the top rails and the same arc on the bottom rails. Oval pool ends not set correctly could cause the wall to do funny things.

When I build an oval pool I completely assemble the pool without the liner. With the pool built and still dry I can check the ends for roundness and uniformity at the corners. I can also double check the level again making sure there are no posts sticking up higher than the others. If the pool looks perfect dry, it should look the same when the liner gets installed.

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