Pool Base Using Cove And Pad

by Elliot
(Suisun City CA)

I'm installing a 12' round above ground pool. I'm confused about the 1/4" foam pad the dealer gave me with the pool. He said after putting the coving on add 2" of sand. Then I would put the 1/4" foam pad under the coving. That doesn't make any sense. If I stick the coving on, then add 2" of sand, there is now way I can put the 1'4" foam under the coving.

Is 1/4" foam thick enough?

I was going to do the bottom rails, uprights etc, pool wall and stick on the coving at ground level, then add 2" of sand. Should I still use the foam on top of the sand and tape the pad to the coving? I'm really confused here. On your site I see 1" and thicker foam mentioned, but no 1/4".



Hi Elliot. I do not blame you for being confused. Maybe my thoughts about the proper base for an above ground pool will help.

The 1" or 1 1/2" foam I speak of is in place of the sand. It's just another way of doing a pool base. It really has nothing to do with your pool pad.

The 1/4" pad you have works great in a couple of situations. If a pool is being built on a concrete slab, or on a tile floor, I love using it. The pad makes the perfect pool base in these situations.

Another application might be over top of sand that has been under a pool for some time and is well packed. Re-smoothing the sand, and installing the pool pad over top of it, can lesson the harmful effects of grainy sand on a vinyl liner.

The problem with putting it over fresh sand is the footprints. The sand would have to be incredibly well packed in order to allow you to install the pad without creating a lot of footprints. You will have no way of getting these footprints out of the sand once the pad is covering them.

I install all my liners like this.

Expandable Liner Installation

Meaning, once I broom the sand smooth, I hop out of the pool. No one gets in the pool until it is full of water and the sand packed. The liner is installed from outside the pool.

If you are going to be inside the pool installing the liner, it probably does not matter if you use the pad over the sand or not, you are going to have footprints anyway. You would just need to pack that sand as best you can, and walk softly as you are installing the pad and the liner.

My thoughts about the preformed pool cove are about the same. I love the stuff when on concrete or tile. We use it all the time on our indoor display pools. Outdoors, in the real world, I think it is a waist of money. It does offer a little protection against cove wash out, but so does a firmly packed dirt cove.

My method, most of the time, is to pack in a couple of inches of dirt over the bottom rails. I then spread out the sand, giving the cove area about 6-8 inches and the base about 2 inches. I run a rake over the area and then finish it off with a push broom. Once it is smooth I hop out of the pool. I sprinkle the whole area with water and I then install the liner, from outside the pool.

If a customer has preformed pool cove, and they want me to use it, no problem. It gets installed and when the sand is spread about half of it gets covered. It's not as big of a cove as I would normally have with just sand, but it's very adequate, and I know they will never have a cove wash out. I don't recommend anyone spend this kind of money, on pool cove, when I am setting up the job over the phone. But often times it comes with the pool and I don't mind using it.

The 1/4" pool pad on the other hand, that's a different story. If the customer already has it, because it came with the pool, I give them a few options. They can send it back to the store and exchange it for chemicals, or pool inflatables, or something. They could store it for a few years, and if they ever have a problem with their liner, and a new one is needed, they may want to install the pad over the sand at that time. The last option is for me to install the pad, but under the sand.

This page shows a pool we were building for a customer who went with option number three.

Diamond Star Installation

This page is the second of a two part series showing this pool being installed. It was an internet pool with all the bells and whistles. It shows how we adapted the preformed pool cove and the pool pad to our way of installing the perfect pool.

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