Pool Walls Buckling

by J
(Ohio)

We are installing a 27' above ground pool. We followed all instructions perfectly. When we started filling the pool, the walls started buckling in. We stopped filling the pool and called the store we purchased it from. They told us that it needs to be a warm, sunny day to stretch the liner. Is this correct? Will the walls straighten out when it becomes warm and sunny?



Hi J. It is very important that liners be installed on a sunny day. That could have been the reason your walls buckled. When the water is out of the pool you should be able to straighten the wall. Do this before you try installing the liner again.

Another cause of wall buckling is if the bottom rail is higher in the center than at the post connectors. I would go around and check all of the bottom rails before refilling.

This is a situation where I could be of a lot more help if I just had a photo to work with.

If it gives you any more trouble use my contact form and I will get right back with you.

Comments for Pool Walls Buckling

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Jun 03, 2014
buckling wall
by: Dave

I have an above ground pool. After closing last fall, noticed the pool was leaking. There was no way to repair it. Through the winter water at the bottom froze solid. When all finally melted, the walls near the bottom had buckled out. Should the wall be taken down and flattened back into alignment or something else? How should this be repaired? Bottom four bolts that unites the two ends of the pool wall have pulled through. Liner definitely needs replacement.

Hi Yes, I think I would take the wall down and try to flatten it out. The wall bolts can be reinforced by adding extra bolts.

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Pool Walls Buckled

by Todd
(Cleveland, Ohio)

My above ground side walls buckled (really bad by the skimmer) from the amount of ice and snow melting.

Is something like that repairable or is a new wall and liner required?



Hi Todd. Most of the time this can be repaired. You would need to drain the water level down to just below the buckle. The liner needs to be unhooked at the top, meaning a few of the top rails will have to come off.

With someone holding the liner back, enough to allow room to work, you should be able to flatten the wall using a wood block and a hammer. It is also possible to reinforce the wall by taping a flat piece of steel or aluminum to the inside.

If the liner has any holes in it they can usually be patched. The only time the liner would need replaced is if it has shrunk and there is not enough to pull back up and over the wall.

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Pool Wall Buckled - Safe?

by Eric Walker
(Florence MA)

I have read a number of posts here about the phenomenon of an above ground pool wall buckling and I think I understand what needs to be done to correct it. My question is whether it represents a dangerous situation that could cause the pool structure to fail?

Our pool has buckled along the bottom and over this winter it extended a number of feet along one side of the pool. I am just concerned to know if we have an immediate safety issue or if we could address this at the end of the season?

Kind thanks!



Hi Eric. Wall buckling itself is not so much a safety issue as the cause of the buckling. Leveling issues of one type or another are the usual causes for wall buckling. Leveling issues could cause problems if not dealt with.

The big thing is to keep a close eye on it. If it changes, progresses or gets worse in any way I would take the time to fix it. If the pool is otherwise stable, it could stay that way, without harm, indefinitely.

There are a few issues you really do not want to see occurring. You should not see any gaps under the bottom rails that could allow the pool cove to leak out. You should not see evidence, on the inside of the pool, of the cove being damaged to any extend. If the crease is bad enough that the wall is torn in any way I would fix it. Sometime the wall pulls out from under the top rails and the metal retaining rods could start coming off. This could be a problem if they come off and puncture the liner. If every rainstorm causing settling in the pool structure that effects this area I would be very concerned.

Keep a close eye on it and use your best judgment.

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Pool Wall Bulged

by Gary
(Smithfield,RI)

My 21' steel wall above ground pool's wall has bulged out and blew out the liner due to ice in the pool. The bulge is out about 1", about 1" from bottom edge in a U shape around the whole pool.

Which would be better to do, just put in a new liner, try to flatten out the bulge all around the pool or simply invert the wall leaving the weak portion at the top where there is less pressure?



Hi Gary. You do not want to invert the sidewall, this puts the skimmer area at the bottom and that's not a good idea.

I would hammer the wall flat and reinforce the inside with some aluminum, or steel, flashing. Some 12" or 16" wide coil stock, like can be bought at most hardware stores can be used. If you insert it into the bottom track inside the pool wall it will stay in place pretty well. The top edge can then be Duct taped to cover any sharp edges.

This method of wall repair also works well for rust damage.

bottom of pool wall damaged
Pool wall damage like this can be fixed, it just takes a little time and patience. In a worst case scenario the wall could be completely removed, laid out on concrete, and hammered flat. It could then be re-installed and be good as new. Well, almost good as new. You may need to sand and paint to prevent rust in the future. You may also need to reinforce the inside with flashing. But using good judgement you can expect many more years out of your pool.

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Above Ground Pool Wall Dented Below Skimmer

by Jill
(Worcester Ma)

My pool wall is dented right below the skimmer. Just enough where the skimmer will not go on properly without leaking. I just had a new liner put in and it was banged out then but came back just a few weeks later.

We tried sealing it with silicone but its still leaking. What can I do to stop the leaking? Thanks



Hi Jill. These two pages might help some.

Above Ground Pool Skimmer Installation

Skimmer Leaking

Here are a few more ideas if the wall is causing the leaks and nothing you do will stop them. The water could be drained down about half way and the skimmer removed. The wall could be flattened out again and a couple of pieces of sheet metal could be taped to the inside of the wall on each side of the skimmer opening. These metal reinforcements might give the wall some added strength so that is would not bend again.

When we encounter skimmer problems like this when we are doing a liner change we cut a new skimmer opening in a good section of wall and simply patch over the old opening. This is probably not something you want to do now since you just replaced the liner, but could be an option for in the future.

One thing that would work for sure, and save your liner, is to replace the wall section with a piece of stainless steel flat stock. You would need to use tin snips and cut out the entire skimmer opening area, just big enough to clear the faceplate and big enough to remove the damaged area. The new material could be riveted into place from the inside of the pool. The rivets and all the metal edges should be taped over with duct tape. With the new metal in place you would need to pull the liner back up and carefully mark the skimmer opening and all the screw holes. These will need to be drilled out and the opening cut out. Be sure to pound everything flat and smooth.

Silicone might be the easiest option and probably the first thing you might try. While most people use the silicone around the outside of the skimmer there is a better way. If you go to the inside of the pool and coat the entire area where the faceplate, liner, wall and skimmer come together, this usually works. If your skimmer faceplate has a lip on it, protruding back in to the skimmer, this can still be done. The silicone would just need to be worked back into the small space.

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