Underneath The Pool

by Tonya
(Pearland, TX)

Last year I put up a starter pool (15 ft round), metal tube frame. For various reasons, we went thru a summer of set-up, fill, drain, take-down, set-up, fill, drain, take-down . . .. the process went on and the water bill went up.

This year I'm investing in a higher-end, bigger pool (18 ft round Diamond Star). Last year during one of the take-down, re-setup processes (we were having a blast by the way), we built a 16' x 16' square perimeter using landscape timbers, 2 high. We then filled this with bank sand, packed it down, set up the pool and wa-lah . . no more leaning pool.

So, my new, bigger pool is ordered and will be here in about 10 days. Everything I have read says not to level with sand . . . .oh no . . . that's what I have. My question is . . . . Can I enlarge the existing perimeter frame by four feet in both directions (giving me a 20' x 20' square), fill in with more bank sand, pack with one of those machines you rent that stomps, level and be okay. In addition, last year, I had a double layer, heavy duty tarp over the sand before I put the pool up, then the blocks sat on top of that and I then put the legs on top of that. (Used the tarp to limit massive water getting into the sand and washing it away thru the landscape timpers - I also was able to put deck type boards at the corners after the pool was set up for a finished look and to set the ladders on).

With this new pool, I have to put the blocks level with the surface, so I was thinking about just putting the blocks under the tarp, level with the sand which would mean there would be tarp between blocks and bottom cuff. I've looked everywhere on the internet and my method has never been talked about, hopefully not for obvious reasons. Found your site and what a wealth of info and knew you could help. Thank you so much.



Hi Tonya. I like everything about your plan, well, just about everything. Setting the blocks level with the top of the sand should work just fine. Make sure they are all perfectly level. I would lay out the bottom rail, connect it, make it perfectly round, and then set the blocks. There is no sense setting them and then having them all in the wrong places.

The big question I have is what are you going to do about a pool cove? You might consider preformed pool cove.

Pool Cove and Foam Pads

If you are using the cove you could lay the bottom rail on top of the tarp, build the pool, install the preformed pool cove and install the liner. By doing this you have protected the bottom of your pool from washing out and causing major liner damage. That is the biggest problem with a sand base, but not if you take precautions.

Another way to go would be to lay the bottom rail and build the pool. Once the pool is up you could add a sand, or dirt, cove. The tarp would then be used over top of the cove. It would need to be trimmed so that it went up the wall about 8" or so and then taped into place. With this method you are also protecting yourself from a washout.

Once you pool is in place do something around the outside to keep all that sand in place. This can be black plastic with gravel, or bark, or something over it. It could be more sand and some patio pavers set in place around the pool. They do a great job of keeping the sand in place.

Hopefully this gave you a few ideas. Enjoy the new pool, one you do not have to take down every few weeks.

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Jun 10, 2011
Underneath the Pool cont . . .
by: Tonya

Thank you for your feedback. After that and reading lots of other posts on this web site, this is my plan.

In review, I currently have a 16 x 16 square base, 2-high landscape timbers (rebar holding in ground). Inside is bank sand, very packed down.

I'm going to enlarge the square to 21 x 21. So, I will add to the existing landscape timbers (moving the sides out. They too will be installed with rebar. Then . . . all of the existing sand I will shovel away from the interior edges about 3 feet wide. Around the entire border of the walls I will lay down plastic on the ground and up the sides of the timbers. I will then fill the three foot border with crushed granite, watering and stomping. Then the rest of my base will be packed with bank sand, which I will water and stomp, and of course level. I'll let that sit in the sun for a few days. Then . . . . I'll layout the bottom rails of the pool, so I'll know exactly where to place the 2x8x16 blocks. I'll then bury the blocks so they are flush with the sand. After that is done, I will put my two layers of heavy duty tarp over the sand, securing it to the inside of the timbers. What are your thoughts?

Next comes the assembly of the pool. I have ordered a preformed cove, pool pad and wall foam. I'm a tad confused on the process of those 3 things. My thoughts were to put down the pad first (not sure if I should put additional sand (not bank, but clean sand) over the tarp, and then lay the pad, or if I need the pad or sand?? I've read that you don't like it, but I ordered it prior to finding this website. So . . . let's say I put 2" of sand down to level things out even better. Then I put the pad down, then I put the cove on, securing it with duct tape to the walls . . . right? Then installing the wall foam. Haven't seen it yet, but after reading around on this site, now I have questions about it. Does it go right down to the top of the cove? How does it install to the wall, do I tape it at the top? If so, how far down? (RUN OUT OF ROOM, SUBMITTING ANOTHER COMMENT FOR THE REST OF THE STORY)

Jun 10, 2011
Underneat the Pool cont . . cont
by: Tonya

Okay, I have all of that done. Now the liner? All the instructions & videos I've watched on-line shows installing the liner and physically getting out the wrinkles. Was worried about footprints, etc, but totally unsure how to do your method. I have a j-hook liner coming. First of all, how do I get it all the way around the pool, me being outside the pool without the bulk of the liner moving around the sand on the inside (course if the pad is there, it may not be a problem). Secondly, you are wanting me to install the top rails and everything, as though the liner was in, and then stretching the liner over the rails? My rails are 11", that's going to be a big stretch and wow, I'm not sure I have enough muscles. Is that right? Then it looked like the bottom of the liner would be at the top of the pool walls and then I start putting water in and letting the water pull the liner down (as I guide it little by little) and therefore having no wrinkles. Great idea, I hope this way can work with mine, but I'm scared to stretch the liner so much. What are your thoughts?

By the way, I'll plan to video my pool being built and send it to you. You may want to put it on America's Funniest Videos.

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