Unlevel Pool

by Andrew
(Dartmouth, MA)

Is there a way to fix an un-level above-ground 27' round pool?



Hi Andrew. There are many ways an above ground pool can be re-leveled. The course of action I would take would be determined by just how bad off the pool is. If the installation was done poorly in many other respects, not just the leveling, I would want to take the pool down and start over from scratch. I would level and pack the ground, haul in new sand, and reassemble the pool.

Other cases, where the pool itself is fine, but might have an area that has settled slightly, I would level the pool without taking it down. To do this the pool needs to be emptied down to about an inch or so. It is important to leave a little water in the bottom to hold the liner in place and keep it from shrinking. The liner can be pulled back and the wall raised or lowered in the areas that are out of level.

A more detailed explanation of this type of pool leveling can be found on this page.

Pool Out of Level

Comments for Unlevel Pool

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 18, 2014
Unlevel pool
by: Marc

I purchased a 16' round Proseries pool with 48" high walls. I installed it on a cement slab utilizing outdoor carpet and a tarp to protect the bottom. The level from side to side is ok but as I filled it I discovered that one end has filled 1/2 " higher then the other. With the drought I don't want to drain all that water. The legs seem ok. they are all about straight. Is 1/2 too much of a lean?

Hi Marc, 1/2" should be just fine, no problem.

Jul 14, 2015
Out of level
by: Anonymous

What about a 5" difference in level? Will that damage my pro series pool? It's a 16' round pool.

Hi That's not good at all, I would not trust it.

Jul 17, 2015
Unlevel
by: Anonymous

What about a 2 1/2 inch difference? My pool is the 12' X 30" Intex metal frame.

Hi You should be OK but it is impossible for me to say for sure.

Jun 23, 2016
Wall bend
by: Marlene

We recently put in a 21 ft round pool 52" deep. There seems to be about an 1 inch off level. ( I hired landscapers to level the ground beforehand)My concern is that the wall the of the pool about 4 inches above the track has slightly bent or buckled outward some. The bottom edge of the wall inside the track has a wavy look to it for about 8 inches in length. There is obviously to much pressure in that one area. does this pool need to be re-built? At first glance everything looks fine. I'm not sure what to do.

Hi It seems you may have skipped a very important step in the installation. When I install a pool I start by leveling the ground to within an inch, just like your landscapers did. Then I lay out the bottom rails and make the pool perfectly round. I then level each individual footplate, and the rails connecting them. Only then will the pool be perfectly level.

A half inch difference between two footplates can cause a lot of issues. The track between the plates not being level can cause issues.

It is impossible to say how big your issues are without seeing it.

Jul 04, 2017
Pool Buckling
by: Robert

I just noticed that one side of my pool is buckling towards the inside. It is an above ground 12 x 24...The pool is 12 inches in the ground

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.



Unlevel Above Ground Pool

by Jennifer
(North Carolina)

I recently installed a 24' round above ground pool. Everything was level when we started, but now we realize that one side is about 1 1/2 inches out of level.

Also, 3 of the verticals are leaning about 1/2 inch out. Is there any way to support the area that leans out just until the end of the summer when we can drain the water and re-level it?

Hi Jennifer. This page Pool Out of Level talks about above ground pools that are out of level. I discuss how far out of level is to much and how to fix small leveling problems.

Leveling issues can easily cause the uprights to lean one way or the other. If the pool is only an inch and a half out and it is sitting on firm soil with no other problems you are probably just fine. The only fix is to drain the water down to a few inches, re-level and fill the pool back up. It does not require replacing the liner but does mean draining the pool.

You have to look at the overall pool installation to determine the integrity of it. If all other aspects of the installation are fine you should easily last the summer. If you decide the pool looks OK for now then just keep a close eye on it. A serious problem will probably progressively get worse, if you see this happening I would drain the pool and fix it. If there are no signs of movement, or worsening, over the summer then that's a good thing.

Use your best judgment and if in doubt fix it.

Comments for

Unlevel Above Ground Pool

Click here to add your own comments

May 12, 2015
Patio block pressure on liner
by: Anonymo

I had a 18x33 above ground pool installed. Installer used a 2" concrete block to lift supports. Outline of block is visible. Liner is stretched to drop approximately 1/2". Metal wall has buckled & bulging past track. Pool is 3" lower on one side. Concerned about liner damage & should pool be drained for evaluation & releveling. I say "Yes" to last remark.

Jul 27, 2015
Unlevel pool
by: Tracy

Hello, I have a 15' by 30' obove ground. One corner has dropped 5" +. It is located on a slope away from the house which has apparently eroded where the pool has dropped. How can I safely level this without digging the other end in deeper?.Is it possible to put cement pillars 2' deep under each support on the low end? I would still have to build up in between and inside the pool.

Hi You have the right idea. Reinforce the low end. Be sure to secure the built up area in some way.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.



Swimming Pool Unlevel

by Aaron
(sebewaing)

I set up a 24ft round Silverado by Patriot swimming pool, and after filling it up ALL the way, the pool water at one side touches the rail and the other side there is about four and a half inches of liner showing!

I was wondering if there is any way to fix the un-levelness without draining and tearing the pool down and ruining the liner? If not what else could I do?



Hi Aaron. It is possible to level a pool without taking it completely apart. It does, however, need to be emptied.

To level a pool correctly the entire pool should come down and the ground re-leveled and then the pool reinstalled. The problem with doing this is you should then replace your liner. It is possible to install a used liner but not easy and not recommended. You are far better off starting with a new liner.

So if you want to just make your pool appear level, look much better and be a lot safer, while still using your existing liner, follow the instructions on the page listed below.

pull liner back to level pool
By draining the water down to just an inch or so you are not disturbing the liner and it will not shrink or shift out of place. This will allow you to work around the outer edge of the pool raising or lowering the bottom rails. This will level your pool walls while saving your existing liner.

The only difference you will notice by leveling this way is the water depth when you are inside the pool. One side will be deeper than the other. When it comes time for your first liner change, years down the road, you can finish the leveling if you want.

Pool Out of Level

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.



Bottom of Pool Not Level

by Kyle
(S.C.)

We just installed a 27' round by 52" metal wall above ground pool with resin posts and caps. The base frame rails are level and the top frame rails are level (with 3/4"), however the sand beneath the liner is not. About 75% of the pool is 2" deeper then the other 25%. The walls are straight and the post bases are still on firm ground. It was just a bad job of leveling the sand beneath the pool liner. Will this be ok or should I drain, tear down and start over? All I hear from other pool people is the 1" rule, is there any tolerance on this? Desperately awaiting an answer.
thanks, kyle



Hi Kyle. This happens a lot, but not with my installs, and no, it is nothing to worry about. That's not what the one inch rule is talking about.

It is easy to do a great job of leveling the outer two or three foot of ground for the rail to sit on and then not doing such a good job across the bottom of the pool. Many people think they can level this area with the sand, and although it is possible, it is not recommended. That would leave maybe five or six inches of sand on one side of the pool and the normal two inches on the other. The problem with this is the sand that is to thick will leave footprints more easily than the other side.

It sounds to me like your sand was spread out over ground that ways not level. I would think it would be hard to spread sand out as uneven as you describe, but possible I'm sure.

smooth sand base ready for liner
There is really only one drawback to having the pool bottom unleveled. Installing a liner, without any wrinkles, is much more difficult when one side of the pool fills up before the other side. The liner gets pulled in strange ways and can cause real headaches.

Many years down the road, when you go to replace your liner, worry about it then. Until that time, enjoy your pool.

Comments for

Bottom of Pool Not Level

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 07, 2017
Intex 18x48 Settled by 1.5 Inches
by: Kate

Hi! Intex ultra fram 18x48 which we excavated for 2 years ago evidently has had a bit of settling on the side facing away from the house (toward our woods which is a slope after the pool). I didn't notice this until we got a TON of rain the last week or two and yesterday ran out to drain some of the water away from the pool at risk of it overflowing due to heavy rain. Pool is now at least 2-4 inches or so from top fill line so that's not a worry but now the side by woods appears to be only have a 1.5 gap to the fill line (about 1.5 squares between water and fill line) vs. the other side and majority of pool which is 2-3 squares below top fill line. I also think the post facing the woods is getting a lot of strain so am concerned and thinking of draining tomorrow then somehow raising that 1.5 or so lower area somehow. Ideas on how to do it given it is such a small area? I may try to pull the pool gently toward the house where there are a couple of inches left in the indented space we had excavated, but not sure that is gonna totally solve the 1.5 off situation. Can I use some kind of sand if I drain then hoist it up somehow and tuck the sand under? Arghh... 4 kids who desperately need to cool off and we were SO excited to finally have a pool up..... thanks!

Hi It's impossible for me to say how safe it is without seeing it. It does not sound that bad. You could probably leave it as is for the summer. You could also drain and do some leveling. A lot of it depends on how big the ledge is on the low side, the bigger the better. A 3' ledge at ground level is preferred.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.



Soft Sided Pool Out of Level

by Danny
(Ga)

I have a 15' Intex inflatable ring pool that I just put up and it's leaning to one side. I had the same problem last year with pool using sand as a base to level the ground.

This year I took out the sand and dug out the high spot dropping one side about 4 inches. The ground is Georgia red clay, no fun to hand dig, but is very solid. I thought I had this completely level but the pool still falls to one side, its about 1 1/2 inches deeper on one side then the other.

My question is, there are still some wrinkle in the bottom of the pool, could this be the cause? It's out of round as well. I am draining the pool again as I write this to straighten the bottom out. If this doesn't work will adding sand under the lower side help.

Thank you



Hi Danny. Those pools are more finicky about being level than any other pool. If they are just the slightest bit off they lean to one side. The wrinkles in the bottom probably don't make a difference but the 1 1/2 inches sure would. I would level it up again and give it another try.

I would use a laser level or a transit and try to get the ground as perfectly level as possible. Do this with you existing soil. Use only enough sand to add an inch or so to the already level ground. The sand should be a uniform layer. When you are finished it should look something like this.

ground ready for pool

Comments for

Soft Sided Pool Out of Level

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 18, 2014
24' round
by: Amy

We had a 24' round DoughBoy installed professionally 4 years ago. Last year, we noticed one side had a considerable difference (3") in water level and the side was leaning out on the top. We had the installer come look at the pool last week and he doesn't think it's anything to worry about, and to fill up the pool as normal (as it's drained to the skimmer for winterizing) for the season and enjoy. He said not to worry until it is time to replace the liner. Thoughts?

Hi Amy Three inches is about as far out of level as I would like to see a pool but it might be OK. Keep a close eye on it for any more movement or settling.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.



27' Pool Level

by Wendy Patton
(Pikeville TN USA)

What's the tolerance on getting a 27 foot pool level?



Hi Wendy That all depends on how far in the ground the pool is. A pool 3' in the ground could easily be 6" off level and it would not collapse. A pool 2' in the ground could go several inches off and be fine. A pool on top of the ground with a large birm around it would be OK a couple of inches off level. But if your pool is flat on the ground I would try to stay within the manufactures recommendations, which is usually 1". You are dealing with a lot of water, don't take chances on loosing it all at one time.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.



Newly Installed Above Ground Pool Unlevel

by Ray
(Calverton, NY)

Hi! I just had a 30' round above ground pool installed. Now that it is filled I noticed that there is about a 2 inch differnece in the water level from one side of the pool to the other. In some spaces the difference is about an inch with the two inches being the worst culprit. The walls and posts all appear fine. Is this a major problem?? Should I have the install company come back in the fall after I have emptied some water out to try and dig one side up to make it more even? Or is this a catastrophe waiting to happen and it needs to be done over again from scratch? Your help is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks, Ray



Hi Ray A professionally installed pool should be within an inch of being level. With the use of a laser level they should be darn near perfect. So, yes, I would have them come back and level it. Is it safe to use for the season? I'm pretty sure it is. Most pools can handle being a couple of inches off level. Do keep an eye on it and check the distance from the top rail to the water level every few weeks. If the pool is settling it could get worse over time. If it stays within a couple of inches, enjoy it all summer.

Comments for

Newly Installed Above Ground Pool Unlevel

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 14, 2016
alternative leveling possibility question
by: deema loyd

I live in WV on a ridge, so uneven yard... I have a 17' I'm itching to put back up after last years failed double attempt...this time I have an idea...can I place a pole temporarily in the center and use it to compare each other foot with a board stretched over the top & bubble level? If each foot, or the top rim, is bubble leveled won't the water be and will that work?

Hi Deema That's one way of doing it and it should work. As your pool starts filling start measuring from the top rail to the water all the way around. Do this several times as the pool is filling. If you are having any leveling issues this will tell you long before you have filled the pool.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.