Above Ground Pool Wall Buckling

by Scott
(Ottawa, On, Canada)

Pool Wall Damage Around Skimmer

Pool Wall Damage Around Skimmer

I've noticed that my pool has buckled a bit at the back. I'm not sure what caused it - could it be that not enough water was drained before the winter?

Is this problem a fixable one. We went to a pool store and they recommended replacing the entire pool. Obviously, this is not a good situation, thanks for any advice you might be able to give.

Hi Scott

Thanks for sending the photo, it helps me a lot in giving advise and helps others understand better what we are taking about.

If the liner is going to be replaced the repairs to the side wall are easy. Once the pool has been emptied remove the skimmer and return. When the old liner is out the wall can be hammered back into shape with a piece of 2x4 on one side and a hammer on the other. Above ground pool side walls are very easy to straighten out. You would not believe some of the messes I have straightened out and reused.

Making the repairs, and keeping the liner you now have, is possible also. It looks like a lot of that could be pushed out with two people, on opposite sides of the wall, pushing and poking with just your hands. You should at least be able to get it back into shape enough to get you by until you are ready for a new liner.

It is also possible to lower the water to about

six inches below the skimmer. You could take off about four top rails, caps rods and coping, and pull the liner back. With someone holding the liner out of the way, and up and out of the water, the wall could be hammered back into shape. The liner could then be reset. You would need to remove the skimmer and return to do this. The only problem you might have is realigning the skimmer holes. If the liner is within a few years old, and still pliable, this should not be a problem. Older liners may shrink just enough, and not be pliable, so that realigning the holes becomes impossible.

Since there is no evidence in your photo of any real damage to the pool or the liner I would not be to concerned at this time. It is possible for the wall to have pulled out from the rod, under the top rails, so this should be checked. If so, the wall can usually be worked back into the rod, enough to hold the coping on and be safe. I would then leave the pool the way it is until I would get in it and try pushing the wall into a little better shape.

The liner is not being damaged, so as long as the crease going into the skimmer is not causing it to leak, I see know reason why the pool can not be used the way it is.

Scott, it could be worse.

Dented Above Ground Pool

This page might help also.

Buckled Sidewall

Comments for Above Ground Pool Wall Buckling

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Apr 26, 2009
Buckled Wall - Thanks
by: Scott

Thanks so much for your advice. I was quite concerned when the pool company told me I would have to replace everything ($$$$)

I initially thought I could repair it, and now with your advice I am definitely going to give it my best. The structure seems to be fine, the top rod seems to be in place and I think I can just try to work it back into shape (with the help of a friend or 2).

Thanks again, this is an excellent resource for new pool owners such as myself.

Feb 21, 2010
possible cause and warning
by: Anonymous

This just happened to my pool today I was using a bottle in the skimmer to plug the hole and a plug to stop up the return hole. I bought this as a setup so you didn't have to drain the pool what a mistake. What actually happens is when the water freezes in the pool it also freezes in the skimmer leaving the ice in the pool with a nub that sticks into the skimmer. As the water level drops so does the ice, putting pressure on the wall at the skimmer. I just broke the ice loose at the skimmer from the ice in the pool and it dropped at least a foot showing how much pressure was actually on the wall. I noticed in your pic and others that the buckle in the wall was right at the skimmer. All I can say is make sure that through the winter you keep your water level below the skimmer or look for trouble.

I had used the no drain method for 4 years without any problems but this year its been colder and we've had plenty of snow Thanks for the ideas on straightening the walls, I will try that as soon as weather permits.


Thanks for the tip, it sure sounds possible. That's probably the reason they make removable skimmer plates that completely block off the skimmer. Thanks again.

Feb 17, 2011
Pool Wall buckling and pulled away from one of the posts
by: Al

Our pool wall on the filter side has buckled in and several of the walls on connected have buckled slightly. The pool was closed no different that the past 4 winters we had it. I have read the comments on this site and if I am reading this correctly there is hope that we may save this pool by having the walls hammered out. The biggest loss may be the liner. Do we wait until the spring to go to work on this problem. The pool is about 1/2 full with much ice on the cover. Do we drain the pool to keep from further damage? What do you suggest? Please help.


I would hold off on draining the pool until things have thawed out and you are ready to make the repairs. With some warmer days coming some of the issues may take care of themselves. Saving the liner might be possible, but that's hard to say for sure.

Apr 04, 2011
Lower Wall Buckling
by: Rick

My pool buckling is at the bottom effecting about 1/3 of the pool and about 12 to 20 inches high, please help! We just can not afford a new pool. Some people are telling me it will be fine just leave it. I have a disabled child who needs the pool and my fear is she will get hurt, but we really need the pool for her C/P and other problems. Everything I have seen is for upper buckling please what is the fix for when it is at the bottom. Thank you, Rick

Hi Rick

Not really enough info to give advice. I would hate to say it's fine, and have it not be. Most pool walls can be repaired, flattened out, or reinforced. I would be happy to look at photos and possibly be of more help.

Apr 05, 2011
Lower Wall Buckling
by: Rick

Just to update it is only about the lower 6 inches +/- 2 inches all around the effected area. We have been getting some feed back about placing a piece of sheet metal along the area and duct taping it (not sure on how much bigger/ taller then the damage it should be or gage), but should you first screw or rivet to help with weight? And maybe try to hammer out some of the winkling? We live in Western Mass and I think the weight of the snow did it. Sorry very rainy today, but will try to get photo later, but thank you for your feed back. Rick

Hi Rick

That's a good plan. Hardware stores sell flat stock metal in a twenty, or twenty four inch width. This is perfect. The gauge is not so important, it's just a little reinforcement. I would first try to flatten the wall. You would then pull back the coving and insert the metal into the bottom track. Just duct tape the top, no rivets or screws. You should be good as new.

I have used this method hundreds of times to reinforce rusted pool walls, it works great and is easy.

Jun 09, 2012
Age of pool
by: Anonymous

I just had a question for Scott - how old is the pool in the picture? I just bought a house with same model and the pools are identical? Thanks

Jul 10, 2012
Problem with Buckling
by: Anonymous

I had the same problem with buckling at the very bottom of the pool. I was told to replace everything, basically buy a new pool. Can't afford that so I'm going to try the advise about straightening the wall. I bought a new liner because it did rip from ice and that caused the wall damage. Also in Western MA and it happened in winter '11. Must have been a bad year for pools. I don't think my picture will attach, I don't see how to do it. But thanks for the advise!

May 31, 2014
Buckled with leak at skimmer
by: Anonymous

Hi there!

Our buckling in our pool is in about the same spot, however it is leaking! Is there anyway to fix this, we can not afford to fix any major problems. HELP!


If it is leaking there must be a hole in the liner that you could find and patch.

Jan 30, 2015
Lost all water in pool sides buckling
by: Jim

My pool sprung a leak in the middle of winter draining all the water out of it. I'm afraid the walls might cave-in and I'm looking for ideas how to shore up the walls so this doesn't happen until spring when I can put a new liner in and refill it. It's an 18x38 above ground. I was thinking of trying to use 18 ft long pvc pipes and go across the pool. Any suggestions welcomed

Jun 07, 2016
Walls buckling uniformly
by: Tim

I just bought a house with an above ground pool and when opening the pool, I noticed that the long sides of the pool are concave between each support. However, the sections along the ends in the rounded areas seem to be fine. The "buckling" of the walls seems to be uniform on the sides. Is this by design? Or do I have a bigger problem on my hands?



It is more than likely by design.

Dec 20, 2016
walls buckling!!
by: Roy

We noticed our pool was almost completely empty during the winter, the pool cover was under stress, so we read up on the internet to undo our pool cover so it does not pull down the walls. Now, we noticed 2 of the walls look they are buckling a little bit on the sides. Winter has just pretty much started. And it looks like there is gonna be a hard winter. What can we do to prevent it from buckling more? We had a pool professionally installed and they said they wouldn't do anything til spring but I'm afraid it wont hold up that long. There was about a foot of water in it before it froze over and its a 52x24

Mar 27, 2017
intex ultraframe
by: mike

I recently put up a 18x9x52 intex ultraframe. it has 2 frame supports on the front and 2 on the rear and 4 on each side. I leveled the ground meticulously and monitored the water for levelness as we filled it. after the first few days we noticed the back settled about an inch inch and a half... the supporting 4x4 rolled sinking a bit and now those 2 rear supports look stressed. any ideas on how to lift it so it can be shored up. I know emptying it is the easiest answer....

Jun 20, 2021
Super rocky soil, off by an inch and a half.
by: Ethan

My location was vey difficult to level due to massive boulders in the area. I was pulling some out which exceeded the lifting capacity of the tractor, so I was forced to backfill some areas. I ended up just knocking to tops of them off with a sledgehammer in the end. Anyhow, the best I could get was 1.5 inch without excessive backfilling. Hope I picked the lesser of 2 evils, there’s a bit of buckling in one spot near the rail, but it’s in and hasn’t moved in 3 days. Crossing my fingers, I really felt that more digging was going to be adding too much instability.

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