Intex Pool Leveling Problem

by Shirley
(Citrus county FL)

I have an Intex 24'x52" metal frame soft side pool and I live in Florida where the only substrate is just soft sand.

There were no plants or anything, just bare due to new house construction, and the most level spot I could find was about 1' from highest to lowest spot. Unfortunately, I got what I now know was bad advice to dig out the high 6" and move the sand to the low 6".

I built a retaining wall to keep the dirt back from the high end and support the dirt from washing out on the low end with a 6" plastic interlocking edging material supported by cinder blocks for reinforcement. There are 6" square patio blocks under each foot and the top ring was absolutely level prior to filling.

We had completely packed the sand (sadly just manually tamping, no tamping machine) and it had rained several times so the sand felt firm -- until we started to fill. As you might imagine, all the areas where dirt was removed were fine, but all the areas where the dirt was built up began to compact under the weight and deep areas developed.

I would say about a 5" difference from the most shallow spot in the pool to the deepest spot, with kind of a "rolling hill" type effect, not a slope from one side to the other. I now have about a foot of water in the pool and the top ring still measures completely level with no lean in the legs so far, checked every one with the level. However,

the distance from the top rail to the water is just over 38" near the deepest dip in the ground and just under 41" near the biggest peak.

I am assuming this is due to the stretch on the liner causing a subtle shift. This would produce about a 2-1/2" difference from the lowest to highest point in the finished pool but it is not really a slope on the bottom. Will this be stable? This is a large pool and I don't want to take a chance, but I'm not really sure how the top ring can still measure level with this going on.

Hi Shirley. I'm not exactly sure what the problem is but your posting mentions a couple of important aspects of setting up above ground pools. Sand does not pack and should not be used as a base for pools. It can be used as a couple of inches of cushion under the liner only, but not a base for the pool structure.

Your best bet would have been to remove the sand and bring in some good fill dirt, or crushed granite. Then the area could be leveled and packed and would be just fine for setting the pool up on.

You mention measuring from the top rail to the water level. This is the recommended way of double checking the level on a pool once it has been set up and full of water. The water will always be level. So unless the measurements are the same all the way around the pool the top rail cannot be level.

I would recommend rebuilding the pool on firm, level, compacted soil.

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