Sand Around Pool Shifting

Hello, We have a 10ft x 20ft Intex above ground pool. Our backyard was full of tree roots and we were not able to level the ground. Instead we built a 16ft x 24ft frame around the pool, filled it with sand, leveled and packed the sand, laid down weed fabric and set up the pool on the sand.

We then placed landscaping rock over the sand around the pool. Since last year, the frame is starting to slope and the landscaping rocks are falling over the top edge. It seems like the sand has shifted also.

My question is how would we reinforce the frame so as to keep the sand from shifting?

Thank-you in advance.


You did not mention how deep your sand is but I'm guessing more than just a few inches. Sand shifts, just like yours is doing. This is normal.

Your frame should have been filled with dirt or granite, something that would pack.

A couple inches of sand could be used just under the pool. It needs to be a very even, and thin layer. Sand should not be used for leveling and it should not be used as fill.

My suggestion would be to take the pool down and redo the base or the sand will keep shifting and things will just get worse.

Comments for Sand Around Pool Shifting

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 06, 2018
24x12x52 pool
by: Anonymous

Can I also put sheets of foam under pool?


Yes you can.

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.

Pad & Pool Cove in 18'x48" Intex Framed Pool

by Robyn
(West Virginia)

This is my first above-ground pool. From everything I have read, leveling seems to be the most important thing. We purchased an 18'x48" round Intex framed pool, which we will be placing on level ground, over a few inches of sand. Would you recommend some type of pad and pool cove as well, and if so, how, and in what order should we do this?

Hi Robyn

All a framed pool needs is a level area and a couple inches of sand. That's it. That and blocks under all the support posts, that really helps.

Most Intex pools come with a tarp of some sort, this can go either above, or below, the sand. It does not make much difference.

A pool pad could be used with an Intex pool but not really necessary. The pool cove is strictly for steel walled above ground pools. They cannot be used with frame pools.

It sounds like you are things right so far, keep it up and enjoy the pool.

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.

Soft Sided Pool Installation In Ground

by Dan and Linda

We have a soft sided pool, 18x9x52. I would like to put it in the ground about 36" and bring our deck out to it.

Would sand be OK for back fill or do we have to put metal or something around it first before back fill? Thanks Again

Hi Dan and Linda

I would go with some sort of retaining wall around the pool. Sand or dirt against a soft sided pool would just not work. The idea of sinking the pool and installing decking up to it is great, just work out some way of keeping the dirt off the pool walls.

The biggest problem folks have when doing this with steel wall pools is rain water sitting around the pool. A soft sided pool will not rust and there is no cove to wash out. Drainage would not be a big consideration. A little water sitting around the pool would be a lot better than dirt back filled against it.

Learn more about soft sided pools on these pages.

Metal Frame Pools

Soft Sided Pools

Comments for Soft Sided Pool Installation In Ground

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 16, 2011
What was the end result??
by: Albert

Enjoyed finding the soft pool semi in-ground instillation question.... Did Linda finish her pool quest? How did it turn out. I am also considering doing the same - wondering what pool is best to attempt a partial in-ground look. Thanks!

Jun 08, 2014
What to do??!!
by: Cassi

After carefully leveling our ground and setting pavers making sure they were level using a transit, we finally got our pool set up yesterday. After many sore muscles and sunburn we thought we had it licked! Boy were we wrong! A hard rain hit us last night cause six of our legs to sink down with the pavers! We are both just sick! He leaves tonight for 2 weeks going back to work, and we have a muddy mess! Have to fix this today! He just went back to walmart to get more 6x9 pavers and we are having to drain the pool in order to lift it enough to try to relevel! It was only off an inch but the legs that slide off the pavers into the mud look like they are gonna cave in. Can you offer any advice???

Jul 29, 2016
Above ground oval pool. Builr on level sand
by: Anonymous

We just installed our 1st pool. We dug and leveled the area, put down about 4 in of sand. We assembled the oval pool on top of the sand. Laid down plastic and filled another few inches of sand. Put on a new pool liner and filled the pool. It looks beautiful. But I keep reading how sand shifts. What can I do to keep this from happening. I was thinking about putting dirt fill around pool in a hill, placing plastic on that and then rock, to keep water away from the pool.


That sounds like a good plan.

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.

Use Sand with Intex Pool

Hi there - The instructions for our soft sided Intex pool say not to use sand but my father who installed AGPs for awhile says the sand will help with the stones in the dirt. The pool is 18'.

What kind of base do you recommend? In their video they show people setting it up on grass. We never had grass in our yard. Just a lot of weeds. What is the best approach to preventing weeds growing through the bottom? The pool includes a tarp for under the pool also. Thanks for your help.


I would clear the area of any vegetation and then level the ground. Once the ground is level I would treat it with weed killer.

I would then haul in enough sand to give the area about an inch or so. You then need to water, smooth and pack the sand.

I would use the tarp over the sand and then set up the pool.

If you level the ground, and use blocks under all the support posts you should be just fine.

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.

End of Intex Pool Curved In, Corners Elevated

by Michele
(Spring, TX)

Intex Pool Side Bowed

Intex Pool Side Bowed

I'm not sure what is going on with our pool. We have the big 16x32x52 ultra-frame pool. We had it set up for 2 years without putting the wood supports under the legs. We took it down this spring to move the location in our yard and put the correct supports under the legs - due to a few of them rusting/collapsing.

We have the pool completely set up and the water level is as close to perfect as it can be, but for some reason one end is lifting at the corners and leaning forward in the middle.We have checked to be sure that we have the right beams in place and that the legs have extended all the way out - but something is just not right. Any suggestions?

Hi Michele

That seems to be a common complaint with Intex oval pools.

I have a couple of suggestions that might help. If the bottom is not set exactly square strange things will happen. If you decide to drain the pool, try shifting the bottom one way or the other, it seems like it might not be square under the frame.

You might also try pulling out on the sides. In doing so, does it indicate to you in anyway that the side support blocks need to be lowered. If so, try this, doing one block at a time. You should be able to do this, one block at a time, with the pool full.

Comments for End of Intex Pool Curved In, Corners Elevated

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 06, 2014
sides of 9 x 18 bowing in
by: Anonymous

Last year I didn't put wood under side braces & the sides bowed out as the braces sunk into sand/dirt which concerned me. So this year I drained it & put 15 x 15 blocks under each brace, but did not know they had to be level with ground (UGH, their lack of complete instructions is frustrating) Regardless...all level & so far so good right? Starting filling & Now the pool is 3/4 full and the sides are bowing in and the corners are tight no wiggling at all. I don't want to drain again & have hesitated filling it more. I used it all last year with no issues and they were bowed out alot as there is sand under it. Is there any danger of damage if they bow in??? should I continue filling & hope for the best? I really can't afford to drain & fill it possible to carefully dig out under the blocks?? Next year I'm draining and building a concrete base, but want to use it as is for now.


I would finish filling it. The side will probably push out more as the water nears the top.

Jul 06, 2014
by: Anonymous

I got lucky. finished filling it & it's perfect...the wood settled enough from the weight
so that it worked out...just spent 45 glorious minutes in it!:)


So glad it worked and so glad you let us know.

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 Intex Pool

by Donna

We have an Intex 20' x 48" Ultra Frame pool. We initially set it up and found (after prepping the ground) that it was approximately three inches unlevel on one side.

We drained the pool and re-prepped the ground and now the pool is still a bit unlevel. However, it is only between 1 to 1 1/2 inches unlevel.

Is this really bad? Is there a way to remedy this situation without draining the pool? Or would it be safe to leave it this way and fix it for the next swimming season?

Something else I have noticed is that the legs of the pool and the liner itself sort of rocks slightly back and forth. Is this normal for these types of pools? Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'm still a little nervous about the safety of the pool.

Hi Donna

If you are within a couple of inches I would think the pool would be just fine.

You may want to just keep an eye on it. If it remains the same, with no major changes, throughout the season, you are probably fine.

If it continues to get worse you may want to consider draining and starting over.

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.

Blocking Legs Of An Intex Pool

by Johnny Skinner
(Waurika OK)

My wife and I put up a 16 foot by 48 inch above ground pool made by Intex. We had new dirt hauled in and leveled, then had sand hauled in and leveled professionally.

When we filled our pool with water, after 3-days, our pool was lower 2-inches on one end than the other. I don't know what to do! I'm considering draining the pool and blocking under the legs with 2 by 4 blocks to level. help!

Hi Johnny

I agree, I would do it over one more time. This time I would use blocks under the legs.

Once the pool has been move out of the way check the fill dirt carefully. If it was the dirt that sank the sand should be moved and the dirt re-leveled. If you have to do that make sure the dirt has been watered and packed several times before putting the pool back on top of it.

It is very possible that the pool just shifted into the sand and that the dirt is just fine. You may have too much sand. You need just enough to cover any rough spots in the dirt, just enough to smooth out nicely.

When you go to put the pool back up, the blocks should make all the difference in the world. It really helps if you have a way to set all the blocks level. We use a laser level and set each block at the same grade. That way we are sure that when the pool is full it will be level.

Comments for Blocking Legs Of An Intex Pool

Click here to add your own comments

May 14, 2011
I feel your pain
by: Northern Karen

I don't have a solution, just a comment. We had an intex pool and we had the same problem. We tried moving it, we tried the sand underneath it, nothing worked. We never did get it level. My son has one the size of yours. He's had the same situation.
The idea of blocks under the legs sounds like a really good one. Wish we'd thought of it. Good luck, and please post if that worked.
Our pool has been replaced with an ipool, but I'd like to pass this info along to my son if it works for you.

May 15, 2011
leveling my 16 by 48 in. intex pool
by: johnny skinnerAnonymous

Well, after draining my pool because it went unlevel after filling the first time two and a half inches lower on one side than the other. I figured out that after draining,I began digging down in the sand, placing 12in. by 12 in. patio blocks and leveling the blocks as I went, not only leveled my pool back to where it was in the beginning, it also provided a stronger and more stable foundation. While refilling my pool I placed a 2 foot level on each leg and leveled the legs. My pool is terrific now and level! I recommend this to everyone that gets a 16ft. by 48 in. Intex pool. It's the bomb!

May 16, 2011
leveling my pool
by: johnny skinner

I forgot to say thank you for the advice by using blocks and a level on the next fill up on my pool. my wife and I thank you!god bless you.

May 16, 2011
Do blocks need to be level with ground?
by: Anonymous


We put up the Ultra Frame pool. The wood blocks are the same height, about 1 and 1/4 inch above the ground. Will this work or do the blocks need to be IN the ground?



I always put the tops of the blocks at ground level.

Aug 23, 2011
Yikes, the corners!
by: Anonymous

Opposite corners of my Intex 24x12 ft pool are almost falling out. Pool went pretty randomly cockeyed when the irrigation went through. I can't get the corners pushed back in like you could when pool was filling. Is my only option to drain and put blocks under the legs? It is on a 10inch raised birm, 24 tons of dirt, 2 layers of 6 mil plastic and the tarp. It looks like its gonna rip at the corners, they are almost straight. (the liner at the 2 mentioned). Anyone ever deal with this?

Jun 07, 2014
Intex ultra frame 14' round frame question
by: gen

Our pool is two years old. There is no real problem with it but wanted someone's opinion. The water level is within an inch all the way around so that's good but the bottom of the liner is a little higher on one side than the other. The legs are sunk down in even so that the top of the pool is even across but the ground underneath the bottom of one side of the liner is apparently elevated. The result is a little more "give" on the too of the higher side of the liner and the frame legs are slightly leaning --not a great deal but enough that a couple of them are not exactly straight up and down. Is this something I should be terribly concerned about? Short of draining and leveling (which neither my husband nor I are physically able to do). I will try to post a pic if I can. If not, what are your thoughts?

Hi Gen

This does not sound like a big problem, the pool is level so that is good. It's just something to keep an eye on, that's all. If it stays the same no problem, if it continues to get worse you may want to drain and fix.

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.