Pool Level

by Tracy

What if the patio blocks are not all of them in the ground and there is a gap between the ground and bottom ring?

Please answer back.

Hi Tracy.

Using patio blocks under all the uprights on an above ground pool is an excellent leveling aid, especially if all the blocks are set perfectly level with a transit. This lets you visually see what needs to be done with the rest of the ground before the pool can go up.

The entire area should be set to the same level as the blocks. This means the ground under the bottom rails, the ground all across the center of the pool and the ground going out past the pool area by at least a couple of feet.

It's very possible that once the blocks are set you realize there is not going to be any way you can level the pool at that height. In that case the blocks should all be lowered to a level that would allow you to accomplish this. In most cases there will be a high side that needs lowered and a low side that needs filled and the blocks will be set somewhere in between the two.

This is the most critical stage of the pool installation and it should be done correctly. The rim should be perfectly round and setting on solid level ground.

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Re-leveling an Above Ground Pool

by cmc

The pool has been up for a while and the pool sides are no longer level (high spots, low spots) . How do I correct without removing sides?


This is pretty easy to fix, especially if you are planning a liner change. It's easier to do with an empty pool, but can be done with a few inches of water also. A few inches is what you would have to leave in the pool if you planned on using the same liner, as they will shrink if drained completely.

Assuming the pool is empty you should clear the dirt and sand away from both sides of the wall, down to the bottom of the bottom rail. Now you should be able the insert a round point shovel under the rail and lift the pool into the air by a few inches. This gives you enough room, using a flat spade, to add or remove soil from under the footplates and bottom rails.

Unless you are able to see exactly what the pool needs you may want to use a transit type level to set each post at the correct height. When the pool is full of water it is easy to see which post is high or low, so you may already have these marked. Using a tape measure, and measuring from the top rail to the water level all the way around the pool, tells you exactly how level it is.

When the pool is once again level you just redo the cove and smooth the sand for the new liner. The page below gives more instructions for doing this with water in the pool. It takes an extra person to hold the liner back, but it can be done without disturbing the way the liner is set.

Pool Out of Level

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Pool Set Up Questions

by Roger and Susan Trivette

We put up an 18 foot pool last year, thought we had the ground fairly level...NOT! We did enjoy the pool all summer, though.

This year we're going bigger....22 ft. We're renting a Bobcat tomorrow to level the area, then will put down sand.

Does this sound like a good plan? How thick should the sand be? Does the sand need to set a while? Should we put a liner above the sand? And how far out from the pool should we level the ground and cover with sand?

Sorry so much!


Hi Roger and Susan,

lots of questions, but that's OK. I am going to assume you are talking about a vinyl lined, steel walled, above ground pool.

I would level the ground at least two feet beyond the pool bottom rails. I would pack the ground and check it over and over again for level. Use a laser transit for best results, they can be rented and are well worth the money.

The next thing I would do is lay out the bottom rail and get it all connected. Use a tape measure and center point and make it perfectly round. Use the laser transit and set each post plate perfectly level. Now pile the sand in the center of the pool, but do not spread it out.

Install the wall and the pool frame before you spread out the sand. The sand is to cushion the liner only, not for the frame to sit on.

These pages show pools being installed using this method. Take a look and see if they help.

Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

Atlantic Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

Diamond Star Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

If it's a metal frame pool like an Intex I would level the round a couple of feet beyond the pool, spread out and pack a couple of inches of sand and install the pool. I would do this entire process checking every step with a laser transit making sure it's perfectly level.

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Releveling Pool Walls

by Kevin
(Poughkeepsie, NY USA)

About 6 years back, ice damage ripped the liner of my 27' round pool and washed away a portion of my base. A company reinstalled a new liner, but did not relevel the floor. This resulted in a 2" drop in the height of a section of the wall. The drop is spread out along a length of 3 top rails.

I've been living with it, but now my beaded liner has pulled off the low section of the wall and won't go back on. The low wall has been bothering me anyway and want to replace liner and relevel floor (and wall).

Once I remove old liner, will I be able to raise bottom rail and vertical posts with the wall in place?? I would rather not remove bolts and roll up part of the wall because I'm afraid I won't be able to get it to reconnect. Thank you for advise you can provide on this.

Hi Kevin.

I would not take the pool apart, you should be just fine by just removing the liner.

Once the liner is out clear any sand or dirt away from the bottom rails on both sides of the pool. You should now be able to stick a round point shovel under the rail and gently lift it up. I normally have a helper do the lifting with the round point while I use my spade to either remove or add dirt.

Sometimes it works better with the helper on the outside of the pool while I work the inside, but not always. Sometimes it works better to do the lifting directly under an upright, but again, not always.

If you are raising an area you might consider adding blocks under the uprights, or if you already have blocks they can easily be raised.

I use a laser level with the number rod directly on top of the upright. You can go around and level each post perfectly this way.

Once the pool is level it is pretty easy to see what the rest of the base needs. Your liner will install much better if the entire base is level. Liner tend to shift and wrinkle when one side of the pool fills faster than the other side.

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How Much Error in Pool Level

by Mark

I am installing a Bermuda 15x30 pool. It will be put about 1-2 feet into the ground and then backfilled.

How much error can there be for this. I currently have one end of the long length about 1-1.5" lower than the other end. Is this sufficient or will this cause problems?

Also the surface that I am installing the pool on is VERY solid. Compacted concrete 14" thick then about 1" of compacted sand on top of that. Do I need to use the concrete blocks under the supports or will I be fine with this?


Hi Mark.

I would use the concrete blocks under all the supports, especially the side supports, that is critical. I would also level each of these blocks to within a quarter inch or so. You will be so much happier with a level pool and the rest of your installation will go so much easier. It is just amazing the little problems that can occur by not having a perfectly level base.

The first, and most important, rule of installing an above ground pool is to make it perfectly level. Take as long as necessary to get this part right, the rest goes much smoother and the pool looks much better. An inch and a half may not look like much now but it will stick out like a sore thumb when the pool is full of water.

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Level Above Ground Pool on Sand

by Eric
(Rockford, IL)

I am installing an above ground pool on a level surface I had professionally excavated. I am getting sand delivered and wonder if I can level support pavers with sand and not dig them in since ground is so hard (clay)?

I would build the sand up and make sure pavers are level all around base? Will this be enough?

Hi Eric.

Setting up an above ground pool this way is a big mistake. The sand should only go under the liner.

If the ground is to hard to dig I would level the track and foot plates with the existing dirt, or clay, and not use the blocks.

Blocks need to be used only when the ground is soft or unstable, or if you feel future settling might occur.

If you feel the ground needs to be raised to allow for more leveling a crushed granite like material should be used. You need something that will allow you to fine tune the leveling and that will pack solid when you are done. Sand will never pack, it will only wash out.

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Large Round Pool Installation

by William

I just purchased a 36' round pool and am currently in the process of installing. Obviously the area is very large and has been very challenging to level. I want to be sure I am installing correctly the first time and avoid future issues.

I am working to be sure my base plates are level. What is the maximum tolerance in inches that they can be off?

After my base plates are level, what should I do if there are gaps between the bottom rail and ground? (1/2" to 3/4" in some spots)

The ground where my liner will sit is level within 1" to 2" and I have some spots that are slightly "hilly" from the excavating. Will sand be ok to level the area and use a compactor to pack the sand?

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to help us rookies!

Hi William.

I like to make everything perfectly level. That way if there is any settling as the pool fills I am still way within a half inch of level. I never like to be more than that and most of my installs are within a quarter.

So as far as the blocks under the braces, make them perfect. Set a transit rod on each one and set them all at the same number.

Do the same for the spaces in between the the footplates. If you cannot see the ups and downs, use the transit. There should be no low spots, or high spots, under you bottom rails. They will cause problems later on.

Now take that laser level stick all over the base and make it as perfect as possible. There is no reason to have to add extra sand in places to level the ground. Level the ground first and keep the sand uniform.

When it comes to above ground pools, keep them perfectly round and perfectly level. This means using the right tools and taking your time.

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