Metal frame pools, or commonly called soft side pools, are an alternative to a standard steel wall above ground pool.
These pools are very popular and seem to work out well in most cases. I have installed many steel wall pools for people that have owned one of the framed pools in the past. They considered these pools a good learning tool, but were ready for a more permanent type of above ground pool.
The problems that I have seen, and heard, about soft sided pools have to do with the fabric discoloring and becoming brittle and with leaks that will not patch. With the proper warranty, these problems should be taken care of by the manufacturer.
It is also important to pay close attention to the filter and cleaning equipment that is being offered with the pool. If an upgrade is needed, and it usually is, sometimes it will save you money to do it at the time of purchase.
I have installed a lot of these pools and have a few tips to pass on. When the fabric gets hot the metal tubes can be difficult to slide into place. A little baby powder makes this process a lot easier.
I level the ground with a laser level and then spread a couple of inches of sand over the entire area. When the sand is smooth, I double check the level again, and adjust as needed. When the pool is up, I level a block under each support leg. With the sand level, and all of the blocks level, the pools seem to look pretty good and stay up without collapsing.
Another thing about a rectangular metal frame pool is the sides will bow in until the pool is nearly full. It is common to think the pool, or the installation, is wrong because the side bow in. They will straighten out.
Notice also in the photo the bottom is full of wrinkles. This pool is not yet ready for water. I will get in and make sure the liner is perfectly centered in the frame. Doing this will make the walls straight, without wrinkles, and take care of a lot of what you see on the bottom. As the water is filling I will spend the next hour or so on my hands and knees making the bottom of the pool as smooth as possible, completely wrinkle free. The extra time spent doing this will make keeping the pool clean so much easier.
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