Above Ground Pools and Moles

by Jennifer

I'm replacing my current above ground pool with a new above ground pool. I have been calling local installers. I found that one uses sand stone and another that uses vermiculite.

I have a mole problem in my yard and we noticed the critters made tunnels under the old pool and we want to make sure this does not happen with the new pool.

My question is should we go with sandstone or vermiculite? Will moles continue to make tunnels under vermiculite? Please advice, we spent a lot of money and want to do it the right way!

Hi Jennifer

I'm not particularly fond of vermiculite. I would go with the sand stone if it is anything like mortar sand or masonry sand. It should be a washed sand and still wet.

Moles can be a real problem for above ground pool owners. Knowing you may have a problem going into it is a good thing, rather than finding out later. The best cure I know of is pouring a concrete slab for the pool to sit on. If that is out of the budget I would look for as thick of a ground tarp as possible to go under the sand. Several layers of thick plastic would help as would indoor/outdoor carpet. Anything you can put under the sand is better than nothing.

With nothing under the sand, as soon as the mole comes up, the sand goes down and leaves a rather large indentation in the liner. The liner will dip down and there will be nothing underneath it, just air. That's just a pool accident waiting to happen. With something under the sand, unless the mole eats through it, the sand will not drop out and the liner will not be resting on air.

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Sink Hole In My Above Ground Pool

by Trina

I'm not sure how but it looks like a sink hole close to the center of our 15x30 above ground pool which we just put in about 2 months ago.

The liner dips down about 4 or 5 inches and the hole is about 2 1/2 ft. by 8" at the widest point. Is there any way to fix this without replacing the liner?

Hi Trina

It sounds like you have rodents under the pool. It might be moles or some other kind of critter. That's the kind of damage they do. It's also possible the ground was not packed well enough when you installed the pool and it is just settling. I've seen ants do similar damage, but until you get under the liner you will probably not know for sure.

The liner should be fine. You will need to drain the pool and pull the liner back on at least half the pool. You should leave as much in place as possible and only release enough liner to make the repairs.

In order to keep the amount of liner shrinkage to a minimum you should work fast and not leave the pool empty for more than a day or two. Refilling in direct sunlight, on a warm day, will help with any stretching the liner needs to fill up again.

Liners in their fist season or two are usually fine to drain and refill. After a couple of years they begin to loose their elasticity. After the repairs are made I would set the liner back into the same position on the wall that it was previously. Before the water is turned on be sure the liner is centered just as it was. There may be a small gap between the liner and the wall due to a little shrinkage, but that's OK, just make sure the gap is even and it should stretch back out just fine.

It is also a good idea to leave the skimmer and return attached. If you can work from the other side of the pool it will be easier for you. Once the skimmer is off things can get a little more complicated, you might as well keep it easy.

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Preventing Moles Under AGP

by Debra
(Portland, OR)

I have a 16' round KD pool that has been in the same spot with no problems for over a decade. I have to call a mole service to trap the critters in the lawn every year, but last summer, I noticed the buggers had managed to dig under the pool leaving small areas that feel like there is a complete void under foot. I've decided to empty the pool and redo the base, but want to make sure this never happens again.
Your site has lots of good info but haven't found anything that addresses moles directly. Originally, the pool site was dug down to hard, level soil, topped with one inch of sand, a liner (forget which kind), and then the pool. The posts are on concrete pavers set level in the sand. To redo, am planning to move the sand aside dig down another inch, lay hardware cloth (to keep the moles away from the bottom of the pool), put some 1/4 inch minus crushed rock on top of that, tamp it down, then replace the sand, the liner, and the pool. Does that sound like a good plan? Will an inch of crushed rock be sufficient or should it be more? Want to come up with a solid plan both so this doesn't happen again but also because the same thing will need to be done to the paver patio. Some of the pavers have collapsed for the same reason. Thanks for any advice!
Hi Debra Your plan sounds perfect.

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Tamp Down Sand Bulges

by Michelle

Moles moles moles! I've been living with the huge ruts under my liner for about 6 years now and I've finally decided to drain the pool (except for about an inch of water) because of algae caked on and figured I would try to see if I can do this an easier way than I fear.

I own a heavy,square metal tamper tool. I know I'd have to cover the bottom with a towel but I'm wondering if I could make any difference at all by doing this. I don't have the woman/man power to be taking down and putting the pool up again. Or maybe I could remove a handful of top metal supports, more the liner off and do what I can. Most ruts are in one side/area. Thoughts?

Hi Michelle I doubt the tamping tool will do much good. Pulling the liner back will probably be your best option. Keep in mind the liner will shrink so work fast and refill in full sun as soon as possible.

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