Oval Pool Pressure Plates Don't Fit

by Frederico
(New York)

I am a pool tech (4 years exp.) that has been working with another pool tech (6+ years exp.) and we have never run into this problem.

We installed a 15' x 24' pool, 3 buttresses on each side. Everything is measured out perfectly, all uprights level. Pool wall went in smoothly. Straps are nice and tight, dug down under sand. Length is 24', width between each buttress is 15'.

So, now it's time for the pressure plates. THE PROBLEM. They don't just set/drop in like previous ovals we have done. The plates them selves come in 3 parts; the first part in the center and biggest part of the plate with 2 smaller plates that would overlap around the outer buttresses.

The angle of the curves do not match the curve of the wall and the center point of plate itself is like 4-6 inches off. The only way to match wall with the plate is to push in the buttress itself, altering wall curve and width measurements. ALSO, when this is done, the straps rise from the sand and arch up. SO, obviously if we were to continue and push in all buttresses to properly install plates, we end up with straps in the air with a 14' width pool. All not correct.

We checked the invoice from the store and the checklist and of course they don't match. So, we assumed a shipment problem. We call the manufacturer (actually one of the engineers of that Pool brand) and he says that there is only one set of plates for that pool and that we have to just "manhandle them into fitting." This to us sounds like crap. In the manual, it says not to alter or bend the plates.

We do not know what to do. Any thoughts or suggestions will help, Please. I wish I had a few pictures so you can actually see how off the plates are but sadly I don't have any right now.

Hi Frederico

I think I know what you are talking about. I remember a pool from years ago that had

pressure plates with a lip that was inserted into the bottom track. That's the only thing I can picture that you are talking about. I remember them being a pain, but don't remember much more than that.

The first thing I would do is to build the pool complete. With all the uprights and top rails installed you will know for sure that everything fits correctly, and that the transitions are all the same and the ends have the same arc. If everything is perfect I would not alter it just to make pressure plates fit.

I have little patience with many of the strange designs for these things. The idea is too simple, cover the brace channel with enough metal to keep it from rising when the water is pushing out on the wall. With pressure plates installed the water is pushing down with the same force it is pushing out.

I started out with Dougboy pools over 40 years ago. The pressure plates rested over top of the channels, they overlapped about an inch or so, no screws, nuts or bolts. They just laid there and you covered them with dirt or sand. I carried that approach with me over many years and many brands of pools. Sometimes I attach the plates to the channels, if it does not alter anything I have done in setting the braces. Many times the plates just lay there and get covered with sand.

Pool designers started using the plates as ways to keep an installer from messing up the brace assembly. If they all attach to the channel, and then to each other, it's harder to mess up. I don't need the extra help, or the extra aggravation, so I stay very flexible when it comes to pressure plates.

But I also build all my oval pools complete before I even think about spreading out sand, and in most cases, before I even think about setting the plates.

In your situation, if I really liked the way the pool looked without the plates, I would flatten them out and lay them in place over the channels, cover them with sand and be done with it.

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