Proper Base For Above Ground Pool

by Elizabeth Batchelor
(Orange, Texas, USA)

After the ground is level, then sand on top and packed with a plate compactor. My question is would foam board go next and that is all or after foam board to I need a tarp or happy bottom or gorilla pad? Very confused.


Hi Cissy.

I'm not sure if you are installing a soft sided pool, a frame pool or a steel wall pool, as they are all a bit different.

For a soft side or a frame pool you could probably stop after packing the sand. At least that is what I would do. They pool will then be just fine being installed on top of the packed sand.

For a steel wall pool I would do it much different. It would go something like this.

Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

The sand is piled in the center of the pool after the frame is set and leveled. Then the wall is put up and secured. The sand is then spread and smoothed. I seldom put anything over the sand. I prefer smoothing the sand and jumping out of the pool. All my liners are installed from the outside of the pool, leaving the sand smooth and free of footprints. This page shows a liner being installed from outside of the pool, like I do most of mine, with or without a deep end.

Expandable Liner Installation

Comments for Proper Base For Above Ground Pool

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Jul 17, 2011
Proper Base For Above Ground Pool
by: Elizabeth Batchelor

Thank you for all of your help. With your advise we were able to set-up our Intex Ultra Metal Frame 24 x 52. It is almost full and we look forward to enjoying the rest of the summer. We upgraded from a 16 x 42 easy set pool that was given to us earlier this summer.

Again, thanks for everything.


Jul 20, 2012
Base issue or friend issue
by: Bryan

My friend bought a 14 foot round pool with metal frames. She has now picked a spot as round as the pool and laid down a ton of sand, which is probably 5 to 6 inches deep on the one side to level the ground. She has no framed supports on the outside of the sand to contain it. I've told her many times (fought with her about it) that she needs to support the sand before setting it up. But she says it's fine. Do I just walk away and let her learn the hard way or keep persisting? 4000 gallons is a lot of damaging water.

Hi Bryan. I think it just depends on how close your yard and home is to her pool.

I don't recommend sand for leveling, it's not the way to do it properly.

You are right, however, she should at least have a supporting frame around the sand. That and all the support posts need to be set on blocks.

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