Best Swimming Pool Base

by Al

I'm about to set up a 24' round above ground pool. I read on your site about someone putting a 15' on Styrofoam, sticking out at least 6".

Can that be done on a 24'? Base plates, rails and all? Thanks

Hi Al.

There is no reason this cannot be done. The Styrofoam will easily hold the pool.

The recommended way of doing this is to put the foam inside the pool and to use preformed pool cove.

Pool Cove and Foam Pads

But as I have said before, I have set up many above ground pool on top of sheets of foam. These were indoor display pools, but they held up just fine.

My problem with setting an entire pool on foam is the foam getting damaged on the outside. If you run the foam out beyond the pool by a foot or so, and protect it from animals and insects, you should be just fine. What I do not know is the long term effects of this method over the years. Indoors, for a couple of seasons, it works just fine.

I have no reason to believe it would not work fine outdoors. It might even be the answer to all of the winter damage that's been going on the last few years.

Find more advice on using foam on these pages.

Styrofoam For Above Ground Pool

The Best Above Ground Pool Base

Base For Above Ground Pool

Foam Pool Base

Pool Floor Pads

Pool Underlay

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Rice Hulls Base

by Laurie Loving
(Davis, CA)

What a lucky break to find this website! I'm about to partially bury a 12 x 20, 4 ft Doughboy in the ground, leaving 18 inches above ground for easier access for wheelchair users. I will be using this pool primarily for providing aquatic bodywork to clients. This means I'm walking around the pool with my knees slightly bent, floating and supporting my client.

My pool dealer only recommends rice hulls with foam on top. She says the foam will prevent the floor from being too soft from the rice hulls, leaving footprints/holes that collect dirt and are bumpy. What do you think about all this? If you agree, how many inches should the hulls and foam be?

Thanks! Laurie

Hi Laurie

I have heard the rice hulls talked about but never used them. I think with foam over top they would be just fine. 1" foam should be fine, I would think.

Your biggest concern with an oval pool are the pressure plates. Make sure the brace structure and plates are well packed in with dirt and then the rice. If you gently slope from the cove area, over the plates, to the center, the foam should lay flat enough to be workable.

Comments for Rice Hulls Base

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Jun 18, 2012
Rice Hulls
by: Anonymous

We are a supplier of rice hulls and have lots of calls for them for doughboy pools. Feel free to call us at 916-419-8613. Thank you Pacific Ag Commodities.

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Pool On Top Of Wood Deck

by Kyle
(Wilmington, North Carolina )

I just purchased a 15' by 48" above ground pool for my rental home. Because I only rent the home I cannot dig and tear up the yard.

To make the pool level I was going to build a 16' by 16' deck to set the pool on. I haven't seen any posts about having a pool on a deck, are there any problems with doing that?

Also what should I use under the bottom to protect the liner from being damaged by the decking wood?
Thank you

Hi Kyle.

There is nothing wrong with installing an above ground pool on a wood deck. Make sure your under structure is strong enough to hold the weight of the water, that's really not that hard to do.

You have a few choices for the pool base. If you are using a smooth plywood this combination would work just fine.

Above Ground Pool Preformed Pool Cove

Regardless of the pad you choose I would definitely use the preformed pool cove. If your pool floor is a little ruff you may need a thicker pad like indoor/outdoor carpet or 1" 4' x 8' Styrofoam sheets.

Here is a very good example of the foam sheets being used as a pool base.

Revamped 21' Pool

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Adding Sand To Make Base Higher

by M. Janes
(Southern Maine)

We are installing a used 24' AGP. It is 52" tall. My husband has dug down about 4" and added a stone dust base and has put up the frame of the pool (minus the liner).

We want our 6 yr old son and other kids his age to reach safely in the pool. The problem is that right now from the base to the water level (the skimmer) will be 42" (which is taller than he is).

Can we add more sand to the base to make the pool depth lower as long as we backfill the outside of the pool as high as the inside pool base? Hope this isn't too confusing. Thanks for any help!


This is not something I would recommend doing. That much sand would leave you with nothing but footprints. The sand would not pack and the more the pool was used the worse it would get. You could raise the inside with other material but the problem would be keeping the inside and outside pressure balanced. The pool frame would have to hold the inside pressure until the pool had water in it, and the outside could be backfilled.

I have been asked this many times and have never been willing to do it for a customer.

I have, however, raised four daughters in above ground pools and depth has never been a problem. They start out with water wings and other inflatables. Soon the wings are off and they are swimming. As long as they have a ladder to swim to and some stuff to play with, they could care less about the depth of the pool. And have you noticed how fast kids grow, it was like no time at all between installing my first pool and my baby was a lifeguard at the public pool. I raised four fish and water depth was never a problem. You can trust me on this one, they will just love the pool.

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