What Kind of Sand for an Above Ground Pool

by Becky

Hello and thanks in advance for the help. We are digging out and installing an expandable liner this year in our 24' round.

We are just about ready for the sand and so dad went to the store and to get it and they gave him pool filter sand. I see you suggest masonry sand for under the liner but when I do a search of our local hardware and building centers for masonry sand, they show play sand and Quickrete All Purpose Sand.

I can't seem to find a source for "masonry" sand, will either of those mentioned here work? Thanks again for your help. Becky

Hi Becky.

The sand you want to avoid is the filter sand. Filter sand, or silica sand, is so fine that some of the particles can act like little needles under the liner. You need to go with a courser type of sand. I have never been fond of the bags of play sand, they are not consistent in quality and are very dirty and dusty.

The type of sand I recommend comes from a sand and gravel yard, or possibly a masonry supply yard. It is the stuff they use in the cement mix for block walls.

This type of sand is called mortar sand or masonry sand. It may also help to specify washed mortar sand. This type of sand is washed and damp when you buy it. Using wet sand in your pool is ideal. It smooths out and packs much better than dry sand.

I have tried wetting down the sand that comes out of the bags of play sand and it turns to mud. That's not at all what you want under your pool, it is impossible to work with.

I'm not sure if they still do, but for a while Home Depot carried large burlap bags full of mortar sand. They were probably five hundred pounds and a fork lift would load them into your truck. This was the real stuff, stuff you could use under an above ground pool.

Comments for What Kind of Sand for an Above Ground Pool

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May 03, 2012
How about Concrete Sand
by: Chris

Getting ready to install a 24' round above ground pool. I have a local landscape supply that delivers "concrete" sand. It is the yellow sand, I think a bit thicker than masonry sand. Would the concrete sane be an acceptable base for the liner?

Hi Chris.

It sounds like it would be just fine. You want to avoid anything too course so you may want to check that.

May 03, 2015
by: jackie

Is it okay to use sand with limestone in it to put under our pool?


It should be OK, as long as it is not too course.

May 20, 2015
what about using aglime
by: Anonymous

Does anyone know if you could use aglime instead of sand? It's real fine and packs well.

May 21, 2017
How much sand I need for A 22ft.x 52in. above ground pool
by: Anonymous

How much sand I need for A 22ft.x52inch above ground pool?


It should use about three tons.

May 21, 2018
by: Anonymous

Is leveling sand okay to use under an above ground pool?

How much sand would be needed for a pool that is 18' x 4' deep? Thank You!!


We use about 2 1/2 tons of mortar sand for that size pool. I'm not sure what leveling sand is.

May 05, 2020
Alternate to Mortar sand
by: Anonymous

In my area masonry/mortar sand is the absolute most expensive option. I'm wondering about a next best option - local quarries offer play sand and concrete sand and paver sand. Concrete sand is screened at 3/16" and washed. Paver sand is "washed and finer than concrete" and the play sand is washed but fine. Suggestions?


Not being able to see the sands in question I would use the mortar sand. You might want to closely inspect your options and then decide.

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