A Beginner’s Guide to Above Ground Pool Installation

So you’ve purchased an above ground pool – congratulations! You are in for many seasons of fun, relaxation, and backyard enjoyment. Before you can take advantage of the many benefits your pool has to offer, however, it will be necessary to have it properly installed.

Some pools in this category are extremely easy to install. Just place the pool on a flat piece of ground, perhaps on a pool pad, and then begin to fill it up with water. The pool will expand as the water levels rise, providing you with a self-contained pool in just an hour or two. Just make sure you don’t drag the pool to its location so it isn’t inadvertently punctured or scratched.

If you are installing a framed above ground swimming pool, the steps are a bit more complicated. You’ll need to prep the installation site, build the frame, and install your pumps and filtering components. Here are the steps that you’ll want to follow.

  1. Prepare the area for your swimming pool. Your swimming pool needs to be on ground that is completely level. That means no tree roots, rocks, or other obstructions can be in the way. To determine if your ground is level, find the center point of where your pool will be and then measure out the radius of the pool. If the level shows a bubble between the lines, then it is level. If not, you’ll need to get the ground level.

Most above ground pools as a permanent installation cannot be placed on grass. This means you’ll need to remove the sod. Once the sod is removed, rake the area to clean it and then tamp it down so that it is firm, flat, and level.

  1. Build your bottom ring. There will be resin plates, bottom cuffs, or metal plates with your frame. The stabilizer will be crimped on a single side. The bottom rail is straight and larger than the stabilizer. Lay out all of these components at your installation site. Then slide the bottom rail into your bottom plate as instructed. Measure to make sure your pool is the correct size and then stake into place.
  2. Support the base of the pool. Once the ring is in place, you can add support for the base of the pool. Make sure each plate is level. Placing a patio block under each bottom plate makes the process easier. Then remove a bottom rail to bring in the sand that the pool will sit on. You’ll need up to 6 yards of sand spread evenly across the pool area for best results.
  3. Install the pool wall. Once the bottom of the pool is level, you’ll be able to install the walls for your pool. A good tip here is to make sure that your skimmer cutout is on the top portion of the wall. It’s easy to get that turned upside down and need to start over on this step. It’s also easier to use landscaping stakes to hold the wall in place as you build it up, though if you have some extra sets of helping hands, they can hold it in place as well.

Here’s a pro tip: Having the wall of an above ground pool not properly line up at the end is a common installation issue. It’s also the reason behind many negative public reviews for pools of this type. Fixing this issue is easy: just adjust your bottom rails in or out of the bottom plates so you get a secure and even fit around the pool.

  1. Put your hardware into place. Your above ground swimming pool will have instructions for placing the hardware into the wall so that it is secure. You may need to attach wall bars on some models – line them up around the pool, inside and out, and connect them with the included nuts and bolts one set at a time. Remember that wall bars should not touch each other. The bolts can also ruin a liner – cover them with duct tape to prevent damage.
  2. Install your liner. Wet the sand and tamp the entire bottom area once again. Then rake it for the best possible results. Drop your liner into the pool and lay it out. Don’t step on your liner with shoes, even if the instructions say that you can. Snap the liners into place using the indicated track around the walls of the pool. Some liners require coping strips, others will not. Work any wrinkles to the outside of the pool and then install the stabilizer.
  3. Install your top plates, rails, and covers. When you’ve taken the time to get the previous steps right, then this step will take no time at all. Make sure your uprights are straight before placing the top plates into them. Tighten as indicated. Then install the top rails and tighten them into place. Then place your top covers onto the uprights.
  4. You’re ready to fill the swimming pool. You can still work out some liner wrinkles with your feet as the pool begins to fill. Double-check to make sure there aren’t any sharp objects in there that could damage your liner. Then fill up the pool halfway. Check for leaks. If all looks good, then install your skimmer, filter, and pump. Once that is completed, finish filling your swimming pool. Check for leaks once again.
  5. Create safety rules for your pool. There may be safety warnings that come with your pool. Make sure they get installed. Many warranties are considered void if you do not add warning labels that come with your pool. Contact your pool’s manufacturer if no warning labels came with your pool and don’t use it until they get installed. Then have posted safety rules. This is necessary insurance should someone come onto your property and use your pool inappropriately.

Give yourself a full day or a weekend to get the installation completed. In return, you’ll have a great above ground swimming pool that you’ll be able to use season after season for lots of family fun.

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