Above Ground Pool Installation
Above Ground Pool Installation: A Step by Step Guide
Investing in an above ground pool is an excellent idea for any homeowner. Not only are you giving yourself and your family a great spot to have fun or relax, but you're turning your backyard into a destination for friends and family.
Of course, above ground pools don't just "appear" one day – they require a rather detailed installation process. And whether you're installing the pool yourself or hiring a third-party to get the job done faster, you must understand what goes into bringing your new pool to life. These simplified instructions were used on above ground pools purchased from Poolsaboveground.com
. Depending on the type of pool you have, installation my be different. It is always a wise move to follow the maker's instructions or contact your retailer for installation details if needed.
The Tools of the Trade
Again, if you’re hiring an installer, they’ll provide all of the tools themselves. However, if you’ve purchased a pool kit and plan on doing the job yourself, you’ll need to ensure you have the following:
Skimmer and / or Return Fitting
Patio Blocks (1 for each bottom plate)
Step 1: Identifying the Proper Site
Though it might seem self-explanatory, both amateurs and professionals can make mistakes when it comes to finding the proper pool location. Generally, you want to identify a large, flat space in your yard that is at least six feet away from any slopes. If you have an oval pool model, you'll want to keep in mind that it will likely be buttressed on each side, which may add several feet to the overall size.
You'll also want to call the city to ensure you won't be covering up any utility lines or other underground obstructions. This will help ensure that your new pool meets all code requirements and you don't have to end up moving it. Lastly, don't attempt to install your pool on asphalt or oil-based surfaces, and be sure to stay clear of septic tanks, gas lines, electrical wires, and buried debris.
Step 2: Accurately Measure the Site
The next step is to measure and mark the area where you'll be building your pool. To start, you should find the center point of your pool by measuring off an existing solid object, such as your home or a tree. From there, measure ½ the width or length of the pool outward and place a landscaping steak. Generally, it's recommended to add an extra foot as you outline the frame of the pool to ensure you're compensating for any errors.
Step 3: Clear the Area
The next step is to clear the area you’ve just defined of debris such as sod, rocks, roots, and sticks. If you’re removing grass, a sod cutter can be rented from your local hardware store. You might also consider getting your hands on a large metal landscaping rake, which will help you identify buried (or partially buried) obstructions.
Step 4: Level the Area
Once the ground is clear, you'll want to use a leveler to find the highest points contained within the area. Use a shovel to dig these out and make them level with the lower sections. This is essential to the long-term integrity of your pool's frame, so pay attention to detail.
Step 5: Assemble the Bottom Rim
The bottom frame of your pool should come in the form of a rail or rim. Follow the instructions included with your individual model, but generally, you'll want to lay out the frame before attaching them. Next, use bottom plates or cuffs to join the rails to one other. Once your frame is in place, you'll want to re-check its measurements to ensure it forms a perfect"circle. Only after doing so should you stake the rails in place.
Step 6: Install Patio Blocks
To provide additional support for your frame, you may want to install patio blocks under each bottom plate. This means sinking the block into the ground and ensuring it is level and flush with the ground on all four sides. Keep in mind: if you install a block under one bottom plate, you need to do it for all of them. Once you have your frame in place and supported, you can install the sand base. As you spread the sane, be sure to tamp it down until it is flush with your bottom measurement.
Step 7: Assemble Your Pool’s Frame
You can now assemble your pool's uprights. The best way to do this is to get them all next to each other in a line, ensuring they are right side up as indicated in your pool's manual. It's a good idea to install them by placing the metal top plant on the upright and screwing in the center hole only. We'll actually install the screws into the side holes later.
Step 8: Construct the Wall
At this point, I highly recommend you locate exactly where you want to put the skimmer and return. This will allow you to start the wall behind the correct upright. I also recommend you use your landscaping stakes to support the wall as you move around the perimeter. Keep in mind that un-level ground may pop the wall out of the bottom track. This will need to be corrected as you go. Again – refer to your pool's installation manual for details.
Step 9: Install the Uprights
Install the uprights that hold your pool's walls in place by attaching them to the bottom plate or cuff. You can identify a plate because they require hardware, while a cuff will not. Your pool's manual should indicate which type of design you have. Once you have all the uprights in place, remeasure the pool to ensure it is still forming a perfect circle.
Step 10: Install the Pool Cove
The cove is an essential part of the above ground pool installation process, and you need to take special care to get it right. Using either a pre-formed foam cove kit
or well-sifted earth of sand, you’ll want to build a cove that is roughly 6” to 8” high inside the metal wall all around the circumference of the pool. This helps keep the liner from moving under the wall and separates it from any metal parts in the frame that might tear it.
Once you have your cove and base in place, it’s time to rake and tamp down the entire pool area once again. Ensure that no sand remains in wall above the cove, as it could eventually cause damage to your liner. To make tamping easier and ensure the sand is packed properly, I suggest using a garden hose to wet the surface.
Step 11: Install the Vinyl Liner
The vinyl liner is what actually forms the waterproof barrier for your pool's wall. If you currently have any stabilizers in place to support your frame, you'll want to remove them when it comes time to install the liner. At the same time, take care not to put the liner directly on top of the skipper or skimmer return outlets. For 100% assurance that you won't puncture the liner, I suggest you perform this section of the installation in your socks or bare feet.
Now, spread the liner out from the center of the pool, leaving any printed side facing up. You will have one of three types of liners, each with its own installation technique.
To install this type of liner, begin at the wall seam and hang the overlap liner over the top the wall. Make sure the seam is perfectly vertical, and secure it using the plastic coping strips. If there is some excess material in place, simply pull it liner over the edge so that it is evenly distributed around all of the sides.
Also known as “snap bead” liners, these are perhaps the easiest types of liners to install. Simply put the bead receiver around the pool and snap one liner bead into place at four adjacent points (usually in the form of an "X." If you're happy with how it looks, continue snapping each bead into place until the whole pool is covered. Once finished, double-check each bead to make sure it is secured in place. You don't want one or more to pull out of place when you start adding water.
The top of this liner will feature a "v-bead" design. To install, you'll merely open the bead with your fingers and hang the liner over top of the wall of the pool. If done correctly, the liner should fall into place without much effort. However, if you notice any creases or twisting in the pool wall, the liner is not properly seated in the pool. Be sure to fix this before moving on.
Step 12: Adjust the Liner
Once you're confident that the liner is secure, pull the wrinkles on the floor towards the sidewall as evenly as possible. If wrinkles remain (which is common), try to leave them at the coving rather than inside the pool area. Keep in mind that you don't want any air between the ground or the sidewall.
Now, to remove the wrinkles at the cove, you simply adjust the amount of material hanging over the wall. Just be sure not to pull it too tight! The last step in making sure your liner is properly set is to fill the pool with about 1” of water. If it runs to one side, you know to pull back the liner and make the ground more level.
NOTE: Don't cut the skimmer and return holes until your pool is 1/3 filled and you're confident that your liner is even.
Step 13: Install the Inner Stabilizer and Uprights
Once both the liner and coping are secure, you can install the first inner stabilizer rail over the plastic coping. Just be sure to keep one end of it slightly raised so that you can easily interlock the next one.
After this is complete, you'll be able to pull the front of the top plate over the stabilizer bar and install the final screws to the uprights. Again, you'll want to use a level to ensure the uprights are perfectly perpendicular to the base. This will guarantee the walls of your pool are as stable as possible.
Step 14: Attach the Top Rail
Most pools come with either resin or metal top rails. Both will require different hardware, which will be included in your pool kit. It's a good idea to perform this task with at least two people. After all, if you accidentally drop one of the rails into the pool, you may end up cutting the liner. That's the last thing you want at this point in the process! The proper procedure is to make sure all of the rails are in place and connected before screwing them down.
Step 15: Fill Your Pool
I suggest you fill the pool 1/3 or ½ of the way up before installing the skimmer and return fittings. Once these are in place, you can connect the remaining equipment, such as the pump and filter system. Once everything is in place and secure, fill up the rest of your pool!
As with anything else, the key to installing your own above ground pool is to prepare properly and pay attention to several key details. For instance, you must make sure the ground and frame are perfectly level. Failing to do so may weaken your pool walls over time and eventually cause it to fail.
Furthermore, any damage to the liner will put you back at square one. This means buying a new liner or repairing it before moving forward.
Still, once the job is complete, you'll be rewarded by being able to enjoy your new pool immediately. So, turn on the filter, put on your bathing suit, and jump right in. You've earned it!