Happy Bottom Pool Pad = Bad Choice
This blog will likely change your mind about using Happy Bottom Pool Pad under your pool liner. I'm sure some people will give me flack for this one, but people ask me about Happy Bottom, and I am going to tell those who are willing to listen. I will also give you info on what works best for under pool liners and why.
If you searched Happy Bottom you are like most pool owners, willing to spend a little extra money to protect your investment and improve your swimming pool experience. I commend you for this as it is a worthy cause. But sadly this product is not the answer to your quest. In short, my opinion is that Happy Bottom Pool Pad does nothing to protect, prolong or improve your above ground swimming pool. Please read along as I explain in detail what this product really is, and why you should not use it during your pool liner change or swimming pool installation.
What Is Happy Bottom Pool Floor Pad
Happy Bottom pool pad is a foam based pool pad designed for above ground pool installations. It is made from special high density polyethylene foam about 1/4" thick. The maker says it acts as a vapor barrier, keeping potentially harmful water away from metal components while smoothing out the bottom for a flat and more appealing surface. There are several problems with this product that I am going to address in this blog. But first lets start with the understanding that an above ground pool structure would last indefinitely if it did not eventually succumb to corrosion. And that the wall of the above ground pool is by far the most important piece of the pool. The pool wall holds back all of the water weight, and if it fails, the entire pool would collapse. Other components like top ledges, upright posts etc. are simply decoration and are not structurally important. This becomes quite obvious when you observe many of these parts are plastic and sometimes have no screws holding them together. Now that we know the pool wall is by far the most important piece of the pool, we can conclude that the longer this remains in good condition, the longer the pool will last. Interestingly though, above ground pool walls usually rust from the inside out. So by the time you observe rust developing on the outside of the pool, it's often too late. The inside of the pool wall likely looks like something from the Titanic, rusty beyond repair. Some pools rust quicker than others, and for some very good reasons. If you are dealing with rust on your pool wall please read our blog "Rusty Pool Walls" for tips on sizing up the rust damage and dealing with it properly.
Happy Bottom And Pool Rust
All pool liners give off condensation, similar to a cold glass of water outside on a hot summer day. This condensation runs down the pool wall and is absorbed by the ground below. When you block the flow of the condensation into the ground, the water remains trapped between the pool and the Happy Bottom or Happy Feet. With nowhere to go, the pool walls remain wet around the clock and never have a chance to dry out. This constant moisture against the pool wall will cause premature rust out. American made pools fare much better than the import models from overseas. This is because of the galvanized walls, it is a tough coating and slows the corrosion process. But given time to work, the constant moisture still finds a way. I have seen pools that would normally last 15-20 years rust away in 2-3 years time. I cannot stress how important it is for the swimming pool to be able to breathe.
Bad News For Happy Bottom
Happy Bottom is only one of the products that do more damage to an above ground pool that good. Others like Perfect Bottom, plastic sheeting, Styrofoam, roofing paper etc. all share the same issue and will destroy your investment. The rule of thumb here is to remember: 'If water cannot pass through the material, it is bad for your pool".
More Bad News For Happy Bottom
2.) Any material 1/4" thick will have very little effect on the contour of the pool floor. This product will not fill in ruts , dents or any other imperfections and is far from pool padding.
3.) Happy Bottom does not stop Nut sedge, Nut Grass or any other stubborn weed from growing through it. And it will not stop gophers, moles, Johnny Rats or insects from damaging the pool liner either.
4.) Installing Happy Bottom requires you to cut and tape pieces of thin foam sheets together. You do this with dark blue Sure Seam tape. The problem is that after the pool liner is installed, you end up with stripes on the floor of your swimming pool. This is because the dark tape shows through the pool liner, making the pool bottom look ridiculous. And if this is not bad enough, after some time has passed, the pool floor bottom becomes covered in dark patches. This is because the trapped moisture between the liner and Happy Bottom turns to mold and this shows up against the white background of the Happy Pool Bottom. Yuck!!
It may sound like I have a grievance with Happy Bottom, but I do not. It simply does no good for your pool. In fact we have access to this product but choose not to sell it for the reasons listed above. I have installed thousands of swimming pools over several decades and have seen first hand what works and what doesn't when it comes to above ground pool floor padding and liner protection. So I can confidently say that this product serves no useful purpose and that I would not use Happy Bottom on my own pool even if it were free of charge. If you are interested in putting something worthwhile under your pool liner, use Armor Shield. I cover this in detail in another blog about Armor Shield and Gorilla Pad. If you have questions about this blog, this product or any other pool related issues please call or email us. [email protected]. Thanks for reading!