An above-ground pool is a great way to enjoy the benefits of a swimming pool without the associated costs, which can often be prohibitive. When installing an above-ground pool, it is extremely important to ensure that the ground is level before filling the pool with water. There are numerous ways in which this can be done without the need for major excavation.
There are numerous ways in which the ground can be leveled without digging, to ensure that your new pool is able to sit on level ground. This includes the use of sand, a concrete slab, solid foam, crushed stone, a rolling tamper, or pavers. Which of these methods to use depends on several factors.
It is relatively easy to level the ground for a pool without digging, and this article will explain numerous ways in which this can be achieved while also explaining the reasons for leveling the ground in the first place.
Why Is It Important to Ensure The Ground Is Level?
It is extremely important to ensure that the ground is level before placing a pool. This is due to safety concerns for the users of the pool, as well as concerns for the integrity of the pool itself.
A pool placed on uneven ground, even if only a few inches difference from one end to the other, will cause a discrepancy in the water levels.
Uneven depths will be present, which will not only cause issues with the pool’s structure, but could present potential problems for users where depth is an issue.
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For example, young children could potentially be endangered by a major change in water depth. This difference in depth will also affect the aesthetic aspect of the pool, where an uneven pool can simply be aesthetically unpleasant.
Uneven ground can potentially cause major issues with the pool walls. This is because an uneven distribution of water in the pool will cause a difference in pressure on different areas of the pool walls.
NOTE: This discrepancy in pressure levels can cause unnecessary strain on the pool walls, potentially causing the pool walls to burst open. This sudden pressure release could cause injury to anybody standing near the pool as well as to users inside the pool at the time.
Another potentially damaging factor would be the presence of rocks, stones, or other features of the ground, which would cause it to be uneven. The presence of any such features underneath the swimming pool can easily cause tearing of the pool liners.
These damaged liners would result in a broken and unusable swimming pool, so it is important that you avoid this occurrence as far as possible.
Steps To Take Before Levelling
There are several steps that should be taken before embarking on your leveling project. These will ensure the success of the leveling, and therefore the subsequent success of the swimming pool project itself.
1. Find The Right Location
Due to the difficulty associated with moving a pool once it has been filled with water, it is important that the correct location is found before the pool is placed.
The flatter the area chosen, the better, as this will ensure the least amount of work needed to create a completely level surface for the pool.
2. Clean The Chosen Location
The chosen location must be free of any debris and obstructions. This includes grass, plants, rocks, etc. The ground upon which the pool is to be placed must be completely barren and smooth.
TIP: Grass must be removed, and the easiest way to do this is to place a tarpaulin over the area. This will kill the grass, which will, in turn, make it easier to clear the area.
3. Inspect The Chosen Area
The area must be inspected for potentially uneven regions. There exists technology that allows you to determine the areas that are uneven; however, this can also be done with the naked eye.
4. Test The Area
Testing the area can be done simply by using a plank and placing it down on the surface to see where the ground is uneven. Lower parts can be built up to ensure a level surface.
5. Correct Levels
Any uneven areas must be corrected before you can proceed. This involves moving piles of mud, sand, rocks, or stones. Any tree stumps in the area should also be removed to ensure an even surface.
Best Solutions For Levelling
There are numerous solutions for leveling the ground for your above-ground swimming pool. Some of the best methods are as follows:
The use of sand is one of the cheapest ways in which to level the ground without digging, and it is far easier to level the sand than it is to level the ground itself.
Sand can, however, be washed away or become dislodged, which means it is often unreliable to use for leveling.
Concrete allows for a smooth, flat surface with a sufficiently rough texture to ensure that the pool remains in place when full.
This rough surface may cause potential tears in the pool’s wall surface, and so it is normal practice to install an additional layer between the concrete and the pool.
Foam can be used between the pool and the concrete, but it can also be used to level the ground. Solid foam can be placed directly over the grass to create a level surface upon which to place a pool.
This foam, usually made of polyurethane or polystyrene, is usually expensive, which can be prohibitive for some.
Crushed stone is a better alternative to sand, but it must be properly crushed to ensure there are no jagged edges which could potentially tear the pool’s external skin.
A rolling tamper may assist in leveling the ground to some degree without the need for digging. This will work only if the area is already quite flat to begin with.
Pavers can be used as leveling blocks to create a smooth, solid and level surface upon which to place your above-ground pool.
How To Level The Ground
- Screw 2 2” by 4” boards together alongside one another, ensuring the length is 2’ longer than the total diameter of the pool.
- Lay the boards down on the chosen area and place a level on top. Adjust the planks until they are level, and measure the distance from the underside of the plank to the ground below.
- Drill a hole through the middle of the plank and secure a metal rod through the hole, securing the planks to the ground. Pour sand on the low end of the chosen region and then rotate the boards until the sand is level.
- Wet the sand and tamp it down until it is hard and compact.
- Drive a metal stake into the center of the proposed pool.
- Attach a piece of string (6” longer than the pool’s radius) and tie it to the stake. Attach a can of spray paint to the end of the string and mark the ground at the point at the end of the string. Remove any obstructions (including grass) from the area contained within your painted circle.
- Create a wooden plank level by using a 1” x 6” plank which is also 6” longer than the pool’s radius. Attach a level to the plank on the narrow edge using duct tape, and hammer a 4” wooden stake into the ground in place of the metal stake, flush with the ground. Drive a nail through the plank, attaching it to the stake, allowing the entire thing to pivot around the pool area.
- Pivot the plank slowly around the pool area, leveling the soil. Continue this until the plank is able to rotate 360 degrees without stopping.
- Finally, spread a layer of finely crushed limestone over the newly leveled area, and finish it off by wetting, tamping, and leveling it with the plank. Continue adding soil and limestone until the area is flat, compact, and completely level.
If the above methods are employed, you will be assured of a flat, level surface for your swimming pool which will serve its purpose for years to come. Do not compromise on the preparation, and you will be assured of a good result.
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