All you need to know about above ground pools

pool
In the hot summer months nothing can replace the feeling of swimming in your cooled pool after work. Pools are often considered as the privilege of the rich but nowadays when we can buy all sorts of above ground pools for reasonable price, everybody can have a pool in their backyard. If you want to have a nice long lasting above ground pool you need to learn how to mount it, where to mount it and how to maintain it. In this article we will explain you all you need to know about above-ground pools.

Positioning of the pool

First of all you need to find the location for your pool. It all depends of the size of your backyard and the size of the pool you want to mount but in every situation there are some ground rules that have to be followed. Don’t put your pool under trees, shade may seem as a good idea but when you start to clean leaves, branches and bugs from the pool you will realise that the umbrella is much better solution if you want shade over your pool. Also try to locate the pool in the wind protected area of your backyard. Normally you can’t eliminate the wind but it is much more comfortable to exit the pool when there isn’t to much wind and there is far less dirt in the pool. When placing the pool try to avoid underground pipes because the weight of the water can damage them. Pool are considered as the private place for relaxation, so you try to locate the pool in the part which can’t be seen from your neighbours yard if possible.

Preparing the site

When you decided what pool to buy and where to place it, you must prepare the site for mounting the pool. You can place the pool on the soil, sand or concrete but it all depends on the size of the pool. By our opinion concrete is the best and cleanest solution but it is not a necessity if your pool is under 5 cubic metres. If you decide to make concrete base make sure that it is at least 4 feet wider than the pool. If you decide to mount your pool on soil you must follow some rules. First of all you have to dig the hole 2 inch wider than the pool and 10 inches deep. Then you need to clear all the branches, stones and other hard objects from the hole and pour 1/2 inch thick layer of sand in the hole and level the entire hole. Be advised that you have to put Pool Ground Cloth under the pool regardless of the type of the foundation used for the pool because the pool foil can’t be put on abrasive materials like sand, concrete or asphalt.
pool site





Pumps and filters

Depending of the size of your pool you will need the adequate pump and filter. Don’t buy the cheapest pump and filter because it may not be sufficient for your size of the pool. Always check the maximum volume of water for your pool and buy the pump and filter accordingly. There are three main types of filters: Cartridge filter, Sand filter and D.E. filter. The cheapest solution is the cartridge filter and it is good enough for pool up to 10 cubic metres. For bigger pools you will need sand filter or D.E. filter and a stronger pump. D.E. filter is the best solution if you want a crystal clean water because it removes particles up to 3 microns. Take notice that every filter needs to be operational at least 4 hours every day if you want your water to be clean, and for optimal results pump must run at least 8 hours every day. Also you will need a Leaf skimmer to remove leafs and bigger dirt from your pool.

Pools contain large amounts of water and that water is being polluted constanly with using the pool. The filter removes particles from the water but the water must be chemicaly treated as well. The water is usually desinfected with Chlorinating Tablets and it is the best way to keep your water chemicaly clean. Some people use salt for desinfection of the water but we don’t reccomend that because salt destroys metal elements of the pool and bleaches the pool foil. It is advised to check the quality of the water every few days with PH water tester. Ph values must be between 7,4 and 7,8, alkality of the water must be above 80 ppm, hardness of the water must be from 200 to 400 ppm and concentration of chlor must be between 1 and 3 ppm.  If all those values are met you will have a perfect pool water. The last thing you need to know about water treatment is to keep the algae away from your pool. Pool are basicly small lakes and if you don’t treat the water with Algaecide you will end up with algae in the water. If that already happened don’t panic, algae are living organism and they are not toxic, just empty the pool, clean it, fill it again and treat it with algaecide.

Choosing the pool

After we covered everything you need to know about above-ground pools it is time to choose what type is best for you. The cheapest ones are pools with inflatable ring and they are easiest to mount, you just have to level the surface and put the pool ground cloth, inflate the ring and pour the water. On the other hand, those type of pools are not solid and they are easily punctured because the foil and the ring are unprotected. The Metal frame pools are a much beter solution because they are usually much bigger and deeper than pools with inflatable ring. For those pools you will need to prepare the foundation carefully because they can hold large amounts of water. These pools lasts longer and they can’t be punctured so easily but the foil is also unprotected on the outer side. The best choice are Ultra frame pools which have metal or plastic frame on the outside so the foil is completely protected and those pools can last for years if they are properly maintained. We recommend that you put those kind of pools on the concrete base or to dig it into the ground like in the picture below. If you want to take your above ground pool experience to the next level then we recommend that you construct a deck on one side or around the entire pool. Check out ho easy is to make a pool deck from our DIY pool deck tutorial.

ultra frame pool
After you learned everything about above-ground pools it is time to get one and enjoy yourselves!

Thank you for sharing, Handyman tips team!
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26 comments

  1. Chucko

    We float semi intertubes in our pool to help water and wintering..my brother threw about 12 balls in after he pulls a foot of water off..keeps cover up..we hang gallon jugs of sand from cover to keep it tight..works great.

  2. Kent

    Draining and refilling a pool with 26,000 gallons of water is a very expensive way to treat an occasional alge bloom. Better to just shock it

  3. Handyman Tips

    Hi Linda,

    the water in the pool is intended mostly for children and we don’t recommend shocking the water with high concentration of algaecide! It’s much more healthier to drain the pool, do a thorough washing and pour fresh water in it!

  4. Linda

    If algae forms on the side walls you do not need to drain the pool. Use a wall brush to brush the algae off the walls and shock the water. High amounts of chlorine will kill the algae (can take up to 3 days to get clear) and you vacuum up what you can see.
    Draining pools is not recommended unless you absolutely have to.

  5. Beth

    Thank you so much for your suggestions! 🙂 I thought about the trench….. but instead of putting gravel in it I thought about putting dry concrete mix in the trench and then putting water on it to make a concrete barrier….. crazy little critters are really bout to get on my last nerve lol of course this battle has been going on for at least 3-4 summers lol my mom said I remind her of Bill Murray on the caddy shack movie lol but thank you again for your advice, it’s very much appreciated! :-))

  6. Handyman Tips

    Hi Beth,

    unfortunately there isn’t an easy solution to your problem! If you don’t want to move the pool to fix the issue then you’ll need to dig a trench around it at 1.5 feet deep and put a metal mesh in it or simply fill the whole trench with gravel! If you have the option to move the pool (this is the better solution) then just dig a hole in the shape of the pool 1 feet deep put 1/2 feet layer of gravel and then finish with dirt or sand and you’re safe 😉

  7. Beth

    Hi! I read your section about ground moles. It was pretty informative. However…… lol I do have an issue that wasn’t covered in that section. Ground moles….. under our above ground pool. These little b@stards are relentless! They have created divits around the edge of the pool wall under the pool liner. They come in about 6-12 inches from the wall and are about 2-3 inches deep. I tried to tell my hubby when we first put the pool up that we needed to fix a barrier to keep them out from under the pool. But he said no and tried to tell me that the moles wouldn’t dig in the sand lol I called BS lol but he still wouldn’t help me fix a barrier lol so now we got lovely mole divots in our pool! Any suggestions on keeping them away from our pool?? 🙂 thanks for any suggestions u can send my way! 🙂

  8. Paula Difranco

    Hi handyman man I live in Charlotte NC where should I look for someone to put a above ground pool and a deck

  9. Nick

    It is very important that when positioning the pool, you set it up on a flat level surface. Any unlevel ground will make the pool unstable when filled with water.

  10. Handyman Tips

    It depends if the algae is on the sides of the pool or just in the water! If the algae are on the sides of the pool it is best to drain the water and scrub the algae from the sides!
    Regardless of the algae we recommend changing the water completely every year!

  11. Anonymous

    My 24 foot by 4 foot pool is covered every year we take cover off water is really green I put lits of algeside and shock run filter continouse until it us all clear

  12. Janet

    I created a suction to drain our pool by placing both ends of a piece of old hose in the water to fill it up..when the bubbles stop place your finger over one end put it over the side. Drained all but about 2 inches.

  13. Handyman Tips

    Hi Jami!

    Unfortunately you can’t remove the algae if they already spread in the pool! Algaecide is designed to prevent the algae from forming! If the alga is already in the pool the algaecide will kill them but you can clean the residue and purify the water anymore! The only proper solution is to drain the water and thoroughly clean the whole pool with detergent and algaecide and the pour fresh water in!
    If you want to keep the water in the pool over winter you must pour the algaecide every month and stir the water!

  14. Jami

    My 24′ above ground pool is full of algae. The cover came off a couple months ago and we were unable to get it back on. (We just bought our house a few months ago) We are now trying to get the pool ready for swimming. It’s full of algie. We put 3/4 gallon of algacide in it and it’s still green. Any recommendations besides draining the pool?

  15. Handyman Tips

    Hi Pamm!

    most of above ground pools have a drain plug and the attachable hose on the side! Some of the cheapest models don’t have drain plugs, but you can easily install them yourself or use a garden hose DIY trick! Simply put one end of the garden hose on the bottom of the pool and the other end on the place where you want to drain the water! Make suction with you mouth until the water start to flow, simply leave the hose and the pool will drain completely 😉

  16. Handyman Tips

    Hi Debbie!

    There are several ways how above ground pools can be stored during the winter.
    The first one is to disassemble it and store it in the garage until the next summer, but that can be a big task if you have a large pool!
    The second one is drain the water and cover it with a protective cover but then you must put something in the middle of the pool which is at least 10 inches taller than the frame (like a ladder). Protective cover goes over the ladder and that ensures that the snow and water don’t collect in the middle of the cover! If you don’t put anything in the middle the weight of the water or snow will brake the cover or the frame of the pool!
    The third way is to keep the water in the pool and use protective cover with an air pillow like this http://amzn.to/1C7ZxCn
    We hope that helped you!

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