Site prep for pool (above ground)

I am going to scrape an area level for an above ground pool. Is earth okay or do I need to lay done some sand? Stone? How much do you think? The pool, with decking, is 45' X 20'.
Thank you. Ed
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check with pool mfg you are going to want to bring in some sand and have the area VERY flat
Wayne

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I did a 30' diameter DoughBoy pool. The round area just under the pool will have to be flat. The more you work on making it flat, the happer you will be when it is all said and done. Local pool suppliers can recommend different "bases" for these pools that run from common types of sand to some spendy ones that have styrofoam balls in them.
It is tough to get a flat area, get the sand on there, and then get the pool and liner in there and all shifted around and just the first two inches of water in it. Stop there, cause if all ain't right, you ain't moving the thing. Still, you will have footprints and things in your pool bottom, no matter HOW MUCH care you take. But, if you have a good underlayment of the proper sand, you can live with a slightly bumpy bottom. The rest of the area where the wood goes can go right over caliche or hard rock. But you want your base that is right under the water envelope to be RIGHT.
Take yer time. Ask around. Call around, pretending you are buying and want to know what they are going to use to install this according to your usual strict anal retentive standards. Then take that info and DIY!
It ain't simple, but it ain't rocket surgery, either. I bought a used 30 footer for $500, bought a new liner, and by the time I was swimming was $$$$$$ ahead of the game. You will learn things on this first one, but as long as you don't make any critical mistakes, you can live with a few anomalies.
JUST GET THE BASE LEVEL AND THE RIGHT THICKNESS OF THE RIGHT MATERIAL.
Steve
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Thanks for all the info, sounds great, and encouraging.
ed

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I'm sure the manufacturer will have some recomendations. As others have said level is critical. I think flat is probably even more critical (1 or 2 inches out of level over 45' isn't going to matter too much IMO.
I did this job with my father and uncle when I was a kid. The pool was circular. IIRC we had a long board, the diamiter of the pool, attached to a steak in the exact middle. We spund the thing around with ropes attached to the ends and a level on the board. The board smoothed out the sand and when we were done we had a level surface. I do not remember stone. No grass poking through though.
Consider how the sand base for pavers is done. They use a couple of pices of pipe layed at the proper height, level, etc. then dump sand and screed off using a board. That is how I think I would do yours.

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The ground where the sides are placed needs to be level, but I would not make the ground flat all the way across. I would dish out the middle slightly, maybe 6 inches or so. It makes it easier to keep the pool clean. All the dirt settles towards the middle.

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I have setup many of the bigger units many for friends a few for myself over the years as I moved.
The biggest problem is grading, never add topsoil back, Always try and grade down and leave a little extra to add sand back.
If need to fill always use what some call pack (small gravel and stone dust) this stuff packs down good. Then will use a couple of inches of and over that.
I go the extra mile to make sure I never have any issues, A little extra but should make for less trouble later.
I use a laser level to make sure all my grading work is as level as can, not too precise at this point but close. I use a ground cover, we have red clay soil down in the south, if wet stuff just sinks into it like gravel and sand so a ground cover keeps everthing seperated since being around a lot of water. then I add the gravel/stone dust fill, level and compact good (This is alomost like putting in pavers). I will use large patio pavers, I use 18 inch but 12 inch would do, placed where every side post will be. I then use my laser level to get all level to each other, very level, I did out a little getting the top of the concreate pavers about level with the compacted gravel base. I assemble the sides and all posts according to instructions. Then I use another layer of ground cover fabric (I have use 1/4 inch pink insulation foam once) then lay a good amount of sand and level, Most installations I have done requires a bevel of sand around the sides of about 8 inches or can by precut beveled foam. Install liner per instructions.
Doing the above prep I have never had a liner to leak and the pool is as level as it can get and will stay that way. Once I was filling a pool from a large water supply (75 gal min) and over filled the pool. When I shut the water off the water level was perfectly at the top all around the pool, that level.
I have other friend that did liitle prep work to their site and later had stones work their way up to touching and wearing a hole in the bottom of their liners.
I also see many pools with dirt backfilled up against the sides of these pools. I always use some landscaping timber and keep and area between higher ground and the pool that is gravel filled and drained with a wood decking covering that area. Nicer and the pool lasts longer.
Also, IF can afford to do so, Get the bigest can get, stay away from cheaper models and use a beaded liner, not the kind that overlaps the wall edge and is held in place by plastic covers, These will eventually tear much easier. Also keep in midn that pool wall hight is not the water level hight, water will be several inches below the hight of the wall.
Also if can use a sand type filter and always use a bigger pump that the ones that come with the sale packages. Best to get a two speed pump, slow speed always on to keep the pool clean even when swimming, Higher seppd for ceaning and backflusing the filter.
Cartridge filters are a pain and have to be replaced often and are expensive.
I also have had better luck with having a wooden deck with an attached ladder, Not those flimsy ones that are like a step ladder, But do need a good strudy deck built.
MC

okay
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Thanks MC!
Ed H

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