I'm interested in putting in an above ground pool, but to save on the
cost of a large deck around it, I'd like to bury it. Our soil is very
compact, clay like, no rocks at all. I have read you can back fill with
sand and bury up to within 6" of the top of the pool. I understand rust
can be a problem, but would most likely use rubberized water proofing
material on the steel priori to burial.
Can this be done?
Any advice would be great. Thanks!
I don't know much about pools, so excuse anything I say that might be
I have seen pools that were simply holes dug in the ground with membranes
put over the dirt. Clay would seem ideal. As long as it was full of water,
it should be plenty stable. No?
I used to work with a guy who did this very thing. Dug a 4' hole and
put sand in the bottom, then installed the pool.
People don't tend to do this because the cost of digging the hole (and
locating/relocating all power, gas, water, and sewer lines) is high.
Check with whoever your planning nazis are, here you need a 6' fence
around pools. You may need a permit.
Never really thought about doing just a hole with membrane. Wonder
what the downside is if any.
Things to consider.
An above ground pool is a temporary structure for tax purpose. You don't
pay anymore property tax, than if you didn't have it. On an inground pool,
your property taxes will go up since it's permanent. I'm sure there are
some areas in the country, where this may not apply.
A pool inground, will need heated since below ground stays at around 55
degrees. An above ground pool will need heated according to outside air
temperature and location relative to direct sunlight.
As already mentioned by someone, you will need a fence around an inground
pool. I believe just about everywhere in the country, a 4' high above
ground pool, does not need a fence, just a locking ladder or locking access
Insurance for an above ground pool, is almost always covered by standard
homeowners insurance. Inground pools need a rider policy.
Now onto problems which you would have to deal with.
Above ground pumps are not self-priming, you would have to buy one that is.
The skimmer and return should be above ground.
Of course the rust would be the least of your worries.
Depending on your location, for freeze/thaw, I would be concerned about the
pool pushing inward at the top. This would be the area that you would drain
water below the skimmer, but water will get between ground/pool and do the
damage since this would be the least resistant with no outward pressure.
(don't know if I explained this right, but I gave it my best shot!)
The cost of a deck, is relatively moot, when considering everything else.
around here they have in ground pools with wooden sides and vinyl
liners. a old friend had a pool business doing this kinda install.
way cheaper than steel reinforced concrete...
depending on the area a in ground can drive down the price of a home
for sale since they are a lot of work and few people want them.
in any case you need a fence for your and others safety, imaagine the
horror of coming home and finding someone dead in your pool.
that occured to a realtive of mine a neighbor went for a dip and
they had the pool bulldozed and filled in then had to move, with the
neighbors kids still there it was so sad.
Good info from all, thanks so much. The frost heave issue concerns me.
We're 8 miles out in the country on 6 acres (should have said that)
with no real access to our property, and there are lots of things more
dangerous than a pool should someone decide to come onto the property
and mess around (they'd have to make a very hard effort.) No zoning
codes apply out here for the digging, or the pool. Taxation is likely
an issue, but as I understand it, if it's 12" out of the ground
(partially buried) it's not a big deal.
Some good things to consider though. I do like the idea of a deck, just
might need to do some more figuring on the materials cost. I'd do all
of the work myself. AND, when the kids move out, I don't have a big
hole in the ground (well, other than my pond.)
Interesting about the membrane though, the soil here is like carving a
statue, when we dug the hole for our house, it was like brick on the
sides of the hole.
Keep the ideas coming!
you still need fence, my friend who had a pool removed part of his
fence and a deer got stuck in the pool. he managed to get it out but
can you imagine the YUK if it had died in that pool? beyond which the
hoofs would of ruined the liner, a big part of the cost of a pool.
besides your own kids....
Good luck on your pool. I always loved the nieghbors pool as a kid (and
I never want to own one now).
If your property is really this dangerous, maybe you should consider
remedying the situation. The "zoning nazis" as another poster put it,
may be a pain. But safety regulations do have a kernel of truth to
them. You ARE (partially) liable if people get hurt on your property
due to your negligence, even if they didn't belong there in the first
place. Both legally, and IMO, morally.
8 miles isn't so far for a couple of kids out biking and getting into
mischief. Do you have any neighbors? Is there a road nearby (and say a
stranded driver comes to your house for help)? Might a hiker wander on
to your property by accident? Do you have visitors sometimes, ever?
There are lots of reasons why someone might end up on your property.
And if your carelessness kills them, you will be responsible.
Your pool should get a fence. But first maybe you should do something
about your "more dangerous" stuff.
I should have mentioned our entire property is fenced, so if you can
hope that fence, you can hop the pool fence (they would both be privacy
By "more dangerous" I didn't mean to imply I have land mines out here
or whatever, but I have traps for gophers out and about, a trampoline,
a travel trailer that could be crawled under, pointy sticks, etc.
Most of us have this stuff in our own yards, and frankly, it's possible
for someone to get hurt in almost every yard.
We do have neighbors, but in an area like this (very rural), it's
extremely unlikely someone would get a flat tire, come up to the house
for help, decide to take a dip in the pool, and die. It's kind of
ludicrous to say that, but given the odds there, I should also put in a
meteor shelter in case the mailman should get hit by a giant falling
The deer issue is a real one though, and something I hadn't considered.
The heating of the pool in competition with the ground temperature is a
bigger issue for me.
The wife and I decided (along with the help from you guys) that Above
Ground is above ground, and we'll simply build maybe a 1/4 deck around
it to provide a sitting area.
Thanks so much!
That's good. I jumped on you because it didn't seem you had any sort of
fence at all. And I'' assume your fence is continuous all the way
around the perimeter and you have a gate across the driveway(s).
Otherwise I'd still say you need a pool fence with no gaps.
That's a relief!
Are these potentially life threatening or nearly so? Like an old
fashioned bear trap? I don't know what the kinds of traps commonly used
Not a big deal to me. No one is going to accidentally slip into a
trampoline and drown.
Well, that isn't really the point is it? Yes, I know you are
exaggerating, but still. The point is: have you taken reasonable steps
to ensure that someone does not accidentially get seriously hurt or
killed. Think here of a stranded driver coming on to your property for
help, at night. Or a hiker getting lost at night. Neither would crawl
under your trailer, or jump on your trampoline. But either could easily
miss an un-enclosed pool and drown.
Unless it were dark, and they didn't notice the pool and they were
distracted by the bear trap on their leg.
Except that a judge wouldn't hold you responsible for the meteor. Just
This is the kind of hysteria that has fallen on us. You need a 48"
fence with a self closing, self latching gate around your pool but 5'
away there is a sea wall and a dock out over the river that don't need
any protection at all. I guess it is chorinated water that is
dangerous. Salt warter is benign.
I think the fence only makes the pool safer because it keeps the
alligators that live in the river, out of the pool.
only because so many childern die in pool accidents every year. before
the fencing regulations it was much worse.........
if you have the money for a pool then you can afford a proper fence...
kids are more attracted to pools since going in is what people do..
in buffalo NY, not without a pool permit. otherwise it will cause the
neighbors and permit office and inspectors to go crazy scratching their
heads and arguing like mine did. then they will make you crazy when
they tell you to remove it.
our 1990 pool brought out the best and the worst in our neighbors at
construction time. make sure your construction time is very short.
depending on your yard, a safety fence may cost you more than you
our 24ft round above ground pool is partly "underground" on the uphill
edge due to the slope of the hill of the yard. it has never been a
problem since 1990 because:
topsoil is over rocky soil with sedimentary rock below it. pool was
installed by the experienced pool installer guys who knew how to dig
into UNDISTURBED GROUND and then the experienced sidewalk installer
guys did a 4" thick concrete driveway/sidewalk pour around 3/4ths of
the perimeter of the pool [and a full driveway]. the entire uphill side
of the pool leaving a 6" gap away from the pool sides.
the water is not drained from it, but you don't do that with an above
ground pool, even when the entire above ground pool sits above the
ground. the pool could collapse from wind if you drain it.
a rule we had as our 2 kids were growing up was to always have a pool
but never own a pool that was deeper than the shortest child's chin. in
case of panic just stand up. and no deep dish bottom or pitched bottom,
just flat. light colored liner, no surprises. both kids loved the pool
and became confident swimmers. even though the 4 ft walls usually hold
only 42" of water there is a safety fence requirement you will never be
sorry about. if you bury the pool you will need the 4ft or whatever
size fence is required by your place. otherwise if the fence size is 4
ft the pool and its deck might be self-fencing if the steps flip up and
lock in some designs. neighborhood kids have been welcome to visit with
a parent. with now our 12 year old Pomeranian dog around, we still
worry about possible danger of the dog drowning and have a sturdy pool
ladder always in the water that dog, kids, and adults can use. enjoy
your new pool! the installers are always busy in summer so coordinate
the purchase/installation prices and dates for ASAP.
Sooner or later the pool water must be replaced. It becomes "stale".
Actually it accumulates cyanuric acid "stabilizer". This blocks clorine
from combining with impurities. (Much more to this but not here.) The only
way to lower the level of cyanuric acid is to replace the water. Usually
about every 5 - 8 years but it depends on which chemicals are used and how
often the pool is used. Most of the time the water "refresh" is done when
the liner is replaced.
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