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
JUST GET THE BASE LEVEL AND THE RIGHT THICKNESS OF THE RIGHT MATERIAL.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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