This set of assembly guidelines is provided to share with you the
modern day construction expectation governing our industry performance today. The
National Swimming Pool Institute has an
entire booklet on the building code construction standard for the assembly of
Above Ground swimming pools. These standards are summarized here within this
This is intended to be a general assembly guideline and is not intended
to replace the assembly instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Sod Removal From Affected Area
Leveling of the Site
- Once sod is removed, the higher ground must always be brought down to
match the height of the lowest grade level within the un-sod area. Dig out
the high side! <--- RECOMMENDED
- The only exception which would allow for a lower area to be raised up is
if you supply a method for retaining the build up of the loose fill and
properly compact the fill areas with machinery.
- Hand tamping of raised fill areas will not be sufficient to prevent
settling of the pool frame due to the tons of water soon to be on the area.
- At your expense and discretion, use of a dense, heavy, drainable, and
compactable material (such as crushed stone or stone dust) can be used as
a sub-base fill in these situations where ground conditions warrant its
use. It must be retained around the perimeter, either by using the
excavated sod material as a berm mound or with retainer wall structures,
also at your expense and discretion.
- Due to the extreme weight of the water on the ground, there exists an
outward reaching pressure dispersal "cone" or "pyramid" that
extends downward through the ground which provides the needed support for
the immense weight of the water above the ground.
- This weight is dispersed at approximately 45 degree angles from the sides
of the pool wall structure downward and into the adjacent soil below. Too
sharp a drop off when building up a low area will result in that side
giving way to the pressure being exerted on it. The pool will settle or
sink noticeably to that side of the installation over time.
- The minimum safe distance away from the pool wall you need to be in order
to adequately retain the raised fill is dependent upon the height of the
fill and its composition, the type of material used as fill, and the slope
of the ground adjacent to the pool site and raised area.
- All of these things make it difficult to recommend the action of raising a
site rather than digging it out. There is a risk involved! Your pool is
relying on you to use your best judgment given the site conditions you will
- We advise you to consult with your town construction zoning officials,
professionals, and installation contractors when planning such work.
This information has been provided with the intention of making these
critical concerns aware to all involved in the construction of all brands
of above ground swimming pools.
Site Drainage Considerations
- You should also consider making provisions for additional site
drainage from the areas around the perimeter of your new pool
whenever the conditions warrant it.
- Sometimes, a new pool will act as dam. It prevents the water
from following its previous or natural path of drainage through your
- A dry yard could suddenly become swampy as a result, and many
people mistakenly believe their pool is leaking when in reality it
- At your expense and discretion, some sites will need to have
water channeled away from one side of the pool around to a lower
side or area through a drainage ditch with a perforated drain pipe
or "drain tile".
- If the site is nestled in a valley area of the yard, water flows
towards it from all sides, more extensive work would be required.
Handle this with the aid of professionals.
- Most sites have a natural slope with adequate drainage.
Frame Foundation and Site Leveling Block
Just as important to leveling the pool site is completely
countersinking each post support block into the "virgin soil" or the
fully retained dense sub base material. This is especially true when
blocks are located on raised fill in order to avoid erosion and
- All manufacturer's instructions call for the use of full sized patio stones or blocks
as levelers beneath the pool frame posts and buttresses. Jagged half
blocks tend to induce settling.
- Only the top of the patio block should be exposed and visible
after you have completed setting the block in place. Leaving block
sides exposed leads to erosion from under pool.
All blocks should be leveled side to side and from front to back
to ensure that the base plates, track, and pool frame rest firmly
and evenly on the block.
- All blocks should also be no more than 1/16" out of level from
one block to the next and no more than 1" from one side or end of
the pool to the other. Using a site leveling transit, it is possible
to set each block at exactly the same level in the ground around the
perimeter. What you see through the scope is exactly what you get
when taking your measurements. This assumes that the scope is level,
so confirm this as you take readings.
- Out of level, from block to block, leads to out of round or
"square". This leads to buckling of the wall above the wall channel,
or bottom track, at or behind the upright posts. This is observed
when adjoining blocks are only off from one another by 1/8".
- It is for these reasons that a pool be built upon a solid and
secure foundation and be as level as possible.
- After you determine the actual position in the ground that the
block needs to be placed, be sure all posts will rest squarely and
evenly on them.
- Follow the manufacturer's instruction guidelines on when and how
many blocks need to be positioned. Keep checking and re-checking
this critical frame positioning as you lay the block, after you have
put up the wall, after you have spread the sand base, after you have
beveled the sand cove area, and prior to installing the liner.
- You can't fail if you build it level, square, and round!
- Although the frame of a properly installed pool has more
pressure exerted against it than it has down on it, the positioning
of the posts on the leveling point blocks should still be important
to you. You will perceive the positioning upon the block to be a
problem, so avoid extra work and take the added time and care to
position the frame squarely on each block the first time.
Pool Liner Support Base Material
The smooth, debris free masonry
sand beneath the liner will act as a necessary buffer between the
harsh terrain of the pool site and the thin vinyl water tight membrane we
call a pool liner.
- All manufacturer's instruction booklets call for enough material to supply
a uniform 2" layer of washed, mason's, or yellow sand or a clean soft
sand / clay mixture. You will typically use that which is most convenient
to you or your area.
- A good base will help to absorb rock, stone, animal, insect, or root
movement caused by nature or seasonal freeze / thaw ground conditions that occur in many parts of the country.
- After the bottom track is in place and the wall
is up, you should place a nut grass killer liberally on top of the
sand, wet it down thoroughly and then tamp the sand firmly beginning
at the outside edge of the pool and working your ways towards the
middle of the pool.
Pool Wall Assembly
Again, level and round your walls, and you're halfway
there! The most crucial aspect to wall assembly is to continually
check and re-check that the pool is perfectly round or "square" if
it is an oval pool.
- This is to ensure that the pool posts will not lean in or out
noticeably as well as to make sure that the liner will fit properly.
- If a pool is out of round, the liner will be stretched in ways
it was not intended to be, and wrinkles will form that can not be
removed because they are caused by the stretching of the material
- Dishing the bottom of your pool also causes these wrinkles and
is another reason to be sure your pool is perfectly in round.
- The wall simply gets set in place, into the track, as you slowly
unwind the wall around the perimeter of the pool. Many hands
make this a much easier task. Having assistance will also help
prevent the wind from blowing the wall down.
- Connect wall using nuts and bolts provided. After tightening
bolts, cover screws and seam with Duct tape as shown. The size of
the bolts varies with the type of pool you have
Pool Base Beveled Cove
With this base material, you must also build around the inside perimeter
of your pool wall an even height, uniform beveled cove to avoid contact
between the edges and parts of the metal pool framework and the thin water
tight membrane or pool liner.
- Bevel the sand at a 45 degree angle with the top of the cove a minimum of
6" high, as measured from the base of the pool wall and framework to
the top of the angled cove. Pack the sand with a 2 liter bottle pre-filled with water to help form the cove.
- Taper the cove material downward and inward and blend it into the deep
layer of base material that you have laid down previously on top of the
undisturbed soil of the site.
- If the cove is not made uniformly around the pool, the fit of your liner
will be affected.( A highly suggestible alternative to this is
using Styrofoam Pool Cove as shown in this picture.)
- Visually, you will notice when effort is given or not given to this step
of the installation.
- This base material as well as the cove area should be tamped as firmly and
as evenly as possible to minimize the occurrence of large depressions from
walking around inside the pool during the liner installation process.
A permanent Styrofoam Pool Cove material is an available option if you
desire to use it. Pool Coves come in Peel & Stick and Clip & Stick varieties.
- The expectation today is for an installation that is as wrinkle free as possible,
but you can not overly stress a liner in an attempt to accomplish this feat
of having absolutely no wrinkles.
- Some wrinkling is to be expected and is considered normal and an
- Massive amounts of fold over wrinkles are not acceptable as they are not
good for liners.
- Simply give it your best effort. To avoid wrinkles with overlap liners, remove excess material
as water is added. With beaded liners, smooth the material out to the sides.
- Proper fit and installation of a liner requires patience and diligence on your behalf.
- These pictures shown are with a beaded liner and also with a Gorilla Bottom
In accordance with the manufacturer's instruction booklet, and beginning
with the uniform spacing between the track connections and continual
verification of the relative roundness and levelness of the pool, the final
assembly of your pool's framework should be smooth as all of the pieces are
uniform in shape and dimension.
- Assemble all remaining posts, rails, etc. loosely at first until all are
- Plumb the posts as squarely as possible before tightening the screws and
- Tighten screws and bolts to rails.
- Attach the cover caps and decorative trim-work as applies.
Safety Decals & Warranty Information
- It is generally required that you attach to the pool the safety and
warning decals and signs supplied by the manufacturer in accordance with
the locations outlined within the manufacturer's instruction manual.
- Be certain to save all manuals, instruction booklets, and product or
warranty information for your pool and its associated products. You will need them in the future.
Excavated Ground Material
- The "finished landscaping" will no doubt take time to complete.
- The even dispersal of the excavated site material after the pool
construction is next.
- Use this material to even out an area of your yard; most sites have at
least one spot that could use some fill.
- There is no limit to the design ideas which will add beauty to your final
swimming pool landscape. Whether you create a New England nautical theme
around your pool, nestle it amongst some tropical vegetation, or surround
it with decking, the choice is yours.
Local Code Awareness
- When you obtain your permit for the pool, display it properly prior to
- Be sure the pool location is in accord with zoning rules.
- Be sure to take care to avoid underground pipes and wires.
- Codes apply to overhead wires as well. Review your site plans against
- You must also arrange for the proper wiring of the pool pump.
Electrical System Requirements Include
- Provision of a dedicated 120 volt power line run underground, according to
code requirements, from the main source power panel or sub-panel off, a 20
or 30 amp G.F.C.I. protected breaker. It should be wired directly to the
pump, using the proper wire size for the length of wire run from the main
power source to the pump, in order to carry the required electrical
- Additional outlets may be required near the pool but not closer than 10'
- A special child-proof, twist-lock receptacle for the pump to plug into.
- An outdoor weatherproof junction box.
- Proper bonding of the motor and pool frame and ladder per local electrical
You are now the proud owner of lots of empty cartons, packaging materials,
as well as a great new pool. Break down all cartons and arrange them neatly
for ease of pick up by your local trash or recycling service.
The above is intended as a Guide only and not the actual
instructions for installing your above ground pool. Please read
and follow the manufacturer's instructions as it pertains to your above ground
pools' special requirements.