Aboveground Pool Installation Guide
Installing an Above Ground Pool
What's below are general steel wall above ground pool installation guidelines only, to give you an idea of the steps involved. You should always refer to and follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing your new above ground pool.
Getting Started / Recommended Items:
- Patio Blocks (8" x 16" for each vertical
- Ground stakes (wood, rebar or other)
- 2" gray duct tape with non-asphalted adhesive
- Screw Driver
- Garden hose & spray nozzle
- Shop Vacuum
- Utility Knife
- Push Broom
- Site Level, Transit or Line level and string
- Tape Measure
- Channel Locks
First, stake out the pool area – 2 feet larger than the pool size - Example: 18 ft. pool = 20 ft. circle, 24 ft. pool = 26 ft. circle
1. The easiest way to mark the center of the pool would be to put a stake into the ground (in the center) where your pool will be placed. By using a tape measure you will now have a measurement guide for sizing the outer circle area for your pool. Simply use this measurement guide to walk around the pool outside using either a line paint or lime to mark your base area for the pool. Remove all the grass from the circle you have just marked out. Using a site level, transit or line level & string, level the ground surface for the pool. The ground base should be virgin solid and / or well compressed soil. If you are using moved earth or fill, you will need to make sure that any added fill is very compressed or tamped solid. Note: Loose soil will compress under water weight and more than likely will cause the pool to go out of level.
2. At this point put all of the materials you are going to use for the pool bottom into the center of the pool. Example: Mason sand, Stone dust or whatever you plan to use as your base. Lay out your bottom rail/channel, bottom plates and create a base circle with the rail/channel and bottom plates. Re-Check: Go back to your center stake marker, put the tape measure on it again, walk around the diameter and make sure your circle is round - checking measurements as you go. Make any adjustments now to insure that the pool is round (and not out of shape).
3. Once you are sure that the pool is now round, get some wood stakes/rebar/other and put these into the ground, placing them behind the middle of each rail/channel. Doing this will allow you to now keep the position of the bottom rail/channel while working so it will not move/shift out of position. Note: It is best to re-check your measurements once you steak in all the rails/channels.
4. Place 1 patio block 8" x 16" under each bottom plate, bottom rail/channel where they meet and level (blocks will be used for the upright supports) going from block to block all the way around the pool.
5. If your pool is oval, refer to the owner's manual for ground strap and buttress support assembly (installation can vary by manufacturer/model).
Ground Base/Floor and Wall Assembly
1. Bring your pool wall inside the pool and start unrolling it by placing it into the bottom rail/channel. Always start the wall where it will end up being placed behind an upright support, so once completed the wall seam bolts will be hidden from view.
2. After you have inserted the wall into the rail/channel completely around the pool, you can now join wall ends together. Make sure that you line up the wall holes, some walls may use flat bars (with holes stacked top to bottom, use one bar inside the pool and one bar outside - wall ends are sandwiched between bars), but others may have specific position for holes to fit (offset match). Line up wall ends and bolt together. Make sure that you put the domed bolt heads on the inside of the pool wall, facing outside, the nuts are attached on the outside of the wall (which you will hide behind an upright support).
3. Once you have bolted and tightened the wall together, run a few strips of duct tape over the bolt heads from top to bottom (this will cover the bolt heads). Also at this time, knock out the pre-cut skimmer and return holes in the wall.
4. Now you need to start spreading your bottom floor material (sand or base) to complete the floor base. You will also need to build a cove angle where the wall and the bottom of the pool meet. You will need to create an angle from floor to wall. The sand level up the wall should be about 4" or 5". Or you could use a pre-made product, like our angled pool cove (In The Swim Item #L9840 or L9845) that is very easy to install.
5. After the floor material is smoothed out, tamp the pool bottom and cove (if you did not use the pre-made cove). Take a push broom and lightly smooth out the tamp marks (for a smooth finish).
6. After sweeping the pool floor, mist water with a garden hose over your sand. This will help to set the sand base. At this time you can now also install any "Happy Bottom" or liner shield.
Installing the Pool Liner
1. Place the pool liner (still in the box) inside the pool center, open it up (as directed on the box) and unfold the liner. Note: Your liner should be kept at room temperature before use. After you have spread your liner out, you will want to locate the bottom liner seam and place it half way up the wall cove, this is where the seam should sit.
2. Next, remove your shoes!!! Now it's time to install the liner, up over the wall (overlap liners) or into the bead receiver (beaded liners). If you have only a rail/channel and plastic strips, then this is an overlap installation. For this installation you need to put the liner up and over the wall and hold it in place with liner coping strips (thin plastic U strip that holds the liner in place) then the rail/channel will be placed over the plastic coping to create a rigid top circle - just like on the bottom. If you have a bead receiver with your pool, then you should have a beaded liner. Or you can convert most over the wall (overlap liner setup) to a beaded liner by using our In The Swim Bead Receiver. Beaded liners will install up and over into the bead track which will be located inside the pool.
3. Once your liner is hung you will want to take the suction hose from your shop vacuum and put this through the skimmer opening down to about 3" from the cove bottom. You will want to try and block off the skimmer opening as much as possible to allow the vacuum to draw the air out from behind the liner (as this will help seal the liner). You can take a piece of cardboard and cut a hole just a bit larger than the vacuum hose and place it over the skimmer opening and tape it down. You can also tape over the return opening. Once sealed off, you can run your shop vacuum to pull the liner up against the wall and to remove all air pockets. If you have any wrinkles you can get in the pool (shoes off!) and work the wrinkles out.
4. Once the liner is in place, start filling the pool with water. Note: Keep the vacuum running until you have water up and over the cove. Shut down the vacuum, then gently remove the vacuum hose from the skimmer. Also, remove any covering of tape or cardboard from skimmer and return.
Completing Pool Frame Assembly
Assemble the pool upright supports once you have water filling up in the pool. You can start to assemble the remaining frame of the pool one upright at a time (upright supports, top plates), top seats and top seat covers. Note: Let the water fill to just right below the side wall return hole, then shut it off.
Installing Skimmer and Return
1. It is now time to cut the return in. Use care, placing an X using a utility knife inside the return hole. Take the return fitting apart (back of nut off) and push through the return fitting from the inside of the pool to the outside (including one gasket that needs to be on the inside against the liner). Once the return fitting is seated through, you can then trim the excess liner material that was pushed through to the outside of the return threads. Add the back side gasket and nut and tighten. (Note: Hand tighten the return nut, then add one turn with channel locks).