Installing Your Own Pool: The Budget
Yep, installing your own above-ground pool costs more than the sticker price once you add in the expense of preparing a home for it. The happy people pictured on the box assembling it with ease are models, too. Depending on which kind you buy, your experience will probably take longer and involve more frustration.
Even so, once you make peace with these facts of life, its really worth it.
Even at double the price you see on the box, a decently sized above-ground pool works out much cheaper than a permanent installation, never mind frequent trips to the local water park for your kids and their friends. It basically starts to pay for itself as soon as its standing.
Pro Or Diy Above Ground Pool Installation
Though demand has eased since the height of the pandemic, pool contractors are still busy. So if youre planning to install an above ground pool this year, you might have to do it yourself if you want to be swimming by summertime. Whether you install the pool yourself depends on the type of pool and your DIY skills.
- Inflatable pools. Installing an inflatable pool is usually as simple as finding a level spot on your patio or lawn, pumping up the pool, filling it with water and plugging it in.
- Temporary above ground pools. Putting in a seasonal above ground pool is doable for most people with a few tools, basic DIY skills and a reasonably level backyard.
- Permanent above ground pools. Installing a pool thats a permanent backyard fixture is an involved process requiring greater site prep and mechanics. Youll probably want a deck area surrounding the pool as well. The job can be done by an experienced DIYer, or you can pay for professional installation.
How Close Can You Install An Above Ground Pool To A Septic System
Home septic systems arent as popular as they used to be, but there are still a lot of them. They can be placed anywhere both in front of back yards and are usually more towards open areas.
Because of this, septic systems will be close to or where people want to put their above ground pools.
Since it takes up the biggest area of a septic system, the leaching or drain field is usually what gets in the way of where a homeowner wants to place an above ground pool. An above-ground pool should never be placed on top of the leaching/drain field. It should only come within a couple of feet of the edge of the drain field at its closest.
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Measure The Installation Location
Now, we will mark the area where the pool will be built. To find the center point, measure off of an existing object and mark where you want that wall in relation to the pool. Now, measure 1/2 the width of the pool and stake the tape measure at that point.
It is a best practice to pull the tape measure to the radius measurement PLUS 1 extra foot. This will give you a little extra room for error. Now, place the marker on the center and walk all the way around in a circle, tracing the perimeter with spray chalk.
Bottom Wall Rim Assembly
Now its time to connect each rail to its bottom plate. First, use your pool parts breakdown document to separate all of the components. Take the curved bottom rails and place them in a circle along the circumference of the pool area.
Please note: Make sure that you are using the bottom rails, not the inner stabilizer bars. Bottom rails on some pool models are made of resin and not metal. Stabilizer bars are always metal. They also have a male and female end. Bottom rails are the larger width rails with straight cuts on both ends. Bottom rails do not interlock.
Now you can assemble the rails by using the bottom plates or cuffs to join them together. Please refer to your pool parts breakdown sheet to confirm if your pool uses resin bottom plates, resin bottom cuffs or traditional metal bottom plates. Rails should be inserted into the bottom plates or cuffs up to the stops on the plate or cuff.
IMPORTANT: Check the roundness of your circle by measuring the diameter across several locations. The rails will not automatically form a perfect circle, so please do not skip this step. Once you have confirmed a true circle, stake the bottom rails at every other rail with a screwdriver.
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Roll Out And Install Liner
Time to unroll the liner inside the pool. The trick here is to lay it at the center of the pool and unroll from there.
Pro Tip: If it’s a sunny hot day, which is the best day to install, open the liner box and open it slightly so that your liner gets hot. This will make it stretchy and it will be easier to install.
This is best done with 2 people inside the pool. Bring it over to the walls and clip it inside the bead track. Your friends outside should help with clipping it all around.
Onces it’s clipped everywhere, using your feet, try to spread the bottom to flatten and get closer to the wall.
You should start bringing in water now. Pour in about 2 feet of water and stretch the liner to remove any creases as it is filling. If you don’t remove it now, it will stay forever.
Pro Tip: Get a water truck delivery. The Garden hose will take lots of time to get to that first 2 feet, which is essential to completing the installation.
Reduce The Water Level
The amount of water that remains in the pool during the off-season depends on the type of cover youre using. If you use a solid cover, the water should be six inches below it. If you use a mesh cover, the water should be about a foot below. Allow at least a day or two for draining of your pool to the appropriate water level.
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Installing The Pool Liner
Once the base is ready its time for the liner. We bought a plain blue 27 foot round overlap liner. We first opened it up on the lawn to find the center. Then we carefully folded the outside edges into the center, and lifted the liner into the pool. Then we unfolded the liner and draped the edges over the sides of the pool. Theres a faint line around the bottom edges of the liner and those have to be matched up at the bottom of the pool.
Once we got the liner somewhat in place we went inside the pool and tried to get as many wrinkles out as possible. We bought an overlap liner, which means it just folds over the top of the walls and is held in place with coping.
Again, we were tired, and didnt get all the wrinkles out. The water truck showed up just at this point, so we really didnt have time or energy to care about getting the rest of the wrinkles out. Just know, if youre going to install your own pool, you will be tired and sore, and it probably wont be perfect. But if youre like us and your goal is to have a pool and save money, youll be okay with footprints and wrinkles.
Above Ground Pool Pump & Filter Price
Your above ground pool pump & sand filter will be the next component of the pricing and will depend on the size of pump and filter needed. You will find that both 1 speed and 2 speed pumps can be used, with 2 speed pumps being the more expensive option. The 2 speed pump simply allows for the flexibility of a high and low setting, allowing the pump to remain on 24 hours / day on low, and generates some energy efficiency. Additionally, you will see 0.5 hp pumps up to 2 hp pumps being offered.
The sand filter size will be based on the size of your pool common sizes in the industry are 100#, 300# and 400# sand filters. Some above ground pool retailers choose cartridge filters in place of sand filters and their size is calculated as the filter surface area.
Your pool retailer will generally have a standard option of pump that is put with their pool kit, but you can always ask to upgrade if you would like a different pump for your pool. There is no upgrade to the sand filter it is strictly based on the size of your pool.
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Above Ground Pool Prices
When estimating your costs, the size will be the most significant factor for new pools. Bigger pools cost more upfront, and installation takes longer. Also, the manufacturer selected and quality of pool will influence your price. Doughboy and Kayak Pools are a couple of the best brands out there, and most expensive as well, but you get what you pay for.
Fill Edges Of The Pool Wall & Level The Ground
Now fill the small spaces between the wall and the ground.
Filling spaces between the pool wall and ground Photo Credits: VIDEO BY CRAIG HEFFERNAN
Now level the swimming pool floor and compact the soil beneath it.
You need to make the site sturdy. After digging here and there, you must ensure that you compress the loose soil around.
Principally, using high-grade machinery is acceptable because they ensure the soil around is condensed appropriately.
Compacting the swimming pool floor Photo Credits: VIDEO BY CRAIG HEFFERNAN
Remember, when you compact the soil , youre basically establishing a strong foundation. This way, youll be sure that the site area is reliable, durable and most importantly secure.
Furthermore, it can withstand the weight of water and impact by swimmers.
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Cost To Install An Above Ground Pool In The Ground
Installation costs are going to vary by size, how deep you are going into the ground, local electrician rates, and a lot more. I will estimate installation including excavation installation, electrical, along with backfill and setup with plumbing to cost $7000.00.
Of course, if you can do any or all of this installation work for yourself, you will save on the job.
Installing an Optimum or Radiant Pool inground require a 1-foot of cement around the base of the wall. That will add to the cost and aggravation of any installation.
Get In The Water Faster With These Tips For Installing An Above Ground Pool Should You Diy It Or Call In The Pros
If you were hoping to install an above ground pool in 2020, you may well have found it impossible.
Across the U.S., people stuck at home during the pandemic turned to swimming pools, as families put a lot of the money they didnt spend on vacations into their backyards. Whether that meant an inflatable kiddie pool, a more substantial above ground pool or the in-ground pool of their dreams, the result was the same a pool shortage. Manufacturers couldnt keep up with demand, and pool installers found themselves booked into 2021.
While inventories have improved for 2021, its still a good idea to plan ahead if you want to install an above ground pool this year. Lets take a look at the practical aspects of above ground pool installation, and whether its a realistic DIY project.
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Install Strucuture Part 1
Now comes time to unroll the wall. Before doing so, be sure to identify the connector you will want to use as the area where you will bolt the wall together. Your skimmer and return will end up near that area .
Get some friends for this to help. Many of them. You will need to unroll the wall from the inside without damaging the base.
Pro Tip: We have a steel rod that we place next to the starting point of the wall and we tie the wall to that rod so that it stays in place. We also have a buggy with a smooth surface under it that rotates. It makes the process so much better.
Slowly move the wall and unroll as you walk around the pool. Once person will need to lay it firmly inside the groove. Once you have completed the circle around the pool, you will be able to bolt the wall together. You should now start to see how your pool so going to look like in your backyard!
Once the wall is secured, you can start installing the posts on top of all the connectors. Don’t forget to remove the pins you set earlier. If you have a beaded liner, you will also be able to install the bead track. Adding this track will create much more stability to your wall. Make sure that those tracks are installed firmly and there is no gap between each you lay down. Note that very often, you will need to cut the final piece to make it fit. Make sure you measure twice, cut once.
Install The Vinyl Liner
This step will walk you through installing the pool liner. If you are using the stabilizers to help hold the wall up, then you will need to take them off while installing the liner. Do not place the liner wall seam directly over the skimmer or skimmer return cutouts.
We recommend removing your shoes for this part of the installation. Place the liner at the center of the pool with the flap from the seams facing down. Spread the liner so that the bottom seam of the circumference is resting on the cove evenly around the pool. The seam should not be upon the wall or shifted to one side. These conditions will create tightness or stretching of the liner when the pool is being filled.
Quick tip: Lay the liner in the sun before installation to make it easier to manage.
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Above Ground Pool Accessories
These fun accessories are really self-explanatory, so we arent going to spend a lot of time on them.
There are a lot of accessories that can actually make your life easier as far as maintaining your above ground pool . In most cases, you will be provided with basic maintenance equipment when you purchase your pool, but its important to know there are variations of this equipment and differing levels of these tools.
Once your pool is installed and you start to see what you need help with, then you can upgrade or add to your equipment. For example, if leaves are a problem in keeping your pool clean, there are specifically designed leaf vacuums and even a bracket & net you can install on your wall that will collect the leaves before they drop to the bottom. This will help prevent algae from having something to bloom on and you winding up with a bright green pool.
On the vacuum heads, you will discover there is a wide variety to choose from. There are different vacuum heads you can upgrade to that will cover more surface area as you vacuum, or ones that will brush the pool floor as you vacuum, helping you collect more of the fine dirt/dust from the bottom.
If the thought of vacuuming anything else around your home makes you cringe, there are robotic vacuums that are essentially a self-contained unit. You simply plug them in and turn them on and they will vacuum the pool while you are at work or sleeping at night very similar to a Roomba!
Benefits Of Pool Chlorinator
If you want to keep your pool chlorine level in check and maintain perfect chemical balances, a chlorinator or automatic chemical feeder s the best option. Turns out, chlorinators pump a small amount of chlorine to the pool, which comes out through the outlet. Benefits of pool chlorinators are,
- Keeps the water soft
- Kills off bacteria and viruses
- Controls organic debris buildup.
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Installing Electrical System Of The Above
You need electricity in your pool for two major reasons:
- Pumping water
- Lighting the poolside
It is something that you can mostly do as long as you know the basics.
However, it would great if you also consider services of a professional electrician. But the truth of the matter is that electricity is scary when done inappropriately.
At times, it can lead to loss of life or serious injuries.
Swimming pool electrical system Photo Credits: KB ELECTRIC LLC
Either way, here are a few things that you got to have in mind when installing electricity in your pool:
- Total Amperage Your Pool Needs
You must understand how many amps would be suitable for the pool before even starting the wiring process.
The essence of this is to allow you to understand the specific size breaker required at the electric box.
- Size of Wires for Electric Connections
You must know the size of wire that would be enough to run to the pump.
Ordinarily, an ideal above-ground swimming pool would require at least a 20-amp breaker. It will also efficiently deliver electricity using 12-gauge wire.
Slowly Fill Pool With Water
Its recommended to fill the pool halfway then refer to the separate instructions on how to install the skimmer and return fittings. Once installed, you can finish connecting the rest of the pool equipment like the filter system and pump. After installing all the above ground equipment, you can fill the rest of the pool.
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