An above-ground pool is a perfect spot to relax during a warm day. But before you can set up to enjoy the swim, there few things that you have to keep in mind, such as what to put under the above-ground pool.
You can lay it on a prepared natural surface or use either of these materials:
- Natural Ground
- Concrete Pads
- Sand or Stone dust
- Commercial Pads
- Solid Foam
- Carpet Padding
- Flooring Underlayment
- Intex Ground Cloth
However, some materials might not work with certain above-ground pools. Ensure you’re buying the perfect one for your model.
This post will take you through each of these materials and explain what they are and where they are most applicable. Let’s get started.
What Materials Can You Put Under an Above-ground Pool?
1) Natural Ground
The natural ground is the most common and the easiest to prepare if you have a level landscape. It’s also the cheapest. Setting up your above-ground pool directly on the ground is easy, straightforward and there are no extra expenses involved.
One problem of relying on such a base is that the wait of pool water can press the ground down, making it move. Also, if water was to get under the pool, it could cause the underground to move to lose the levelness and putting your swimming pool in danger.
However, if you decide to go this route, you must make sure the spot is level, and the surface has no rocks, grass, roots, and debris that can puncture a vinyl pool or trees that can fill your swimming pool with debris.
If the surface is sloppy, you can get your shovel and try to level it or use another type of base material to make it level. If debris is in the area, you can pick it out until the surface is clean.
Don’t forget to smoothen the surface with a rake or a shovel to give it an acceptable smoothness for the vinyl pool bottom.
2) Concrete Pads
Another base material you can use with your above-ground pool is a series of concrete pads. They are solid, and it’s easy to keep them level.
However, because concrete is an abrasive material, it will wear on the liner if they come directly. That’s why it’d be best to add a cushion between the two.
Most people consider concrete pads because they offer a solid base that’s is perfectly level, stable, and cannot allow the swimming pool to shift over time.
When installing concrete pads, all you need is to mark the area and remove any grass and debris you find. Level the spot with a rake and treat it with a weed killer to protect the base from aggressive grasses that might grow in the future.
Try to keep the area raised above the natural ground line to allow enough water drainage that might collect around the swimming pool.
The next material you can use under an above-ground pool is sand. It’s inexpensive and requires less effort to lay. One of the best types of sand use with above-ground pools is mason sand. It creates a smooth bottom layer.
It requires you to thoroughly water it down and tamp it to compact the particles before smoothening it with a push-style broom’s back.
If you install it right, a sand base floor won’t have any significant problems. However, you cannot consider it as the best option.
Unlike a solid concrete base, sand has particles that can move around when the pool water moves. The movement might be minimal, but with time, it will create a significant difference in levelness.
Installation, though, is straightforward and effortless. All you need is to remove any sharp objects and debris from the site. Make the upper surface higher than the standard ground and fill any low spots to make it level.
Rake it to smoothen, then add the sand. Water it down and use a push-style broom back or any compacting tool to make it solid.
4) Stone dust
You could also use stone dust. It’s a material made using crushed stones and gravels until they are dust. It creates a hard, cement-like base perfect for any pool liner.
However, it might create issues in your pool’s life if a sharp pebble pokes the liner. That’s why I suggest you use a protective layer between the pool liner and the stone dust.
Installation isn’t anywhere complicated. You only need to clear the spot for any debris, twigs, and other sharp things that can puncture your swimming pool.
Level the ground if slightly sloppy. Add the stone dust and make it level. Compact it, and you’re ready to set up your above-ground swimming pool.
5) Aftermarket Pads
You can also use aftermarket pads, an excellent choice, mainly if you use them together with a concrete base. Do you remember I mentioned that cement and pool liner could not come into contact?
Well! One of the materials you can use between them is aftermarket pool pads. The best part is, you can use them on the natural level ground too.
It gets even better; you can get precut aftermarket pad, or you can receive an estimate, and you can cut it to fit your swimming pool using your swimming pool’s walls as your guide.
Most people prefer this material because it’s extremely tough, highly durable, and resistant to different weather elements.
The material is also breathable allowing moisture to escape from the ground. However, it’s an expensive option. Also, it’s not that thick – you might need to lay it into two layers.
6) Interlocking Foam Pads
Another commonly used material is solid interlocking foam, a perfect way to make your pool bottom as smooth as possible. Most people like it because of its variety of thickness. It allows you to use it as a single thick layer instead of multiple thin layers.
Another thing, the materials don’t slide around on abrasive concrete. After laying it down, though, you need to cut it to size.
The thicker the form, the harder it will be to confirm it to shape when cutting it down. And another thing, this material can be pricey.
7) Carpet Padding
There is also carpet padding, an option sort-after for its easy installation and availability; it can take you few minutes to install it, and you can get it from almost any hardware store.
Carpet padding, however, isn’t that thick. For that, it’s always best to lay more than two layers on it to give it the softer cushion feeling.
It’d be best to go for dense foam for the installation tips rather than a felt fiber. I also advise against rubber; it might create moisture build-up under it, causing other issues later.
8) Flooring Underlayment
Here is an economical option, the flooring underlayment. It’s an inexpensive material you can lay on a concrete base. It provides the needed shield to protect your pool liner from the abrasive concrete surface.
However, it’s relatively thin. It doesn’t offer much cushion. If you need a softer surface, it’d be best to lay several layers.
9) Intex Ground Cloth
Lastly, there is the Intex Ground Cloth that comes with some Intex Easy-Set Pools. And since you can buy it separately, you can still use it with your swimming pool. It’s compatible with Intex, Summer Waves, Bestway, and Kiddie above-ground pools.
The cloth provides extra protection against punctures and abrasions. You can use it on natural ground, stone dust, or concrete. It’s low cost and allows you to cut it to size. You need minimal effort to install.
How to Choose What to Put Under an Intex Pool
Here are the things to consider while selecting the best material to use under the above-ground pool:
Breathability: A breathable material will allow moisture under your swimming to escape translating into low chances of mildew and mold growth.
Puncture Resistance: The use of all these materials offers the necessary protection against abrasion and punctures. The material must be tough enough to keep the flat bottom level while also giving critical protection.
Thickness and Feel: I’m sure almost every pool owner wants something that feels nice to their feet. That’s why it’d be best to pick a material that gives you exactly that. It has to be thick and or something that combines two materials.
Installation Ease: I think, like me, you will want something you can install with the least effort. Pick a material you can easily lay on the installation spot.
Cost: all the above options have different prices. Some are inexpensive, and some are pretty expensive. Others require you to have a prepared concrete base. You will want to consider your budget before you can invest in any of these materials.
Why is it important you choose the suitable material to put under above-ground pool?
The best material will help protect the pool liner against punctures and abrasion from pebbles. It will also keep the bottom breathable that helping trapped moisture to escape. By doing so, it helps prevent mold and mildew growth. What’s more, it protects your swimming against grass damages while also keeping the bottom feeling soft and more likable.