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I want to set up an above-ground pool (14' round) on my back yard. There is a relatively good place for it, where there are concrete slabs, however, there are two problems:

  1. The slabs are not level. It's about 2 inch per 10 feet decline.

  2. Between the slabs, there are about 10 inch gaps, filled with cedar blocks held together by concrete, with the surface about 1/2 inches below the surface of the slabs, and the edges of the slabs are just a bit risen. I consider this a problem as it may damage the pool's liner.

I don't feel like redoing the whole area, unless there are no other options all together. Any other location would require new outlets, I'd like to avoid that either.

What can I use to level the area and cover the gaps, and whatever other artifacts of the area?

I know I can use concrete, but the minimal application is 2" deep, it would be too tall a rise for this.

Any grout, or stucco coat I can use that will hold?

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  • I'm guessing this is an inflatable pool? IMO fixing the slab-area is more work than re-locating the pool and outlets. (From someone who has dug thousands of feet of 18" ditches through south eastern New England's rock-infested countryside to wire pools.) But I'm guessing you're also looking for something to do with this cement slab area as well, and and you don't want to have the slab area go unused while having another 150 sq' of your yard taken up by pool. I would consider the cement area to be a dubious location for the pool, given your description. Aug 27 '12 at 6:02
  • @umassthrower I wonder what's dubious about it :) It's not an inflatable, it's an "ultra-frame", but I'm not sure there is much of a difference. Aug 28 '12 at 6:27
  • Every above ground pool I've ever worked on used sand as the layer just under the liner. I've obviously seen cement in-grounds, but the cement was poured and leveled with much care. Your description of the cement that you want to use is not what I would consider "much care" and the sandbox bib describes leaves room for the possibility of shifting and the possibility of the liner coming in contact with a sharp piece of cement. That being said, these pools run in the $300 range so maybe I'm just being paranoid when I think of the thousands of dollars it costs to replace my liner. Aug 28 '12 at 15:21
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The best bet may be to build a frame around the area you want your pool. This can be made from either 4x4 pressure treated timbers or pressure treated landscape ties. These can be attached by drilling and screwing through them into the cedar that is already there or by drilling into the concrete to hold stakes (you can use large galvanized nails) that go through the ties. You need to be concerned mostly with lateral shifting and less with holding them down.

This frame should then be filled with several inches of sand, as suggested by uncle brad. Sand is the standard base for both above ground and even in-ground pools that use vinyl liners. While you can trim or shim the frame to be level, that is not really necessary. The sand can be leveled even if the frame is not. You also could size the frame so that it is just outside the edge of the pool, or you could set it back a bit and use concrete paving blocks to form a margin around the pool for walking.

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  • thank you! And what's a good way to level this sand? Aug 28 '12 at 6:37
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    The sand doesn't necessarily need to be level. Just level-ish. Feet on the bottom of the pool will tend to move the sand around anyways. Aug 28 '12 at 14:39
  • @PawelVeselov - As Chris Cudmore says, it doesn't need to be exactly level and will move around a bit even after the pool is full. To get it generally level, stretch a string from one side to the other on small stakes. Level the string with a small hanging level. Then measure an even amount down from the string and smooth with a section of 2x4. Two string at 90 degree angles should give you a pretty good rough layout.
    – bib
    Aug 28 '12 at 15:41
  • Right. I didn't mean it to be perfectly surfaced, just leveled enough to overcome the declination of the area. They scare that such declination will cause the pool wall to eventually bulge out and fail. I understand it that once the pool is full, and people are messing the sand up by walking would not shift enough sand to cause the declination. Thanks for your suggestions guys, I'm gonna give it try and see how it goes. Aug 28 '12 at 17:41
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I don't think you want to put an above ground pool directly on a concrete slab, even if it was level. I would consider leveling the area with sand.

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Shingles, then you can start out gradual and make them the thicker with a foam insulation rolled over the top between the concrete/shingles and the pool bottom

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I agree with Sherri. I set mine up on asphalt every year. The only thing you have to level with ANY pool if the top rails. The water in the pool will find its own level. So level the legs with pavers and/or shingles.(I use both). I lay down a combination of interlocking foam floor mats and 1/2 rigid foam insulation board under the pool liner. I put the insulation board in the middle, taping them together with Gorilla tape, and then taping those to the interlocking foam mats. I have quite a bit of slope in the asphalt in my backyard(Whole yard is asphalt from former owner who had wheelchair van), so I form some masonry sand or brick sand into a cove on my low side at the base of the pool when there is about an inch of water in it so it keeps its shape while I do it, really pack it well, and then cover that with a large tarp so the splashing water doesn't wash it away. Works really well for me. I usually end up still about 1 inch off level, but as long as it's not more than that, even professional pool builders say that's fine.

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