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How to set up a framed swimming pool

Setting up a framed swimming pool

A swimming pool is a worthwhile purchase that can last for many years with proper care. It provides fun, exercise, relief from the heat and more. However, some may miss out on all of the benefits as they’re intimidated by the setup.

In fact, after reading our six-step guide, you find that setting up a framed swimming pool isn't as hard as it appears. Even with no prior experience, you will be able to assemble your above-ground swimming pool in a matter of hours.

Steps to set up a framed swimming pool

1. Select an area and prepare the ground

Depending on your property, the most challenging and time-consuming step may be preparing the ground. If you take the time to do this right, you will save yourself numerous headaches and do-overs while creating the safest swimming environment for you and your family.

Find the flattest area in your yard. It should not be a low spot where water accumulates, and it can not be near power lines, gas lines or any other hazards. Ensure you have a clear perimeter around the pool that extends for a minimum of 4 feet and does not place the pool near anything that splashes of chlorinated water will damage. You should never put it on a balcony, deck or any other raised structure due to the extreme weight.

Leveling the ground is the most crucial part of installing a swimming pool. Placing a framed swimming pool on the unlevel ground may cause the pool to collapse when filled because the water pressure will be more significant on one side of the pool. Additionally, any imperfections in the environment may create weak spots in the liner and make it difficult to vacuum the pool. 

To check if your ground is level, attach an I-beam level to one end of a long two-by-four using duct tape. Place the board on the ground to see if it is level. Remove any higher areas and use them to fill in any lower areas until the ground beneath the pool is level.

2. Put down a ground cloth

Most framed swimming pool kits come with a ground cloth to place beneath the pool. However, these are not always the highest quality material. A heavy-duty tarp or a swimming pool liner pad are two more affordable options. If you have the time and money, you can use concrete pads covered with Gorilla swimming pool padding, but this may cost more than your pool. While some people use carpet padding and other creative options, you will not be happy with its performance if the product is not water-resistant. Also, it is important to realize while you will find countless online tutorials that tell you to use sand. Most framed swimming pool manufacturers include specific cautions against using sand in the owner's manual as it quickly erodes.

3. Assemble the pool

Compared to creating a level surface, assembling the pool is easy. Separate the top pieces from the legs. Slide one of the top pieces through the sleeve at the top of the liner. Move to the next sleeve and slide another top piece through. Continue this process until you get to the last piece. Do not be alarmed if the last connection is difficult. If you require assistance, ask a friend to help you. After the top of the frame has been completely assembled, slip the legs in place one at a time.

4. Add the filtration system

After building the pool, you will need to assemble and connect the filtration system. This process will vary depending on which type of pump and filter system you have, so make sure you consult and carefully follow the instructions outlined in your owner's manual.

5. Adjust the frame and the liner

Before filling the pool, make sure the frame is where it needs to be, including positioning the holes in the liner where you will be placing the pump and filter. You also need to remove all the wrinkles from the liner. If there are wrinkles in the liner, you won't be able to clean it easily because the vacuum will get stuck and may cause damage. To remove the wrinkles, pull the bottom of the legs as far out as possible to make the liner taut.

6. Fill the pool

Fill your pool to the fill line, and you are all set. Depending on the size of your pool, this may take a day or two. You will need to set aside time to keep an eye on the entire filling process to ensure there are no issues.

The best frame swimming pools

Intex Metal Frame Swimming Pool Set

This extra-strong metal frame swimming pool comes in different diameter options to fit your space and is 4 feet deep. It features reinforced sidewalls and comes with a Krystal clear cartridge filter pump, a ladder, a ground cloth and a debris cover.

Where to buy: Amazon

Intex Prism Frame Pool Set

Individuals shopping on a budget will appreciate this affordable Intex pool. It is 10 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep and features 3-ply sidewalls. The unit comes with a pump and filter and the drain plug accepts a garden hose for easy drainage.

Where to buy: Amazon

Summer Waves Metal Frame Pool

Consider Summer Waves wicker-print metal frame pool made to hold up under heavy use while withstanding the elements for a stylish option. This attractive offering is 12 feet in diameter and 33 inches deep. It comes with a pump and filter. 

Where to buy: Amazon


Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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