How to Level an Above Ground Pool

Once you choose the area where your new pool will go it will need to be excavated. No matter how level an area is prior to installation. It is necessary to remove the grass beforehand. Leaving grass and building the pool over it will result in the grass rotting and sinkholes developing under the pool’s liner. 

oval pad

Resulting in large divots and holes where one could twist an ankle. Or more importantly, it will ruin the pool liner quickly.

When excavation takes place it’s determined how to level the area is, to begin with. When excavating the area needs to be several feet larger than the swim size of the pool. For example, if your pool is 24ft round. 

The area will need to be excavated 27’-30’ depending on the desired result. The larger the excavation the easier it will be to landscape afterward. It also gives the installer and pool owner the ability to place the pool track exactly where it needs to go. 

Oval pools are done the same way and generally speaking 6ft larger on the short side and at least 2ft larger on the long side of the oval. Please refer to the graphics below.


Next, a rotary laser level is used to level the pool track. The pool track comes in various materials. They are Composit Resin, Aluminum, and Steel. The track has two pieces that when linked together make up the shape of the pool. These parts are called bottom rails and bottom plates also referred to as shoes or boots. 


It is important to measure this track and make sure it meets the manufacturer’s intended diameter. Always refer to the instruction manual for these measurements. It’s important to have this correct or when it comes time to install the pool wall you won’t have any issues. You don’t want a round pool to turn out slightly oval if not laid out and measured properly. 

Patio blocks are used under each shoe/boot/bottom plate. The size of these blocks does not have to be full. If the size of the bottom plates is small then half-block sizes may be used.  It’s important that each block is leveled and plumb leveled. 

Best to use a rotary laser and receiver on a 4ft level. With the receiver setting each block at the correct height. The 4ft level with its bubble can properly plumb the level in two directions. This gives you the 3-D rotary leveling needed to properly level your above-ground pool. 

Once the track is leveled in all 3 dimensions. Next, you want to make sure the entire track is solidly on the ground. It is not uncommon to have to build up ground and removed ground to make sure the pool’s track is resting on solid ground. Caution: You don’t want to build up the ground too high by hand. If you need to build up more than a couple of inches. It’s best to remove the track and start the initial excavation leveling and get that correct fist. Nothing worse than having a pool sink after installation because it’s not sitting on solid ground. 

Once the earth is properly excavated and the pool track is leveled and sitting on solid ground. Then it’s time for mason sand or a stone dust base to be laid out. This is commonly done by making a cove around the perimeter after placing about 3 inches of the base across the entire dimension of the floor. Above-ground pool base materials explained.

Stone Dust will harden into a cement-like bottom while mason sand will be smooth and when packed right offers the best feel to the bottom of the pool. How much sand is needed for a pool?

Oftentimes the use of a synthetic base covering is used between the liner and the base of the pool. This will preserve the liner for a longer period. It helps with any potentially sharp objects including ants and termites. 

Yes, ants and termites can invade the bottom of a pool and over time wear away the liner so it leaks water faster than evaporation. 

Besides a pool liner base protector, the use of Dyatimeous earth powder can be used. This powder is like nails on a chalkboard to ants. The use of this during liner installation and the occasional spreading of it around the perimeter. Will keep the ants away for years to come. 

Once the track is leveled on solid ground it is properly leveled and ready for pool wall installation. 

When it comes to semi- Inground pool leveling. The amount of excavation is a lot more involved. More material is removed from the pool area.  This type of leveling is done by bucket excavators, and bobcats and may involve trucking away earth materials. It will often resemble an INground pool installation. Some earth is saved onsight to spread around after installation. 

Round Radiant Semi Inground

Our top-of-the-line Radiant Pool can be installed inground, semi-inground, and above ground. It looks great in any backyard. Please check out our Radiant Pool selections

When it comes to warranty and excavation. You will need to refer to the manufacturer’s warranty and some even have addendums to the excavation and installation instructions. It can be very challenging to install a pool to these expectations. Please look carefully at such instructions and addendums. Please refer to the following found online pertaining to Semi Inground pool installation from the Pool Factory. 

As you can see it’s an extremely hard set of guidelines to perform. Some would say almost impossible for the novice to complete properly. Please rely on a professional installation company for the best results.

In conclusion:

Properly excavating and leveling the pool track is a vital part of any pool installation. Having the proper team handling this is crucial to the final look and function of your pool. We do hope this article can supply you with some useful information for when you might have your pool installed. 

One last bit of information regarding leveling. The entire leveling process is not considered complete until a solid layer of crushed stone is spread around the perimeter of the newly installed pool. This acts as a base the pool sits in and helps to keep water away from the pool’s track after installation.

Is this something a novice DIY-type person can do? We feel the smaller round pools offer the best outcomes for DIY installers. Some of the ovals and larger round pools have varying complexities of instruction. These installs are better left up to your seasoned professionals. Nothing like many years of experience to get the job done right the first time. 

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