You are very proud to have built or bought and installed your first above ground pool. Then you have waited long hours for it to be filled. When you go to check on the progress of things, you notice that your brand new pool is tilting sideways. Ironically, the difference is only realized after filling the pool with water.
A tilting above ground swimming pool due to an unlevel ground is not a problem you should take lightly. We recommend that you fix this problem as soon as possible. If you continue using the pool in that tilted position, you risk serious damage to your garden. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to level a pool that is already filled.
What are the causes of an unlevel above ground swimming pool?
Do you have a freestanding swimming pool that leans? The two main reasons are:
The sloping land
Your floor may appear to be flat, but if your pool ends up tilting, it may not be flat enough. Half a centimeter can be enough to end up with a freestanding swimming pool that leans to one side. When the swimming pool is empty, it is not usually visible. But when it is filled with water, the difference is seen and can become a real problem.
The ground is not strong enough
A stable ground is a hard ground – not the sandy, freshly-filled, or waterlogged one. Installed on a sandy, wet ground, above a water table, the above-ground swimming pool can move, sag, or tilt. The ideal is, therefore, to install it on a concrete slab or an earthen floor.
Risks caused by a tilting pool
If the difference in level does not exceed a centimeter, it does not really pose a problem. Beyond that, you risk damaging your liner as well as its structure.
In the most extreme cases, a part will get weakened, fail, and the liner will be liable to shatter. Then several tons of water will flow into your garden. This is not a risk to be taken lightly. The mass of water released in a fraction of a second can cause serious injury and damages to the environment.
Also, if your swimming pool is placed near a neighboring plot, you’ll be held responsible for the damages caused. A high level of chlorine in your pool water may be harmful to your (or your neighbor’s) vegetable garden. So, the flooding of your neighbor’s residence may not be taken casually.
How to remedy the situation and avert disaster
First, you have to know why the pool is tilting to provide the right solution. As stated in the manufacturer’s instructions, the ground on which the pool sits must be level.
Did you notice that the sagging is coming from the level of the feet? Then there is a good chance that they have sunk into the sand. You can try to remedy this by leveling the structure with shims.
If the difference in level is high, the entire liner is likely resting on sloping ground. It is generally, in this case, that the risk of the liner rupturing is the greatest.
In this case, do not hesitate to drain the pool to remedy the problem. This is the only solution available to you. Once empty, disassemble the pool and resume the landscaping from the beginning.
Are you sure that the ground was level before installing your pool, but it is still sagging or tilting? Then the problem is probably because of the way you prepared the ground for the pool.
The sand must still be too loose and no longer provide a level surface. If the pool tilts for more than two centimeters, you will have to empty the pool.
Based on your observations, then you can proceed to improve your land to straighten your freestanding pool. You can level the ground, for example, by installing a concrete slab, or you can also earth the ground.
Is it that the nature of the terrain is the problem (sandy or easily waterlogged)? Then we advise you to call an expert to assess the problem and give you the different possibilities. But in all cases, it will be best to rethink its location.
How unlevel can your pool be?
- Under 1 inch: It does not really pose a problem too. It should be left to be but closely observed.
- More than 1 inch: A little bit beyond an inch, you risk damaging your liner as well as its structure. This can be corrected by wedging the tilting side.
- 2-3 inches or more: If the difference in level measures between two to three inches or more, then you have to empty the pool immediately, disassemble it, and work on the landscaping.
Step 1: Prepare wooden shims of almost the same size with the remaining inches the pool needs to be on level. For example, if the pool is 2-inch off level. Prepare 2¼-inch high shims.
Step 2: If the pool is full with water, drain it. To save water, stop draining at halfway the level of the pool capacity.
Step 3: Identify the sagging/tilting sides of the pool. Then raise each angle of the tilting sides with a metal lever or strong shovel.
Step 4: With the assistance of another person, put a wooden shim at the base of the angle or foot of the pool. Repeat the process above for the other angle or foot.
Step 5: Fill your pool back to the required level.
Note: You may choose not to drain the water if you feel the lever is strong enough to carry the weight and have someone else assist you.