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Above ground pools are the cesspool of mechanical illiteracy in manufacture. Login/Join 
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I doubt there is a anything worse manufactured on the market than a cheap above ground pool. Lets examine one of their basic issues, tolerances. Some like to bandy that about stating their fav gun maker has them, I've worked in fabrication and production, it's not at all what most think.

Basic above ground pool is a steel wall, and 18 footer is 55 feet long, a 21 footer 66 feet. Instructions say, lay out the bottom channels and plates with at least a 1" gap between them over the plate. There are 14 plates, that's about 14" of slack.

You should see it coming already.

We were assembling the wall, placing it in the channel, worked all the way around back to the seam where you overlap the ends and bolt it together. Well, its too big a gap, not even close. NOTHING in the instruction or the makers video other than "shake the pool wall to get it to come together." And the five other videos my wife watched - same thing. Son and I resolved we needed to narrow that gap between the channels to take out the slack, turns out all of the 14" had to come out.

At that point one too many of us let go and it started rolling back up again, this is after 4 hours in 89 degree weather over 79 percent humidity, thats Cat 4 heat index, so we stopped. Cool off, stake and prop it up, get supper.

Wife finds another video from an installer with 35 years experience and he's all about 14" is actually pool company tolerances. No, they do NOT cut them to within an inch, they actually cut them to within a foot - or so. He's had them too small, returned it. Too big? RETURNED IT. Pool makers apparently have been doing this for decades and nobody is the wiser, we all just try to get by.

Their standards are more than just sloppy, and the returns? Marked up in the cost of business and we pay extra for the inconvenience of poor quality control. Now here's where we get into "tolerances." A 21 foot pool has a circumference of 66 feet, or 792 inches, 14 inches slack divided by 792 is about .017"an inch.

An AR15 is made to =/- .015" OVERALL DIMENSION - length, width height, all you are allowed is .015". Not .O15" PER RUNNING INCH. Every lumber mill in North American will cut a board slightly over - about 1/4". It covers shrinkage. I've rarely seen one short at the yard. Same for coffee or breakfast cereal, they set the machine so the average weight of 1000 packages is a tad over the label. No lawsuits that way. But pools? +/- 14"? Really?

Pool makers tolerances are so loose and the instructions so vague you get set up for failure. Much less these kits haven't changed in at least 20 years in our experience, the online reviewer has 35 years. The market moved to bag pool as fabrics and their manufacture have improved, one maker went to PU foam between aluminum in rigid panels. But no, the steel wall market is still the same slipshod and imprecise crap they have always made. Their standard is start with the base channels set large so that whatever the actual finish size it will hopefully be smaller. Averages.

"Just rattle the walls and make it smaller." How about protect yourself and be aware that above ground steel pools are not all they seem to be in the ads. Not even. My son and I came up with half a dozen improvements we could imagineer just while assembling one, don't expect a pool maker to retool and offer a superior one. Too much cheap profit in the current models to bother.

And when they say stick a screwdriver in the holes to align the seam overlap, don't. PUT A BOLT IN IT. That way when one less hand is no longer holding it together it won't start going berserk like a bandsaw blade on crack.
 
Posts: 605 | Registered: December 14, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Next morning we got it unrolled and bolted in the first 15 minutes. I won't even go into trying to adjust and drape the liner to get it straight - about the third time around most of the wrinkles were gone. What the maker recommended was interesting, they suggested using a vacuum cleaner to draw out the air from between the liner and the wall to get it to fit more quickly.

So, out comes the shop vac, blue tape it into the return hole, and fire it up. About 5 seconds in the liner gets sucked into the hose fitting and instant stop. Grab the liner, pull it out, work with it and another 5 seconds, sucks to a stop again.

Check the directions, "angle a pipe at 45 degrees" was mentioned, tape a gooseneck drain aiming down at 90, turn on the vac, 5 seconds and it sucks up the liner again. I am getting the air out - I did remember to tape over the skimmer with some cardboard to seal it - but no way in Hades green earth am I getting this to "suck out the air to make a better fit."

We filled it to the cove line, and readjusted around the pool again. It's filling - need to call our water utility to exempt the 10,000 gallons being tacked onto the sewer treatment fee - once again the instructions given with these pools suck liners.

yeah we are getting in a better mood, right after the third bolt went in. Having the wall up and knowing there won't be any more kinks in it from flopping over is a relief. Still a lot to do.


Now, why would a team of aging 69 year olds bother? She wants a pool to replace the last one. Well, you know how saying no will fly. Yeah sure. We are apparently still capable - our son was handy and assisted, a 21 footer absolutely needs a third hand on the job. She gets to work out water yoga, I have ulterior motives. 10,000 of semi potable water, and due to the slope of the ground I could in hard times run the gutters to the pool to replenish it. Americans use 300 gallons a day, our region gets about 60,000 off a 40x50 roof annually, I have a renewable water resource. Hit up the rural/off grid land owners and water collection systems are taking strides - you can't depend on a pump in a well 400 feet down when there is no electricity available to your location. If you are located in a western region dependent on the Colorado river? Pay attention, population growth alone is going to affect your share. One of the comparisons in water usage is interesting, "Americans use an average of 300 gallons daily" vs the logistics of an Army on it's feet, a soldier will use 3-5 gallons for food and personal care daily, in the summer. We know where the other 295 gallons is used at home, but think back to the days of carrying two buckets from the stream for your daily use. Our ancestors did and survived. There is a cabin still up where an elderly women did exactly that for most of her life on the Buffalo River in AR - the trail to visit is worth the hike.

A swimming pool is just a grey man prepper backstop for water shortages, like when your community gets a little EF1 which mostly wipes out your power substation for two weeks. That was the first of a long line of things we have overcome in a small town 6 miles from the metro.
 
Posts: 605 | Registered: December 14, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've got an in ground pool and yes, one of the reasons is in case of water shortages although Mrs. Flash and I do laps every day when the water's warm enough...about 8 months a year.
 
Posts: 8756 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I put up a 15x24 or some size along that oval pool last year. It was quite the hassle as the prep work kicked my butt. A buddy who has been putting in pools for people on the side killed off the grass and wanted to mix it back into the soil. Made a complete mess of the site as our grass didn't break down like he was accustomed to. Ended up hauling off the top soil like I had told him I wanted to do in the first place.

Getting the oval shape right was a giant PIA, but was able to get the track laid out and walls up and liner in during an evening once I had the site finally prepped. I was fortunate that when I rolled mine out everything came together perfectly. The bases on the one I bought had an indent identifying the location for the track, just getting everything laid out right to begin with was difficult.

I feel your pain though and have no desire to put another one up by myself. My wife was extremely close to paying someone to come in and do it, however the guy wanted some ridiculous amount and still needed my help. I refused to pay someone and still need to be a part of the process and bull headedly finished it myself. I got lucky though and after having the liner in called a bulk water company the following morning on a Saturday at 8 AM and they had an opening that morning. We had the pool filled by 11 for under $500.
 
Posts: 761 | Location: PA  | Registered: December 05, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You can have my in ground. I detest the fucking thing. Nothing but a pain in the ass. It’s old school, 9.5 feet deep but it’s a giant hole in the backyard that is constantly sucking my bank account. Can’t well to sell this whole thing and I will never own a pool of any kind ever again. I like my hot tub but it’s part of the pool so it’s a bitch. My barndo I’ll definitely buy a fiberglass hot tub as that is got damn peanuts in maintenance and cost compared to a POS pool.



OK, so we got a trooper pulls someone over, we got a shooting, these folks drive by, there's a high-speed pursuit, ends here and then this execution-type deal.
 
Posts: 11299 | Location: Down South | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I used to build pools in the summer when I was in high school. It was hot, nasty work but paid a shitload of money, especially for a high school kid. We used the same style you put up and a crew of 3 of us could do one from start to finish in about 8 hours. But we had practice. And yes, getting the sides to meet up sucked, even with all of our experience sometimes we had to really fight with the thing.

I swore I’d never build my own pool when I grew up but of course when my ex wanted a pool I built her one. I didn’t go with a metal sided one though, I went with an Intex which was significantly easier to install. I probably put more work into prepping the area and making the ground level and perfect than I really needed to but it turned out really nice. I’m not sure how long those pools last as we sold the house three years later but I liked it.




“Everybody wants a Sig in the sheets but a Glock on the streets.” -bionic218 04-02-2014
 
Posts: 14556 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Prefontaine:
You can have my in ground. I detest the fucking thing. Nothing but a pain in the ass. It’s old school, 9.5 feet deep but it’s a giant hole in the backyard that is constantly sucking my bank account. Can’t well to sell this whole thing and I will never own a pool of any kind ever again. I like my hot tub but it’s part of the pool so it’s a bitch. My barndo I’ll definitely buy a fiberglass hot tub as that is got damn peanuts in maintenance and cost compared to a POS pool.


That's an interesting thing to say.

I've had my in ground for a little over 18 years at this point and there's so little maintenance it's ridiculous. I probably put around an hour a month into skimming leaves and such out of it but that's about it.

But on the other hand, I've got a salt water pool, not a fresh water, so I don't have to worry about adding chlorine and checking it all the time because I can adjust my chlorinator's output with a dial going from 0% to 100% and even super chlorinate if I need to shock the pool, which is around once a year. I also use a paper filter setup, not DE or sand, so cleaning filters and replacing them is fast and easy.

And cost? Well, around $75/month probably, including electricity to run the pool pump and chlorinator and replacement of the filters every 4 or 5 years and replacement of the chlorinator cell every 5 to 8 years.

I put more time into washing my car than I do taking care of my pool.

I'll never be without one again.
 
Posts: 8756 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, I immediately upgraded my pool to salt water too. Maintenance was a breeze and the water was always crystal clear.




“Everybody wants a Sig in the sheets but a Glock on the streets.” -bionic218 04-02-2014
 
Posts: 14556 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A surprising number of homes around here have in-ground pools, considering the short usable season (which is upon us early this year - already had 90 degrees!) Few of them show obvious evidence of use.

One place gave up on the pool. They had a back-hoe bust up the floor (leaving the rest alone), then filled it with rough soil and top soil. Now they have a nice weed-proof garden, with an 8' wide concrete apron around it.


===
I would like to apologize to anyone I have *not* offended. Please be patient. I will get to you shortly.
 
Posts: 1867 | Location: The Sticks in Wisconsin. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Flash-LB:

That's an interesting thing to say.

I've had my in ground for a little over 18 years at this point and there's so little maintenance it's ridiculous. I probably put around an hour a month into skimming leaves and such out of it but that's about it.

But on the other hand, I've got a salt water pool, not a fresh water, so I don't have to worry about adding chlorine and checking it all the time because I can adjust my chlorinator's output with a dial going from 0% to 100% and even super chlorinate if I need to shock the pool, which is around once a year. I also use a paper filter setup, not DE or sand, so cleaning filters and replacing them is fast and easy.

And cost? Well, around $75/month probably, including electricity to run the pool pump and chlorinator and replacement of the filters every 4 or 5 years and replacement of the chlorinator cell every 5 to 8 years.

I put more time into washing my car than I do taking care of my pool.

I'll never be without one again.


It has nothing to do with salt water, at all. Pouring shit into it takes what 30 seconds? Doesn’t matter if it’s chlorine, calcium hardness, baking soda, or muriatic acid, takes seconds. It’s hot and humid here. And the sun bakes it so hard, as our summers are 100 degrees and high humidity, that water temp isn’t sweet until 30 minutes after the sun has set. In the day time, the water is warm, bordering on hot, and with it high 90’s to 100, and heaps of humidity, well sorry bud, this isn’t Arizona with your dry heat. At night with the lights on, yeah it’s a blast, but I’m long past staying up late drinking beer in the thing. That was fun the first few years. I have had to remodel it, which ate my kitchen remodel $, 20k. Replaced all the equipment at this point. Last was the main filter and a new heater (only use it for the spa though). That was $4k 18 months ago. Fun times. I’d rather do other things with that $.

The neighbor 2 houses down has massive Live Oaks. His yard in Jan/Feb/March, well you can’t see the grass. He’s a bitch and won’t maintain it until the leaves are at your shins. Guess where all those leaves end up? I’d like a custom pool cover, but at 4k, and the fact I’m not staying in this area much longer (too many Cali folks have ruined the major cities in TX), not spending the money.

Maintenance isn’t that big of a deal. My water is always adjusted, year round. Baking soda, Muriatic acid from HD, and I rarely have to add calcium. Chlorine I can do in my sleep as I’ve had mine 16 years so I know when and how much without a blink. Polaris usually needs something once a year. Replaced the wheels this year and he’s only 3 years old. My deck and pool are also close to the foundation of the back of the house and we get heaps of rain here. It flood rains often too, and that’s when it’s a PITA. When that happens, yeah I have to dial the pool back in whether it’s PH, chlorine, alkalinity, etc. When it rains often you chase it. But it gets on my nerves because those heavy rains hit the shingles of the house, which puts a layer of dirt on the pebble plaster so next thing you know I’m out there with a brush pushing it towards the drain and brushing the thing. Then it’s backwash time. It’s never ending. I’ll never forget our big freeze where we lost power and it was 0. Thick sheet of ice on the top of it. I was out there breaking it up with the pole, broke it, ended up using a baseball bat lmao. At least when I remodeled it, I put in an auto fill so I don’t have to jack with a hose. That’s been nice.

My gym has an Olympic pool that is indoors. Heated in the winter. The gym is less than 2 miles away and if I’m swimming I prefer to do laps. And my annual membership is $55. The water park 10 minutes away, same, $55 for a membership for the entire summer, rides, milfs, and when you leave the place, adios. I also have a supercharged PWC so I’d rather go to the lake and rip. And I go surfing in the Pacific twice a year so sitting in a traditional pool just isn’t a big deal to me. They aren’t for everyone. And geographic footprint really matters. Different strokes for different folks. I just don’t use mine. Lukewarm water in the summer under a blasting TX sun with our humidity, and I’m paying for it? Nah. I’m happy it’s there though as I will ring a Californian’s neck when I sell. As I mentioned, I will definitely buy another spa. I use that thing year round to recoup from the gym and the plates. Will go straight H202. No more pools though. I’m moving to an area with a clean lake you can see in/through with a rocky bottom that is one of the cleanest in the country. Pools are for someone else. Not interested again. We have shifting foundations here due to all the rain and floods also, as we are on clay. Hopefully nothing with that before I get to sell the mother fucker Wink



OK, so we got a trooper pulls someone over, we got a shooting, these folks drive by, there's a high-speed pursuit, ends here and then this execution-type deal.
 
Posts: 11299 | Location: Down South | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We ran the salt water setup in the previous pool, and it accelerated the rust issues to the point we added a stainless skimmer plate to keep it going. Salt works better with polymer or fiberglass, I wouldn't recommend it for an above ground steel pool. As for that, I think it killed a poplar we had planted five feet downhill - there was an out of sight leak that took a year of hunting to fix.

I'd say above ground steel is it's own special sort of hell.

As an update we got it mostly filled, and mostly without wrinkles and mostly tight. Time to put on the top cap and as I'm working around I come to a big mismatch, the strut is 4" from where it needs to connect. OK, quit and work the other side, five struts later, same problem.

When the foot plates are set to get the irregular length wall to fit it leaves them irregularly spaced. Online videos gave us one clue, if the bottom is off, the tops will be off - and those rails are NOT adjustable length. The top plates you screw them to offer three positions - nothing in the instructions mentions it. What few I could finesse by tipping the strut worked, but working back to the big mismatch took installing them at the extremes and now the struts have a peculiar peppermint twist to them on the most exposed side - the one we will see every time we approach the pool. If someone is the tiniest bit OCD this would be a glaring error - and beating the bottom plate to one side would result in the channel disconnecting and being unsupported.

Oh. Well.

Today I have to 1) mow the lawn, 2) install the pool ladder over the rail and make a platform for it - old deck was for a 48" tall pool, new pool is 52" and its now a very common problem. Nest the new W I D E mouth skimmer hole has to be cut, the worst is drilling the holes and all the shavings. Been there done that, the old pool was over the wall, as we kept improving it things like a sand filter etc were added.

Yesterday was peachy, I had to shovel out a scoop of sand we didn't need from the 5x8 trailer and get a scoop of base rock to berm the driveway so the rain wont run down against the house like it did last week (over 8") and flood her Beach Room. We spent 4 hours vacuuming up flood water and retired at 2AM. That meant shoveling the base rock out of the trailer by hand - seems I'm the only guy on the block without earth moving equipment and for some reason caring neighbors like to grade the easement drive and never correct the real problems.

Oh. Well.

I was warned when you retire that every day was Saturday, and now I have a glimmer of what that means.
 
Posts: 605 | Registered: December 14, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Got a new skimmer installed and in the process we turned over the pool pump - it had been previously bolted to the filter base but over the years ruste out. The motor stand was gone.

A softball sized hole was there, however, and you could see all the windings, etc. Good pump motor. Probably been like that for at least the last five years slowly decomposing and returning to earth.

or a good ground. don't know and won't find out. New pump motor to be found - hopefully. I may harness the stray neighborhood cats to a turnstock and let them earn their keep chasing rubber mice. They could lose the weight.
 
Posts: 605 | Registered: December 14, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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