The process of backfilling an above-ground pool is quite different from the one used for inground pools. However, it is just as crucial, and it is something that many homeowners do not realize is necessary. Backfilling an above-ground pool can help to prevent rust and corrosion in addition to stopping the pool from potentially collapsing.
Moreover, it is becoming increasingly popular to install an above-ground swimming pool partially in the ground. Many people do this for aesthetic reasons, while others are looking for a more affordable solution as the cost of inground pools has risen significantly. When an above-ground pool is placed partially in the ground, a hole is dug that is significantly larger than the size of the pool. After the pool has been placed in the hole and filled, the larger hole surrounding the pool must be backfilled.
Even if an above-ground pool is being installed fully above the ground, there will still be a small amount of backfilling required to cover the rails and plates on the bottom of the pool and create a natural barrier that will stop moisture from flowing beneath the pool, which can wash away the sand bed on which the pool is resting and put the structure at risk.
In addition, because most yards are not perfectly flat, one part of the yard may need to be excavated deeper to allow the pool to sit level; the holes that this creates will need to be filled in following installation.
Here is a look at the materials and process used for backfilling above-ground pools.
Pool Backfill Materials
The term “backfilling” generally refers to taking soil that has been excavated from an area and placing it back into the hole from which it was originally removed. Using the ground that was displaced when the pool was installed for backfilling is certainly the most cost-effective approach because the material is already there and can help avoid the expense of having soil removed from the property. However, some homeowners choose to have dirt brought in from elsewhere if the dirt in their yard does not have a desirable composition.
The Backfill Process
Here are the most important steps involved in backfilling above-ground pools.
Place Piles Of Dirt Around The Hole
When installing an above-ground pool in a semi-inground fashion, it is a good idea to make a hole that is around three feet larger than the size of the pool. For example, for a standard 24-foot round pool, a 27-foot round hole is ideal. Once the pool is installed, there will be at least a foot remaining all the way around the pool that needs to be backfilled with dirt.
It may be tempting to pile the dirt that is removed when creating the hole further away in the yard, so that it does not get in the way of installing the pool. However, this is a bad idea because then the dirt will have to be transported back to the pool when it is time to backfill it. Leaving piles of earth around the hole will make it far easier to backfill. In fact, you will only need a shovel to place dirt around the pool again if it is stored close to the pool itself.
Fill The Pool With Water
It is essential that you fill the above-ground pool with water before you attempt to backfill it rather than afterward. If not, you risk crushing the pool inward, which will completely destroy it. Even a small cave-in will require additional time and expense to repair. Because traditional above-ground pools contain a thin continuous roll metal wall, they are not designed to handle inward pressure, although they are very good at handling outward pressure since they have been designed to hold water above the ground.
However, once the pool has been filled with water, the water in the pool creates outward pressure that allows for the inward pressure and weight created by backfilling to be accommodated.
Wait A Few Days Before Backfilling
Keep in mind that if an above-ground pool has problems such as leaks or other types of manufacturer’s defects, such as a separation of the seams in the liner, they will typically appear within the first few days of installation. Therefore, it is a good idea to leave the pool open so that it will be easier to identify potential issues and access them so they can be repaired. This will require significantly more work once the pool has been backfilled.
Backfill To A Slightly Higher Level To Allow For Settling
When you remove dirt that has been in the ground for a long time to accommodate your pool, keep in mind that it will be highly compacted. This means it will not have any air or water in it. However, after it has been displaced and then placed back in the ground, it is likely to contain a significant amount of air. Over time, the air will release and the earth will begin to settle and compact again.
Therefore, it is essential to backfill slightly higher than the level where you ultimately would like the earth to reach to allow for the inevitable settling that will occur. This backfill does not normally need to be compacted. In most cases, simply pushing areas down by stepping on them may be sufficient. Hand tampers and compactors are not usually necessary.
If an above-ground pool extends further than two feet into the ground or is placed on earth that is very sandy, experts recommend reinforcing the earth or constructing a retaining wall.
Backfill Using Regular Earth And Add Rocks Or Mulch Across The Top
It is common to add rocks or mulch around the perimeter of an above-ground pool as this can be aesthetically pleasing in addition to helping to prevent erosion and stop grass and other foliage from growing against the wall of the pool. However, there is no need for rocks or mulch to go all the way down. Instead, it is best to backfill the pool with the earth that was removed when digging the hole. A layer of rock or mulch a few inches thick can be applied on top of it.
Get In Touch With Dirt Connections
Reach out to Dirt Connections today to get the answers to all your backfilling and pool installation questions from our home improvement experts and learn more about our services.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
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