How To Install An Above Ground Pool


A new pool won’t be fun until it is holding water and sitting perfectly on your chosen site. Incorrectly installed above ground pools often result in a lot of problems, including wrinkled/buckled liners and uneven floors. It is much better – and less expensive – to install above ground pool correctly the first time. 

In this article, we will show you how to install an above ground pool. With the steps below, above ground pool installation should be much easier for you.  

A Step by Step Guide on How to Install an Above Ground Pool 

1. Get the Necessary Tools and Materials 

Ensuring that you have all the necessary tools on hand will allow you to be more efficient. To install the above ground pool, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • Shovel 
  • Carpenter’s level and/or transit 
  • Skimmer/return fitting 
  • Sand 
  • Duct tape 
  • Philips head screwdriver 
  • Tape measure 
  • ¼ wrench 
  • 5/16 wrench 
  • Patio blocks 2” x 8” x 16” (1 for each bottom plate)
  • Landscape stakes & C-clamps 
  • Box cutter 

2. Find a Good Installation Site 

After organizing your materials and tools, survey your home to find an ideal pool installation site. The ideal site should be level and large enough to accommodate the swimming pool. 

One of the things to consider before installing your pool is the underground utility lines – be sure to check for these and other underground obstructions. Also, ensure that the installation is compliant with the local and state codes before you initiate the construction. 

3. Measure the Installation Site 

Measure and mark the area you intend to install above ground pool. To find the center of the swimming pool, it is easiest to measure off an already existing object – for example, a wall or a fence – and mark where you would like to have the pool’s wall. Then measure ½ the width of your pool and stake your tape measure at this point. 

Consider pulling your tape measure to your pool’s radius measurement plus 1 additional foot. This is where the swimming pool will go plus gives you extra room for you to work. Place a marker on the predetermined center and then walk the tape all around, tracing the pool’s perimeter. 

4. Clear the Area 

You must install above ground pool on an area that is free from additional debris, rocks, roots, and sod. Opening the pool on an area that does not feature a smooth floor will often result in problems before you get to use your swim cap and swimming goggles for as long as you would want. 

To expedite the process of removing the sod, be sure to use sod cutters – you can rent these from the local hardware store. If the area has roots and tree stumps, you may want to hire a company offering stump and root removal services. 

5. Level the Area Out 

Clearing the sod, roots, and debris will affect the level of the land. To make the area ideal for pool installation, leveling will be necessary. You can use a leveler to find the highest points on the site – dig to level out these areas. 

Uneven surfaces will cause the above ground pool to settle. This will eventually cause damage to the bottom – this could lead to pool leaks

Note: Always focus on digging out the high areas. Do not build up the low zones. This will help you avoid issues in the future. 

6. Lay Down the Rails and Bottom Plates

Once the area is within 1 inch of being ideally level, you can start building. The first thing you will need to do is lay down the rails and bottom plates. If you are learning how to install an above ground pool for the first time, chances are that you are not familiar with the different types of bottom plates and the differences existing between the stabilizer and bottom rails. Below, we will make things clearer for you: 

Types of Bottom Plates 

  • Resin 
  • Metal 
  • Resin bottom cuff 

Stabilizer Rails 

These are usually crimped on one side. They have female and male ends and are generally smaller compared to the bottom rails. 

Bottom Rails 

Most bottom rails are usually made of either metal or resin. They are generally bigger than stabilizers and are straight cut on both ends. 

7. Connect Each Bottom Rail 

After laying down the bottom plates and bottom rails, you will need to connect each rail to its bottom plate. Resin bottom cuffs, resin, and metal bottom plates will connect to the bottom rails in the same way. 

After connecting the bottom rails to the bottom plates, measure the diameter in various areas to ensure that the bottom is matched to your pool’s bottom – for example, if the pool is round, the bottom should be around too. Once satisfied, stake the ring into position. 

8. Block Bottom Plates 

For added support, you can place a patio block under each bottom plate. You must dig out the area and place every block in a recessed hole to ensure stability and to make sure that the track is laying level with the ground. 

9. Add the Pool Base 

Remove 1 bottom rail to cart in the sand easily. You should mark the placement of the 2 bottom plates to ensure the exact position after you dump the sand. Spread the sand evenly throughout the pool area and then replace your pool’s bottom rail segment. 

10. Install the Wall 

For people who are not very familiar with how to install an above ground pool, wall installation tends to be tricky and difficult. However, ensuring proper wall installation will guarantee you a good experience every time you put on your swimming headphones and swimming gloves

Try using landscaping stakes to support your wall as you connect around the bottom track perimeter. Before connecting to the bottom track, ensure the skimmer cutout is on the top portion of the wall. Below, we have the things you will need to consider for both single row and staggered wall bars: 

  • You will need rivets on walls if you are using single row wall bars 
  • When using staggered wall bars, ensure that the wall bars are attached
  • Wall bolts will have to be attached using hand tools
  • Every hole has to be filled with a bolt 
  • Wall bars should not touch each other 
  • Use 3 layers of duct tape to cover the bolt heads inside the pool 

11. Create a Cove 

For support, you should consider building a high pool cove. To ensure that the cove lasts for a long time and is sturdy, you should install a pool cove liner protection. This should help eliminate the guesswork of using the sand and also create a smooth cove around the pool’s floor. 

12. Mount the Uprights 

Next, you will need to install the uprights into each bottom plate of the above ground pool. The uprights will strengthen the pool wall and also offer support. The tops of each upright will be determined by the extra holes close to the top. 

When installing the resin uprights, you will simply need to slide the upright into your bottom resin cuff to snap it in. You won’t need any additional hardware. 

13. Tamp the Sand or Pool Base 

Smooth out the bottom by tamping the base. This should give you a strong and even base. Be sure to tamp the entire bottom and then sweep away the remaining lines. 

14. Install the Liner 

The above-ground pool liner is one of the most essential components. After filling the pool, the liner will ensure that the water stays inside until you decide to drain the above ground pool. To make the liner easier to manage, you should consider laying it out in the sun and then re-roll it for easier transportation and installation. 

15. Attach the Stabilizer Rails & Top Plates 

After installing the liner, start working out the wrinkles from the sides of the pool. This can be done using the stabilizer rails. 

Most stabilizer rails will slide into each other around the pool, helping reinforce its circular shape. You will need to use screws to secure the top plates onto each other. If you had used landscaping stakes, you can remove them after attaching the top plates and stabilizer rails. 

16. Attach the Top Rail 

Once the stabilizer rails and top plates are in place, the next step is to place the top rails. Be sure to place all the top rails before you screw them down completely. 

17. Fill the Pool with Water Slowly 

Filling the pool with water slowly will allow you to further smooth out any wrinkles present on the pool liner. Fill the pool halfway and then install the pool skimmer and the return fittings. 

Once installed, you can finish connecting the remaining pool equipment, including pool filters and pumps. Once everything is connected to the pool, fill it. 



Q: How Do You Prepare the Ground for An Above Ground Pool?


Before installing your above ground pool, you will need to prepare the ground by removing sod, roots, rocks, and debris. Once these are removed, you will need to level the ground. Next, you will need to add a sand layer before installing the pool liner. 

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Put in An Above Ground Pool?


Above ground pool installation costs run from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the size and type of the pool. Round pools generally cost less to install than the oval pools.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Install an Above Ground Pool?


Above-ground pools can be installed within 1 or 2 days. However, for a permanent structure, you will need to add a deck around the pool as well as fencing – these 2 can increase the number of days you need to complete the pool installation.

Q: Do You Need to Put Sand Under an Above Ground Pool?


Sand is the recommended base material upon which the above ground pool should sit. Sand will protect the pool’s vinyl liner from objects and rocks that could cause tears. Additionally, sand acts as cushioning for the floor – this makes the floor comfortable for your feet.

Q: Should I Put Sand Under My Intex Pool?


Putting sand under the Intex Pools is a good idea. In addition to helping you have a smooth and wrinkle-free floor, the sand will help you with cushioning the bottom. 

Q: What Do I Put Under My Above Ground Pool for Grass?


You should put sand under the above ground pool. The sand will keep the pool liner wrinkle-free and also help with cushioning. This will protect the liner from sharp objects and also ensure that the bottom is comfortable enough for your feet.

Q: What Should I Put Around My Above Ground Pool?


There are numerous borders that you can use around the pool, with the main ones being stone, timber, concrete, and plastic. Irrespective of the material you decide to use around the pool, be sure to get the best quality – this should ensure that the pool is always looking appealing.

Q: Can You Put A Tarp Under A Pool?


Yes, you can use a tarp under the pool. However, sand is generally a much better option considering that the tarp won’t help with the smoothness of the pool floor. You can, however, use a little sand for the final ground smoothing before putting the tarp down.

Q: How Do I Level My Ground for A Pool Without Digging?


To level the ground without digging, simply use a combination of crushed limestone and sand. First, use the crushed limestone to achieve a 1” to 2” levelness before using the sand to even out the ground further.

Q: How Do I Measure My Yard for An Above Ground Pool?


After choosing the installation site, simply measure the pool radius from an existing object to determine the center of the pool. After determining the center, mark it. Next, measure the pool radius from the center to the opposite side to mark the other end. You can add 1 foot to the measurements to ensure you have some working space. Repeating this process, measure the site to place different markers to indicate the pool’s perimeter.

Globo Surf Overview 

An above-ground pool is an ideal option for people who would like to enjoy swimming in cool waters at home without having to deal with the high price tag of the more permanent inground pool. This article shows you how to install an above ground pool. With the steps outlined above, you should be able to install above ground pool quickly and easily. 

More Pool Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!