15 49.0138 8.38624 arrow 1 bullet 1 6000 1 0 fade https://blog.thepoolfactory.com 300 4000 1
theme-sticky-logo-alt
America's Above Ground Pool Experts
Search
Generic filters
Exact matches only

How to Install a Base For Your Above Ground Pool Liner

Learn multiple ways to setup your above ground pool base when installing your swimming pool liner.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Many do-it-yourselfers installing an above ground swimming pool for the first time have questions regarding how to properly install a base underneath a pool liner.

This article will illustrate the correct way to do this in order to make the installation go smoother and protect the pool liner and pool wall from being damaged.

Pool Liner Installation

One of the biggest problems that we see is with the height of the base beneath the above ground pool liner. When the sand base is not high enough there is excess strain put on the pool liner and pool wall, and this tremendous weight of the water can easily cause the vinyl pool liner to “blowout” and/or the metal pool wall to be pulled down.

Pool liners are obviously not built to withstand water weight, they are simply made to line the inside of a pool to hold the water. Therefore, when installing a new swimming pool or a new above ground pool liner it is extremely important to make sure that the vinyl pool liner is supported by the proper height sand base. There should be NO AIR SPACE between the vinyl pool liner and the base that it should be resting on.

A bed of fine mason sand or play sand of 3-4″ across the entire bottom of the pool and 7″ on an angle (this is referred to as a “cove”) against the pool wall would be a traditional sand base for an above ground pool.

Avoid Air Pockets During Liner Installation

View the diagram’s below to see how the CORRECT and INCORRECT ways to install your pool liner.

Pool Liner Air Space Diagram - Correct
Pool Liner Air Space Diagram - Incorrect

Simplified Installation, Better Results!

Swimming Pool Sand
Fine Mason Sand
Foam Pool Cove Installation
Foam Pool Cove
Liner Floor Pad
Liner Floor Pad
Pool Installation
Wall Foam & Spray

Installing a Pool with a Sand Base and Sand Cove

Step 1

Using fine sand (free of rocks and debris), lay a 3″ thick bed of sand across the entire inside of the pool (wall-to-wall) this will form your base.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 2

Build a sand cove against the pool wall by creating a 4″ angle of sand (on top of the 3″) sand base giving you a total sand cove height of 7″ inches where the base meets the metal pool wall.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 3

This is the completed above ground pool liner installation. The vinyl pool liner should be completely supported by the pool base to avoid any stress or damage to it or the metal pool wall.

Pool Liner Installation

Installing a Pool with a Sand Base and Foam Cove

Step 1

Using fine sand (free of rocks and debris), lay a 3″ thick bed of sand across the entire inside of the pool (wall-to-wall) this will form your base.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 2

After installing a 3″ sand base, attach the pool cove (foam) by simply removing the adhesive backing and sticking it to the metal pool wall directly on top of the sand (where the base meets the metal pool wall).

Pool Liner Installation

Step 3

This is the completed above ground pool liner installation. The vinyl pool liner should be completely supported by the pool base to avoid any stress or damage to it or the metal pool wall.

Pool Liner Installation

Installing a Pool with a Sand Base, Foam Cove and Liner Floor Pad

Step 1

Using fine sand (free of rocks and debris), lay a 3″ thick bed of sand across the entire inside of the pool (wall-to-wall) this will form your base.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 2

After installing the 3″ sand base, lay the liner floor pad on top. Please note your liner floor pad is pre-cut to fit your pool’s exact dimensions.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 3

Attach the pool cove (foam) directly on top of the liner floor pad by removing the adhesive backing and sticking it to the metal pool wall (where the liner floor pad meets the metal pool wall).

Pool Liner Installation

Step 4

This is the completed above ground pool liner installation. The vinyl pool liner should be completely supported by the pool base to avoid any stress or damage to it or the metal pool wall.

Pool Liner Installation

Installing a Pool with a Sand Base, Foam Cove, Liner Floor Pad and Wall Foam

Step 1

Using fine sand (free of rocks and debris), lay a 3″ thick bed of sand across the entire inside of the pool (wall-to-wall) this will form your base.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 2

After installing the 3″ sand base, lay the liner floor pad on top. Please note your liner floor pad is pre-cut to fit your pool’s exact dimensions.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 3

Using spray glue or duct tape attach the pool wall foam to the metal pool wall. Start attaching the foam at the top of the pool wall. This will leave a small portion of the bottom of the pool wall not covered with foam but this area will be hidden with a sand or foam cove.

Pool Liner Installation

Step 4

After installing the pool wall foam, attach the pool cove (foam) by removing the adhesive backing and sticking it to the metal pool wall directly on top of the liner floor pad (where the liner floor pad meets the metal pool wall).

Pool Liner Installation

Step 5

This is the completed above ground pool liner installation. The vinyl pool liner should be completely supported by the pool base to avoid any stress or damage to it or the metal pool wall.

Pool Liner Installation

In conclusion, there are several ways that one can prepare their pool base prior to installing your above ground pool liner. If these steps are followed correctly they can help prevent issues with your above ground pool liner post installation and in years to come!

Above Ground Pool Installation Items

The following are links to various sections on our website ThePoolFactory.com where you can select pool liner installation items based off your above ground pool size.

Pool Cove (Foam)

Pool Cove is foam that easily peels and sticks to the inside base of the pool wall. The foam pool cove is 3-3/4 inches high and must be installed on top of 3 inches of sand. This will give you a total height of about 7 inches, the recommended height to support the liner and eliminate stress at the seam of the pool liner.

Liner Floor Pad is a tough Geo-Textile material that cushions and protects the bottom of the pool liner from sharp objects, such as roots and rocks. It’s pre-cut to fit your pool size and gets installed directly on top of the 3″ bed of sand at the bottom of the pool.

Pool Wall Foam

Pool Wall Foam is 1/8″ thick foam that gets installed between the pool wall and the liner creating a softer feel for swimmers. It also helps insulate the pool and may help protect the liner from possible punctures.

While shopping on our website if you have any questions about any of the products or sizes that you may need please don’t hesitate to contact us via Live Chat or our contact us form.

How Much Sand Will I Need For Pool Installation?

 Amount for Sand Base with
SAND COVE
Amount for Sand Base with
FOAM COVE
Pool SizeYards of SandTons of SandYards of SandTons of Sand
12' Round1.001.400.751.00
15' Round1.502.001.001.50
18' Round2.003.001.502.00
21' Round2.503.502.002.50
24' Round3.505.002.503.50
27' Round4.005.503.004.00
30' Round5.507.754.005.75
33' Round7.0010.005.257.50
8' X 12' Oval0.751.000.500.75
8' X 14' Oval1.001.400.751.05
8' X 15' Oval1.001.400.751.05
8' X 16' Oval1.001.400.751.05
8' X 19' Oval1.001.400.751.05
10' X 15' Oval1.001.400.751.05
10' X 16' Oval1.001.400.751.05
10' X 18' Oval1.251.751.001.40
10' X 19' Oval1.251.751.001.40
10' X 21' Oval1.502.001.251.75
12' X 16' Oval1.251.751.001.40
12' X 17' Oval1.502.001.001.40
12' X 18' Oval1.502.001.001.40
12' X 20' Oval1.752.501.251.75
12' X 21' Oval1.752.501.251.75
12' X 24' Oval2.003.001.502.00
12' X 27' Oval2.503.502.003.00
14' X 20' Oval2.003.001.52.00
15' X 23' Oval2.503.501.752.50
15' X 24' Oval2.503.501.752.50
15' X 26' Oval2.754.002.002.75
15' X 30' Oval3.505.002.503.50
16' X 26' Oval3.505.002.503.50
16' X 32' Oval4.005.503.004.00
18' X 33' Oval4.506.503.504.50
18' X 40' Oval5.507.504.56.00
21' X 43' Oval7.0010.005.257.50
COMMENTS 38
  • November 3, 2014 at 12:45 PM
    William Pierce

    How many cubic yds of sand is needed for a 24ft round pool, using a 3in bed?

    • November 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      You’ll need approximately 4 yards of fine mason sand when installing a 24’ round pool. Remember to build your cove up to a height of about 7 inches, this will help support the liner and eliminate stress at the seam of the pool liner.

  • January 15, 2015 at 6:56 PM
    Lorraine Sherwood

    What are the recommendations for setting up an above ground pool on a concrete surface? I am considering the 12’x20’x54″ Saltwater 8000 oval pool. We’re in the process of preparing our backyard for this, and we’ve had above ground pools on the ground (no concrete) before, but whether it’s gophers, some kind of crazy “devil” grass, or slippage (we’ve always had problems as our yard slopes toward a gully and maintaining a level surface has been impossible).

    We’re now having retaining walls installed to create a tiered yard and planned on having a concrete pad for the pool on one section, but I don’t see any mention of this surface in the installation instructions. Before we “pour” I need to know if it’s NOT recommended for some reason.
    Thanks!

    • January 17, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      Hi Lorraine,

      Great question, please contact us at (855)280-7665 and one of our above ground pool experts can provide you the appropriate support and answer all your questions.

  • March 14, 2015 at 2:15 PM
    Tom Mellett

    We had a terrible winter, with a lot of snow, we got over 8′ of snow in one month. My pool unfortunately doesn’t look like it survived – the top coping has been torn off and some of the walls have been buckled in due to all the weight of the snow and ice. I had tried letting the cover loose from the coping to prevent damage but didn’t seem to help. I want to replace the pool – it should be straight forward enough as the leveling blocks under the uprights are still in place. Do you have any recommendations on how I can avoid this happening again? It seems that the covers promote more damage than they prevent!

    • March 22, 2015 at 9:01 PM

      Hi Tom,

      Some areas did get an unusual amount of snow this past winter. In extreme weather conditions with excessive amounts of weight from snow and or rain, winter cover cables can sometimes damage pools. In theses situations you can relieve the stress that the winter cover cable is putting on the pool by loosening the cover cable. The cover may fall into the pool but that is much better than damaging the pool. Another method that is sometimes utilized in colder areas is to not cover the pool at all. Simply drain the pool about one foot below the skimmer opening and leave the pool uncovered. We also recommend a winter closing plate for the thru-wall skimmer and a winterizing plug for the return fitting regardless of the winterizing method that you choose. Rain, snow, and ice can work their way into these fittings and cause severe damage to pools (if they are not closed off from the inside of the pool). Winterizing plates and plugs and other winter closing accessories can be found here: https://www.thepoolfactory.com/pool-supplies/pool-closing/accessories. The downside to leaving a pool uncovered for the winter is that it will be more work to clean and open the pool in the Spring, but that is better than ice damage to the pool.

  • March 17, 2015 at 11:39 PM
    Richard

    To make sure I understand this a 54″ tall pool will measure 54″ on the outside and the 3″ of added sand is above the natural ground line? so should measure 51″ down to sand from inside?

    • March 22, 2015 at 9:08 PM

      Hi Richard,

      Yes, the overall inside height of a 54″ tall pool wall is 54″. The overall height can be a bit taller depending on the pool model and the thickness of the top ledge, but the pool wall will be 54″. The sand base that is installed inside the pool will take away from that height and of course the water depth. The 3″ sand base is installed on top of the “natural ground line”. You will also need to create a cove against the inside of the pool wall using sand or foam cove. This will create a total base height of approximately 7 inches against the pool wall but only 3″ throughout the rest of the pool bottom. Please refer to the diagram in Step 2 labelled “Proper Sand Cove Measurements”.

  • March 25, 2015 at 9:39 AM
    Anthony

    How many yards of sand will be needed for a 15×30 pool

    • March 30, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      Hi Anthony,

      To install a 15×30 oval above ground pool you will need approximately 3 1/2 yards of fine mason sand. If you are planning on using foam pool cove you will need 2 1/2 yards.

  • May 9, 2015 at 11:28 AM
    Angela

    How much sand will I need for a 30′ round swimming pool?

    • May 13, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      Hi Angela,

      A 30′ swimming pool will require 5 1/2 yards of fine mason sand. If you are planning on using foam cove that amount will be reduced to 4 yards.

  • June 12, 2015 at 12:14 AM
    Christine Barth

    How much sand will I need for an 18′ x 33′ oval pool with foam cove?

    • June 17, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Hi Christine,

      3 1/2 yards (5 ton) of fine mason sand will be enough to give you a 3″ base wall to wall. The foam cove should be placed on top of the sand.

  • June 16, 2015 at 7:44 PM
    Beh

    Should I replace the sand base with a foam base? Why or why not…

    • June 17, 2015 at 5:50 PM

      Hi Beh,

      We recommend a sand base with either foam cove or a sand cove. The idea of a cove is to take the stress off of the liner seam (where the vinyl wall panel is heat sealed to the bottom vinyl floor panel). This can be done with foam pool cove or a basic sand cove. Foam cove would help prevent a washout and an eventual liner blowout (the foam cove doesn’t get washed out in the event of a liner leak like a sand cove would).

  • June 30, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    How many yards of sand do I need for a 15X24 oval using both for the bottom and cove?

  • July 4, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    hi Tom, how much sand for 8X12 thanks Dee

  • July 10, 2015 at 7:16 AM
    Ken Friedkin

    Hi Tom,
    We oredered a 18×40 quest pool. Our plan is to put the pool semi in ground down about 2 feet. Do we need to back fill? to ground level or could we leave that part open and build a deck around. worried about drainage and such.

    • July 13, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      Hi Ken,

      A backfill of sifted soil or sand, graded 10 degrees away from the pool would be recommended to protect the pool and for proper drainage.

  • July 11, 2015 at 12:10 AM
    Rich

    Tom, we just ordered a a 18′ round pool. We also ordered the foam cove. How much sand do I need? Can I use patio paver sand or should I use play sand?

    Thanks, Rich

    • July 13, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      Hi Rich,

      Either fine mason sand or play sand would be ideal for your above ground pool liner base. An 18′ round above ground pool will require 2 yards of sand but since you purchased the foam cove you will only need 1.5 yards (2 tons).

  • July 21, 2015 at 1:58 PM
    Susan Radsick

    we have been given a 2 year old quest 27’x54″ pool. it does need to be torn down and moved to our home to be installed. Is this recommended, any advise? What should I approx. expect to pay for this job?

    • July 24, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      Hi Susan,

      A good above ground pool like the Quest can be moved and reassembled at another location (you will need to purchase a new vinyl pool liner). Installation charges can vary by location and the price will also depend on the grade of the site. We would recommend that you ask several local reputable pool installation companies for price quotes before making a decision.

  • June 15, 2016 at 11:46 AM
    Jud

    I apologize for asking a question thats been asked before, but in a different way. I’m installing a 18′ x 52″ pool. If my ground surface is completely level across from bottom rail to bottom rail, why do I need to add 3″ of sand? Do the liner manufacturer spec the liners for actually 49″ tall? Is it just to make sure Joe Blow doesn’t have any major divots in the pool?

    • August 17, 2016 at 3:56 PM

      Hi Jud,

      Yes, above ground pool liner manufacturer’s generally recommend a 3″ sand base and a 6-7″ sand cove and cut their liners to fit with that amount of sand underneath. The sand also protects the liner from any sharp objects or edges.

  • June 22, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    Hi Tom how many ton of sand do we need to put under a 27 inch round pool 54 inches high

  • July 23, 2016 at 3:52 PM
    Bill Rubbo

    How deep is the water in a 54″ wall pool? 54″ minus 3″ of sand and how for down is the skimmer, 6″? 54-3-6=45″ of water is this correct?

    • August 17, 2016 at 3:25 PM

      Hi Bill,

      The water depth inside the pool will be reduced by the typical 3″ sand base under the vinyl liner and the fact that you will not fill the pool to the very top. Pools do need to be filled to a level of at least halfway up the skimmer opening to allow water to enter the filter without air. This would be at the 47″ mark on a 54″ pool.

      54″ high pool – max water depth is about 51″ , normal water depth is 46-49″

  • October 4, 2016 at 1:04 PM
    sandra

    I’m looking at a 12×18 above ground pool, prefer the semi-inground, but how far down in depth can an above ground pool go?

  • March 22, 2017 at 10:09 AM
    Jon H.

    I’m installing a 15’x30sw lx oval pool. In one set of instructions I have it mentions putting a 2′ x2″ base of crushed concrete around the perimeter. In the video it doesn’t display it. Is this required?

  • March 28, 2017 at 1:37 PM
    Glenda

    We have a 16X32 inch expanded liner pool that has been destroyed by raccoons the pool depth is six feet on the deep end. Can we convert to one of your pools? If so how.

  • April 2, 2017 at 11:02 PM
    Brian L Bollinger

    Instead of the 8″x16″x2″ block footings, can I put a 8″x3″ x circumference, concrete footing.

  • April 21, 2017 at 11:24 AM
    Steve Clark

    how to prevent ants from eating hole in the liner?

  • April 26, 2017 at 12:07 PM
    Brian Edwards

    What do you think of using sheet styrofoam for the base of my pool?

    On my previous pool, I used a base of sand (not three inches though) to get a level surface then laid 1″ sheet foam from a big box store.

    It seems to be working well. We’re ready to upgrade to a larger pool.

Shop at The Pool Factory