Above-Ground Pool Bases: The Complete Guide

above ground pool foundation

Did you know that a 54” deep by 24’ long above-ground pool can weigh up to 112,000 pounds? That’s 56 tons of weight just resting in your yard. So, before you begin to fill that pool with water, we hope you put some time and thought into an above-ground pool base or foundation.

Just by doing a quick search on Google, there are plenty of above-ground pool foundation ideas out there. Finding the correct type of above-ground pool base is critical to not only an extended pool life, but also a better-looking pool-area. 

In this write-up, we’ll give a clear overview of why you need an above-ground pool foundation, different above-ground pool foundation options, and a detailed step-by-step guide on how to DIY a gravel above-ground pool base.

Do I Need A Base For My Above-Ground Pool?

Yes, you do need a base for your above-ground pool to help prevent erosion, provide extra strength for the pool, to protect the pool liner from tearing, and more. We’ll break down these reasons.

gravel-above-ground-pool-base-in-the-woods

Level Pool

A level base is an absolute necessity for an above-ground pool. One reason is to help keep the extreme weight of the pool balanced. 

Other reasons incude keeping your pool-shape intact, preventing an unlevel water line, and, worst-case, a collapsing of the pool wall itself. 

That’s why an above-ground pool base helps: it provides a stable, level foundation for the pool to rest on.

Protection from Punctures

Keeping your pool liner protected is another important task. If your pool is placed directly on the ground or on concrete or gravel, the chances of your pool liner wearing and tearing will increase. 

While an above-ground pool base will keep it from contact with the ground, it’s best to place a foam or geo-textile pool pad between the foundation and the pool itself.

Protection from Erosion

If your pool just rests on the ground, then it’s susceptible to damage. During heavy rain, the earth can erode or shift. This can cause an unlevel surface for your above-ground pool, potentially resulting in a distorted pool shape or even a partial collapse of the pool itself. 

So, it’s a good idea to get a base for your above-ground pool on grass before anything else. 

Stability & Strength For A Weak Pool Structure

An above-ground pool base just provides a firm foundation to keep your pool safe through the storms of life. A firm foundation keeps a pool stable and strong. Depending on the size and price of your pool, an above-ground pool base may be more or less important. 

Smooth Pool Floor

Nobody wants a lumpy, uneven pool floor. In order to keep a smooth pool floor, many people opt in for a sand foundation for their above-ground pool. While sand does provide for a smooth pool floor, there are several reasons (that we’ll discuss later) why sand is not the best choice for your above-ground pool foundation. 

By combining a gravel or concrete foundation with a pool pad, you’ll have the same result: an even, non-lumpy, soft pool floor. Plus, with a stone or concrete above-ground pool base, the overall strength of the pool set-up is much stronger. 

Mold & Mildew Prevention

A gravel above-ground pool base allows for excellent drainage around your pool, preventing rust and decay. Many people recommend even putting gravel only around the perimeter of your pool. However, mold can appear on the bottom of the pool if placed directly on the grass. So, why not stabilize and drain your entire above-ground pool foundation with a gravel pad.

What Should I Put Under My Above-Ground Pool?

There are many different above-ground pool foundation ideas out there. We recommend installing either a concrete or gravel foundation combined with a pool pad for your above-ground pool base. Here’s a table with some of the main foundation options. Below the table, we’ll then dive into the nuances of each above-ground pool foundation idea.

Above-Ground Pool Foundation Material Description Cost Pros Cons
Concrete Very durable, heavy-duty, prevents nutgrass $$$$$$ Clean, durable, prevents weed puncture of pool liner Expensive, poor drainage
Gravel One of the best foundation options, heavy-duty $$$$$ Excellent drainage, sturdy, great option for pool foundation on slope, can be leveled to pool deck height Expensive, hard on bare feet
Vermiculite A flexible, yet secure, foundation material that allows for water drainage while at the same time adjusting to ground shifts without cracking $$$$ Long time to cure (allows for more time to make refining tweaks), flexible Potential algae breeder
Mason Sand A softer material used to cushion and provide comfort to pool floor, most popular option $$$ Affordable, easy to install, provides for a soft pool floor Erosion prone, a nuisance to have sand in yard, may create footprints on pool floor, animals may burrow underneath and weaken foundation
Stone Dust Hardens into concrete-like foundation, but cheaper than concrete $$ Sturdy, overall is better than sand Poor drainage, poor compacting
Pool Pads & Protective Layers Great to use for cushioning and protection underneath pool liner $ Affordable, recommended with gravel or concrete base, makes for soft pool floor Additional (but typically necessary) expense
Soil (Dirt) Tamp and level ground to place pool on top Free, easy DIY project Prone to erosion, potential pool collapse if ground becomes unlevel

Concrete Above-Ground Pool Base

A concrete pool foundation is definitely one of the best above-ground pool foundation options. By providing a rock-solid foundation for your above-ground pool, you won’t have to worry about your above-ground pool base wearing out anytime soon.

concrete-foundation-for-above-ground-pool-bases-in-backyard

Concrete foundations also provide protection from ground moistures, which could cause mold and mildew. On top of that, a level concrete above-pool base is extremely durable and will last for a long time. 

Pool Pad Addition

On the other hand, you have to be aware that there needs to be a pool pad of some kind in between the concrete and pool liner to prevent wear. It’s also important to be aware of your county’s concrete pad requirements and permits.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the concrete takes time to dry. Typically, you should wait about 3 weeks before installing your pool on top of the foundation.

Clean

Keeping your above-ground pool foundation clean is also another important factor, especially before pool installation. We recommend getting rid of all dirt or impurities off the foundation as well as any other imperfections like ridges or an uneven pool pad. 

above ground pool foundation

Level

Earlier, we really emphasized a level above-ground pool foundation. Concrete is an excellent way to meet that goal. In fact, concrete is much easier to level than the ground (soil) or sand.

Nutgrass, a type of weed that commonly punctures pool liners and is just an overall menace to pool liners, can be stopped in its tracks with a concrete foundation.

Basically, concrete is able to block out any type of weed, rodent, or insect from harming or injuring the bottom of your pool pad.

Pros

  • Will not puncture pool pad
  • Easily-made level and flat
  • Permanent
  • Stable & will not shift around
  • Great aesthetics
  • Clean
  • Cheaper solution than in-ground pool foundation
  • Possible installation over rock or groundwater
  • Provides additional stability & safety

Cons

  • Can rust out steel-framed rims on pool bottom and/or plates or frame of pool itself
  • Can wear liner out over time if no pad installed between foundation and liner
  • Expensive
  • Poor drainage

Gravel Above-Ground Pool Base

Gravel probably ranks as another one of the best foundations for an above-ground pool. They offer excellent drainage, can be leveled nearly perfectly, prevent weed growth, are affordable, and much more. 

above ground pool foundation

Before we move on, let’s make sure we’re both understanding what we mean by a gravel above-ground pool foundation. We don’t mean gravel spread around the perimeter of an above-ground pool. An above-ground gravel pool foundation is a complete foundation that an above-ground pool can actually rest on top of. 

Breaking it down further, we do not recommend resting an above-ground pool directly on a gravel pad. We recommend installing a gravel pad, and then placing a pool pad on top of the gravel between the pool liner and the gravel foundation. 

Drainage

Drainage is a critical component of an above-ground pool base. And that’s what separates an above-ground gravel pool foundation from a concrete above-ground pool foundation: drainage

Concrete doesn’t drain very well, which can cause rust and decay to the bottom of traditional steel-framed pools. Concrete cannot absorb water, which can result in standing water on the pad. This can eventually eat away at your pool and cause damage.

Gravel, on the other hand, is perfectly suited to effectively drain water during heavy rainfall. This drastically reduces potential rust and decay for your above-ground pool. 

Just like concrete, gravel protects the soil from erosion by allowing the water to drain, thereby stabilizing the entire pool. 

Weed Growth

An above-ground pool foundation also prevents weed growth. At SitePrep, we lay down a fabric weed barrier on our gravel pads for this very purpose. With the addition of a fabric weed barrier, you almost completely destroy any chance of any weeds sprouting up around your pool.

Aesthetic

Gravel is also a great base for an above-ground pool on grass in your backyard or wherever because it just looks good. Adding stepping stones to the pool on the pad, keeping the gravel nicely raked, and more will all make your pool-area just look clean and attractive. 

Affordability

An above ground-pool base is also very affordable. Compared to concrete, gravel is much more affordable. On mostly flat ground (within 8” of level), a professional gravel shed site prep should cost about $7.00 to $11.00 per square foot. 

Comparatively, concrete costs around $8-$25 per sq. ft. Sand costs about $85-$200 per ton. Stone dust costs about $30-$145 per ton. 

Some of the common pool sizes include 12×20, 15×30, and 20×40. We’ll break down the costs of the different above-ground pool foundation types, based on the above pool sizes.

Keep in mind, your above-ground pool foundation should be at least 10” wider than the perimeter of your pool. To stay safe, we’ll assume a 2’ wider pool foundation than the pool perimeter itself. 

Some other variables to keep in mind: for the mason sand, we’ll assume a 2” thickness. We’ll also assume stone dust at a 4” depth. We’ll also assume these above-ground pool bases are installed on level ground and rectangular.

Above-Ground Pool Base Material Above-Ground Pool Base Material Cost 12×20 Above-Ground Pool Base Cost (14×22 [2 ft. wider]) 15×30 Above-Ground Pool Base Cost (17×32 [2 ft. wider]) 20×40 Above-Ground Pool Base Cost (22×42 [2 ft. wider])
Gravel $7-$11 per sq. ft. $2,200-$3,400 $3,800-$6,000 $6,500-$10,200
Concrete $8-$25 per sq. ft. $2,500-$7,700 $4,400-$13,600 $7,400-$23,100
Mason Sand $90-$200 per ton 2.6 tons

$250-$550

4.6 tons

$450-$950

7.8 tons

$700-$1,600

Stone Dust $30-$150 (⅜”) per ton $80-$400 $150-$700 $250-$1,200

You might be thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of money for a foundation.” Remember, the foundation of an above-ground pool is critical to a long-lasting pool life. 

To sum it up, we think that an above-ground gravel pool base combined with a pool pad is one of the best types of foundations for an above-ground pool for many reasons, including affordability. To answer the question, “How much does an above-ground pool base cost?”, here’s a condensed answer: For a 12×20 above-ground pool, a good idea would be to install a 14×22 base, which would extend 2 ft. more than the perimeter of the pool. A gravel 14×22 above-ground pool base would cost about $2,200-3,400. Another excellent choice, a 14×22 concrete foundation (for a 12×20 pool), would cost roughly $2,500-$7,700. 

Pros

  • Good drainage = less rot and decay
  • Firm foundation
  • Stable
  • Keep weeds down
  • Easily removable
  • Affordable, cheaper than concrete

Cons

Soil (Dirt) Above-Ground Pool Base

Sometimes simplicity is best. Another option for an above-ground pool base is just plain dirt. The cheapest option, it is one of the best above-ground pool base foundation ideas if you’re not wanting to spend any money for an additional foundation.

Rock Removal

One important thing to keep in mind if you’re going to place a pool directly on the ground is to make sure that any and all sharp objects (rocks, other debris) is safely removed from the site. Otherwise, it might not be long before water is gushing out of a broken pool liner. 

Balance

There are a couple of techniques to use in order to maintain a safe, correctly-leveled, soil above-ground pool foundation. 

1) The temptation will be to add a bunch of dirt to lower areas of the site. DO NOT OVERDUE THIS. It’s a common, but costly, mistake. Instead of filling lower-level areas with more dirt, remove soil from the highest areas of the site to level with the lower-level sections of the site. If you make the mistake of adding dirt to lower areas of the site, here’s what could happen. Eventually, you will be placing an extremely heavy pool on top of this added dirt, which could eventually sink and cause an unlevel pool structure. As we mentioned earlier, this is a dangerous position to be in for the following reasons:

  • Distorted pool structure (due to unlevel foundation)
  • Non-level water line
  • Potential collapse of the pool wall itself

2) Compact any loose earth on the foundation. Although we don’t think that soil is the best base for an above-ground pool, an earth foundation for your pool can be effective if done properly. Compacting the soil well and making sure the ground is level will reduce the risks associated with a ground foundation for your above-ground pool. 

Here’s a bit more on why we don’t recommend a dirt foundation for your above-ground pool foundation. After all, it’s potentially putting your pool and money at risk. I mean think about it: if your pool collapses, you’ve got the cost of many tons of water and the pool itself on your hands. Not to mention, you’ve also got the cost to repair your flooded yard. Here’s a brief overview of some common above-ground pool costs as well as the cost of water. 

Above-Ground Pool Size Above-Ground Pool Cost Amount of Water Cost of Water ($1.50 p/1,000 gal.)
12×20  $1,500-$3,500 94,000 gal. $150
15×30 $1,500-$5,500 175,500-182,250 gal. $270-$280
≈ 20×40 $4,700-$8,000 324,000 gal. $490

In other words, you need a pool that’s backed with a firm foundation (no pun intended).

This goes to show that a good foundation is worth it. Risking a potential $8,500 loss due to a bad foundation is not a risk you want to take. It’s better to invest in a good foundation now and help prevent these losses.

Another sidenote: do not mulch around your pool. Acid build-up and water absorption are reason enough not to.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple Installation

Cons

  • Prone to erosion
  • Potential pool collapse if soil becomes unlevel

Pool Pads & Protective Layers

Although probably not the best idea to simply use a pool pad as an above-ground pool foundation, pool pads or other protective layers are empirical to keeping your pool liner safe. Let me explain: for example, you’ve installed a concrete or gravel base for your above-ground pool. If you place a pool, filled with water, on top of that gravel pad your pool liner will probably get punctured soon by the sharp rocks underneath. Even on a concrete pad, a pool liner will eventually wear out and tear.

above ground pool foundation

That’s where a pool pad comes into play. A pool pad or protective layer goes in between the pool and the foundation. If you like analogies, a pool pad is the pillow between your head (the pool) and the hard floor (the foundation) Ok, that was a rough analogy, but you get the idea.

Since we’re talking about pool pads, here are several ideas.

Foam Pads

Foam pads are often able to be interlocked (just like a jigsaw puzzle), allowing for easy installation and setup. Foam pads may be manufactured from polyethylene or styrofoam sheets.

Geotextiles

Geo-textile pool pads are another common option. Made from different materials–polyester, geo-textile fiber, polypropylene, and other products–geo-textile pool pads offer sturdy, excellent padding and protection between your pool liner and foundation. 

We’ll list some common geo-textile pool pad options below.

Rhino Pad®

Made from a cloth material, Rhino Pads® are able to protect pool liner from anything sharp under your pool. Rhino Pads® are about ⅛” thick and lightweight, allowing for easy installation.

Plus, these pads are able to protect your liner from corrosion while at the same time providing for an extra-padded pool floor.

What Customers Had To Say…

Many customers were very impressed with how easy it was to install a Rhino pad. The biggest complaint customers had with Rhino Pads® is that they are much thinner than expected, giving room to doubt their durability.

However, overall, most of the customers were very satisfied with the product, including its easy installation process, and its effectiveness as a pool pad.

Armor Shield

Made from a polypropylene, geo-textile material, Armor Shield will keep your pool liner fully protected. Armor Shields help prevent heat loss while also adding an extra layer of padding to protect your feet from any bumps or sharp objects that might disfigure your pool flooring. 

What Customers Had To Say…

Overall, reviewers we’re extremely impressed with Armor Shield’s ease of installation as well as its adhesion. Other users were upset with its inability to actually prevent weed growth from pushing through the pad. Overall, customers were happy with their product and commented on its durability and ease of installation.

Gorilla Pad

Gorilla Pads offer an extremely durable and effective protection against any sharp objects. You also won’t have to worry about footprint marks on the pool floor with a Gorilla Pad as your pool pad. Gorilla Pads are also resistant to mold and mildew.

What Customers Had To Say…

Most customers highly recommended the product and commented on the quality and well-worthiness of the investment. However, a small minority complained about mis-sizings and poor quality.

Carpet

Carpet is actually a very budget-friendly way to “use what you have” to create an effective and comfortable layer of padding between your pool foundation and pool liner. If you decide to go this route, it’s safest to place two layers of carpet underneath your pool. 

Overall, carpet is a decent pool padding material that will get the job done if no other padding options are available. However, it’s probably best to get padding specifically designed for pool padding purposes. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Necessary to protect pool liner from foundation
  • Typically easy to install

Cons

  • Additional (but typically necessary) cost

Mason Sand

Mason sand is probably the most common type of above-ground pool base material. Mason sand is also easy to install and is a softer material, making the pool bottom soft on your feet. What’s more is that it effectively protects the pool liner from stones or sharp objects.

Mason sand is also referred to as pool sand or mortar sand. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly, easy-to-install, above-ground pool base that will drain well and not naturally contain sharp objects.

The installation process is simple: the sand is made wet and then packed and tamped to ensure high density and therefore a sturdier surface. Once the tamping is complete, the foundation is smoothed and finished over, creating a beautiful above-ground pool foundation. 

Pros

  • Protects liner from stones or sharp objects
  • Most popular
  • Soft on feet
  • Affordable
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Prone to erosion
  • Animals may dig caves and weaken pool foundation
  • Footprints in pool floor
  • A pain to have sand in the yard
  • Not as sturdy of a foundation (compared to gravel or concrete)

Stone Dust

Although not concrete, stone dust is “rock dust” that can be compacted and hardened, creating a durable, sturdy above-ground pool base. Stone dust seems to be a bit more of a heavy-duty solution than sand. In fact, you could use stone dust as a firm base with sand on top. 

Another bonus is that it’s sturdier than sand and resists shifting. 

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Overall better than sand
  • Resists shifting

Cons

  • Poor drainage
  • Poor compacting

Vermiculite

Vermiculite is a flexible, yet secure, substance that allows for water drainage while at the same time adjusts to ground shifts without cracking. It’s also affordable. Plus, it takes a while to cure, allowing you to make tweaks or further refining to the foundation where needed.

Pros

  • Long time to cure; allows more time to make refining tweaks
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Potential algae breeder

By comparing these 7 common above-ground pool foundation ideas, we hope you have a better understanding of each options as well as pros and cons for each of them. We recommend considering gravel as your above-ground pool base material, simply because gravel pads can be installed on a slope or other nonlevel surface, allowing you to place a pool pretty much wherever on your property. Gravel foundations also effectively drain water. To be clear, we also recommend adding a pool pad between your above-ground pool base and the pool liner (as featured in the graphic below).

graphic of pool pad pool and above-ground pool base

We’ll explain more below why we think that a gravel foundation + a pool pad is the best base for an above-ground pool.

What is the Best Base for an Above-Ground Pool?

We recommend that the best base for an above-ground pool is a gravel foundation, combined with a pool pad. We’ve listed a lot of reasons why above, but here’s a condensed list of some of the main ones: 

  • Good drainage = less rot and decay
  • Firm foundation
  • Stable
  • Easiy removal
  • Affordable, cheaper than concrete
  • Good Aesthetics
  • Prevents Weed Growth

Leveling

Probably the best reason a gravel pad works as an effective pool pad is because of one word: leveling. We said you need an above-ground pool base to help level your pool. In order to have a level pool, you need a level base. 

After creating a wood perimeter and the weed barrier fabric is laid down for a gravel foundation, it is then filled with gravel. Once the stone is in place and compacted,, you’ve got a premium-quality above-ground pool foundation that will last for many years. Site Prep can quickly and effectively build a level, gravel above-ground pool foundation on basically any slope or uneven terrain. Using a wood perimeter, the gravel cannot settle and spread, providing a sturdy foundation that can tackle the weight of an enormously heavy pool. Here are several different scenarios where a gravel pad would be the best base for an above-ground pool.

Build-Up

build-up-foundation-for-above-ground-pool-foundation-ideas

A build-up gravel foundation is a foundation that has been leveled with the high point of the slope (featured above). For a build-up gravel pad, you’ll want to build up the downhill end of your gravel foundation to make it level.

Dig-Out

dig-out-above-ground-pool-foundation

A dig-out is when the pad is leveled with the low-point of the slope. For a dig-out pad, you’ll want to cut away into the slope to create a level area for your pool base (featured above).

Combination

combination-base-for-above-ground-pool-on-grass

In some cases, such as on a very steep slope, you may build up one end of your pool foundation and dig out the other end. This is called a combination method.

Deck Leveling

Here’s another great reason to consider a gravel above-ground pool foundation.

Let’s say your deck is 6 feet off the ground. A gravel pad is a quick way to level an area right by your deck (regardless of slope) so that you can install your pool just under your pool deck.

To sum up, we highly recommend a gravel above-ground pool foundation, combined with a pool pad, as the best base for an above-ground pool.

aerial-view-of-gravel-above-ground-pool-foundation

How Thick Should A Base Be For An Above-Ground Pool?

The thickness of the base for your above-ground pool depends on the foundation material that you use. Here are a few recommended above-ground pool base thicknesses:

Foundation Material Thickness
Sand 2-3 in.
Concrete 4-8 in.
Gravel Min. 4 in.

Should I put Sand Under my Above-Ground Pool?

No, preferably, you should not put sand under your above-ground pool for the following reasons:

  • Possible erosion
  • Animals may dig caves and weaken pool foundation
  • Footprints in pool floor
  • A pain to have sand in the yard
  • Not a sturdy foundation (compared to gravel or concrete)

What Can I Use Instead of Sand Under my Pool?

Instead of sand, you can use a concrete or gravel foundation, foam or geo-textile pool pads, stone dust, and more.

If you’re interested in learning more, we’ve talked extensively about each of these alternatives earlier in the article.

As we mentioned earlier, we recommend a gravel foundation combined with a high-quality pool pad as the better option compared to a sand foundation. 

How do I Install a Gravel Pad Base for my Above-Ground Pool?

If you’re looking to DIY a gravel pad base for your above-ground pool, here’s a step-by-step process to help you understand how to do it. For a much more detailed, step-by-step guide on how to build a gravel pool foundation, click here (Note: although this link is technically a guide to build a gravel foundation for sheds, with a few minor tweaks, you’ll have the same result for a gravel pool foundation).

Step 1: Mark Out Above-Ground Pool Base

First measure out the dimensions of your pool base using stakes and string (read more here).

dimensions-graph-for-above-ground-pool-bases

Step 2: Slope

Determining the slope for your above-ground pool foundation is critical to a level pad. As we’ve pointed out in this article, a level pool is extremely important! 

The simplest way to measure slope is by placing a laser on the highest point of the slope then finding the difference at the corners of the pool pad. If that sounds a bit confusing, here’s a more detailed explanation.

Another method is to use string to measure the slope. Using mason’s line or some other non-stretchy string, tie the string between the stakes at the highest and lowest points of the site. Once the string is level, just measure the differences in heights. Again, you can find a more detailed explanation here.

slope-for-above-ground-pool-base

Step 3: Perimeter

You guessed it, the perimeter has to be perfectly level! Use 4×6’s (with the 4” side turned down) for the perimeter. Per lumber piece, check to make sure that they are level. If a lumber piece is off-level, just tap one of the ends down to level. 

man-leveling-perimeter-for-above-ground-pool-base

Depending if you’re building up to level or digging down to level, you’ll need to add your lumber layers differently. Screw each lumber piece down into the lumber beside and below it. Here’s a more detailed explanation on how to build your above-ground pool base wood perimeter.

Step 4: Anchoring

hammering-rebar-into-above-ground-pool-foundation-perimeter

Your pad needs to be anchored. The best way to do this is by pounding 2’ rebar (for the 1st 3 courses) through the perimeter and into the ground. If the perimeter is higher than 3 courses, use 16” rebar to anchor it into the lower perimeter courses. Here’s a more in-depth explanation on that process.

Step 5: Level & Backfill

It’s now time to level and backfill the ground inside your above-ground pool foundation. Keep the dirt leveled 4” below the top of the wood perimeter. This will allow room to eventually add gravel to the foundation. Pack and tamp the soil well. Learn more here.

stapling-fabric-barrier-for-above-ground-pool-foundation

Step 6: Fabric Weed Barrier

Using a staple gun, fasten a fabric weed barrier to the perimeter of your above-ground pool base. Read more here.

Step 7: Adding Gravel

raking-stone-for-above-ground-pool-base

Next, add gravel to the foundation. Using a rake, spread the gravel evenly across the foundation and at least 4” deep across the entire foundation (read more here). Before tamping, make sure the gravel is completely level.

Step 8: Tamping

Finally, tamp the gravel so that the gravel is locked and the foundation is strong. From our experience, we’ve found that the best method of tamping is to start 12” in from the perimeter of the foundation, using a circular/spiral pattern rather than going back and forth.

Finally, go back to the remaining 12”, and tamp that. We’ve got more details and visuals on this step here.

Congratulations! Your above-ground gravel pool foundation is complete!

Wrapping It Up…

Circling back to the beginning: if you’re purchasing a good-sized, above-ground pool, you need a quality above-ground pool foundation. We recommend a gravel pool base combined with a pool pad as one of the best above-ground pool foundation options.

At SitePrep, we service and install gravel and concrete foundations across 9 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia.

If you’re interested in a gravel above-ground pool foundation, we’d be happy to serve you!

Happy above-ground pool base hunting!

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16 thoughts on “Above-Ground Pool Bases: The Complete Guide

  1. Joel Lambert says:

    Great great article from a DYIer who has read every word of this. Thank you for the information and insight. Pics to come

  2. Portland Pool Company says:

    Great post! Above-ground pool bases are essential for providing stability and support to the pool structure. Whether it’s a concrete pad, a sand base, or a specially designed base system, choosing the right foundation is crucial for ensuring the longevity and safety of your pool. A well-built and properly leveled base not only helps prevent the pool from shifting or sinking but also provides a smooth and even surface for swimmers. Taking the time to establish a solid base for your above-ground pool will contribute to a more enjoyable and hassle-free swimming experience.

  3. Chris says:

    Would you put the leg supporting pavers on top of the 4″ of gravel? Just set it flush to the top?

  4. Scott A Wilson says:

    Your last picture shows a paver edging instead of wood (anchored with rebar), I’m curious about that construction method but having a hard time finding specifics. How deep is it, is there a concrete footing? I’m wanting to do this at our house but not confident that it will be structurally sound based on standard retaining wall blocks or pavers.

  5. Nick says:

    You don’t say what kind of gravel to use, you just say gravel, but there’s many different types of gravel.

  6. Lynn Bartman says:

    Question: My ground leveler person wants to put 2 thin layers of quarter minus gravel using water and tamping to make it smooth. Is this enough?

  7. Josiah Stoltzfus says:

    While we can’t install the pool, we certainly have a wealth of experience in installing gravel bases. We’d be happy to help! Feel free to call us at (717) 799-7311 for further info!

Comments are closed.