Home Above Ground Pools

How To Install a Round Above Ground Pool

Installing a round above ground swimming pool can be done quickly if you’re prepared beforehand. This video will take you through the process of installing a round above ground pool and will help you be better prepared when you begin your project.
This video begins by showing you all the tools you need before you begin. Having them on hand will allow you to be more efficient in constructing your pool. Materials are separated, including hardware and tools so they are easy to find and accessible.
Quick Tip: Prepare everything you need before starting the installation process.
After organizing your tools and materials, this video shows you how to survey your installation area. Find a large and level area in your yard big enough to accommodate your above ground pool. Remember to check for utility lines and make sure your installation is in compliance with any state or local codes before building.
Quick Tip: You can rent a transit from your local equipment store or use a board with a level to make measuring more accurate and easy.
This section of the video demonstrates how to measure and mark the area where the pool will be built, adding an extra foot around the perimeter. This extra space will yield more work room.
Quick Tip: Use a measuring tape to measure out half the width of the pool. Place a marker on the center and walk the tape all the way around, tracing the perimeter.
Clear the Area:
It’s important to build your pool on an area free from sod, roots, rocks, and additional debris. Next, the video illustrates how to clear the area.
Quick Tip: Sod cutters are extremely helpful in expediting the process and highly recommended if removing large areas of grass for this installation. You can rent one from your local large hardware store. 
Level Out
Level Out:
Since clearing the sod and debris may have affected the level of land, it’s necessary to even out the ground you’ll be working on. The video show you how to use a leveler to find the highest points in the installation area and dig to level it out. Uneven surfaces can cause your above ground pool to settle and damage the bottom of the pool.  Once the area is within one inch of being perfectly level, you can start building.
Quick Tip: Dig down higher areas rather than filling the lower areas for a more level surface area.
Lay Down Rails:
This portion shows examples of different bottom plates and highlights the differences between the stabilizer and bottom rails.
Bottom Plates
Types of bottom plates:

  • Metal
  • Resin
  • Resin bottom cuff
Stabilizer rails
Stabilizer rails:

  • Crimped on one side
  • Have male and female end
  • Smaller than the bottom rail
Bottom Rails
Bottom rails:

  • Resin
  • Metal
  • Larger than stabilizers
  • Straight cut on both ends
Block Bottom Plates
The next step is to connect each rail to its bottom plate. Metal, resin, and resin bottom cuffs connect to the bottom rails in the same manner. Once you’ve connected the rails to the bottom plates, measure the diameter in several areas to make sure the base is truly round.

Quick Tip: For easier installation, lay your bottom rails and bottom plates down along the perimeter of the installation area before connecting them.

Block Bottom Plates:

For support, the video demonstrates how to place a patio block underneath each bottom plate. It’s important to dig out the area where the block will be placed to ensure stability but keeping the track and the block level to the ground.

Quick Tip: Make sure the block is level in all areas and then check the level of all bottom plates to make sure they haven’t changed.
Add the Base:
Next, the video demonstrates how the sand and pool base is added and evenly spread along the bottom of the pool area. Remove one of the bottom rails to easily cart in the sand.
Quick Tip: Use chalk or a marking tool to trace the bottom plate onto the block to make sure you place it in the exact same area when replacing the bottom rail.
Install the Wall
Install the Wall:
Installing the wall can be tricky and difficult to maneuver. This portion of the video shows you how to effectively place the wall along the bottom track. If it’s uneven or the skimmer cutout falls directly over a bottom plate, this video will show you how to adjust the wall and bottom rails to get a perfect fit.
Single Row Wall Bars:
There are a couple types of above ground pool walls: single row and staggered wall bars. The video shows you how to install both types for your convenience.
  • Rivets on walls
  • Wall bolts attached using hand tools
  • Fill every hole with a bolt
  • Wall bars must not touch each other
  • Cover bolt heads inside the pool with three layers of duct tape
Staggered Wall Bars:
  • Wall bars need to be attached
  • Wall bolts attached using hand tools
  • Fill every hole with a bolt
  • Wall bars must not touch each other
  • Cover bolt heads inside the pool with three layers duct tape
Quick Tip: Use landscaping stakes and C-clamps to help keep the wall upright during installation.
Pool Cove
Create Your Cove
This video quickly shows how to build a 6” to 8“high pool cove for support.
Quick Tip: Create a 45 degree slope using sand or pool base.
Mount Your Uprights:
Next, uprights are installed into the bottom plates of the above ground pool. Uprights strengthen your pool wall and provided support to your pool. Tops of uprights are usually determined by an extra hole and secured using screws.
Installation is also demonstrated for resin uprights:
  • Slide into the bottom resin cuff to lock it in
  • No additional hardware is needed
Quick Tip: When installing a resin upright, check to make sure all tabs are through at the bottom to ensure it’s fully snapped in place.
Tamp the Sand or Pool Base:
The next step shows you how to smooth out the bottom and tamp the base for an even and strong bottom base.
Quick Tip: Wetting the sand with water will make tamping easier and pack the sand better.
Install the Liner
Install the Liner:
The liner is an essential component of your above ground pool and should be installed carefully. This video shows how installers lay out the liner and apply it to the pool. There are many types of liners and their highlights are listed below:
Overlap Liner:
  • Hung over the pool wall
  • Need coping strips to secure
V-Bead Liner:
  • Bead hangs on the pool wall
  • No coping necessary
  • Stabilizer rails will be installed over the v-bead liner itself
Snap Bead Liner:
  • Separate bead track installed on top of the pool wall
  • Snap bead liner is snapped into the track
Unibead Liner:
  • Can be used as a V-bead or Snap bead liner
  • Versatile
Quick Tip: Lay the liner out in the sun to make it easier to manage then re-roll it for easier transport and installation.
Rail and Top Plates
Attach Stabilizer Rails and Top Plates:
Once the liner has been installed, the video explains how to attach the stabilizer rails and top plates to the top of the pool wall. The stabilizer rails simply slide into each other all the way around the pool, reinforcing its circular shape. The top plates are secured onto each upright with screws.
Quick Tip: Uses a leveler to make sure the uprights are completely perpendicular to the ground. This will ensure maximum stability of your pool.
Place the Top Rail:
Once the stabilizer rails and top plates have been installed, this illustrates how to place the top rails. This also shows that the method is the same if you have a resin top rail.
Quick Tip: Place all the top rails before screwing them down completely. 
Fill With Water Slowly:
This section in the video shows how filling the water slowly will allow you to smooth out wrinkles in your pool liner. It’s recommended to fill the pool halfway then refer to the separate instructions on how to install the skimmer and return fittings. Once installed, you can finish connecting the rest of the pool equipment like the filter system and pump. After installing all the above ground equipment you need, you can fill the rest of the pool.
Quick Tip: Smooth out the liner when there is 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pool. This will allow you to adjust the liner, giving it a smoother, tighter fit.
Safety First:
Safety is the number one priority when using any pool. Your above ground pool will come complete with safety warning labels and must be placed on the pool it can be used.
Quick Tip: Contact the manufacturer to obtain safety labels at no charge.
Enjoy Your Pool:
Preparation is the key to building an above ground pool. Make sure you have the right tools and enough help before getting started. If done correctly, you’ll be enjoying your above ground pool in no time.

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  • Gina Vogel

    Can we put a pool on top of concrete. Use to have a old corn bin that was torn down. I am just getting started on getting pool information. So we can purchase one. Thank you

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Gina, thank you for your question regarding installation options for a round above ground pool. As long as the surface of the concrete is level, you should be able to install the pool on top of it, but you’ll still want to use the standard 2″ of sand under the liner. We recommend that you check with your city’s guidelines to make sure the installation would be to code. You’ll also want to ensure that the concrete slab will be able to handle the weight of the pool. Please let us know if we can answer any more questions.

  • william loyd

    ow many bottom plates are in the box of a sharkline reprieve 21 x 48 pool. I want to purchase some cement pilars before my pool arrives. Thanks.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi William, thank you for your excellent question regarding the Sharkline Reprieve. For these pools, the number of bottom plates will be the same as the number of uprights. For the 21′ round Reprieve, there are 14 uprights and bottom plates. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance! We’re always happy to help.

  • Sharon

    I just had an above ground pool installed & they said to wait 72 hours for the sand to pack before swimming so there would be no footprints. Is that accurate?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Sharon, than you for your question. While it depends on how the installer packs the sand, 72 hours is generally correct; however, some installers do use tampers that allow you to swim quicker, and therefore, waiting 72 hours is a safe amount of time. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • jeanne

    i have a 30ft round pool do not know the name i need the bottom rail which looks like the one in your picture. do you sell them thanks for all your help

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Jeanne, thank you so much for your question. Unfortunately, Sharkline does not make bottom rails available for individual sale. Please let us know if we can answer any other questions.

  • Anonymous

    How many verticalt rails does the 18′ round pool have? I am trying to buy my pavers before my pool gets here. My order # is W9539869, also I ordered my pool on 5/24 and it does not appear to have been shipped yet. This pool is for my son’s 9th birthday party on 6/11/11 do you think it will arive it time? Thanks Sam

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Sam, thanks for your great question. The 18′ round Reprieve, Heritage, Venture and Matrix have 12 uprights. We have forwarded your request on the status of your shipment to our support team, and someone will be in touch with you as quickly as possible. If you would like to contact us directly, please call 800.772.0467. Thanks again, and have a great day!

  • amanda

    we we wondering how many gallons of water does the sharkline reprieve 24 foot above ground pool holds?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Amanda, thanks for your excellent question. For the 48″ height, the Sharkline Reprieve will hold 11,875 gallons. For the 52″ height, approximately 13,600 gallons. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • Anonymous

    The video stops at the stablizer rail!!!! We need more video!! Please fix!!

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Robin, thank you for pointing this out to us. We are in the process of fixing this video. Please check back with us soon as we are always updating our site.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Amy, the video is now fixed and will run all the way through.

    • Amy

      It is still frozen. This video is a huge help, so seeing it after this point would be great.

  • Wanda

    How do you get in and out of the pool during the installation process? Looking to get a pool and do the installation myself but I can’t find anywhere that shows me the answer to this question.

    • Mmw

      Use the pool ladder

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Wanda, the safest way to enter and exit your above ground pool during the building process is to use an above ground pool ladder, particularly an A-frame ladder, such as the Ocean Blue A-Frame Ladder. Using an above ground pool ladder also ensures compatibility with your liner, as these ladders are specifically designed for use with vinyl-liners and will not rip or damage them. We offer a wide selection of above ground pool ladders, for your convenience. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Mmw, to get in and out of an above ground pool during construction it’s definitely advised to use an above ground pool A-frame ladder for both the safety of the builder and to ensure no damage occurs to the pool’s vinyl liner. Thanks for the input!

  • Kara

    You state in another comment reply that you can install an above ground pool on concrete. You suggest using 2″ of sand. We bough styrofoam 4′X8′ sheets to go between concrete and liner. Do we still need to make the cove with sand?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Kara, while it is possible to install an above ground pool on concrete, it is not generally advised to do so, as it’s best installed on soil. If you do intend to install it on concrete, however, it’s recommended to use both foam padding and sand to achieve a softer, more comfortable foundation for the liner to rest on. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • Sharye Dominiak

    Where can I buy the stabillizer Rail and Top Plate

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Sharye, if you can please provide us with the brand, model and size of your above ground pool, we would be happy to help you find its proper replacement stabilizer rail and top plate. For immediate assistance, please feel free to contact us directly.

  • Deborah Turner

    which one cheaper sand or foam padding. And how can I purchase foam padding

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Deborah, if you decide to use foam padding, you’ll still want to use sand below it, as foam padding is meant to act as further protection against liner damage. We offer a wide selection of foam padding here. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • Steven Johnson

    I am getting ready to purchase a 24′ X 52″ round pool and am getting nervous about the whole bonding and electrical work. I know how to do alot of electrical work but not sure on all the codes. I can’t seem to find much in the line of videos online that take you thru the process of what I need to do to get the pump and water safe. I am installing the pool beside the garage and there is an outlet there that can have a GFI breaker on it. I will just need to install a switch for the pump. Is there specific steps that need to be taken before swimming or can I just plug in the pump and enjoy? I live in Kentucky if that helps any. Thanks.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Steven, when installing a pool, you will need to bond your wires and ground your equipment. If you’re uncomfortable with the work or unfamiliar with the codes in your area, we highly recommend contacting a qualified service technician to help you with the installation. This will ensure your pool complies with all state and local codes and prevent any damage to your equipment. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  • Leslie hayes

    My husband and i are in the middle of installing our 21ftpool above ground pool. We watched the videos that came with it but is unsure how do you exit the pool once you have put up the wall and liner because someone has to be inside to make sure they liner is clear of all wrinkles while filling. We only have a deck ladder and have not installed the deck yet.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Leslie, We actually had a very similar situation when we were installing our demo pool at our retail store. What we did was set up two ladders, one on the inside and one on the outside of the pool. Once the water is full to about 8 inches just climb the ladder in the pool and step to the ladder outside the pool then pull the ladder in the pool out. Let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

  • Todd Gibson

    I am replacing a 28ft round pool and would like to know how many uprights the matrix would have in this size. Just trying to figure out if the existing blocks would need to be relocated.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Todd,
      The 28′ round Matrix has 21 uprights. Let me know if you have any questions or need any assistance!