Can You Put An Above Ground Pool On Unlevel Ground? (NEVER Do It…!)

Above ground pools have currently become a popular option among homeowners as compared to in ground pools. A lot of people prefer above ground pools because they do not require digging. Installing an above ground pool isn’t a labor-intensive process, which is why it has recently become every homeowner’s favorite.

No matter which type of pool you have decided to install, give special attention to its foundation. Homeowners have a tendency to ignore the groundwork as they are too eager to install the pool and enjoy their summertime.

In this guide, we have discussed the dangers of using an imbalanced above ground pool. If you too are thinking of installing an above ground pool for your family, you mustn’t make the same mistake. You must ensure that the pool stands on a flat, even surface, covered in sand or grass. Continue reading below to find out how dangerous it is to set up an above ground pool on an uneven surface.

Can You Put An Above Ground Pool On Unlevel Ground?

Can You Put An Above Ground Pool On Unlevel Ground

No, one shouldn’t set up an above ground pool on unlevel ground. It’s too risky. Moreover, an imbalanced pool wouldn’t provide you with a satisfying swimming experience that any swimmer would ideally want.

All above ground pools need to be installed on a flat surface covered in sand or grass. Not paying attention to the foundation and installing it on uneven ground will affect the pool walls, liner, increasing chances of accidents with every passing time. The dangers of using an imbalanced swimming pool has been discussed in detail below.

When it comes to pool construction, groundwork forms the most important part of the process. Laying a strong foundation ensures the longevity of the pool. Yet, many people do not bother to pay attention to the pool’s foundation and leave it lumpy, unlevel, rocky and rough.

There are homeowners who do not even remove the sod and just spread a layer of sand on top of grasses and then proceed to set up the pool above it. Obviously, such a pool doesn’t last long and is only a waste of money.

Therefore, the foundation of an above ground pool cannot be uneven. The foundation must be compact, level and well packed. If your backyard is quite rough, you must hire a professional pool installer to level the area before setting up the pool.

What Happens If You Set Up an Above Ground Pool on Unlevel Ground?

What Happens If You Set Up an Above Ground Pool on Unlevel Ground

For starters, an imbalanced pool looks really bad. If the water is off by more than 3 inches, it’s noticeable and that isn’t a pleasant sight. There are other dangerous consequences of an above ground pool placed on unlevel ground.

The water’s weight on one particular side of the pool creates a shallow end and a deeper end. The deeper end becomes dangerous for kids because the water level rises and you might find it above their heads. If this difference remains, the water quality will continue to deteriorate. Needless to say, an uneven above ground pool affects your pool experience and leaves you dissatisfied.

We have discussed in detail the dangers of using an above ground pool on uneven land.

Problem with Pool Walls

This is one of the biggest concerns of installing an above ground pool on uneven ground. There are high chances for the pool walls to collapse under uneven pressure of water.

The water doesn’t exert equal force on all sides of the walls. It presses one side more than the other sides. This excessive pressure on one wall causes it to twist, buckle, and ultimately collapse.

If your pool has an inflatable ring, it’s likely to fold under the pressure of imbalanced water. This pressure of imbalanced water is so extreme that even solid side panels will fail to hold back the water for long.

When the pool wall collapses, no doubt it affects property, bringing losses to people but also injures people who were inside or around the pool. Ensuring one’s safety is extremely important which is why it’s imperative to set up an above pool on a leveled surface always.

Also, while using the pool, you must be conscious to recognize signs of twisting or buckling, if any, and take immediate measures to prevent the pool from collapsing soon.

Before you engage yourself in setting up an above ground pool, it’s better if you go through the various dimensions of above ground pools and their water weights. That would give you a better idea and enable you to plan things accordingly.

The Deeper Side Poses Dangers To Kids

Needless to say, an uneven pool comprises an uneven water level. Initially, the water level imbalance might appear to be less, but with time, the difference will increase. As a result, one side will have more depth of water than the other.

The deeper side becomes dangerous for small kids who would be unable to touch the ground. If you notice that the difference in water levels is increasing with time, make the necessary arrangements. Meanwhile, keep small kids in check when inside the pool as they can drown themselves.

Damage to the Liner

When you lay an above ground pool on an uneven surface, you cannot lay the liner straight. It becomes wrinkled and folded. Now, when you use pool equipment for cleaning the pool or other reasons, sometimes  the tools get hooked and rip or tear the wrinkled and folded parts of the liner.

For instance, while using pool vacuums, the wrinkled or folded portions of the liner have a high chance of getting ripped. As a result, the pool leaks water and is no longer watertight.

Leaking liners can be patched using a vinyl liner patch, but that wouldn’t be useful for long. If your pool liner is leaking at several places and needs multiple patches, it’s time to replace the liner with a new one, because ripped liners, even after being patched, will continue to leak water. That’s why it’s necessary to replace that ripped liner with a new one and ensure that there are no wrinkles or folds while placing it down.

Is It Safe To Set Up An Above Ground Pool On Unlevel Ground?

Is It Safe To Set Up An Above Ground Pool On Unlevel Ground

No, it’s not safe to set up an above ground pool on uneven ground. We have discussed above the various dangers and risks associated with this practice. Therefore, laying a flat, leveled foundation is imperative for any pool, irrespective of its kind.

In this regard, we must mention that it’s nearly impossible to get a fully leveled pool. So, the question is how unlevel can a pool be without affecting others safety?

A pool can be unlevel within an inch. If it’s off by more than one inch, the water level appears to be off. If the pool is off by two inches, it looks bad to the eyes. However, an above ground pool off level within two inches is acceptable for use. Such an imbalanced pool doesn’t cause any structural damages. Nevertheless, we would advise homeowners to keep checking the water depth from time to time, as the difference will keep increasing.

A pool that’s off by 3 inches or more is outright dangerous and must be leveled without any delays. That’s because at 3 inches,  the pressure of imbalanced water is too much and that will exert excessive pressure on one of the sides of the pool. Such excessive pressure, if left unchecked will cause damage to the pool wall and harm people inside the pool if it collapses.

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Safety Tips: Things To Know Before Setting up Above Ground Pool on Unlevel Ground

While installing an above ground pool, there are some safety tips you must keep in mind, besides ensuring its foundation is flat and leveled. Let’s go through some of them below:


Always build fences around your above ground pool. In some countries, there are federal laws that have made installing fences a mandatory practice for pools. It’s a good idea both in terms of safety and privacy. In fact, fencing products are available in the market that are specially designed for above ground pools.

Use a GFI

A GFI is an important safety feature. When you have a pool in your backyard, even the slightest chance of the water mixing with electricity must be eliminated. If water mixes with electricity, the entire water will become charged, and people inside the pool can die out of electrocution.

In case water mixes with electricity and you have a GFI installed, this GFI device can sense it and shut off the flow of electricity from the main power source, preventing a major accident.

The best part is the flow of electricity wouldn’t resume automatically unless it’s restarted.

Above Ground Pool Cover

It’s important for users to keep their pools covered no matter what kind of pool you have. An above ground pool cover is required for two reasons  mainly:

Firstly, it prevents unattended kids or animals from falling into the water directly.

Secondly, the pool cover keeps the water clean. Dirt, debris, etc. do not fall into the water. Instead it falls on the pool cover and once the pool cover is removed, you get  fresh clean water.

While looking for an above ground pool cover, users are advised to buy heavy duty coated polyethylene that comes with a winch and cable system. This ensures tight fit of the pool cover over the pool. These covers are nowadays available in a variety of colors. So feel free to choose a suitable color of your choice that complements the pool decor.

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The Bottom Line

Having an unlevel surface for an above ground pool means improper swimming facilities. If the level of unevenness  is less than an inch, it’s okay, but anything more than that will cause serious problems with time.

One cannot level the ground after the above ground pool has been installed. Even if it’s possible, it’s extremely laborious and time consuming. Therefore, before setting up the above ground pool on top of the foundation, one must inspect the ground and make it as level as possible.

Also, after installing the above ground pool on a flat surface, one must use the safety tips mentioned above. It will enhance one’s swimming experience while making it safer for others too.


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