How Unlevel Can An Intex Pool Be? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Intex pools, also known as above-ground pools, are popular because they’re affordable. However, they’re not without their problems. They’re more prone to breaking and they also tend to be at the mercy of the ground around them. One of the biggest issues is obviously going to be the slope of the ground around the pool. One might even wonder how much slant is too much…

Instruction booklets suggest that Intex pools should have ground that’s leveled within an inch, but it’s possible to have a (noticeably slanted) pool at a two-inch slant. If you have a pool that is slanted above three inches, the structure of the pool will become unstable and may pose a hazard to anyone swimming in it.

As a pool owner, you need to be aware of all the safety regulations regarding your pool. Not having your pool level can cause injury, diving incidents, and even cause your pool to collapse in extreme cases. This guide will give you the scoop.

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Do Intex Pools Really Have To Be Level?

Relatively speaking, no. You can still have occasional small bumps, but your guide will tell you that you need to have your ground leveled within an inch of the distance of the pool from end to end. However, you can still have it slightly over an inch unlevel before you notice any issues.

Two inches is considered pushing it, while a three-inch slant is deemed generally unsafe. After that, you should not try to install an Intex pool as it could implode, explode, or crack. But, that’s not all that can happen if you have an unlevel pool…

What Can Happen If Your Above-Ground Pool Isn’t Level?

At first glance, it may seem a bit ridiculous to demand your above-ground pool to be so level. However, it’s actually a fairly reasonable demand when you think about what can happen if you decide to leave it unlevel. These issues below are just some of the many problems that can happen if you place a pool on uneven turf:

Slanting Creep

When you first place your pool on uneven turf, you might not notice much of a slant. However, you need to remember that pools settle, just like houses do. So that one-inch slant can turn into a one and a half-inch slant. Then it turns to two…And then you have a major problem.

Bottom Rips

Do you need to use a bottom-feeding pool vacuum? Uneven terrain makes for a bad If the turf beneath the pool is also rocky, you might end up with holes poked in the bottom.

Uneven Water Levels

A slanted pool doesn’t look right, period. It becomes very clear once you fill it up with water that something isn’t right. The water level issue can also pose a sanitation issue, and we’re not just talking about shocking your pool. It can also cause your pool skimmer to get stuck, rendering it useless.

Structural Integrity Loss

An Intex pool already can appear a little shaky due to its lightweight build, which is why structural integrity tends to be a hot-button topic. Unsurprisingly, a pool that’s placed on a slant will lead to uneven pressure on seams and joints that hold the pool together. This is okay temporarily, but not for too long.

A pool that’s built on an uneven turf is a serious hazard to everyone in and around it. It runs a high risk of implosions, explosions, and just plain ol’ structural collapse. No matter what type of slant or ding you’re dealing with, it’s a major risk for flooding.

How Should You Level The Ground For An Intex Pool?

This is a great question, and truth be told, most people choose to get it done professionally. However, it’s possible to get decent results on your own. Here’s what you would need to do, once you’ve chosen a spot for your pool:

  • Clear out all the grass. You can use a rake, a hoe, or a digger for this. If you have a rototiller, all the better. People who have a couple of weeks to kill can “starve out” grass by placing a tarp over it for several weeks, then uprooting the remains. While you’re at it, remove any rocks that could damage the pool’s bottom.
  • Tie two stakes at opposite ends of your pool, then tie a string between them. Next, use a level to determine where your issues are. Start to level out the ground by digging into it. It’s easier to remove bumps than to fill them in.
  • Coat the area with sand, and tamp it down. The sand will act as a cushioning for your pool. Making sure that it is compact and pressed down will make sure that you don’t have new holes. Double-check to make sure that the ground is still level and bump-free.
  • Buy a base layer at your local pool supply store, and place it over the sand. This may seem like overkill, but it’s not. The base layer will help keep your pool in place and further prevent scratching the Intex’s exterior.
  • Place your pool on top of the newly leveled ground. The sand will give your pool a foundation that is less prone to sinking, though it is still possible that your pool will settle in.

What Should You Do If Your Pool Is Unlevel Once You Build It?

The first thing you should be aware of is that you don’t need to panic. It’s not going to collapse immediately. Thankfully, you can actually fix your unlevel pool without draining it in most circumstances. With that said, the moment you recognize that your pool is unlevel, you need to act. An uneven pool is still a swimming hazard!

How Much Does It Cost To Level Your Ground For An Intex Pool?

Pools are never going to be cheap unless you get a temporary pool. If you want to get your above-ground pool professionally installed, you better expect to pay a pretty penny. An above-ground pool installation can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000 depending on the size of the pool as well as the difficulty of the terrain.

No two yards are the same, so it’s important to make sure you ask around for a reasonable quote and take things as they are. If you live in an extremely rocky, slopey area, then you might actually save some money by opting for an in-ground pool. It’s crazy to think about, isn’t it?

Are There Any Building Code Regulations Involving Your Terrain For Above-Ground Pools?

Your building codes will change from place to place, which is why it’s hard to nail down any major sweeping rules. If you want to get an Intex pool, it’s best to ask the following questions to the right people:

  • Are Intex pools allowed? Some HOAs won’t allow them due to their appearance, but most municipal building codes will be okay with them.
  • Does the area require professional leveling services for above-ground pools? This is a common stipulation for areas that have serious problems with terrain and sloping. You may also need to reach out to your homeowner’s insurance company to find out what requirements they may have.
  • How much labor will be required to get the pool’s area leveled? Exceedingly rocky areas might need to be leveled professionally or have concrete poured on them. If you find that you’re in an area that’s deemed unfriendly towards leveling (looking at you San Francisco!) then you may want to rethink the pool concept altogether.
  • Do you need a permit for your Intex pool? Most areas will want you to get a permit, even if you don’t have many neighbors around.

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Related Questions

What is the best surface to put underneath an Intex pool?

The best surface that you can put underneath your pool would be thick, interlocking foam pads that are specially made for an Intex pool. If you cannot find those near you, a third-party ground covering or an Intex ground cloth would work just as well. If you have an above-ground pool not made by Intex, do not bother with the ground cloth.Regular above-ground pools will not get the same benefits as Intex pools with a ground cloth. If you have a more standard above-ground pool, then you may want to ask your installer or retailer what the best option would be.

How long should you expect an above-ground pool to last?

With proper maintenance, a typical above-ground pool should be able to last between 7 to 15 years at a bare minimum. If you have a particularly strong pool, it’s possible to have it last as long as 20 years without any need for replacement or repairs.

Can you put an Intex pool on grass?

It’s doable, but that doesn’t mean you should. It will probably kill your grass and also lead to an uneven pool terrain. It’s not unheard-of for people to swim in an Intex pool placed on grass, only to have the pool pop from an errant rock hidden in the greenery.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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