What Do I Put Under My Intex Pool?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Intex pools can be great during the summer months. After all, who doesn’t enjoy spending time with the family in the backyard, enjoying the sun, and having fun? If you are thinking of purchasing an Intex pool or have already gotten one, there is one question: what to put under your Intex pool.

You can put a tarp, foam tiles, carpet padding, floor underlayment, carpet, or an Intex ground cloth under your Intex pool. Do not put your Intex pool on sand as it can lead to an unlevel surface and issue. Popular locations to put an Intex pool are concrete, grass, a deck, or a patio. But always make sure to use underlayment to protect your Intex pool from rips, tears, and other wear.

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What Are Intex Pools?

An Intex pool is a small above-ground pool that is fairly inexpensive and can provide hours of fun for young kids. Installing it is relatively straightforward, but it is important to lay something down underneath to prevent pooling water from damaging and destroying grass or creating large mud puddles.

No matter what kind of Intex pool that you purchase, choosing the proper material is important of the longevity of the yard as well as the pool.

IntexConstruction TypePrice RangeShape
Easy SetLaminated PVC Liner$35-$300Round
Metal FramePVC Liner + Steel Frame$140-$500Round
Prism Frame3-ply liner/steel frame$180-$800Oval, Round, Rectangle
Ultra XTA Frame3-ply liner/galvanized steel$600+Round, Rectangle

Pools Installed On Concrete Slabs

Although concrete slabs are considered to be an excellent base for swimming pools, they may be too rough for an Intex pool. Concrete tends to have a very abrasive texture and can cause damage to the pool liner over time. Therefore, if you are installing an Intex pool on concrete, it is crucial that you have a layer of padding underneath it.

Whether you choose foam interlocking tiles, Intex ground cloth, old carpeting, carpet padding, or a third-party padding material, you need a base layer for your above-ground pool. Here are some of the most popular and commonly used options for what to put under your Intex pool.

Use A Tarp Under Your Intex Pool

Many people place a basic tarp, available at home improvement stores, under their Intex pool. This helps protect the bottom of the pool from rips and tears. Plus, if you place your pool in the grass, the tarp will keep grass from growing through the bottom of your pool.

It is paramount that you remove any stones, sticks, or other sharp debris that could be lying underneath. Not only does it pose a threat to the liner of the pool, but it could also rip the tarp as well.

Tarps don’t really offer much smoothness, either. A tarp is a cheap option, much like old carpeting, but there’s a reason that it is a cheap solution. Tarps don’t provide any additional padding and are just as susceptible to rips and tears as the liner of the pool.

Just be aware that tarps can get slippery when wet, so use caution when getting in and out of the pool. A good idea is to place some non-skid mats near the pool where you get in and out or near pool ladders.

Intex Ground Cloth

This is the most common option for laying underneath the Intex pools. That is because it is included with most of the pool sets that you will find. The cloth is provided to deliver extra protection to the bottom of the pool.

When installing the pool, it is important to clear the area of rocks or twigs, basically anything that could do damage to the bottom of the pool. The ground cloth is meant to provide an extra layer of protection from those damaging items.

For the most part, the Intex ground cloth has received positive reviews, though there are some owners who feel that it does not deliver on adding protection to the underside of the pool. This is why there are different options available that owners have made use of.

Third-Party Pads

If the Intex ground cloth isn’t working out well, there are plenty of third-party options available that will work just as well. The important part here is to ensure that you get the right size. For instance, if you have a pool that is 15-feet in diameter, make sure that you get a 15-foot diameter pad.

There is absolutely no benefit to having a larger pad than the size of your pool. It can actually make it more difficult to manage and you’ll want to cut it down to size anyway. So, save yourself the trouble and get the size to match your pool.

Foam Interlocking Tiles

Perhaps you’re looking to add a little more padding than what is provided by the clothes. This can be achieved by adding interlocking foam tiles underneath instead. The cloth is thin enough that you may still be able to feel stones or twigs through the bottom of the pool.

The foam padding, meanwhile, will feel smooth and soft under your feet while offering an extra layer of protection from anything that may be laying underneath the pool. It also makes cleaning the bottom of the pool easier since the surface is uniform and won’t have many dips and divots in it.

Simply calculate how many foam tile squares that you need. The following chart uses 2×2 foam tiles:

Pool DiameterTiles Required (Sq. Ft)
10 feet35 tiles (140 sq. ft)
15 feet60 tiles (240 sq. ft)
18 feet80 tiles (320 sq. ft)
20 feet115 tiles (460 sq. ft)
24 feet145 tiles (580 sq. ft)

Interlocking foam tiles are absolutely the ideal solution for what to put under your Intex pool. This is due to the softness of the tiles, the flat, level surface that they provide, and their ability to hold up against any rocks, sticks, or other debris that may be lying underneath.

Old Carpeting

For those looking to provide a cheaper resolution, old carpet can be a fine choice. If you can find someone getting rid of their old carpet, even better as you may be able to score it for free. All that you have to do to install is lay it down under the pool and make sure that the plush side is facing upwards.

Carpet makes for a good protective layer from pebbles, sticks, and stones that could eventually tear the bottom of the pool. It won’t, however, provide an even, cushioned surface in quite the same way that the foam tiles will. Not only that, moisture can get trapped in the carpet and create a moldy, stinky smell.

In a pinch, carpeting can be the cheapest (or free) option available but it definitely has its downsides, so keep that in mind.

Carpet Padding

In addition to actual carpeting, the padding that goes underneath can be a viable option to put under your intex pool. However, it is recommended to use modern closed-cell foam carpet pads as opposed to traditional felt padding. Carpet pads that are advertised as “memory foam” are an excellent choice for above-ground pools that are situated on concrete surfaces.

This option is inexpensive, widely available, and much easier to cut and install than rigid foam sheeting. If you are considering a modern form of carpet padding to go underneath your Intex pool, make sure that you choose one designed for high traffic areas. Also, keep in mind that you may need two layers of padding, depending on how soft you want the floor of your pool to be.

Intex Pool Padding Installation Tips

The following are some general tips for installing padding underneath your Intex pool, regardless of the type you choose:

  • Before you place the padding, try to smooth out the area as best you can. Remove debris and use clean fill to fill in any voids.
  • Apply a weed killer to the location that is designed to kill nut sudge (nutgrass). This type of weed is one of the few that can grow through your pool liner.
  • It’s always better to have the pool placed slightly above ground than below it. Try to avoid any partial burial of your intext pool.
  • Clear an area for the padding that is roughly one foot outside of the perimeter of the pool. Fill the excess space with gravel or wood chips to prevent weeds.

Where To Put The Intex Pool?

It doesn’t really matter if you put it out front or in the backyard. The key is to find a space that is level, flat, and provides stability. It is also important that you clear the area of as many stones, twigs, sticks, and other debris that could damage the bottom of the pool.

Areas that are sloped, have big divots or feature a lot of debris are not good ideas for laying down an Intex pool. Even if they don’t tear the bottom liner of the pool, they can be uncomfortable to walk around in.

Consider Putting Your Intex Pool On A Patio

Those with a concrete patio should consider placing the Intex pool there. So long as the surface is level, it is a great place to keep the pool. It also reduces the chances of any twigs, sticks, or rocks that may be lying underneath.

Should you go with the patio as your location, foam tiles are the recommended solution. The patio can be quite hard and the foam padding will provide a softer insulation from the ground below.

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Related Questions

Can I put sand under an Intex pool?

This is a hard no. The manufacturer even states that you should not lay sand underneath your Intex pool. Sand can easily wash away if any moisture gets underneath (either from the pool or rain). This can lead to voids underneath the pool.When there are voids underneath the bottom layer of the pool, there is a potential risk for leaning and even possibly collapsing. This is why it is recommended that you have a level, flat surface underneath your pool at all times.Also, if the sand is placed on top of a concrete surface, it will leak out and shift over time, effectively ruining its ability to provide any sort of cushion. Instead of sand, use one of the alternate padding methods outlined above.

How do I prepare the ground for an Intex pool?

It’s important to make sure the area you put your pool is level. Therefore, mark out the area for your pool with a stake at each corner and tie a string around the perimeter. Use a line level to measure at about 12 to 36 different points around the perimeter.Then use shovels or a sod cutter machine to remove the turf and lower any high spots. Recheck your level as you go. Do not try and raise areas to make them level by adding sand, which can cause slippage and dips.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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