All About Aboveground Pools: Everything You Need to Know

Inflatable or Steel Wall Vinyl Liner

Your first choice in picking an aboveground pool is do you want an inflatable or a “true” steel wall vinyl liner aboveground pool. While the inflatable may seem like a good idea because the ease of storage and removal try to stay away from the inflatable pools that some “Big Box” store sell. While these inflatable pools have become more durable in the last couple of years the filter they come with often can not handle the job of keeping your pool clean. This is a simple fact that the overturn rate is not fast enough. A pool’s water to stay clean must be turned over every six hours. In an inflatable pool this is only getting turned over at most every 24 hours.  If you want this you might as well swim in a pond because that’s as clean as your water will be in an inflatable pool. So if you are going to make an investment of a pool the steel wall vinyl liner is the only smart choice to go with.

Steel or Aluminum

Most aboveground pool walls are made with two types of materials. These are steel or aluminum. You will hear many pool salesmen tell you one material is very superior to the other. This is not totally true. There are pros and cons to both materials. A well-made pool is a well-made pool. A pool you buy cheap will probably not last very long while a slightly maybe more expensive well-made pool can last 15 to 20 years if not longer. When it comes to these materials you should think about your climate. You will hear a lot of salesmen tell you steel will rust (if they sell aluminum) or aluminum will oxidize (if they sell steel). This is true but has some caveats. Steel wall pools will not rust for at least 20 years that will probably be the life your pool anyway. Aluminum will oxidize on the bottom in certain types of soil. To find out if this is true you can have a soil test preformed to see if this is the case. Steel is typically stronger then aluminum but depends on the construction too. But pound for pound aluminum has three times the volume as steel, which can be good or bad. It could be made to take up more space or it can be made into a stronger shape. Both metals can be treated too. Your steel wall should always be hot dipped galvanizing process to prevent rust. You aluminum wall should be anodized to prevent corrosion. As mentioned before you pay for the pool you get. Always check the warranty on your pool because this will be a good benchmark of the life of your pool. There is one time where steel walled pools are superior to aluminum. This is in cold weather climates. This is because steel has what they call structural memory. That means as if freezes and contracts and thaws and expends it will go back to its original shape. Think of a pop can that is made out of aluminum. When it freezes it explodes and does not go back to its original shape.

Shapes and Sizes

When picking an aboveground pool you should think about the size and shape you want. Though there is not much room for customization like there is for in-ground pools there is no shortage of options. First lets pick a shape. There are really only three main shapes: round, rectangular, and oval.  From there you can pick a size depending on your backyard and how much room you have. To give you an example round pools which are measured across and typically run from 12ft to 30ft wide. Typically the largest aboveground pools are oval or rectangular and are 18ft by 33ft and hold 13,000 gallons.  The depths in most of these are standard because they have a flat bottom. Standard walls range from 48 inches to 54 inches. Aboveground pools can be made with what is called an expandable liner so it can have a “deep end” or deep well area in the middle of the pool.


By now you have figured out the shape and size of the aboveground pool that is right for you. Now you have to get it installed.  You will want to find a local contractor that does nothing but aboveground pools. Also before building you should check out the local or state codes for your area. In the United States unlike other such countries as Australia there is no national law about fences or enclosures around pools. But in most areas there are local laws regarding fences around pools. Some areas allow the actual wall of the pool to serve as a wall as long as the ladder is retractable while other areas you must have a separate fence that is not the wall of the pool. You should look into your local codes because it will come into play with what kind of ladder you get, decking, and fencing around your new aboveground pool.


Where you put your new aboveground is just as important as the pool itself. The area should be level, so you will either want to pull out the shovels and a laser level or have a contractor level an area for you. Beyond level ground there is many factors to take into consideration. The first is the sun. The sun unless you have a heater is what is going to heat your pool. So where is the sun in the sky going to be in relationship to your pool? Try to place the pool where it can get the most amount of sunlight each day because the more sun rays hitting your pool the warmer and more pleasant your pool will be. Another fact is what else is overhead. Never place a pool under any sort of power lines. This is very dangerous and can lead to fatal consequences. Also overhead though be wary of trees. Trees will drop debris into your pool and led to more cleaning. You want to swim in your pool and not clean it all the time right? So the best place depending on the yard is to place your pool in the flattest area you have, well away from the shadows of large trees and the house in the area which is most open to direct sunlight.

Safety With Your Aboveground

Aboveground pools are relatively safe products but they are still a pool and can cause damage if you aren’t safe. Aboveground pools are fun and used for enjoyment but are still not toys. You should always make sure to keep your pool clean and tested. Untested and unclean pools can cause health problems if not treated. An adult that knows how to swim should always supervise children. Children that are not strong swimmers should wear a properly fitted flotation device. Also even if the aboveground pool has an expandable liner with a “deep” end this is not suited for diving. Never allow diving in your aboveground pool because you will be responsible. Swimming pools can create uncountable hours of enjoyment but should always be used with common sense.

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