Partially Buried Above Ground Pools

With the way the economy has been for the last five years or so, people have been looking for and finding ways to get what they want for less. This has been the case with getting a swimming pool. Before the real estate crash, homeowners could easily get a loan added to their mortgage so they could have a nice in-ground concrete pool built. It didn’t matter either that the thing was thirty plus thousand dollars because you could get at least half of that back when the house got sold. Not the case any more. Lenders these days are very tight with their money and its extremely hard to get a loan against a home so homeowners are finding another way to get a nice swimming pool for their backyard. The route they’re choosing to take is getting a much less costly quality above ground pool instead and customizing it. This is where the question of “can I sink an above ground pool in the ground” comes from. So can an above ground swimming pool be buried in the ground? Well the short answer is yes but with a couple of reservations. Here’s a look at how to do it and a couple of concerns.

I hear potential pool buyers talk of their vision, “I want to sink an above ground pool in the ground and then put a deck around it so it looks like an in-ground pool. Can that be done?. And, “I really want an in-ground pool but can’t afford the 35K right now so if I can have an above ground for a few years for now, that would be great but don’t want it standing up so tall in my back yard. Can it go some in the ground?”. Sound familiar? Well if this is you, then the answer is yes but there are some things to consider.

1. The cost and the dirt.
Setting an above ground pool partially in the ground requires a hole to be dug and will make a giant pile of earth. This will require a machine so if you don’t have access to at least a tractor, you’ll have to rent one or have a Bobcat service come out and dig the hole. Also, there will be a lot of dirt. Usually way more than people think so if you don’t have a big space to spread out or place the excess earth, then it’ll have to be hauled off. This is an added expense to the project which can range from a simple one day tractor rental of $150.00 where you dig the hole yourself and have a place for the dirt to having a service dig it and the earth is hard and has to be hauled off so it’s an extra $1000.00. These prices of course depend on where you live.

2. More problematic when replacing the liner.
When the above ground pool is built in the ground and full of water, there’s no problem with the earth caving in because the pool water is heavier than the surrounding earth. The only time you have to worry about a cave in is when the pool is empty AND the only time the pool will ever be empty is years down the road when the liner needs to be replaced. This can be an issue if the ground around the sunk-in above ground is loose because the wall could cave in when it has no water inside. This is not the end of the world though because if the pool does collapse and cave in, you can peel the wall back, dig out the earth that caved in, then replace the wall and it’s good to go.

3.Having the proper pool pump.
Pool pumps that come with above ground pools are a little different than in-ground pumps. They are designed to be below the level of the pool water and are gravity primed. In-ground pool pumps are the opposite. They are designed to be above the level of the pool water and can draw the water up to itself when priming. If your above ground pool is installed so far in the ground that the pump is above the water line, then you should get an in-ground pump for it.

4. Warranty issues.
Even though properly installing and above ground pool partially in the ground will not harm it in any way, manufacturers don’t want to warranty it. In building, selling, and servicing thousands of above grounds for more than 25 years, I’ve never seen any connection with rust, corrosion, or any damage related to an above ground being in the ground. Also, above grounds sometimes are installed on extremely unlevel ground to where half of it is in the earth and its warranty is covered so whats the difference? This warrant issue probably shouldn’t stop you from carrying out your project but if it concerns you, then by all means don’t do it. Conveniently, manufacturers do offer a couple of models designed to go partially in the ground. They are considerably more money though but you can take that route if you wish as well.

Sinking an above ground swimming pool even a foot in the ground makes it really nice. I always recommend going in a maximum of only about half way in though. Going just half way in the ground is overall much less problematic than all the way down plus if you are planning a wood deck for it, the wood deck needs room off the ground anyway so it works out well.


Buried Above Ground Pool


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