Above ground pools are one of those things that homeowners often assemble themselves. It is estimated that at least three out of every four above ground swimming pools are installed by the pool owner making this a very common do-it-yourself project. But what tools do you need for this task? I should instead say “what tools do you really need?”. Instruction manuals for most things that need assembly give very generic lists for what tools are needed and DIYers usually find they need more or better tools than whats recommended. Here’s a more comprehensive list of what you’ll need to build a quality above ground pool yourself.
This list is presented in chronological order of building the pool. I’ve added a brief explanation of certain tools for added help.
1. Dolly or hand truck – For moving heavy boxes and the wall.
2. Tape measure and spray paint – To determine the install site
3. Sod cutter – If there is thick grass to be removed from the install site, then do yourself a big favor and rent a sod cutter. I know it cost money to rent but this is one thing that is worth the rental charge. If you don’t believe it just begin digging up that sod by hand and you’ll see for yourself.
4. Tractor or skid steer loader – Recommended only if you have a lot of slope to your yard and need to do a lot of leveling. Most pool installs don’t need one and they are expensive to rent.
5. Rakes – Any type of rake you can get can help. Rakes are used for moving the earth around and smoothing so rigid ones made of steel work best.
6. Shovels – I like a square head and if you can, use a grinder and put an edge on it to make it sharper.
7. Knife or box cutter
8. Leveling blocks(one for each upright) – This isn’t really a tool but you need them so they made the list.
9. Leveling device – A builder’s level(sometimes called a transit) is best but a four foot level will work fine.
10. Extra pros tool – Come-a-long concrete tool – I use this tool to move and level earth or material. It works great but shhhh, its a secret tool
11. Cardboard from the pool boxes or 2′ by 4′ plywood – For rolling the wall in place.
12. Tool belt
13. Cordless drill
14. Big clips – Use clips big enough to squeeze over the top of the pool wall AND to stabilizer bar. These will help keep the stabilizer bars and later the liner temporarily in place on top of the wall.
15. A medium sized long manual phillips screw driver – Use this for lining the holes of the wall up. It will also help to pull the wall ends together so you can assemble the wall screws.
16. Duct tape – Again, not really a tool but you need it to tape the wall screws on the inside of the wall. This protects the liner later.
17. Adjustable wrench – For holding the outside wall nuts and some other things later.
18. Rubber mallet – for tapping parts in place
19. Hammer – When the rubber mallet won’t due.
20. Awl – For lining up tight fitting screw holes of the top rails to their top connectors.
21. Hand tamper – for tamping the pool bottom and sand or earth coving.
22. Pros tool – Landscapers rake – This is a very wide aluminum rake that I like to turn over to its straight edge side and use it to do final bottom smoothing and leveling. Great trick!
23. Assorted fittings for the cordless drill – Each pool model has different needs for screwing it together. Some require different socket sizes or longer screw bits. You’ll have to see what you need at the time of assembly.
24. A big adjustable wrench – This is for tightening the fittings while assembling the pool equipment.
25. Patience – Use this tool throughout the entire project. Once more, it’s a tool that you don’t really need but will certainly come in handy a lot.