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How to move an above ground pool

Updated on December 26, 2013

“Can one move an above ground pool”?

The answer is yes. With some planning and help you can move an above ground pool from one location to another safely. Above ground pools come in every conceivable size, shapes, with decks and some with cat walks. When wooden decks and cat walks are present we suggest that these be handled as a carpenter would handle. This article will stick to the common round above ground pool for simplicity.

You will need to know a few things before you get started. When taking down the pool you may encounter parts broken and or screws stripped. As such you will want to make sure that getting parts for your pool is an option. Who wants to go through the trouble of all the hard work and find out a missing part is crucial to re-installation and cannot be found. Call a local pool store or pool contractor to make sure parts can be ordered if need be. Don’t sweat the screws; you can get them at a local hardware.

Most importantly is the liner. You CANNOT reuse the liner at the next location. They are very tuff to get to line up the same and you will be presented with unwanted wrinkles. Not to mention the liner may shrink. If it’s a little older (more than 2 years) it may become brittle. You want to plan on buying a new one for sure. You may not want to go through the trouble of moving many tons of sand to the new location. So be wise and plan on getting new sand delivered to the new location.

Tools and materials you will need are:

New liner, some help from family or fiends, delivery of sand base, drill gun, duct tape, shop-vac , Ziploc baggies, trowels or tamper, water hose, piece of plywood 4ftx4ft, Rotary laser, bobcat excavator or something similar, Shovels, metal rake, Some Rust-o-lium spray paint, Large mouth pliers, utility knife, Teflon tape or pipe dope, trash bags and lots of Patients.

Johnny Weissmuller Liner Replacement

How to Move an Above Ground Pool
How to Move an Above Ground Pool | Source

The Process

Start by draining the water out of the pool. This can be done with a small pump. After getting most of the water out of the pool cut the liner at the bottom to finish draining. When you cut the liner be careful there is only a couple inches or less in the pool. If you try to cut when there is more it could damage parts to the pool. Once you have drained the pool cut the liner into small pieces and place into trash bags to throw away. Do not cut the metal wall with the blade this will cause pool wall to start rusting in time at the cut. Remove as much of the liner as you can. Remove the skimmer/return, hoses and disconnect skimmer from the pool then the return.

Remove the top caps and top rails of the pool and try to keep all parts together for re assembly. Screws go into Ziploc bags and try to keep count of the screws you lose so that you can replace them at the next location. Once the top caps and rails are removed unscrew the metal caps that are on top of the uprights. These caps lock down the plastic coping which holds the liner in place. On most pool models it also holds in place the top track which the plastic copings are inside of. So you have the top caps and the top rails removed. Next you have the metal top caps and metal track removed as well as the plastic coping which holds the liner in place. Once the top is totally taken apart all you have to do is finish cutting up the liner to discard. This part of the process should only take you about 30 minutes to complete.

While someone is busy taking apart the top portion of the pool someone on the inside can start by digging the sand away from the wall. At this point you will want to take note of the wind? If it’s windy you will need a few people to help hold the wall vertical until it can be rolled up. The same process will need to be done on the outside of the pool. Move all soil and rocks away from the outside of the pool. When ready it’s time to take the wall bolts out. Find where the upright covers the wall bolts. While someone is inside the pool and someone is outside the pool remove the wall bolts from bottom to top. As this is being done have someone remove all the remaining uprights off the pool.

At this point the pool wall is very loose and needs to be rolled up. Place a piece of plywood (4ftx4ft) on top of the sand on a flat surface close to the middle of the pools diameter. It’s best to spin the wall with about three people. One person is curling and another feeding the wall to him. The third person should gently pull the wall upward and getting it out of the bottom track as well as steadying the wall when it starts to fall. If it does fall don’t become discouraged just keep with the program and do the best you can. A minor wall crimp here or there will be OK. Wrap duct tape around the wall to hold it together use something to prevent the duct tape from actually sticking to the wall. We take a trash bag and place it around so the tape will not touch the wall.

Next take up the bottom track and bottom base plates and hose them off with a garden hose. If the bottom track needs it spray paint them to prevent rust from spreading. A little minor rust is to be expected. Load up the truck you’re done with the first half of your project.


At the new location

Make sure that the site is level to about an inch and is bigger in diameter by at least 1 foot. Example- If your pool is 24 ft in diameter then your dig should be at least 25 ft in diameter, 26 ft is even better. A rotary laser will help guide a bobcat or other digging machine and help get to these tolerances. Once the site is ready the sand is next. Have sand truck dump sand into the middle of the site cut out.

Now it’s time to put back together bottom base plates and bottom track. Put them together just like you took them apart. After linking up all the pieces take a tape measure and check your diameter in several different areas to assure you have the diameter needed. Next with the rotary laser place patio blocks under each base plate and make sure that patio blocks are sunk into the ground so that they are level to the surface. The track should sit on the ground and not float. With the rotary laser make sure all patio blocks are set to the same height. It is necessary to get all patio blocks within one eight of an inch .Next spread sand around the bottom of where the pool will go making a small cove around the perimeter about 6 inches high and a foot or so away from the bottom track. Once completed remove any extra sand from the circle and save in case you need more later on.

Next lay down plywood (4ftx4ft) in the center of the pool site and put the wall on it. At this time you will want to spread out all the parts to the pool around the outside. Next put on a nail pouch for screws and have screws ready for drilling into place. Check wind again; if it’s windy do not attempt to roll out the wall. Wait until you have a warm sunny non windy day. Let’s assume the day is 70 and the wind is calm.

Spread the liner outside next to the site so it can get warm and start to become wrinkle free before use. Unwrap the wall and get ready three to four people to help with the process of putting up the wall. One person will be on the center while one person places the wall into the track and the others hold up the rest. Walk around in circle until enough of the wall is out and ready to be placed into track. Start where an upright will be placed. This will allow the wall bolts to be hidden from view after installation. All together roll out the wall and place into track all around. If all is level then you won’t have any problems with the wall. To be sure push sand up against the inside to keep the wall from falling over. You’re going to make a cove with the sand around the bottom where the wall meets the floor. When it’s packed into place it will be 4 inches high and 3 inches wide. When wall bolts are in place it’s time to pack the floor.

With a garden hose soak the sand. We mean soak the sand and all of it. Just to the point of it turning to sloppy mud. Then using trowels spread and pack the sand being very careful not to ruin the areas completed. When the floor is packed fold up liner and brings into the pool and spread it around. One person needs to stay inside to help attaching the liner. Others need to be on the outside. Install the liner so that the bottom seam that runs around the bottom of the liner gets lined up with where the floor meets the wall. Hang liner the same all around using the plastic coping strips to hold in place. Before setting the liner near the skimmer return area place a shop vacuums hose into the return hole till it is about 5-6 inches above the sand. When the liner is completely hung then turn on the vacuum and push all wrinkles to the outer wall. Once wrinkles are almost gone place a hose in the pool and start to fill.

Place top track, top metal plates and uprights all at the same time. Place top rails on but only tighten these screws halfway. When all the top rails are on take a level and make sure the uprights is plum from top to bottom and then tighten top rails. Place top caps back on.

When water reaches the side walls turn off vacuum and remove it. Let pool fill to half full of water. While it fills you can get ready the pump and filter so all you have left is hoses, clamps and Skimmer/return. When half full get inside the pool while someone is on the outside. Place the skimmer in its cut and with the help of the person on the outside screw the skimmer into place. Place the return on by first cutting the hole and then connecting the pieces together the same way they were taken off.

Use a sharp blade and cut out the liner at the skimmer opening. You will have to supply electrical an outlet that is protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter that will shut off anytime water is spilled to keep your home and your family safe. All that’s left is landscaping around the newly installed pool with crushed stone to help with drainage.

Congratulations you’re finished!


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      7 years ago

      Great Hub! Thanks for sharing, I feel like I am ready to start my pool search with confidence.


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