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Intex Ultra Frame Pool: Safe Above Ground Pools

Updated on June 6, 2011

Learn from my mistakes buying an Intex Ultra Frame swimming pool

If you have been considering an Intex above ground pool for your backyard swim fun, you are about to learn from my mistakes. I purchased the round Intex Ultra Frame 14' pool in June 2011. Instead of letting you rush into a purchase like I did, I'm going to give you all of the details I learned throughout that buying experience.

If you wonder whether an Intex swimming pool is right for you, keep reading.

How I ended up with an Intex above ground pool

On Saturday afternoon my boyfriend was sleeping on the couch next to me, and I was on the laptop plotting how I could convince him that we needed a pool. While I really wanted an extravagant in-ground pool with a fountain and cool lighting, the limited space in the back yard and limited cash in my bank account made me quickly scale down my options.

1. I wanted a pool under $500. I live in Colorado, so it would not be a year-round investment.

2. I wanted a pool that was big enough for swimming, so kiddie pools were out.

3. I wanted a pool that was safe for adults and children.

After a good deal of research, I set my eyes on the 15' EasySet pool. (You'll soon understand why I changed my mind.)

The conversation when my boyfriend woke up went something like this:

Me: Good morning, sleepy head.

BF: Hi.

Me: Let's go buy a pool.

BF: Ok.

You would think this was a normal request from me or something!

Difference between Intex Easy Set, Intex Ultra Frame, and Intex Metal Frame pools

So my boyfriend and I went into Target thinking we were going to buy the 15' round Intex EasySet pool. After my research, I had decided that it would be the most economical purchase for our needs. Then we began the debate. To save you the trouble, here are the pros and cons that we came up with for the Intex Easy Set, Intex Ultra Frame, and Intex Metal Frame pools.

Why the Ultra Frame above ground pool was the winner

...for me

I chose the Intex Ultra Frame above ground pool for quite a few reasons.

First, I'm not that good of a swimmer and I wanted something to hold on to for security. Plus, I figured additional stability would be good for when my boyfriend and I start a family. The Ultra Frame and Metal Frame pools have the stabilizer bar that goes around the top, while the Easy Set pool just has an inflatable plastic ring.

Second, the Metal Frame pool was more expensive for a seemingly less sturdy model. I read reviews online that talked about the Intex Metal Frame pool rusting and denting, but Ultra Frame pool owners had plenty of good things to say about this more technologically advanced model.

Finally, the Intex Ultra Frame pool cost less than the metal model but was easier to put together. Out model also came with a pool pump, filter, skimmer, and vacuum.

Overall, we thought the Intex Ultra Frame above ground pool was the best deal out of the three options. This model was also chosen as one of the best backyard swimming pools for 2011.

Join the debate over Intex pools

What do you think about the Intex Ultra Frame pool?

Love it!

Love it!

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    • anonymous 3 years ago

      www.abc.com

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      657y

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      should i get an ultra frame or a metal frame with two dogs

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Did you have to drain the pool before you jacked it up?

    Hate it!

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        I will never buy another intex pool. The pool box says "complete system" but that could not be further from the truth. First the cover that it came with was constructed with slits in it. The water would creep up through the slits and end up at the bottom of the pool. Slits are for wind, not water. I had to buy a vacuum kit because the "complete system" does not come with it. Once I did that I realized that there was no way to hook it up, so I had to buy an adapter. If you are buying a vacuum kit certainly you will need to be able to hook it up...? Then the teeny tiny filter that came with our 16' round pool was not doing the job. We purchased an much larger Intex filter with sand/salt water system. Guess what, the adapter for the vacuum I bought the previous year does not fit on this filter system. I called Intex and the guy I talked to was confused. Asking me what I needed. I said, "I don't know, I was hoping you could tell me. The adapter I bought for x filter does not fit on to y filter. Can you tell me if you have an adapter for filter y?" He didn't know.....Uh, ok, goodbye...thanks for nothing....

        Also, the drain plug has a thread on it as though you can put a hose on it. No hose you can buy in the store fits this so I am imagining that you have to find an intex drain hose.

        The new $360 filter has a backwash system. Also threaded and the directions tell you to divert the water...with what, I don't know because nothing fits it. I used my gutter drain hose the best I could but have to stand there and hold it otherwise the water comes out like a fire hydrant. So tired of this song and dance with them. I would rather a doughboy that you can customize from the start and get parts for ANYWHERE!! Would have saved me tons of money in the long run, and most of all the headache.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        bdgh

      Above ground pool setup and installation tips

      for the Intex Ultra Frame model

      1. Choose the best place for the pool diameter. Remember to leave room for the ladder and for the pump equipment. Keep in mind that leaving a pool out for a few months will kill the grass underneath.

      2. Level, level, level the ground. Every single review I read online said that the ground must be level or you will have problems. My boyfriend told me that our chosen spot was level, so we went to work on assembly. By the time we filled the pool, we could tell that the side toward the east sat about 2-3 inches lower than the west side. No big deal, right? Well, the water level wasn't high enough to cover the return valve, so filtered water was jetting out across the top of the pool surface. Then the sides won't stand straight up. We ended up using a jack to raise the droopy end of the pool, stick some sand and pavers underneath, and straighten the pool legs vertically.

      3. Have at least two people helping with pool setup. The installation guide is straightforward and easy to follow, but two people helped to speed up the time to completion. Having two people also made adjusting the pool location and straightening the sides easier.

      4. Buy a bigger pump. We bought a large saltwater pump to integrate with the pump that came in the kit, but I still think we're going to need some more power. It seems like we have to vacuum the pool every day.

      5. Avoid trees if possible. Unless you don't mind lots of leaves in the new above ground swimming pool.

      Additional tips from Intex

      Tips for heating the pool

      Competitive swimmers swim in 78 degree water. The cooler water is great for athletes because they are less likely to overheat after lengths of exertion. This temperature, unfortunately, is not ideal for the recreational swimmer. Water that is 80 - 85 degrees is nice, while 90 degree water can be quite relaxing.

      When we first filled up the Intex swimming pool, the water was 55 degrees. Brrrrr! After a few days the temperature reached 72 and stayed there. It would be 68 degrees in the morning and 72 degrees by evening, no matter what the day's weather was like.

      We found a site on solar pool heating online and decide to give the DIY system a try. For about $45 we purchased some irrigation hose and the necessary fittings at Home Depot. The principle was that water would flow through the black rubber hose, be heated by the sun's free energy, and the warmer water would be sent to the pool. We connected the outgoing pool pump hose to the irrigation hose and then fitted that hose to return warm water to the swimming pool. Within one day the Intex pool temperature jumped 6 degrees, to 78. We are going to try adding more rubber hose and a solar pool cover to heat the water even further.

      If you do not live in an area with consistent sunshine or you want a warmer pool without the DIY steps, many companies sell gas heaters and electric heaters for above ground pools. I will list a few models below, but keep in mind that I have not used them personally.

      Leave a comment and let me know you stopped by. Do you have an Intex swimming pool? Share your story!

      Sign my guestbook

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          BarbaraGH 2 years ago

          I would also like to know if anyone has successfully added fencing to the top of an Intex Ultra Frame pool, and if so, which product was used.

          Our first Intex was the metal frame 20x48, which we got about 20 years ago when our son was in high school. We took that one down each winter (huge hassle!). Our newer pool is the 18x52 Ultra Frame with the saltwater system. Love it! This pool came with instructions for "winterizing" so it's always up. After the first year we upgraded the ladder by choice, and haven't had to make any replacement purchases. Both pools were placed on a concrete slab made for the pool.

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          Brenda D 2 years ago

          Has anyone tried to put fencing around an ultra frame round intex pool? We want to stay in code for our town, and need exact product that works...

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          Tammy 2 years ago

          I have the ultra index pool, we've had it for 3 yrs. love love love it! Yes it may be an inch - 2 inches unleval it will be fine as long as everything is tight, especially the rope around. It does get easier to put up each yr! We also have learned to level the ground better each year! I do not regret our purchase at all ! However, I would say if you don't like cleaning the pool everyday , make sure there's no trees close by. We are cutting down one of our trees that does make a mess! Now we take our pool down every year, I've noticed other people in area leave theirs up. Your not supposed to, but I'm thinking of trying that next time . It is a pain to take down that's the only drawback . Looking forward to getting in it this summer!

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          anonymous 3 years ago

          @anonymous: i just noticed today that my pool polls are inches off the ground on 1 side of my unleveled pool very dangerous,we'r draining the pool as i type this,here in Buffalo N.Y.our pool is seasonal and it being Sept.now we'r not losing much good weather left to drain and make it level,next summer

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          We just put our ultra frame 22 round pool up and in one spot the top ring has separated how can we fix this with out draining all the water out..

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          @anonymous: but getting a lap pool is almost the same... you just go around in circles along the edge rather than up and down

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          Hi Winsandywin,

          Thanks for your informative introduction. I just have three questions:

          1) did you consider rectangular lap pool? And why not?

          2) I see that there is water height number for each pool. As my kids are still young, I am thinking of using less water, ie. less height, just to make sure they will be safe. (e.g. 2 feet depth?) Would this pose any problem to the structure or stability of the pool?

          3) When you put your pool fully installed, would the dimensions of the pool larger (say 10%) than said in the specification? I mean after you have all the structure being put in place. I ask that as I have really tight yard space yet I want to fully utilize every inch....

          Thanks.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: We've had our pool for three years and it's always been unlevel. One side is probably 4 inches higher than the other and we've never had a problem. Hope this helps!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: We have the same pool. We live in NC and this is our third summer using it. We never take it down. Just drain it to about 6 inches and leave it through the winter. Unfortunately, it's a mess each summer because we don't close it like we should but it has held up great! It looks and runs like the day we bought it.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: I am having the same problem how did you correct this issue?

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I just put up the 22x52 Ultra frame pool. It's not level on one side by about an inch. Anybody know if that will be okay? Can I add some type of brace on the low side for added support? I'm so afraid that with all the kids in the pool that the low side won't be able to withstand the additional pressure. Otherwise we love this pool. Any help would be appreciated.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I appreciate the information on the pools, but I have one question...

          Do these (Intex Ultra Frame Pools) need to be taken down every year? I am about to purchase one, but if I need to tear down and setup each year, then I may reconsider....

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I see that over the last year there have been posts about jacking up a few posts that have sunken in. I am having difficulty following them all and I want to get the scoop before I start. Do you have a blog post on the subject?

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I just bought an Intex 14' X 48" Ultra-Frame. It went up pretty easily however I am having trouble getting the legs straightened out to vertical because the rope on the bottom is too tight. Anyone know if this is supposed to be this way or can I untie the rope to allow the legs to come out all the way to vertical?

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thank you for taking time to investigate and share your information. It has been most helpful. I have heard that these pools might be better than the older aluminum pools. The older pools you can leave up year round.. If you had the room would you buy a pool you could keep up year round or keep the one you have? Any comments from anyone? I am still trying to decide on used model or intex ultraframe. I am a single mother, my children are young teenagers now.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          How many people do you fit in this size pool?

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          BusyQueen 5 years ago

          Thanks for all the handy info, good job!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Your tips are so helpful! We are looking at getting the exact same pool and I was worried about not getting the metal frame one, so I feel much better about going with the ultra frame now! Thank you!

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          annflowers123 5 years ago

          Be sure to click here Swimming pool service....I am grateful to you and expect far more quantity of blog post. Thank you very much.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          @anonymous: We have extra dug out from our previous pool being 18 foot round and every time it rains or water gets splashed out, we have a "moat" on the low side of the pool! My mom mentioned rock but I wasn't sure if that would cause any damage to liner or not. I was thinking building up with dirt then doing mulch??? Did you stone yours yet?

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          We set our Intex Ultra Frame up a few weeks ago to find it had settled and is off by about an inch on one side. How did you jack up the poles to place pavers under? My husband was thinking about draining the pool but I just don't want to do that and read your story about what you did. Thanks so much

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          @winsandywin: Oh, I see, kind of. I wasn't sure how to get the jack to extend 4 feet upward. Is the pool perfectly straightened out??? Thank you so much for repsonding!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          @winsandywin: Yes, I subscribed and just now having time to post and apologize. We ended up draining about a foot and half of water out of the pool. My husband cut blocks of wood about an inch thick. He lifted the posts with a shovel and I placed the blocks of wood under the posts. It helped but not that much as I still have the high side poles leaning just a bit towards the water. It's ok for the rest of this season of swimming(hopefully) and I guess we will take pool down end of this season and re-work the ground. For the last 2 years we had had an Intex pool that had the blow up ring at the top measuring 18 ft round by 48 inches tall and of course with buying this 16 foot round Intex by 48" Ultra, we had about a foot or so dug out and the slight low side caused this...did that make sense?

        • winsandywin profile image
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          winsandywin 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Yay! Glad to hear it!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          @winsandywin: The jack worked perfect for us.....thanks, again for helping us out of our dilemma!!!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          @winsandywin: Thanks, Wins...I believe we may try this.

        • winsandywin profile image
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          winsandywin 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Tammy, I hope you subscribed to email comments. I just posted what I did. We didn't want to drain the pool either!!

        • winsandywin profile image
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          winsandywin 6 years ago

          @anonymous: @ Donna and Tammy:

          We used a hydraulic car jack to lift the edges. The way we did it was not the safest, but it will at least give you some ideas. We placed one end of a 2x4 near the place where the two rails clicked together. We secured the other end to the jack and pumped away. There was some creaking, but nothing broke. We ended up doing the same thing to a few other spots to make sure all of the poles were completely vertical.

          Hope this helps! If anyone else has better suggestions, we'd love to hear them!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Tammy, did you find a solution to your problem???? I think we are the same dilemma... Thanks, dear.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          What type of jack did you use to raise the droopy end??? We (my husband) thought the ground was solid enough not to use any kind of basing underneath our supports. Well, now one or two has begun to sink. Yes, it was solid ground when we put the pool up, but with rain and kids splasing excessive water out of the pool, not so now. We plan to bring in rock around the pool within the next week or so to help set off the settling of water...thanks so much for your feedback in advance....