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Above Ground Pool Buying Tips

Above Ground Pool Buying Tips – Buying an above ground pool can be a tricky thing. How do you know you’re getting the best deal? It’s not just something you can quickly buy without researching it first. It takes careful consideration before making such a big investment. Here are some factors to consider in your search.

Types of Pools

First, you have to think about what kind of pool you want and how much space you have in your yard for it.

Inflatable Pools

This is a mobile type of pool that you can move and deflate as you see fit. It’s best for families with small children because they’re shallow and you fill them back up with fresh water when needed. You can pack it away easily, and the sides are soft, which leads to fewer injuries.

However, they’re not a permanent option. Damage can be caused by weather, animals, and rough-housing. They are the cheapest option, with most inflatable pools starting at $100.

Traditional Above Ground Pools

An above ground pool is a more affordable option if you can’t afford an in-ground pool. These pools are permanent, usually comprised of a steel structure, resin, or a hybrid. You still have shallow water, but at four feet or so, it’s easier to play around, jump in and swim underwater, great for all ages. 

You could install an above ground pool yourself in about four to six hours, which includes leveling the area and setting up the pool. Prices vary, but you’re probably looking at $1,500 at least just for the kit.

Semi-Buried/Fully Buried Above Ground Pools

Next, you could choose to sink the above ground pool two to three feet into the ground, covering the area around the top with stones or brick. This way, it looks just like an in-ground pool, minus the major construction and big price tag.

You will have to be careful to buy the right kind of above ground pool for this purpose, as they’re not all meant for this purpose and many can’t withstand being buried. This type of pool will cost you about $10,000.

In-Ground Pools

Clearly the most luxurious option, an in-ground pool often increases your home’s value, is permanent, and can be enjoyed in any weather, provided it’s heated. High-quality materials ensure longevity, cleanliness and safety. This option is the most expensive on the list. Plus, they take up more yard space and require major construction as well as a lot of upkeep. Average costs start at $35,000 and can hit up to $100,000 and up.

Planning For a New Above Ground Pool

If you have decided to install an above ground pool, you’ll first have to figure out where you want to put it. The backyard is the most common but you could consider the side or front yard if local laws allow it.

Next, you’ll have to consider what size you want. This will depend on how many people will be using the pool on a daily basis. If it’s just you and your spouse, a small one will do. If you have a large family or host lots of big barbecues in summer, you may want to go bigger.

The steps between pool sizes are deceptively large. For instance, a 27’ pool holds 33 percent more water than a 24’ pool. Check out pool size charts before you decide.

Next up: what material will you use as your base pad? Most people choose mason sand, which will have to brought to the site by a pickup truck or small dump truck.


Budgeting For Installation and Maintenance

Installation costs are two-fold: the kit and the installation process. Kits cost between $1.5K and $8K, with installation costing between $1K and $3K. So, total, you’re looking at $2.5K up to $11K for a top-notch above ground pool.

Factors that affect price include:

  • Size: Perimeter, height, and shape. Smaller, 12’ round pools are most affordable, while bigger, oval pools will cost you more.
  • Deck: While optional, decks make it easier to access the pool. They will add about $2,500 and up to the cost.
  • Water: Will run you between $80 and $1,200.
  • Electrical: Costs between $350 and $500
  • Pump & Filter: Will cost between $750 and $1100
  • Winter Cover: You will pay $20 – $450
  • Maintenance: This will run you $50 – $100/month

A Look at the Above Ground Installation Process 

Step 1: Clear the Designated Area

Once you know where to put the pool, you will have to clear the area. Check your city’s requirements for local buildings and barrier codes. Remove the sod from the site.

Step 2: Level the Site

Now you have to level the area with a bobcat or skid steer, or hire a professional.

Step 3: Consider Drainage

You will have to make concessions for additional site drainage. Call a professional for advice.

Step 4: Frame the Foundation

Extra support will be needed for the sides of the pool, with full-sized patio blocks or stones. Make sure they’re leveled so the pool frame rests solidly on the blocks.

Step 5: Install the Base Material

Install the base underneath the liner, which will act as a buffer between the vinyl membrane and the surrounding terrain. This material will also absorb rock, stone, insect and animal debris.

Step 6: Install the Liner

Make sure you end up with few or no wrinkles, as massive folds can pose problems.

Step 7: Assemble the Frame

Check the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure all of the pieces fit in a uniform shape. Tighten all screws and bolts and check all cover caps.

Step 8: Remove Excess Ground Material

Now, distribute the dirt and sod around the rest of your yard or dispose of it off-site legally.

Step 9: Adhere to Codes and Electrical System Requirements

Get a permit and display it prominently during construction. Once the project is complete, make sure all of the wires and setups abide by local codes.

Above Ground Pool Maintenance

Here are some tips to maintaining your pool.

  • Run the Pool Filter Daily: This should be 12 to 24 hours every day
  • Test pH Levels: Do this weekly to make sure the levels are between 7.2 and 7.6.
  • Check Your Chlorine Levels: With not enough chlorine, your pool can be vulnerable to bacteria and turn green in color. Too much chlorine can irritate skin and eyes. Levels should be between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm.
  • Empty Skimmers and Pumps as Needed: Remove debris every day.
  • Check for Hidden Algae and Mold Monthly: Chlorine kills the algae in your pool, but deposits can build up over time. Look for fungi in your pool on a monthly basis. 

Accessories You Should Have


This acts as the heart of your circulation system, pulling water through the skimmer and filter. Without the pump, the cleaning system won’t work, and neither will the filter. The result? Stagnant water.  


Invest in a good quality filter system that’s rated for your pool size.

Pool Steps

Steps make it easier for everyone to get into and out of the pool. “Wedding cake” steps are best, as they are rounded, have handles, and are easy to climb.

Pool Ladders

If you don’t want steps or a deck, you’ll at least need a ladder to access the pool.

Storage Units

This is where you will store all your pool toys, cleaning solutions, vacuums and patio furniture pads.


Fences are necessary and in most places, required, for safety of children, pets and adults.

Automatic Cleaners

These will clean your pool bottom and keep water sanitary.

Choosing the Best Above Ground Pool for Your Yard


The kind of walls you want to install will decipher the type of above ground pool you decide on. You could choose one that’s small enough to fit in your backyard with an above ground deck and rails, or you could choose one that’s just a simple fence. Alternatively, you could install an entire stone wall around the unit.

Next, consider use. Do you plan to relax by the pool most days? Or are you a party person who loves to host barbecues? Knowing how your pool will function will aid in your decision. Also, think about the space you have in your yard. How much of the space do you want taken up by a pool? You want some leftover space for other uses, so don’t overdo it.


What to Consider When Buying An Above Ground Pool

Check out these factors to keep in mind:

1. Determine Your Budget

Go shopping armed with a black and white number of what you can actually afford. It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy extras you can add on, but it’s important to stick to a budget so you don’t get in over your head. 

2. Make sure your pool builder or contractor is experienced

Your pool builder should be well qualified to do the job, backed by the training and experience necessary to install a quality pool.

3. Don’t Go Overboard with Estimates

While you want the best price for your pool, it’s easy to get caught up in collecting too many estimates. Choose three companies for estimates and select one of those so you don’t get overwhelmed.

4. Don’t Accept Estimates Over the Phone

Make sure your contractor comes to your home and walks you through the process, takes measurements, and gives you an accurate price.  

We hope these tips have been helpful. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Central Jersey Pools!

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