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How Unlevel Can an Intex Pool Be: Staying Safe Instead of Sorry

Let’s face it, many people buy Intex or above ground pools because they are cheaper than in-ground pools. However, it does raise the question of how unlevel an Intex pool can be. Some above ground pools have panels and a liner and some have an inflatable ring. Regardless of which type you have, it is imperative that the installation is done correctly.

Any and all above ground pools require a flat space covered in grass or sand. If you install it on anything else you will have trouble with the liner, water level, and pool walls, and it will be very unsafe. So, how unlevel can an above ground pool be? Read more to find out.

Usually, the biggest mistake in pool construction starts with the foundation. The groundwork is the most important part of the process and yet many people tend to leave them unlevel, lumpy, soft, rocky, and rough.

Some people do not even remove the sod, they just lay the sand on top of the grass and build the pool on top of it. This always turns out to be a large and costly mistake.

How Unlevel Can an Above Ground Pool Be?

It can be incredibly tricky to level a pool, even for an excellent installer. Every pool in every place is different so it is a challenge to get them perfectly level. Most installers, despite their high level of knowledge and professional equipment they rarely get better than within an 8th of an inch level for a round pool and a ¼ of an inch on an oval pool.

Most instruction manuals for above grounds are useless. If they mention leveling procedures, they usually say to level the pool to within an inch. A pool being off by a full inch is fine and will not cause any major structural issues, but you may notice it is “off level” at its waterline.

Pools that are unlevel by more than an inch it is going to look slanted. If it is two inches off, you will obviously see the distinction from the outside of the pool. It can be hard to tell sometimes if the yard is not flat, but at two inches, the mind picks up the differentiation and will see that something is not right.

Two inches off usually will not cause any structural issues so you can live with it that way. Any more than two inches is unacceptable.

Intex pools that are three inches off or more will not last and no one should be swimming in one. Not only does it look very bad, once the uneven wall starts to create the outward pressure one side it will eventually push the pool out of shape more and more.

In an extreme case, the pool will collapse from the pressure. If your above ground pool is off by three inches or more, it needs to be taken down, leveled and reinstalled.

It is important to keep yourself and others safe while swimming. Before installing your new pool, be sure to look for an area away from trees and other architecture in the yard.

If you have to level the area, use sand to make a well-packed base for the pool. If you have no level areas, it pays to have a professional pool installer level an area for you. A level pool will be safer and lasts longer than one that has been improperly installed.

Major Issues with an Unlevel Pool

Installing an Intex pool on an uneven surface will cause the walls to collapse due to uneven pressure. The water presses against one section of the pool with more force than the rest and it will be blown out due to uneven weight distribution.

The pool will twist, buckle, or even collapse, causing property damage and injury to anyone in or around the pool. Also, the inflatable ring pools are more likely to fold under the force and blow out causing major damage and a safety hazard. Even the most well-constructed pool can fail if the leveling is off.

Additionally, inflatable ring style pools are more likely to fold under this increased force, although specialists warn that even the most well-constructed pool can fail if the leveling is off.

Of course, an uneven pool will result in an uneven water level. This may not seem like a big deal but over time it will become one. Once the pool settles, the difference will increase and a half an inch will become a few inches and so on.

A deeper side can be a hazard to small children and people who are not strong swimmers. Also, if your pool has a skimmer and the water level dips too low so it is not covering it halfway, it will stop working. Be careful that the skimmer does not end up on the low end of an uneven pool because the water that your family swims in will not be sanitary.

If you have already chosen an uneven area for your above ground pool, the liner is not going to lay flat and you will have wrinkles and fold. These will become hooked on many items that will tear and rip the liner.

Pool vacuums, for example, will not be able to clean the bottom of the pool before it will tear and rip the liner. They will ruin it completely. 

Unfortunately, once your liner rips, the pool will no longer be watertight and you will find yourself constantly patching it before having to replace the entire liner.

Josh Hurd


Sunday 16th of July 2023

I have already drained my pool once, moved it around. When it was filling, it was level. The next day the 4 back legs are off the ground again. We moved it around but still the same scenario. Any suggestions please? Thank you