Feature Article
The Pool

July 1, 2002
By Scott Lewis

Never again! That should be my motto after building an above ground swimming pool. But truth be said, it was probably worth it. Certainly it was worth it because we couldn't afford to pay someone to install the pool.


We checked around and most places wanted about $1500 to $1700 to install a large, oval above ground pool. These price quotes were without ever seeing our land. They were based on being on dig able dirt. Of course, we are on more rack than Mount Rushmore. Also, the prices were completely non-negotiable. I found this appalling. They surely would raise there price the moment they saw our land situation, but refused to work with us to lower the price if we leveled the land ourselves. My brother-in-law is a contractor and has his own Gehl skid loader I had full use of.

We found someone that was willing to work with us. He would charge us $200 a day to supervise us as we worked. However, by the time we needed him it was too late. My brother-in-law ended up ordering us 4 truck loads of road base to get the land level. The person that we used helped us get a good deal on the pool. We heard a lot of good things about Doughboy pools. However, one dealer in town has exclusive rights to sell Doughboy pools. They were a bit pricey, and refused to budge on the install price.

The guy we found has a connection out of town to get the pools. We bought a 16' x 32' oval pool with 52" walls, allowing for a full four feet of water. The pool was $2800 including the pool, skimmer, pump and filter.

We did everything ourselves (my self, my wife, my brother-in-law and one of my best friends). I had the pool guy come over to help with the liner. He was going to charge us $100 to drop the liner in the pool and provide instructions on how to finish the job. He spent some time helping smooth the sand in the pool and then notices the walls of the pool were not completely level. It turned out the walls were about two inches out of level. The pool requires the walls to be within 1 inch of level.

Since we leveled the road base to within about 1/2" of level I assumed the walls could sit on the base and it would be level. I was wrong. I had to get patio blocks and set them under the posts that were not set in concrete. To do this right I had to dig out the sand (cove) around the inside perimeter of the pool. Plus, the pool guy complained a lot about the amount of rocks in the sand. My brother-in-law ordered washed sand, but it had a lot of little rocks. The pool guy said they probably put the sand into a non-washed truck. Regardless, that meant we had to put foam between the sand and the liner. It was a Saturday when all this was realized. The foam could not be bought until Monday, and the pool guy could not come during the evening to start me on the liner. Rather than wait another week I gave up and paid the pool guy $400 to install the liner for me.

The pool guy told me he would have charged $3,000... plus the road base to install the pool. Instead I paid a total of $450 on labor (I also paid the pool guy $50 to install the skimmer, and hook everything up).


Would I do it again? Let's see. I worked till at least 10 PM to Midnight most of the time for three weeks and broke my toe on one of the large posts along the sides of the pool. But I did save about $2500 on the installation. That's was $2500 I did not have.

So, would I do it again? Given the same circumstances I would have to say yes. However, I would probably think about waiting another year to save the money to pay someone to do it for me.