Above Ground Pool Wall Problems and Why They Happen

Above Ground Pool Wall Problems

Aside from the occasional rust spot on your metal pool walls which is easily dealt with, some bigger wall problems are when you notice the pool walls have caved in or are on the verge of collapse. Furthermore, sometimes the walls have been so corroded that it loses its integrity. So what can you do about these issues?

Most of the time when you have pool wall problems, it is usually due to improper installation, uneven ground, poor maintenance, or leaving the pool empty. You need to make sure that your above-ground pool is installed on level and stable ground (e.g. concrete), that it hasn’t shifted, and that you only drain the pool when you’re replacing the liner.

In this article, I will go over some common reasons why your above ground pool wall may experience problems, and how you can prevent them or fix them.

Why your pool walls are on the verge of collapsing

The pool is partially underground

An above-ground pool is the less expensive option compared to an inground pool. Some people think they are being smart and try to install their above-ground pool either completely underground, or partially underground to imitate an inground pool or semi inground pool.

Well, if the name isn’t obvious enough, you should never install your above-ground pool anywhere except above the ground. The walls are not designed to be placed underground and will easily collapse under the weight of the earth surrounding it.

Above-ground pools have been successfully installed underground before assuming the pool has never had its water drained. The outward pressure of the pool water can keep the inward pressure of the earth at bay.

However, issues arise if you need to drain the pool for any reason, or if there is a water leak somewhere. You will one day wake up to find your pool crushed under the weight of the soil.

If you want your pool to be partially underground, then instead of letting the earth press against the pool walls, you need to reinforce it with concrete so that you can empty your pool with no issues. Or you can purchase a semi-inground pool which has much thicker walls and is actually designed to be installed partially underground.

Buy the right pool for the job, or reinforce your above-ground pool walls to prevent the earth from caving the walls in.

You left the pool empty

I touched on this above, but you should also not leave your above-ground pool empty even if it is installed above the ground where it should be.

There are some very rare occasions where you need to drain the pool to replace something or to disassemble it completely and store it away for winter.

But the consensus is that you should rarely drain it, and if you must do so then leave it drained for the least amount of time possible.

When empty, the pool walls are susceptible to damage from the elements, and having the pool full of water helps it keep its shape. Otherwise, a strong storm could easily deform and damage your pool walls, or blow the walls out of the bottom track.

Without water, the liner can potentially shrink and no longer fit your pool. It is also more susceptible to sun damage.

Leave your pool empty for the least amount of time possible, otherwise the pool walls may receive structural damage from the elements.

The ground is uneven

Depending on the layout of your yard and how off-grade it is, some homeowners had no choice but to install their above-ground pool partially in the ground.

The owners had to dig and carve out a level area from a slope, and so one side of their above-ground pool is completely in the ground, and the other side is above the ground. Then you can potentially encounter the issues described above.

However, some people also make the mistake of assuming their yard is actually level without measuring. So they place the bottom tracks down and get everything set up, only to find that their pool is unlevel by a couple of inches.

Unfortunately, if your pool is off level, then this can potentially result in a collapse at some point. The water in the pool will pool up in the side of the pool slanting downwards, and there will be less water at a higher section.

With more water on one side of the pool, that means the pool walls and uprights are under more pressure. It may seem like these components are holding up fine at first, but perhaps over the weeks and months, you start to notice the upright is bending, or the pool wall is denting outward.

The extra pressure caused by the water pooling to one side can wear down the structural integrity of your pool walls and eventually cause it to collapse.

You need to make sure that the ground underneath your above-ground pool is level before installing the pool. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time and money draining the pool, disassembling it, leveling the ground, and then refilling and reassembling the pool.

Rust on the pool walls

Typically, seeing a little bit of rust on your pool walls is not a major problem. As long as it is just surface rust, you can just sandpaper it out and then apply some Rust-Oleum to add a layer of protection to this newly sanded area.

That said, rust can become a major issue if left unchecked and becomes more than just surface rust. If the pool walls have rusted all the way through, then this will seriously compromise the wall’s integrity.

If you notice small pieces of rust falling off your pool wall, that can be a sign of a big problem. Can you trust it to hold thousands of pounds of water anymore? To be fair, a wall can technically look really rusty but still be structurally sound.

However, let’s not take any chances and find out for sure. To do so, take out a screwdriver and gently poke at the rust. Scrape off any crumbling sections and keep poking. If you can just keep poking through, even if you don’t reach the other side, that is a good indicator that the wall is done for.

You will likely need to order a replacement pool wall and just completely replace this rust damaged wall currently on your pool.