How Often Do Above-Ground Pools Collapse?

how often do above ground pools collapse

Not all above-ground pools seem very sturdy. Some only have a vinyl liner, and even above-ground pools with metal walls have been known to fail. So just often do above-ground pools collapse?

Thankfully, above-ground pools rarely collapse. And when they do, it is often due to improper maintenance or the user doing something they shouldn’t. Assuming you are taking good care of your above-ground pool, it can last for over 10 years. The most common reason for above-ground pool failures are age and not winterizing it properly.

In this article, I will go over the most common reasons why above-ground pools collapse and briefly cover how you can prevent this.

Common reasons why above-ground pools collapse

Improper installation

This is a very broad category, but there are many ways that a user can set up their above-ground pool wrong.

The most common installation error when installing the pool on soil is not preparing the ground underneath. You must remove any rocks and other sharp objects that could puncture the vinyl liner. This will also make it more pleasant to stand on.

You must also make sure that the ground is level. Uneven ground will cause your pool to have more pressure on one side, since all the water will shift to a lower section. Over time, this extra strain can cause the pool frame/walls to fail, resulting in a collapse.

If you install your pool on a concrete patio, you can at least be sure that the surface is level and that it is durable enough to hold up the weight of the pool. It’s the ideal location to install an above-ground pool on.

There can also just be user errors when installing the clamps and frame. When installing the liner, make sure there are no wrinkles, and that it is stretched evenly on all sides.

Make sure you’re not doing something absolutely silly, such as installing an above-ground pool in the ground, which it is not designed for.

If you feel like you are likely to mess up the above steps, then you shouldn’t install an above-ground pool yourself. You can hire a professional to do this for you.

Setting up the pool properly is a crucial first step, and it can be an even bigger hassle having to redo the installation should something go wrong.

Wear and tear

You can do everything right and eventually your pool will still give out. That is not a mistake on your part; everything will eventually break down. That said, it can take over 10 years for this to happen, assuming you are doing a decent job with maintenance.

For instance, if you notice rust on the pool frame or walls, deal with it immediately or else it will continue to corrode the material until it compromises its structural integrity. Make sure to inspect your pool at least once a week to find little issues like this, such as a wrinkle in the pool liner or filter problems, that can turn into big issues.

After the 10 year mark, be prepared to replace parts of the pool, such as the liner, pump, or frame, if not the entire thing.

Weight of rain or snow

How often are you clearing your pool cover? On a rainy or snowy day, you would be surprised at how much rain or snow can pile up on top of your pool cover. I’m sure you’re aware how heavy water is, and this is all extra weight on top of the weight of the water already in your pool.

The extra pressure can potentially cause the pool frame to collapse. Furthermore, the extreme temperatures in the winter can possibly damage the pool frame as well. Over time, the pool frame may eventually give out from being exposed to the environment.

In a similar vein, if you overfill your pool with water, you are applying greater pressure to the sides of your pool. Be sure to read the included manual to see how much water your pool is rated to hold and do not fill it more than that amount.

Low-quality materials

Everyday, I am more and more surprised at the kinds of knock-off products you can buy, particularly from online retailers such as Amazon.

These products look like the real deal, are marketed as being as good as the real thing with hundreds or thousands of (questionable) 5-star reviews, and are being sold at a significant discount, but they are rarely as good as the original article.

If your pool is cheap, consider where the seller might be cutting costs. The materials used may be much weaker and thinner in places where they need to be. This is a doomed pool right from the get-go, designed probably only to last long enough for the return period to pass.

I highly suggest buying above-ground pools only from trusted brands such as Intex or Bestway.

Choose a pool with a sturdy frame

If you’re worried about your above-ground pool collapsing, then perhaps knowing a little about some of the more durable frames will set your mind at ease. Here are some of the frames you can get:

  • Steel frames: These are the most common type of pool frame and they are made from galvanized steel or aluminum. They get the job done, and are the weakest but most affordable out of the other frames. Steel frames are not designed to be left outside year round, so you’ll need to do the extra work of disassembling them come wintertime.
  • Resin frames: A higher end frame that lasts longer than steel. Being made of hard plastic, they are resistant to corrosion, warping, and denting. Resin costs more but it is worth the price.
  • Hybrid frames: A combination of steel and resin. This is more durable than steel alone, but cheaper than a pure resin frame. Better than steel but not as good as resin, it is the perfect middle-ground if you’re looking to save some money.

Winterizing your pool

Not all above-ground pools can be left out in the winter. And even the ones that can be left outside require you to close it down properly first.

This means adding chemicals into the water to prevent algae growth and freezing. It also encompasses covering the pool with a proper winter pool cover, closing off the pump, using a skimmer cover, and making sure the waterline is below the skimmers. You should also place a winter cap over your return jet.

Failure to do these steps can cause irreparable damage to your above-ground pool and cause it to collapse.

Photo Credit: Bart Everson, CC BY 2.0