Can Above Ground Pools Have Different Depths?

Can Above Ground Pools Have Different Depths?

So you want to install a pool to cool off in during the hot summer months. A swimming pool is a great choice for some summer fun, but they can be prohibitively expensive.

However, an above ground swimming pool might be an option you will want to consider. While many are drawn to them for their easy setup and low cost, there are some special considerations to take into account.

For those new to above ground pools, one of the most commonly asked questions is: Can above ground pools have different depths?

Here we’ll answer that question and explain how it’s done. We’ll also give some general info to help you decide if an above ground pool is right for you.

In-Ground Versus Above Ground Pools

There are some questions you are going to want answers to before you decide if you want an in-ground pool or an above ground pool.

Obviously there’s a huge price difference between the two options ($70k vs $5k on average) so budget is a major factor. But you may also be wondering if an above ground pool is simply like an oversized baby pool.

First off, you’ll be amazed to learn that above ground pools can be as big, if not bigger, than in-ground pools. Smaller pools may be the norm when it comes to above-ground, but huge pools are definitely available.

Next let’s talk about depth. With an above ground pool you generally get one depth throughout, which does not suit everyone. Many pool buyers want a deep end to allow for cannonballing and other fun.

However, there is a way to add a deep end to your above ground pool. Read on to find out more.

Why deep above ground pools?

There are plenty of reasons someone might want to make their above ground pool deeper. For instance, very tall people may find that shallower pools simply don’t allow them to get fully submerged.

Secondly, if your kids love to jump or dive into the pool, a deeper above ground pool will be safer for them.

Adding a deep end to your above ground pool

As mentioned above, one of the main drawbacks of having an above ground pool is that you are basically stuck with one depth. Because it is above ground and flat, you are stuck with a consistent depth from edge to edge.

However, there are creative methods you can employ to add some different depths to your above ground pool. We will explore those methods here.

Standard above ground pool depths

Above ground pools come in three standard wall height depths: 48″, 52″ and 54″ – remember that these measurements are the height of the pool wall, not the depth of the gallons of water it contains, the actual water level will be 6″ lower than this.

If you find that this is too shallow for you, you can increase your water depth by creating a deep end.

Adding a deep end to a round pool

Adding a deep end can be as easy as simply digging down before you install your above ground pool. Most round pools lend themselves easily to having this addition.

If you have a round pool, this requires digging down at the center of the pool. Then, lining the whole pool with an expandable liner, resulting in up to 2 feet of additional depth that’s gradually sloped.

Round pools make it easy as they don’t tend to have a metal frame to complicate things. If you have an oval pool, however, this is where it gets tricky.

Adding a deep end to an oval pool

Oval shaped pools are such shaped by straps or braces that criss cross through the centre of the pool tying the once straight sides together.

These straps lend the frame extra support and can not be left out. Omitting them or even removing them will void the warranty, which is not something you will want to do when spending so much money.

It doesn’t mean you can’t have an oval pool with extra depth, it just means that you will have to pay a bit more to have a strapless oval shaped pool.

As you can see, adding depth to an aboveground pool is not an easy task, and must be done during the installation process of the pool.

It will also effect the gallons that you need to account for when filling your pool. However, if you are committed to making your backyard space as perfect as you want it, this extra installation may be well worth it.

Having your pool above-ground doesn’t mean you have to settle for only one depth. If in doubt, have your pool installation done by a professional.

How deep can a deep end be?

This will depend on your pool’s liner and how big your pool is. You can, if you want to keep your current liner, go up to 8″ to 10″ deeper.

Any more than this and you are going to need an expandable pool liner, not going too deep will also help keep the lining on the pool’s bottom smooth.

If your pool is small and you dig down deep, you’ll make the grade from the edge to the center uncomfortably steep. As long as the center is shaped nicely and the grade isn’t too steep, the liner should run over it smoothly.

If you haven’t ensured those two things, you might find you have a wrinkly bottom. This isn’t the end of the world, it will just make cleaning harder. It also won’t feel great underfoot and it can be unsightly.

In summary, when installing a deep end in your above ground pool, you want to make sure it is done with care. You won’t achieve the same smoothness or depth differences of an inground pool.

However, you can still put the extra effort into ensuring your pool features something for everyone.

When in doubt, call a pro

As you’ve seen, installing a deep end in your above ground pool can be quite complex. It requires some precise installation, which is the last thing you want from a pool that is supposed to be easy to install.

Therefore, we recommend that if you are unsure of how to proceed, consult an expert.

It’s key that these steps are done correctly. If done improperly, your pool will feel uneven and awkward. Even worse, the ground pressure could cause leaks within the lining.

That’s an even harder problem to fix. Therefore, you want to have it done exactly to the manufacturer’s specifications. This sometimes requires the consultation of a professional.

This will drive up the cost of the installation significantly, but it’s still much cheaper than in-ground swimming pools.

So unless you are very confident in your abilities to set up a durable above ground pool with an even base, then you will likely want to consult a pro pool builder for this task.

The money you save on potential hazards down the line will be nothing compared to how much these pools cost initially to install.

Final thoughts

Now that we’ve answered the question “Can above ground pools have different depths?”, you know the answer is yes! However, it may be more complicated than you had planned on.

We recommend that you consult a professional for this process if you want to get it installed properly.

Above ground pools are simply not the same as an in-ground swimming pool. There are certain differences and limitations, but we believe that you can find lots of enjoyment with both.

If you focus on all the good things about your new purchase, we think you will be more than satisfied. So there you have it, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Just remember that the best time to add additional depth is when you are installing your above ground pool, or when you’re changing out the liner.

Ready to purchase an above ground pool?

An above ground pool is a cost-effective way to spruce up your yard for some summer fun. However, an above ground pool won’t increase the value of your home.

An in-ground swimming pool makes your home more valuable but it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

If you’re ready to shop for an above ground pool, check out our choices for the best above ground pools to buy for various budgets.

Then, when the ground has been leveled for your new pool and the above ground pool is installed check out our picks for accessories.

Some you may want to purchase include the best above ground pool lights and solar-powered pool heaters to heat your above ground pool for winter.

Learn more about above ground pools

Before making the plunge into above ground pool ownership, make sure you’ve gotten educated first. For instance, above ground pools do require chemicals for water maintenance.

But did you know that above ground pools can be converted to saltwater? We’ve also got everything you need to know about filling an above ground pool with water and how to empty an above ground pool.

You should also learn how to winterize your above ground pool to keep it in great shape for next season. We hope your new above ground pool brings you many years of enjoyment!


  1. Alex McCoy
  2. Lydia C Taylor
  3. Commercial Fence Hamilton

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