If you can’t afford a traditional in-ground pool, an above ground pool is a cheaper alternative. However, an above ground pool is considered less desirable and won’t increase the value of your home. The solution some people have thought of is to purchase an above-ground pool and install it in the ground. The obvious perceived benefit to the homeowner is that it costs far less to bury an above-ground pool than to have an in-ground pool built. But can you bury an above ground pool?
Is this really a good idea? Does it make sense in terms of home value? Is it in line with proper pool installation techniques? Will the above ground pool function properly? Although it may seem like a clever idea, there are some big reasons you shouldn’t try to bury an above ground pool.
Here we’ll examine the considerations when thinking about burying an above ground pool.
Table of Contents
Reasons not to bury an above ground pool
It’s not safe
One of the biggest reasons not to drop an above ground pool completely in-ground is that it was not designed for that purpose. Pool manufacturers warn that although the average pool may look as if it is completely durable, it is not constructed to withstand external ground pressure.
Ground pressure changes with the level of water in the soil. This is particularly true if the pool is drained for any reason, such as if the homeowner decides he needs to replace the pool liner. There is a very great danger that the walls could cave in, ruining the pool and even endangering lives.
Soil stability differs across the U.S. Some soils are made of clay, while others are made of sand and other softer materials. Professional pool installers will always make certain that the area where an in-ground pool will be installed has been amended and stabilized so that it is structurally sound.
This is perhaps the biggest reason why you should not be putting your ground swimming pool underground. It really becomes a safety issue. The ground pressure is simply too great, and the wall panels were not designed for this purpose. No matter what type of pool you have, always follow the instructions clearly and consistently.
You’ll void your pool warranty
Pool manufacturers are very aware of this danger. For this reason, most include terms within their warranty that will void the warranty if the pool is used in a way not originally intended. That means that if you choose to sink an above-ground pool completely in the ground, you can void the warranty in doing so. Pool collapse and repair would be solely at your expense.
And of course, the warranty was made this way for a reason. The pool is not meant to be put to this use. Not to mention, no homeowner’s insurance policy would cover an above ground pool that was installed this way! So if you plan on taking this shortcut to make a pool in your backyard, be prepared to accept full responsibility for it.
It will damage your above ground pool
As any experienced homeowner knows, the effect of wet soil against many man-made materials causes them to deteriorate. Metal surfaces will rust under wet soil conditions, and certain grades of plastic and vinyl will deteriorate as well. Some pool manufacturers are now creating above-ground pools that are made of materials durable enough to be sunk in the ground if desired – but the cost can be prohibitive.
So the implication here is that, if your pool is not designed for this purpose, do not use it for this purpose. It might seem like a cost-effective option to convert one of these swimming pool kits to an in-ground pool, but the cost will add up if you have to replace it altogether.
It will damage the value of your home
Burying an above ground pool definitely won’t increase the value of your home. Savvy home buyers know that sinking an above-ground pool into the ground is not the same thing as building an in-ground pool. The look is not the same, either. If they are aware of the danger involved, they will avoid buying your home, and the money saved will become a loss.
If anything, this probably makes your property look worse. It is very easy to tell that your installation was not done properly, and if anything it will become a burden for the next homeowner to remove. There are gallons of water to remove, as well as a large hole to fix. This seems like an awfully large price to pay for something that won’t even replicate an in-ground pool in the first place. In this situation, it is best to accept early the limitations.
If you like the look of an in-ground pool, pool manufacturers advise that an above-ground pool can in some parts of the country be safely sunk up to two feet below the surface. However, this is not a job for the average do-it-yourselfer. Leave it to a pool professional or licensed contractor who knows what he is doing and is aware of the risks involved.
So, the big question, is there any reason to turn your above ground pool into an in-ground pool? As you can tell from this article, the answer is no. There are many reasons why this is a bad idea.
Perhaps the biggest reason is it simply doesn’t work. An inground pool kit is meant for that reason specifically. It does not have the structural integrity in its wall to handle the pressure from the surrounding dirt and soil. If those safety concerns are not enough, then any of the other reasons above will do as well.
So while you may be understandably upset that you can’t use your above ground pool for this purpose, it is better safe than sorry. The last thing you want to do is end up with an even bigger mess on your hands when you were just trying to save money in the first place.
What are your other options?
Of course, you do have other options. First and foremost being, if you really want an in-ground pool, you should adjust your expectations. It is the simple fact that putting in an underground pool will probably cost you a lot. This investment is equal to the amount of work involved, and the additional complexities associated with putting your pool underground. Your pool needs a proper pool deck, a proper pump, regular maintenance, and many other features that are not present with an above-ground pool.
So our number one tip to you is to adjust your expectations. Above ground pools are fun and enjoyable in their own right, but they can’t mimic underground pool. If you want to transform your backyard space around a pool, you will have to be willing to invest.
We hope our article has answered your questions about your pool. There’s still plenty of fun to be had with an above ground pool!
Ready to purchase your above ground pool?
Are you ready to invest in an above ground pool? We’ve rounded up the best above ground pools currently on the market. Once your above ground pool is installed, equip it with the best above ground pool lights to ensure safety for night swims and solar-powered heaters for winter swims.
Get educated on above ground pools
Do you want to learn more before buying an above ground pool? We have all the info you need, from how much to fill an above ground pool to the best way to level an above ground pool and how to install an above ground pool liner. You can also find out what to do with your above ground pool in the winter and how to heat an above ground pool. Or perhaps you’re wondering if above ground pools can have different depths (spoiler: yes!) or if above ground pools can be converted to saltwater. Happy swimming!