Just got yourself an Intex pool only to find the water is uneven, the legs are leaning, or the entire structure is lopsided?
The bad news is, if your Intex pool isn’t level by a large amount, it’s not something you can ignore without risking severe and sometimes irreparable structural damage.
The good news is, there are a few methods you can use to correct an unlevel Intex swimming pool, and not all of them involve digging the ground or draining the pool. We’ll cover them all in this article.
How Unlevel Can an Intex Pool Be?
There’s no official word from Intex on how unlevel their pools can be, but the industry standard for most above-ground pools is this:
Keep it level within 1-inch.
While it’s possible Intex pools can withstand a steeper incline or decline than 1-inch, exceeding this guideline places exponentially more stress on the pool, which significantly reduces its lifespan.
If you’re only aiming to get a single season out of your Intex pool, a 2-inch or even 3-inch difference in ground level isn’t likely to cause a structural issue over a few weeks or months. Anything over 3-inches is NOT recommended.
However, if you’re planning to get several seasons out of your pool, especially with frequent use, it’s important you stay within the 1-inch recommendation, if not closer to perfectly level.
How Do You Measure the Level of an Intex Pool?
You can usually tell when an Intex pool isn’t level because it will have a noticeable slant or lean, resulting in the water level being uneven.
This is why looking at the water level from the top of the pool is the easiest way to measure how unlevel it is. The difference between opposite sides of the pool will usually give you a pretty accurate reading.
To get a reading, grab a tape measure and follow these steps:
- Start from the side of the pool with the lowest water level
- Measure the inches from the water surface to the very top of the liner
- Move to the side of the pool with the highest water level
- Measure the inches from the water surface to the very top of the liner
- Subtract the first measurement from the second measurement
- The resulting number is how unlevel your ground is (in inches)
Pro tip: Most Intex pools have a checkered pattern on the inside of the vinyl liner, allowing you to visually see where the highest and lowest points are in terms of water level.
You can also measure using a spirit level or bubble level (or smartphone app to simulate one) by placing a large plank on the frame across the entire width of the pool, then resting the level in the center of the plank — but this will give you degrees, not inches.
Both of these methods work best for Intex metal frame pools as their structure is less influenced by ground level by design, and they provide a rigid surface to measure against.
If you have an inflatable Intex pool (EasySet Intex Pool), the liner can be sagging or heavily lopsided on even the smallest incline or decline. This makes it difficult to measure one side against the other with any real accuracy.
In that case, you will have to measure the ground directly using a spirit/bubble level, which means draining the pool first.
Why Is Being Level Important?
Besides being an eyesore, there are a few complications that come from resting your Intex pool on uneven ground, such as:
- The liner. The pool walls take most of the weight on uneven ground which makes them the most likely failure point. If the pressure gets too much, the wall will likely tear and collapse.
- The frame. Metal frame Intex pools provide support to the pool walls, but this also makes them susceptible to twisting, bending, and even potentially snapping when the water isn’t evenly distributed.
- The filtration. In extreme cases, an unlevel Intex pool can suffer from poor circulation and ultimately a lack of filtration. This will lead to less than ideal water conditions in the long term.
- The ground. Depending on the foundation, unlevel ground can be made worse due to the extra weight placed on the declining side, creating a further imbalance, leading to even more uneven ground, and so on.
- The experience. An unlevel swimming pool leads to inconsistent depth across the width of the pool. This is not only very noticeable in smaller backyard setups, but also less enjoyable to swim in.
How To Level the Ground for an Intex Pool (3 Options)
To fix a sagging, sinking, or leaning pool, you’ll either need to move it to level ground or create the level ground. This section will answer the following questions across multiple methods:
- How to fix a leaning Intex pool
- How to level the ground for an inflatable Intex pool
- How to level an Intex pool with water in it
- How to level an Intex pool on concrete
- How to jack up the legs of an Intex pool
- How to remove wrinkles from an Intex pool
Option 1: Dig Up the Ground
Attacking the ground directly and leveling it out is by far the safest and most effective approach if your Intex pool isn’t level.
Here’s a quick summary of the process:
- Find the right location
- Clear the site
- Create your leveling device
- Dig out the bumps and holes
- Smooth it out with sand
- Compact everything down
- Lay the base protector
- Place the swimming pool
We wrote an in-depth guide on leveling the ground for an above-ground pool, and this process is identical for Intex models. Check the full step-by-step instructions here.
Pro tip: If you can go this route, this is the one to pick.
Option 2: Prop up the Legs
If you have a metal frame Intex pool, it’s possible the legs are just leaning or sinking into the ground, preventing them from properly supporting the weight of the pool.
In that case, especially if your ground is otherwise level, simply straightening and or elevating the legs might just be enough to level out your pool.
Raising the legs enough to place additional support underneath them can be challenging if you haven’t drained the pool, but it can be done using a jack lift to temporarily raise one side.
As for what to put under the legs? Well, many people use concrete pavers but you can also use bricks or even wood in a pinch (though the last two probably won’t hold up long-term).
For best results, we recommend investing in a pool leveling and support kit, as these kits are specifically designed for this purpose.
- Easy To Install.
- Stackable With Anti slip Ribs.
- Pocketed To Hold Legs In Place.
Important: The legs should NOT be higher than the base of the pool in any situation. This will place too much strain on the pool liner which will eventually cause it to tear and leak.
Option 3: Level the Base
If your pool will be rested on a hard surface, like concrete, digging up and leveling the ground might not be feasible.
Since you can’t level the ground below the concrete, you’ll need to level the ground above it. This means adding an additional layer of new material over the concrete in order to level out the decline/raise the low end.
As for the material, you have three main options:
- Foam boards. Can be cut to size and laid relatively easily but they have been known to let grass through over long periods of time.
- Gorilla Pads. Like foam on steroids. While it has a similar look and feel, these pads are much more durable and long-lasting.
- Sand. Cheap, easy to manipulate, and provides a smooth/comfortable surface for the pool floor. It’s not super stable, though.
For best results, we recommend a combination approach. Lay a bed of sand to level the ground as much as possible, then place a gorilla pad over the top to compact the sand and preserve the liner.
- Gorilla Floor Padding Cut and Sized to Fit 24ft...
- Sits Underneath Your Pool Liner for Added...
- Extremely Hard to Penetrate - Specially Designed...
Whatever material you decide on, though, it’s advisable to throw a tarp over the top to protect the foundation from the elements.
I’m Going to Level with You…
An Intex pool can be a great investment for those seeking a low-budget, easy-to-implement solution, but they simply don’t last without proper care.
Placing any above-ground pool on unlevel ground is one of the fastest ways to send it to an early grave, so if your Intex pool isn’t level by more than 1-inch, it’s important to take action.
Whether it’s digging up the ground, propping up the legs, or leveling the foundation, at least one of these methods should get you back on track.