Things You’ll Need
Fiberboard or plywood
Screws or nails
Pea stone or other substrate
Bull or darby float
A concrete platform provides a stable, solid surface for your pool.Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
Intex’s Easy Set pools feature tough, durable side walls and bottoms made from PVC, topped with an inflatable ring. To set up the pool, blow up the ring and fill with water. As the water level rises, so does the ring, erecting the pool simply and easily. The only catch is you must have a level surface underneath the pool. Intex warns that sand and other unstable surfaces are not suitable, nor is a deck or wooden platform. The solution is to build a concrete pad and equip as desired.
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Choose a location for your new Intex pool. Pick a spot without trees directly overhead, which can invite debris from birds, squirrels and even leaves or branches. Avoid spots where water tends to sit, since the soil will not prove as stable, in addition to creating a muddy surrounding for your pool area.
Sink a stake at one corner of the installation site and measure the length required for the first side. Drive another stake at the end. Repeat for each of the sides, measuring and sinking stakes at the end to outline the area. While the concrete pad must fit at least the size of the pool, you might want to enlarge it beyond the pool substantially to incorporate a dirt-free zone surrounding it. At minimum allow for an extra 6 inches — a foot or two is even better.
Dig the entire area out to a depth of about 6 inches. Verify the depth with a tape measure, or mark a 2-by-4-inch board or other piece of lumber and use it as a gauge.
Attach a length of twine or other string to one of the posts and run it diagonally across to the opposite corner. Slide a line level onto the string before tying it off. Adjust the height of the string, as needed, until the bubble in the center indicates level.
Measure, from the string down to the ground, in various spots across the excavation. Fill in a little dirt, tamping it down with your foot or a board and sledgehammer, if the area is a little low; dig out a little extra and remove for high areas. Remeasure to ensure accuracy. Repeat with a string running through the opposite corners to cover the entire area.
Cut lengths of fiberboard or plywood to run across each side of the excavation. Use screws or nails to attach to the corner stakes. Drive additional stakes along the length, on the outside of the forms, to further reinforce the sides; wet concrete is very heavy and the more you have, the better your forms will hold.
Spread an even layer of substrate, an inch or two deep, across the pool platform area. Use pea stone — very small gravel — or even deteriorated limestone or your preferred base. A good layer of rock encourages water to drain away from the concrete platform. Rake across the surface to level the rock.
Pour the concrete, using a shovel to help spread it as necessary. Lay sections of wire mesh across the rock, adding stone or brick to prop it above the rock slightly, before spreading the concrete for extra reinforcement. This helps prevent cracking and crumbling of the concrete. Take care to avoid disturbing the mesh during the pour.
Lay a 2-by-4-inch board across the forms and pull it firmly across the length. This will level and flatten the freshly poured concrete. Next, work the entire surface with a bull or darby float. Push and pull the floats repetitively over the surface, like you are polishing a car or scrubbing a dirty pan. This works the cream and water to the surface of the concrete. Work quickly during the “pour and float” to avoid the concrete hardening prematurely, which will make your work much harder.
Edge the slab, running an edger along each inch of the forms. Use any tool that allows you to cut down along the wood if you don’t have an edger; your intent is to loosen the concrete slightly from the form, like you’re cutting a piece of pie or cake that sticks to the pan.
Cover the entire concrete surface with plastic sheeting to allow it to cure. This holds the moisture in while it hardens totally. After about a week, pry the forms away and finish the concrete with indoor/outdoor carpet if desired.
Brush the concrete surface with a broom after floating if you prefer a rough, unfinished surface over carpeting. Consider acid-staining the concrete for another decorative touch for bare concrete.