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Above-ground pools range from simple 4.8m circular "splashers" with 60 cm walls, to fully equipped 4.8m x 9.6m models complete with decking, filtration, lights and chlorination systems.
Often available as a kitset, many are installed by the home owners themselves, although you can compare quotes of contractor's who will do the job. These pools typically comprise 1.2m tall metallic walls (typically Aluminum, or corrugated .75mm rolled steel), often designed to form a circular shape, oval or rounded-end rectangles are common. A .50mm flexible PVC Vinyl liner, powder-coated aluminum copings and some form of filtration complete the package. The exterior of the walls are typically painted to resemble timber or masonry designs, or may have a swimming-related illustration (dolphins, fish etc.) screen-printed on them. These pools are non-structural, the design working due to large radius or circular shapes, which equally distribute the stresses generated by the water contained within. The strongest design of these pools being the circular or round pools, which require no additional external bracing to maintain their shape. The rectangular or oblong designs generally require substantial bracing or butresses at intervals along the straight sides, and a connecting strap or beam under the pool floor (the floor usually comprising trowelled sand, or an 10:1 sand/cement mix) to tie the braces together and prevent the pool shape deforming.
Although sometimes desired, it is not advisable to install these pool types "in the ground", as the design does not allow for external forces - such as backfill - to be placed against the wall exterior due to possible premature corrosion of the walls, and internal collapse of the walls if the pool water is removed. These walls are not usually strong enough to withstand the weight of the back-fill and would collapse inwards. If an "in-ground" look is desired using these pools, the best method would be to provide a larger excavation that would allow the pool to be constructed within with adequate clearance from the surrounding soil then the resulting large excavation decked over to the pool edge to simulate ground level.
Due to the height of the walls relative to surrounding ground level, these pools are usually supplied with a PVC Injection molded step ladder which straddles the pool wall, allowing access and egress. These are removable, and should be taken away from the pool when not in use, as a safety measure to eliminate access by unsupervised young children.
These pools usually have a basic filtration system comprising a small hi-rate sand or cartridge type filter and "flooded suction" water pump and basic chlorination system (often a floating or tablet tri-chlor feeder device).