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Should Above Ground Pool Walls Move? How Much is Too Much

Above-ground pools have walls that act as a barrier to keep water in. Sometimes, pool owners report the walls of the pool collapse or move in other ways. However, should above-ground pool walls move?

It is normal for the walls of the above-ground pool to move while people are in the pool. The walls are designed to withstand movement because of how the frame is built. However, pushing against the sides of an above-ground pool is not recommended as too much movement could lead to collapse.

Knowing how above-ground pools work is essential to keep everyone safe while swimming. So, read on to find out more about above-ground pool walls.

Is It Normal For the Walls of An Above Ground Pool to Move?

Above-ground pool walls are designed to bend and flex as people are swimming in the pool, to accommodate people swimming and keep the water inside.

However, if the top railing comes off or the pool walls come too far off the bottom track, you should not use the pool until you adjust them because they could collapse.

Be Careful While Swimming in an Above-Ground Pool

Although the walls of an above-ground pool are designed to move with swimmers, be careful not to be too rough. Slamming against the walls of the pool or other abrupt movement can cause the walls to collapse

Here’s a video of a pool collapse from bending side walls, watch near the pump:

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Why Are The Sides of My Above Ground Pool Bowing In?

This usually happens because the pool is not full. The walls of the pool will bow in until the pool is filled 80% of the way with water.

The pressure of the water against the walls, rail, and track will keep them upright, If they are still bowing after the pool is full, there is likely a problem with the construction of the support structure or it is rusty.

Will Pool Walls Collapse Without Water?

When a pool is above-ground, the water helps stabilize the walls and keep them in the proper place. When an above-ground pool does not have water, the walls can collapse because there is nothing to keep them in the bottom track that supports them.

This is why it is important to cover your pool walls with an approved cover when the pool is not being used.

Pools should not be left without water for more than 15 minutes at a time to reduce the risk of damage to the pool’s structure.

The cover latches and presses down on the top rail, and this top=down pressure on the pool keeps the walls in place

Other Scenarios for Above Ground Pool Wall Collapse

Another common scenario that can cause above-ground pool walls to collapse is bad weather like high winds. The force of the wind can pull the walls out of their support system and lead to collapse.

The above-ground pool walls can also collapse if the liner that holds them in place is exposed to heat. Extreme heat exposure causes the liner to shrink, and when the liner shrinks it no longer provides enough support to keep the walls in place.

Poor above-ground pool construction can also cause collapse. For example, if you build the pool on land that is not level, the frame of the pool will be in the wrong shape, and then it will not hold the walls properly.

Other construction flaws that can lead to sudden or eventual wall collapse include:

  • The bottom track is coming out from under the base of the walls
  • The poles that support the walls are bent
  • The frame of the pool has rusted and nothing has been done to repair it
  • Other parts of the pool fall off or rust with age

Thankfully, these issues can be resolved either by realignment, using rust treatment, or replacing the pieces that have gotten too old.

How to Realign the Bottom Track of an Above-Ground Pool

The simplest way to get the track back in the right place is to grab the part of the wall that is sinking with your hands, lift it up, and push the bottom track back under the bottom of the wall.

  • It will be easier if the track and wall are at the same degree of curve.
  • Once the wall and track are aligned, pack some dirt or a small rock in place to keep the alignment.

If the wall and track are not at the same degree of curve, you have to do the same thing but with more force. If you would rather have someone else do it, you can wait to fix the track issue when you replace the liner of the pool.

How Long Do Above Ground Pool Walls Last?

Above-ground pools, and the walls that surround them, generally last 10-20 years before they need to be replaced. They can last longer if they are maintained and cared for properly.

Above ground pools degrade over time for various reasons, the most common of these include:

  • Unlevel water- uneven water levels can cause structural damage with time which can lead to total pool collapse. It can also wrinkle the pool liner and cause it to shrink or rip.
  • Rust- damages the structural integrity of the walls, causing collapse. As soon as you see rust on the walls or other parts of the pool, replace them immediately
  • Pool liner breakdown- the liner helps keep the walls and water together, and it can break down over time because of sun exposure, wrinkles, and poor cleaning. Improper care of the liner will cause it to become brittle and lead to tears and leaks

Now that you know how pools can degrade, you can be on the lookout for these signs and take action when you notice them

Ways To Help Your Pool Last Longer

Everyone wants to get the most use out of their pool they can for the price they paid.

Here are some strategies you can use to do just that.

  • Check your pool daily and keep it clean by testing pH, chlorine levels, and pumps and filters
  • Backwash the pool once a week to keep debris out of the filters
  • Keep good water circulation to prevent algae build up
  • Do not sit or lean on the pool walls
  • Replace the liner regularly

If you use all or at least some of these tips, you will be able to enjoy your pool for much longer.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.


The walls of an above-ground pool are designed to bend and flex, but they should not collapse. The pool needs to be decently filled, and each piece of the structure sound, to prevent collapse. Above-ground pools and their walls last 10-20 years with proper care and maintenance.

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