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Will an Above-Ground Pool Collapse if Not Level? When is it Unsafe?

Above-ground pools are a cost-efficient way to have some summer fun without losing a large portion of your yard. However, if your yard isn’t level, there could be issues that see your pool lose integrity and water flood into your yard and possibly your home. So will an above-ground pool collapse if not level?

An above ground pool will collapse if it’s not on level enough ground. A slops of just three inches per ten feet is enough to break the walls of an above ground pool due to the high weight of the water being contained.

Pools are an investment that must be protected by ensuring they are correctly installed, and the water is cared for. Don’t be scared off by the prospect of some hard work and shoveling. So read on and learn if an above-ground pool can collapse if it is not level.

When Will an Above-Ground Pool Collapse?

Your above-ground pool level must be done correctly. If not, some things will be noticeable, and the walls and shape of your pool could lose their integrity.

For example, pools collapse when excessive water reaches one of the walls. This is because the pressure from the water is extreme, and larger pools can have 8,000 gallons of water.

Ways that Water Harms Your Unlevel Above-Ground Pool

The unlevel pool will turn the water into a weapon against the walls, foundation, and filter. When placed correctly, things function as they should, but the worse your leaning problem becomes, the more harm you can expect to the pool and liner.

Some of the ways that water will harm your above-ground pool are:

  • Liner Tearing – The liner is the most significant part of the pool and will be made of a dense plastic material that allows several thousand gallons of water to rest on the ground. The liner is reinforced by the walls but will have a large threshold for stress. If the water level is uneven, you could see tearing along the seams of the pool liner.
  • Walls Collapse – When the water level reaches a critical point, the walls will take a different shape and collapse. Collapsing walls will see the pool take on a weird shape before all the water floods into your yard. The pressure on one wall will be excessive, and you will be able to tell from the higher water level.
  • Filtration Problems – Another thing that will happen when the above-ground pool is uneven is that the filter could begin to hit pockets of air. As the pool slopes in one direction, the jets could be exposed and cause the filter to miss cycles or lose power to push water.

Those problems all begin to occur when your pool is out of level. While the slope has a considerable effect on the pool, the larger the pitch, the more severe the impact on the water. Keeping your pool level is essential to its use and safety.

Here’s a good video showing how to level the area for an above ground pool:

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

Pool Wall Integrity is Critical for Safety

The critical thing that happens to uneven pools is they lose wall integrity. Wall integrity is the wall’s ability to hold up the pressure from the water. As the pool becomes more uneven, the effects of the water will increase, and the wall will come down.

Some of the things that happen as the pool slopes by inches are:

  • One Inch – One inch unlevel is one of the most typical leveling for an above-ground pool. Professional installers operate on an ⅛ to ½ inch error margin, and having a pool just an inch off won’t be that big of a deal. However, this slope could worsen and damage the pool if left untreated.
  • Two Inches – When a slope of two inches is present in your pool, you will notice the water is rushed to one area, and the water line is noticeably different. The pressure on the walls will be intense, and they could bulge or be misshapen.
  • Three Inches – Once the slope hits three inches, there will be no doubt the pool is unlevel. The walls will be distended, and the pool will not have its original shape. In addition, the water could damage the filtration system and leave portions of the jets uncovered.

Anything beyond three inches will not hold water. When it reaches two inches, you should begin leveling the pool. Leveling means that you will have to start over and drain the pool. Once drained, you can get the proper fix for your problems and refill the pool.

Here’s a cool video showing how to level an unlevel pool:

When Does an Above-Ground Pool Become Unsafe?

When above-ground pools hit slopes of more than three inches, they will become unsafe. For example, a pool that is 18 feet around can hold almost 8000 gallons of water. The weight of water would be equal to approximately 60,000 pounds of pressure.

The metal and plastic that makes up above-ground pool walls cannot withstand that type of pressure for long.

Things that happen when your pool walls collapse are:

  • Flooding – When the walls come down, the water will escape. That means the water will go into your yard and anywhere else that is downhill from it. In addition, places like the basement and the basements of your neighbors are all likely to be in danger.
  • Drowning – If minor children are caught on the side of the water as it rushes out, they could be in danger of drowning. The moving water will have a current and could hold them under as it floods away.

Uneven pools could be dangerous. Their slope places heavy water in one location that, when set free, has the power to hold under people in its way and drag them wherever the water flows. In addition, the walls could have jagged edges or burs that could harm the people on the inside as the walls burst.

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


Above-ground pools that are not level will collapse if the slope is large enough. The pressure on the walls is immense; when they burst, the power of the water could be dangerous for your home and your family.

When a pool is unlevel, you must remove the water and start from the beginning. Removing sod from the ground is imperative, and using sand will be required. Once the pool is level, you can refill, but always be on the lookout for slanted water.

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