Making an Above Ground Pool Smaller. No Pool Wall Repair Kit or Replacement Pool Wall Needed.
It’s that dreaded time of year again, time to get the pool ready. My kids have been bugging me to get the pool open for the summer, but if there’s one thing I hate, it’s cleaning and maintaining a pool. Especially this year, since it’s going to need a little bit more TLC because there is a rust spot that’s been growing over the past couple years.
So I’ve been doing some research on what it’s going to take to repair this. One option I found is by David Hopkins who has a really good video on a wall repair kit https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=262&v=qZZabKbsXpM. Regardless of the options, it’s going to need to be drained, and since my liner is quite old and worse for wear, I will most likely replace this to give the pool a bit of a facelift. After weighing some of my options, I came up with an idea that I quite like. I have decided to make my 24ft pool into a 21ft pool. After doing some quick research on the pool parts, it appears as though, the posts and bottom rail parts are interchangeable, and the wall will need to be trimmed down 9.4 ft, which will remove the rust spot as well (win, win!). I will detail this pool wall repair process, in case there are others who would like to do the same.
Step 1. Calculations to make a 24ft above ground pool smaller (21 ft)
Basically, what the calculations above show, is that you need to cut 9.43 ft (9ft) which is 9ft 5-1/8 inch from the pool wall. Also, you will need to remove 2 posts, 2 bottom rails, and 2 top rails.
Step 2. Drain the pool.
I used a submersible sump pump to pump the water from the pool, but you could also siphon using a garden hose, it would just take longer. Once the water is removed, remove the top rails and unclip the liner from the top edges of the pool. Pull the liner to the middle of your above ground pool. We will remove the liner in the following steps.
Step 3. Cut the rusted pool wall section.
Measure 9ft 5-1/8 inches from the end of the pool wall and draw a vertical line. Cut on this line using either metal snips or an angle grinder with a cutoff disc.
Step 4. Remove fasteners from pool wall ends.
Remove all of the fasteners that connect the pool wall ends. This will be a 2 person job, as you will need someone to hold the other end of the bolt from spinning. There are a lot of bolts so I would recommend using a power tool to speed up the process.
Step 5. Remove pool wall section.
Remove the rusted pool wall section you just cut out. At this point, you will want to put 2 stakes in the ground to tie off and support the ends of the pool wall from falling in. This can be frustrating if the wind picks up while you’re working, so spend the time now to properly support the ends of the pool wall. You are now able to drag out the pool liner through the opening in the pool wall.
Step 6. Cutting the styrofoam floor to fit the new 21ft diameter
Find the new center of the pool by measuring in 10.5ft from the post that you plan to keep in its original position. At the new center location, stick a screwdriver in the ground to tie a string to. You will tie a loose loop around the screwdriver shaft and bring the string to the post that you measured from. Tie a permanent marker to the string so it just reaches the wall when the tip of the marker is on the floor. You will then use this setup to scribe the new circle for the pool floor. Cut and remove the excess styrofoam.
Step 7. Finding new post centers.
Take 1 of your bottom rails and go around the new circumference marking the end of the rail. I found that starting at the post you’re keeping and going halfway, and then going back to that same post and going halfway in the other direction seemed to work well. I also had to add approximately 1/4 inch to get the bottom rail spacing to work out.
Step 8. Moving the post support blocks to line up in position.
Using the marks made in the previous step, move your support blocks into position, centered on those marks, as shown above.
Step 9. Move pool posts onto newly placed support blocks.
Using at least 2 people, remove the rope tie offs and start walking the wall into position. Note that any remaining rust on the pool walls is important when doing rusted pool wall repair, and should be removed with a wire wheel, and rust paint applied.
Step 10. Fastening the wall ends back together
Once the 2 ends meet, it is time to drill the holes at the end of the pool wall so it can be bolted back together. Ensure you have at least 1.5 inches of wall overlap before you drill the holes. Use the holes at the end of the pool wall as a guide. Use 3 bolts, one at the top, middle, and bottom to hold the wall, to make drilling easier. Also, putting a wood plank behind the wall for support (while drilling) is a good idea.
Step 11. Install liner and fill the pool.
You will need to cut the new skimmer and water outlet openings. You can use the old pool wall as a template. I used a grinder with a cutoff disc for the skimmer, and metal snips for the round hole for the outlet. Then, install the liner and fill with water.