Home » What to Put Under Above Ground Pools (Top 6 Materials)

What to Put Under Above Ground Pools (Top 6 Materials)

Deciding what to put under Intex pools is something you should give lots of thought to before installing your pool. Choose the right material and you will prevent possible problems and increase the life of your inflatable above ground pool.

Whether your Intex pool is on concrete, grass, gravel, pavers or a deck, we’ve got a solution for you.

MaterialDescription
Interlocking Foam Tiles

Feel great under feet.
Protect from sticks and stones.
Can be expensive
Carpet & Flooring UnderlaymentCan be free
Protects from sharp objects
Not as soft as foam tiles
Ground Cloth (Tarp)
Low cost protection
Stops grass growing throw
Minimal protection
Aftermarket Pool PadTough and strong
Many come cut to size
More expensive than tarp
SandNatural and soft
Evens out ground
Installation more work
Natural GroundNot advised
Sticks & rocks will tear liner
Uncomfortable under feet
Best materials for under above ground pools

Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Material to Put Under Your Portable Pool

Above ground pool on grass in front of house.
Picture shows an above ground pool set up on grass. It’s important to choose the right material to go under your pool.

When it comes to choosing what to put under your Intex or other inflatable pool such as Bestway and Summer Waves pools, there are several choices. Each under pool material has its pros and cons.

Here’s a few of the benefits of choosing the right material to put under your above ground pool:

  • Protects the bottom from abrasions and punctures
  • Prevents Mould/Mildew
  • Smoother under your feet
  • Makes cleaning easier
  • Stops damage from grass and insects

Where to Put an Above Ground Pool?

Before deciding on what to put under your above ground pool, you need to decide on where to put your Intex pool. It’s best to located it away from overhanging trees. It stay a whole lot cleaner that way.

As for the base for your above ground pool, popular options are grass, concrete, pavers, gravel, dirt and on decks.

Concrete is probably the best option since it is usually 100% level and smooth. Also, grass can’t grow through concrete and animals and bugs can’t damage or burrow through it either.

Grass or dirt is also another great option, as long as it has been properly levelled and you’ve killed off the grass first.

You could put your pool on pavers, however the weight of the pool may compress the pavers and move them out of shape if the base isn’t prepared properly.

What to Put Under Above Ground Pools or Intex Pools?

After you’ve decided where to put your pool, it’s time to decide what under pool mat you will use for your Above ground or Intex pool. The right material can extend the life of your pool.

Many people are looking for an alternative to sand. We have 4 sand alternatives in our list of the most popular materials to put underneath an above ground pool. And these materials work whether your pool is on grass, pavers, gravel or a concrete pad:

  • Interlocking Foam Tiles 
  • Carpet
  • Intex Ground Cloth
  • Flooring underlayment 
  • Sand 

One thing to note is that these materials are used after you’ve levelled and prepared the site.

How to Choose What to Put Under a Pool

There are five main things to look out for when deciding which material is best to put under your pool.

  • Breathable
  • Resistant to Punctures
  • Thickness and Feel
  • Easy to Install
  • Cost

Having a breathable material will help prevent mildew and mound which is caused by trapped moisture.

Some materials are naturally tougher than others, such as commercial under pool pads. This is more important if you plan to put your pool on grass or dirt.

Having the right material just feels nicer on your feet. Some people don’t mind it but having stones sticking into my feet isn’t my preference. Going for a thicker material or combining two materials together will produce a better feel.

A material that is easy to get to lay flat is also beneficial. This will mean that the bottom of your pool will be wrinkle free making it easier to clean (when vacuuming).

Lastly, when deciding on what to put under an above ground pool you want to consider how easy the material is to work with and the cost. Although carpet could be free (if you’re lucky), it’s not easy to cut and could be quite a lot of effort to install.

Now let’s take a look at the most common above ground pool pad ideas.

1. Interlocking Foam Tiles

Recommended
Interlocking Foam Tiles
  • Perfect to put underneath Intex pools & inflatable hot tubs
  • Smooth, strong & durable
  • Easy to cut, fit & install
We're industry experts and only recommend products we would use ourselves. If you click this link, we may earn a commision at no additional cost to you.

Interlocking foam tiles can be found here and at Walmart, Home Depot and many other stores. They work exceptionally well as an under pool mat.

They provide thick padding and will feel great under your feet. Provided you install them on a level surface, the bottom of the pool will feel nice and smooth.

EVA interlocking foam tiles for under pools come in black, grey and blue color
Interlocking EVA foam tiles feel soft and are a protective choice for under pool padding.

They are fairly easy to cut to size and they are lightweight and easy to handle.

Pros
– Feel great under feet
– Provide excellent protection from sticks and stones

Cons
– Not breathable
– Can be expensive

>> Click here to check the price and read more reviews.

2. Carpet

Old carpet to put under an above ground pool or Intex pool
Old carpet can be used to go under an Intex pool. Carpet is great to go under kiddie pools, Summer Waves and Bestway inflatable pools.

Is putting carpet under an above ground pool a good idea? Carpet is actually a great solution. It will provide good protection against stones and sharp objects piecing the bottom of your pool whilst providing some comfort under your feet.

If you’re lucky, you might also get it for free too!

Pros
– Can be free
– Excellent protection against sharp objects
– Breathable

Cons
– Not as soft as foam tiles
– Harder to cut to size

3. Ground Cloth

Intex Under Pool Ground Cloth
  • Prevents grass & weeds from growing
  • Helps protect pool bottom from punctures
  • Smoother & softer under feet
We're industry experts and only recommend products we would use ourselves. If you click this link, we may earn a commision at no additional cost to you.

Should you put a tarp under your pool?

It’s best to put a tarp under your above ground pool if the pool will be on grass. This will stop grass pushing through the liner and damaging it.

Many pool owners choose to use a tarp for under their pool. You can go with a ground cloth or tarp, like this one for above ground pools or Intex pools. Most Intex pools do actually come with a ground cloth. In addition to helping to stop the grass, a tarp will provide some protection against abrasions or punctures but according to reviews, is very thin and may not last too long.

Many Intex pool owners opt for a better quality aftermarket solution.

An Intex ground cloth will work for an Intex, Bestway, Summer Waves or Kiddie pool.

Pros
– Low cost protection for your pool
– Cut to the size of your pool
– Ready to be installed with minimal effort

Cons
– Lower quality
– Offers only minimal protection

>> Click here to check the price and read more reviews.

4. Aftermarket Pool Pad

ImageProductFeaturesLink
Rhino Pad  Pool Liner

Rhino Pad Pool Liner

Rhino Pad is a strong and eco-friendly pool pad. It prevents punctures from sharp objects and corrosion from moisture. It is easy to install and comes in different sizes.

9.7
Check Price
Blue Wave Liner Pad

Blue Wave Liner Pad

Putting this liner underneath your above ground pool will provide protection from punctures as well as add some cushioning to your feet. It comes pre-cut in different sizes.

9.5
Check Price
Disclosure: We're industry experts and only recommend products we would use ourselves. If you click this link, we may earn a commision at no additional cost to you.

Intex isn’t the only company that makes padding liners for above ground pools. In fact there are many of them offering high quality products suitable to go under your pool.

They are often manufactured from extremely tough materials which are resistant to pests, grass, roots, animals, insects and other stones.

The other advantage of using a professional pool pad is some of them come precut to the size of your pool, which saves a lot of time and mucking around during installation.

Pros
– Extremely tough and stronger than other options
– Many come cut to size

Cons
– More expensive than other options

Check prices of pool pads here:

Rhino Pad 24-Foot Round Pool Liner Pad

Blue Wave Liner Pad for Above Ground Pools

5. Flooring Underlayment & Carpet Padding

Flooring underlayment, also known as padding is a spongy flexible foam sheet that comes in rolls. It is usually installed between laminate flooring and the subfloor.

Carpet is thicker than flooring underlay and is perfect as an above ground pool underlayment. It’s also a cheap option to put under your above ground or Intex pool.

If you’re not sure what to put under your inflatable pool, this could be a good option. It’s cheap and easy to work with. However both are quite thin and won’t provide a lot of protection. 

You’ll likely need a few layers otherwise you’ll feel rocks or stones under your feet when swimming. Foam tiles are a better choice if you want to avoid this.

Pros
– Very low cost
– Easy to cut and work with
– Widely available

Cons
– Provides minimal protection
– Not breathable
– Thinner than foam tiles

6. Sand

Pile of sand to go under an Intex pool, kiddie pool or above ground.
Is sand a good choice to go under a pool?

Should you put sand under your above ground pool?

Sand under an above ground pool is suitable for a soft base under your above ground pool. However, it shouldn’t be used to level the ground underneath a pool or as a fill material to build up low spots. Sand is good to go over a proper base like crushed stone, pavers, concrete if prepared properly.

Do you have to put sand under your pool?

It’s not necessary to use sand under all above ground pools. In most cases, for inground vinyl liner pools, sand will be used.

Alternatives to Sand Under Pool

Alternatives to sand include foam pads, tarps, carpet. Many people prefer foam pads over sand as they give a more cushioned feel.

Although it’s easy to put down and level and it may seem like an ideal material, sand can easily erode and get partially washed away in heavy rain if it is not prepared properly. Animals and bugs also have been known to tunnel through it. Proper preparation includes levelling, wetting the sand and then tamping or compacting it and letting it sit until it hardens.

If this is not done, it could cause your pool to shift or at best, you will feel “holes” or dips under your feet when swimming where the animal has been digging.

Pros
– Easy to lay and level
– Low cost material

Cons
– May move or erode over time
– Animals and bugs can tunnel through it

Related Reading: What to Put Under an Inflatable Hot Tub?

Installation Tips

Should I put a tarp under my Intex pool?

At the bare minimum, yes you should put a tarp under your Intex pool. Inflatable pools, Bestway and Summer Ways pools will also benefit from a tarp.

Although a tarp will help protect your pool there are far better choices such as foam tiles or proper commercial under pool pads.

What to put under paddling pools?

Paddling pools and kiddie pools can be treated the same as other pools. Choose a material that feels nice under your feet and protects the bottom of the pool such as carpet or foam. A  thicker material may  minimize injuries if your child slips over.

Having a breathable material isn’t so important for paddling and kiddie pools since they are often only temporary.

What can I put under my inflatable pool?

Inflatable pools or blow up pools such as kiddie pools, paddling pools and Intex Easy Set pools will be good with carpet, interlocking foam tiles, commercial pool pads

What to put under an above ground pool on grass?

Before putting an above ground pool on grass you will want to prepare the grass base for it. To do this, make sure you kill off the grass with weed killer or dig it up. Some grasses and plants are particularly hard and capable of growing through the pool liner at the bottom of your pool.

After you have killed off the grass, put a tarp on the grass, before installing your pool, to be sure nothing will grow through it. Then you can then use carpet, foam tiles, a commercial under pool pad or any of the other options mentioned in this article.

What to put under an inflatable pool on concrete?

Concrete is a great material to put your inflatable pool on since it is usually 100% level. You will however need to put a material under your inflatable pool to protect the bottom of the pool from abrasions such as a tarp or flooring underlayment.

Concrete is also a very hard surface and will feel much nice on your feet if you use something with padding such as carpet underlay or foam.

What should I put under Bestway and Summer Waves pools?

Bestway and Summer Waves pools can use the same materials under them as Intex pools. Any of the materials listed in this article will be suitable for your inflatable, Summer Waves or Bestway Pool. 

Summary

Now you should have a good idea of what to put under Intex pools. You may also be wondering, which chlorine you should use for your above-ground pool, find out here: Which Chlorine To Use For An Above Ground Pool

There are several options available and you should take into account the cost, the thickness, if the material is breathable and the ease of installation before making a decision.

The location of your pool will also influence your decision. If your pool is on concrete, a softer material will be great, however, if you have your pool on dirt or grass then you will want to make sure the material is tough enough to prevent things from piercing it.

What materials have you used to put under your above ground pool? And how have they worked for you?

4 thoughts on “What to Put Under Above Ground Pools (Top 6 Materials)”

    • Make sure the pool is on a solid surface to start with. You can use a concrete pad, asphalt surface or possibly pavers. Pavers may not be suitable for large pools though. It depends on how they’ve been installed. At the end of the day, the ground needs to be level and not soft. You don’t want the ground moving under the pool.

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