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In 2006, I ended up living in a house that had a pool. I had never had a pool before then, so it wasn't something I particularly wanted. What started as a nuisance ended up being a blessing during the long, hot, Tennessee months.
I sold that house with the pool in late 2013. I didn't miss the large yard, the barn, the garage, or even having 2.5 baths as much as I missed that pool! I work six evenings a week, so finding time to fit "summer" in is a must so I don't feel like I'm missing out.
Fast forward to 2016 and another hot summer. I had visited a couple public pools, but the getting there, the unpredictable weather, and the inability to float around in peace and quiet left lots to be desired. Then in 2017, we became friends with a man that had an above-ground pool, and we enjoyed many barbecues where we delighted in the pool and his company. It got me thinking, maybe I could get one too!
First, I had to convince my husband. Then it was time to wait for the seasons to roll around again. We researched and looked and come spring of 2018, we had decided that the Intex 18 ft x 9 ft x 52 in Ultra-Frame Above-Ground Pool Set was perfect.
Now on its second summer, I wanted to share my experience with any of you considering this pool and wondering if it is also right for you.
The first place we looked was on Amazon. They have several pools in various widths, depths, and shapes, as well as accessories and chemicals.
We went with Intex in a rectangular shape, because it fit the spot we had to put it in. Also, this particular pool we got was the most aesthetically pleasing to my husband (who really didn't want an above-ground pool on our property but caved in.) It also came with most things we needed to get started.
This is what you get with this set:
Note: We purchased extra supplies, such as nets, a chlorine floater, and more. I wrote a separate article detailing the Supplies You Need to Maintain A Perfect Pool, laying out the extra supplies we purchased, which ones are necessary, and which ones aren't.
The setup was not difficult. It was actually the easiest part of getting it ready to swim in.
Before we set up the pool, we spent and entire day leveling the ground the best we could within a couple of inches. This was a hard day's work. There are lots of videos and information on how to get the ground ready to put an above-ground pool in that you can check out for more information on that. But once that was done, the actual set up of the pool is not bad, especially for two people.
Then it was time to fill it with water. We have a well, which means filling it up would have been free, but it would have taken a long time in an effort to not empty the well. We ended up paying a local construction company to bring a truckload of water for a few hundred dollars. I think this pool fits between 4,000–4,500 gallons of water. Luckily, it was the perfect size for one truck-load of water to fill it (in conjunction with the small amount of water we had tried putting in ourselves).
The filter and hoses were also easy to hook up. I didn't partake in that part at all, as I let my husband figure it out. However, it has been easy for me to learn how to vacuum, backwash, and set the timer myself.
Closing the pool last fall was simple. We followed the directions for closing it, and it all worked like a charm. We removed the hoses and let the filter dry completely and stored them away along with the ladder. Covering the pool was a breeze. We set a float inside the pool, and two of us put the cover on with no issues at all.
When we opened the pool this year, the cover came off easily and any water collected on top fell through the holes they have in it (which is convenient). We hooked everything back up, started the filter, put chemicals in, and vacuumed. It took me about two weeks to get it swim-able. It looked great long before the weather allowed me to go in.
We read a few reviews where people complained about the ladder being flimsy and the filter not working well. That has not been our experience. We are going on our second year of using the sand filter it came with, and it works so well that we are putting off getting a salt filter (which we had originally planned to do).
When we are getting the water clean at the beginning of the season, we run the filter continuously for a couple weeks. Once the pool is clear, I set the pool timer to run for eight hours and it does a great job. The pool timer is wonderful, because you can have it run all the time, or set it for 4, 6, 8, or 12 hours. That is very handy! I check the gauge and backwash it as needed.
I find the ladder to be fine for me. I have it on a slightly un-level surface so it can wobble a little bit, but it's not the ladder's fault. I feel sturdy on it. They do have other ladders you can buy if, perhaps, you are elderly or just don't feel as stable getting up and down it. Luckily, the ladder just comes with it, so you can try it and see if you like it. If not, you can purchase a different one separately after some time.
So far, we have had no problems at all with the liner. We have had no leaks, no holes, and it cleans really well with a brush or magic eraser along the edges to get the occasional grime off.
We had a mishap when we were first trying to clear the water, and honestly, it was my husband's fault. He put shock granules in the pool without dissolving them. After a while we noticed that we had bleached out the color of the liner on one side. When I walk on it, the texture now feels a little rough in some places, but there doesn't seem to be a problem with the integrity of it, other than lack of color in that area.
Someday, I'm sure we will replace the liner but we are on season two and seemingly going strong. I now make sure to dissolve my pool chemicals, because this pool doesn't have a deep end. So that is an important lesson we have learned.
This review and my experience are based on me living in Tennessee, which has hot summers that can be humid or dry, and we have relatively mild winters. I don't know what the result would be if you live in the north with severe winters. I can only speak for the environment my particular pool has been in.
This has been the best money I have ever spent! I enjoy it almost every day. In the world of pool maintenance, it's about as easy as it gets because of the size.
It's big enough to float around in and deep enough to go under the water and not feel like you're in a "kiddie" pool. Yet, it is small enough to maintain easily with a moderate knowledge of pool maintenance. If you have ever owned a large in-ground pool, this will be a breeze for you!
We had had no issues come up as of yet. It has survived a summer and a winter so far. We would feel we got our money's worth if we got another summer without any issues with the filter or liner. I will post an update in the fall to let everyone know of another fun and successful summer with our Intex pool. I love it!
We are nearing the end of my second summer with this pool and it is still fantastic! The liner is a little bleached out but there are no leaks, tears, or holes in the liner. All of the hoses and areas that they are attached to seem secure and in tact. Also, the filter still seems to not only still work, but it still does a really good job.
We will be closing it in the next couple of weeks (if the fall weather ever arrives!) I will update this article when we (God willing) open it next spring. We'll see if we can get a third summer from the liner and filter!
We opened the pool again and all is good! After about a week and a half, I felt it wasn’t clearing up enough, so we changed the sand in the filter. Once we did that, it cleared up beautifully! It definitely needed to be changed a little premature of what most recommendations on the internet tell you (4 to 7 years.) So we will be sure to change it every three years as a precaution. It usually takes us two weeks to get it perfectly clear and blue but this year it took three weeks with the delay from the sand issue. It looks fabulous! Here’s to year three, I plan to use it later this week!
Note: I am not affiliated with Intex pools. I just purchased one last year and wanted to share my experience.
Question: Do you live in a warm state? I am in NY state and am worried about the winter with an above ground pool.
Answer: I do! I live in TN so our winters are mild. I don’t know how it would respond in northeastern winters. I can only speak for how it has responded to the weather here. I wish i could help more for your specific area.
© 2019 Jess B
Jess B (author) from United States on May 10, 2020:
Hi Casey! It definitely needs a little bit more room. It’s a little wonky because I believe the frame at the top is actually 8ft wide and it goes to 9ft where the liner bubble towards the middles of the pool (towards the ground). It seems the supports come out about a foot or so further than the widest part of the pool. Our surround is railroad ties & mulch (pictured above) it is about 11.5ft wide total. It’s hard to measure completely accurately but in short, I would say the bottom of the feet come out about an extra foot all around. Hope this helps! It’s the best money I have ever spent! Lol!
Casey H on May 07, 2020:
What is the total width with the supports? We are looking at purchasing this pool also and I wondered if the footprint of the pool is actually wider than 9 feet with the supports? And if so, what is the actual width? Thank you!
Jess B (author) from United States on September 17, 2019:
I have always been interested in the salt filter but that is good to know!! I guess nothing is without its downsides!
Kay Mitchell on September 17, 2019:
We owned an intex pool for 2 years switched to salt and our poles rusted so had to take it down an throw it away this year, will get another one next year but will ll treat the poles with extra protection prior to puting up this time!