Sand vs Gravel for a Fiberglass Pool Base

There are different views on whether sand or gravel should be used as a base for your swimming pool. There are advantages and disadvantages for using either, and the information for both is listed below.

Using gravel for a base

Evidence shows that the gravel which is the best type to use is crushed blue stone. It needs to be about ¾ inch or smaller to be effective. One of the reasons to use stone is because the structure of the stone doesn’t change if it becomes saturated, it gives the same performance whether it’s wet or whether it’s dry. If the area that the pool is being installed has a high water table or soil which retains water though, then using crushed gravel is your best bet. Also because gravel is a stable material, it won’t cause a problem with point-on-point friction against the sides of the pool. Because sand will liquefy and could cause bulges in the pool if the fiberglass pool isn’t rigid enough, using gravel is insurance against bulges too. Another point for gravel has to do with the plumbing. Because the plumbing settles into whatever backfill material is used, if the backfill stays put, so does the plumbing.

Using sand for a base

The other side of the argument is why is sand better to use as a swimming pool base. Recommendations by the manufacturers who produce the fiberglass shells for pools recommend that a sand base be used for one. And by installing a sump pump at the deep end of the pool before installing it, this will take care of any liquid sand issues from ground water. If the pool is properly installed with a sand base then, the sand will be held permanently between the excavation walls and the shell of the pool. When sand is compacted correctly, there is a barrier between the walls and the pool shell without any sharp or jagged edges too which could cause holes in the shell over time or problems with the plumbing lines.

The arguments between using gravel vs. sand are equally compelling. The best idea is to check the manufactures specifications; see whether or not you have ground water and what your contractors thinks should be used.

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Bio-Dex Laboratories, Inc.
4212 W. Innovative Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85086
Voice: 800-617-3477
Local: 623-582-2400
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