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Few reasons why gravel is best to set and backfill a pool with.

  • gravel

We here at Earl's Pools of Alabama have been installing pools for the better of thirty years and have used many different types of materials with the construction process.  The last decade we have used gravel as our source of backfill with all of the pools that we install.  Here are a few reasons we prefer gravel above all others.

  1. 89 stone is used as the base to set the pool on and backfilling the step and seating areas of the pool.  It's smaller size is great for filling in those tight areas that may try to leave a void area of material during installation, and a solid base for the pool to be placed on.
  2. 57 stone is used to backfill the side walls of the pool during installation.  The size of this stone is about half an inch in size, which works well locking together for greater compaction when it is dropped into the overdig area around the pool.
  • Gravel itself compacts really well, and it is far greater than sand or dirt that may be used in place of it.
  • Gravel is a permeable material, so pretty much what you are doing by using gravel around a pool is installing a french drain system around your pool also.  Gravel helps in this area to relieve water pressure that may build up behind the pool.  Sump lines are always installed behind every pool we build to help in this area also.
  • Gravel speeds up the installation process drastically because you don't have to wash it in behind the pool like you would sand or let dirt sit for weeks or months until it may reach a desired compaction rate.

We here at Earl's understand that not all areas in the nation have an abundance of gravel like we do in our area, but after many years of experience with pool installations we feel that gravel is the best choice when backfilling a pool.


I agree 100% - Gravel rocks - literally! 
Funny names you have for it down there, we call it 3/8 and 3/4 round here. 
Nice article, your customers are lucky to have such a knowledgeable contractor in their area.
Posted @ Friday, April 01, 2011 10:20 PM by Jamie Snyder
@ Inflatable Pools- Some manufactures across the nation still require their pools to be backfilled with sand for the warranty to be inforced. Other areas in the nation don't have an abundance of gravel and simply have to use the material that is available to them, which is the case in some situations that sand is used.
Posted @ Friday, April 15, 2011 8:16 AM by Josh Bush
Great article. Thanks. 
I'm just unsure about gravel for 2 reasons.  
Firstly, I would have expected that due to its size and shape (and therefore the bigger gaps between individual stones) that gravel would settle more than sand over time? I live in an area that experiences consistent but low level earthquake activity. 
Secondly, the water pressure from inside the pool pushes the shell outwards - doesn't the sharp gravel damage the shell or cause rippling on the surface? Appreciate your input.
Posted @ Saturday, July 23, 2011 1:06 PM by Ryan H
@Ryan H - Due to the shape inconsistency with gravel it locks together when backfilling the pool and we haven't seen any problems with the settlement after time. We are only using gravel of about 1/2 an inch in size and not large rocks to backfill with and haven't seen any rippling of the surface. With some manufacturers pools that we have installed in the past we did see some rippling on the surface, but this was due to blisters that occurred in the gelcoat of the pool after oxidation.
Posted @ Monday, July 25, 2011 7:43 AM by Josh Bush
Many in-ground pool builders prefer gravel because it helps to speed up the pool building process. Gravel used under a pool basin's floor and as a pool side wall backfill compacts almost right away.
Posted @ Wednesday, December 28, 2011 1:26 AM by Pool Accessories
Nice Article you have shared. It is ok that gravel is best to set and backfill a pool But is it perfect for above ground pool too. Could you successfully backfilled an above ground pool without any problems? I think not to backfill a above ground pool, because the force of the water keeps the pool standing and if you backfill and the force is greater than the water it could collapse the pool.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:35 AM by Pentair Pool Parts
Pretty nice post. I just bookmark your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!
Posted @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012 1:37 AM by Hayward Replacement Parts
If you backfill a pool with 89 stone to turn a dive pool into a play pool, does the rock need mechanical compacting?
Posted @ Friday, April 12, 2013 9:56 AM by Reggie Jennings
Great post. I look forward to more in the future.
Posted @ Saturday, June 14, 2014 12:40 AM by Kris C.
Clear crushed stone like in the photos above does not need compacting. In fact it is 95-98% compacted when laid.
Posted @ Saturday, July 11, 2015 9:26 AM by Brad Spaidal
It's great that you are getting ideas from this  
post as well as from our discussion made at this time. 
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