In the world of all things sold, selling above-ground swimming pools isn’t that hard. People want them because they are a much less expensive alternative to ingrounds, you can get them quickly, and hey, it’s a swimming pool.
Salespeople will sometimes do what it takes to get someone to buy. And this can mean stretching the truth a little.
Over my 36 years in the swimming pool business, I’ve done more than my share of selling. I have sold above-ground pools, pool service, pool chemical products, installations, liners, pump/filter packs, and everything else related to above-ground swimming pools.
The great thing about being an installer is that I make my living mainly with my hands and not just words convincing people to buy stuff. This has kept me grounded and my exaggerations at bay as I have to deal with what gets sold.
ABOUT HALF OF ALL ABOVE-GROUND POOLS ARE SOLD ONLINE, BUT MOST STILL CALL IN THE ORDER AND TALK TO A SALESPERSON
When I sold above-ground pools online, most of my job was on the phone. At first, I thought selling pools from a website would be easy as people would just “click and buy”.
What I found out was that most people didn’t feel comfortable enough to buy a pool package without talking to someone first. And I don’t blame them. I not only don’t blame them, I agree with them.
“When buying an above-ground pool package online, you should make the order over the phone. This will help make sure that you get what you want and need.”
So, knowing that there will be a good chance that you will be talking to a real human salesperson when you buy an above-ground pool, here are some things that they may tell you that aren’t exactly accurate.
11 THINGS A SALES ASSOCIATE MAY TELL YOU WHEN BUYING AN ABOVE-GROUND POOL THAT ISN’T TRUE
1. A chemical add-on component is all you need to chemically maintain the pool (No Way)
Lately, this is the most common “untruth” salespeople will say about the product they are selling you.
Pool retailers will have certain add-on components available to sell you with the pool package. And they want you to buy them because there is a lot of profit in those units.
Examples of things that I have heard salespeople say about equipment add-ons:
“With this ionizer, you don’t have to do or add anything”
“This ionizer makes your pool ‘lightly salted’. Just add one bag of salt and you’re good”
“This salt chlorine generator will automatically adjust the PH”
“With a Frog system, you don’t have to shock the pool”
I’m going to state this very clearly – THERE IS NO CHEMISTRY ADD-ON COMPONENT THAT CAN REPLACE HAVING TO MANUALLY BALANCE YOUR POOL WATER!
If you have a swimming pool, it will have to be serviced weekly (during the summer) and chemicals will have to at best occasionally (and usually weekly) be added manually.
2. A sand-type filter is better (False)
There is some weird phenomenon that goes on here. In the Northeast area of the US, people think that a sand-type filter is superior to both cartridge and DE types.
Knowing this, retailers will stock a bunch of sand-type filters to sell. And when their cartridge-type filters run out, they tend to tell people that sand filters are better. And they aren’t.
You may choose to have a sand-type filter for your pool for one valid reason or another. That’s cool. Be you.
Choosing a sand-type filter only because the sales/phone person says it’s better is not ideal. This is because they are not.
Reading this article may help with what I am saying here.
3. You should use wall foam with your new pool (No, you shouldn’t)
Wall foam is only needed with an older pool with a rusty wall.
Some retailers will sell wall foam with a new pool package stating that “it will insulate the pool water” or that “it will protect the wall from rusting”. Yeah, no. It won’t do either of those.
Some want wall foam because it makes the wall of the pool feel softer to the touch. This is not a great reason to get wall foam on a new pool, but if you are trying to justify buying this add-on for some legitimate reason, then this is the only one.
4. The warranty will cover most everything (Not even close)
Above-ground pool warranties don’t really cover much. They do cover manufacturer’s defects for sure, but nothing related to rust or corrosion.
And if you think that the above-ground pool you bought with a 60-year warranty means that it will last even half of that (30 years), you’re in a dream state.
People love guarantees. Salesmen know this, so they will tell you not to worry about the pool they are selling, “if something goes wrong, it will be taken care of by the warranty”. Yeah, no it won’t.
Learn about pool warranties here
5. Installation will be easy (Not true)
Installing an above-ground pool is not at all easy. Some are easier than others, but they all have one thing in common – preparing the ground. And leveling the earth is not easy.
To get you to buy it, salespeople will tell you that you’ll be able to install your pool, no problem. This may be true, but it may not be true. Odds are that it most likely will NOT be true.
6. We can get you installed quickly (Not usually)
Ok, so with this being post-covid, this stretched fib isn’t as common as people are now used to waiting and doing without things.
If you are time-sensitive though with getting your swimming pool installed, lock down an install date before you purchase. “We can get you in in a couple of weeks” may really mean a couple of months.
7. A liner guard will prevent nutgrass (It won’t)
Nutgrass can be a real concern with above-ground pools. It (besides traveling bamboo) is the only thing that will grow through your liner.
When liner guards first came out, the manufacturers (and suppliers) were selling them as something that will prevent nutgrass from growing in pools. We all found out pretty quickly that wasn’t true and the makers quickly stopped saying that.
Some salespeople will still say that the liner pad that you buy from them will prevent nutgrass. It will NOT.
Just so you know, a liner pad is the same thing as a gorilla pad, elephant pad, Rhino guard, and liner guard. None of these are any better at preventing nutgrass from damaging a liner, so don’t think one animal name is better than the other.
Learn about preventing nutgrass here
8. You be able to find an installer (Not in the summer)
If you buy an above-ground pool from a local brick-and-mortar store, they will most likely have an installer or two for you. When buying online though, they will not.
Online pool stores cannot guarantee that you will find someone local to you to install the product they sell. Don’t believe them if a salesperson tells you that it will be no problem finding someone local for the installation.
My advice is if you are needing someone to install your pool, find an installer BEFORE you buy the pool. I have installed more than a few pools that were stored in a garage for a year or two because the pool owner couldn’t find someone (until they found me).
9. The liner will last for ten-plus years (Not accurate)
A good quality liner for a metal-walled above-ground pool will last between 5 – 8 years on average.
Some people sell pools as products that won’t need anything major for at least ten years. Yeah, not likely. Don’t listen to someone selling you a pool when they tell you it will last decades without some sizable expenses along the way.
NOTE: You should be OK with having to change the liner in the 5 – 8 year mark. Inground concrete pools will need resurfacing too in about ten years on average. Pool surfaces of all types need their surfaces refurbished.
10. Aluminum walls won’t rust (They will corrode)
Some retailers sell both steel wall and aluminum wall above ground pools. It is very common for salespeople to tell you that the aluminum-walled model (which is usually more expensive) is better than steel because it won’t rust. FALSE
Well technically, aluminum doesn’t rust, meaning that it turns to a dark red color and starts flaking off in large areas. This is how steel will corrode.
Aluminum will corrode! With continuous-roll aluminum-walled above-ground pools, they will corrode in little white and chalky spots. These spots will eventually corrode all the way through the wall and make tiny pinholes. And these pinholes will get bigger and bigger.
When an aluminum wall gets enough smaller pinholes (or a couple of bigger holes) corroded through it, it can burst open.
This is the same thing then that a steel-walled pool will do if it corrodes. Meaning – that it won’t be able to hold the water and the pool will die.
So, there is no advantage to getting an aluminum-walled pool.
NOTE: There is a slatted, extruded aluminum walled above-ground pool that is close to double the price and designed to go partially in the ground. This type of wall is too thick for the corrosion to ever make a hole (as it protects itself with a patina).
11. You can only go semi-inground with our models (Wrong)
While it is true that certain above-ground pools are specifically designed to go semi-inground, most are not.
Most metal-walled above-ground pools have the same type of wall and the same kind of frame. And they are made to go on top of the ground, but all can go in the ground some as well.
So to be clear here – Any metal-walled above-ground pool can be partially buried in the ground.
If the salesperson is saying that certain models can go in while others cannot, don’t believe that.
9 thoughts on “11 Things an Above Ground Pool Retailer Will Tell You that just are NOT TRUE”
Dan, I’m installing an Intex 15’ round prism frame soft side on concrete laid for the pool. Pad is 19x23x4 in Sarasota, FL.
I plan to lay 1/2” polystyrene board and Gorilla pad under it.
Question: Do I put legs on the board?
I’m replacing the same pool I had for 8 1/2 years. I have DE-40 filter, 1hp 2 speed Hayward & Hayward Diver Dave cleaner. I hacked an Intex SWG for a timer. Water is spot on all the time and crystal clear. I have a tent over it to keep the leaves out. Oh, I cut a skimmer into the wall and connected 3 solar panels with Hayward controller and valve. Yup, spent a few bucks and as happy as could be. Use it April to Decamber.
Sounds like a nice setup. For a soft-sided pool, I’d guess yes. extend the boards to include the legs.
First Time pool owner. I’m having a 33 x 54 round pool it’s a ledacy/ Diamond star with Perma salt system. Is this pool made for saltwater and also what are your recommends when backfilling the pool? Also is there anything I should do before backfilling to protect the bottom of my pool from rust?
I don’t know how “saltwater friendly” your pool is but you can read this:
Then you can get some additional info from the retailer about the pool and which of it’s frame parts are made of resin.
As far as backfilling, please read this article to help
#6 should answer your question.
Hi Dan. We just had our new 30 ft pool installed on Friday. It’s almost full and I’m worried because our pump and filter won’t have electricity until next Wed. I was told not to put any chemicals in it until the pump is running. Is there anything I can do to keep algae from growing in the meantime. Algae is my biggest fear.
Yes. Temporarily run an extension cord out so you can run the pump. Make sure the cord has at least #12 wire. It’ll be fine and shouldn’t cause any issues. Keep in mind that many people only use an extension cord to run their pumps.
I have a fall-away backyard and thought it would be a good idea to purchase an above-ground pool and carve out the yard so the pool would be ground-level at the entry steps. After installation, my dealer told me it is not recommended to backfill against a pool wall higher than 12″. Since my pool is 54″ tall and I had planned to backfill about half the circumference, this would appear to defeat my intent. What are your thoughts?
My first thought is your retailer doesn’t have a great deal of knowledge, which is not uncommon.
You should have no issues backfilling your pool as long as it’s about 2-2.5ft or less. If more, than you may want to access your earth situation. Reading this article may help