Best Above Ground Pool Pads – Reviews & Buying Guide

Man-made pools of water embedded into the ground, popularly referred to as in-ground swimming pools have been perennially used since time immemorial for sport and recreation. It was an amenity of luxury which only a few private households could afford. It was enviously accepted that only if you had a few million greenbacks in your bank that you could construct, maintain and afford to have an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard. Space constraints also played a crucial part when home owners contemplated of constructing an in-ground swimming pool for the use of their family and friends. Construction of an in-ground swimming pool was a tedious, daunting and a very expensive endeavor and once completed stayed where it was till eternity.

To construct an in-ground swimming you needed a variety of construction materials from sand, cement, bricks, concrete, tiles and many others until you completed the embedded structure. It could have taken days if not weeks or even months. It was quite a hassle to construct an in-ground swimming pool because statutory and mandatory approvals were also needed to ensure you adhered to local and federal regulations.

The swimming pool concept changed drastically a couple of decades ago with the introduction of the above ground swimming pool. This was a swimming pool packed into a carton which was placed above ground and could be picked up in your truck from the nearest departmental store. You needed a few adult hands to help you and within a few hours you could set it up and fill the water in. The above ground swimming pool whilst being easy and convenient to setup was also very much cheaper and practical compared to an in-ground pool. The ease and cost of maintenance was very much less than the perennial in-ground pool.

Another major advantage with an above ground swimming pool was that it could be dismantled and repacked into the carton to be moved elsewhere if needed. It was portable and caught the eye of many of our fellow Americans, and proliferated around the country with more than three million pools to be found across the United States. Every story does not have a silver lining and some above ground pools which left pool equipment stores across the country ended up with leaks. These leaks were sustained due to minute damages occurring at the bottom of the above ground pool which was in contact with the garden or any other surface. Once placed on the surface the above ground pool was vulnerable to small pebbles, roots of plants growing from below and many other objects.

The flexibility of buying and installing an above ground pool was due the materials it used in its manufacture. They were mostly resins, plastics, and some metal to assemble the frame of the pool. But most important of all, the swimming pool itself which held the water inside was made of Vinyl. We know that Vinyl is susceptible to damage if accidently pricked by a sharp object and once damaged would be arduous to repair to its original condition. This issue became a very worrisome problem and had to be solved if above ground pools was to be successfully used by those who took one home.

The solution to this recurring problem which caused concern in the industry came in the form of an effective and easy to install above ground pool pad. The pool pad became the buffer between the above ground swimming pool made of Vinyl or other flexible material and the harsh realities of the ground. The ground below the above ground pool became damp which attracted plant roots from all over the garden seeking water. The roots grew towards this damp spot and over time caused damage from the bottom of the above ground pool. In some cases the roots pushed small stones and other sharp objects found under the pool upwards which tended to cause damage to the Vinyl bottom.

Most home owners who took home an above ground swimming pool did not give due consideration to this inevitable natural phenomenon and suffered the consequences. If you too have overlooked this fact which could occur over a few years, it would be prudent to take corrective measures immediately. It is imperative that you protect your above ground swimming pool from all those natural activities occurring under the bottom of your above ground swimming pool. You need to do it fast before your pool is damaged by installing the best above ground pool pad under it.

What is an Above Ground Pool Pad?

An above ground pool pad is a specially formulated and reinforced buffer between the bottom of your Vinyl above ground pool and the ground below. Whilst being strong, impenetrable, and also soft as a pad it needs to breathe air and water vapor through. By practically being able to breathe through, the specially formulated material used to manufacture the pool pad would ensure the dampness under the above ground pool is substantially reduced. This reduction in moisture under the above ground swimming pool does not give undue reason for roots to be attracted towards this particular space on the ground from the other areas in the garden.

Growing roots which would be abundant in the garden would not grow towards this space because there isn’t anything special to attract them. The water content under the above ground pool due to the efficiency of the above ground pool pad would be as equal as the other areas of the garden. To ensure such a efficiently perfect scenario it would be prudent of you to select carefully and place the best above ground pool pad under your pool. Only a tried and tested pool pad from a reputed manufacturer could ensure your above ground would be safe from damage caused from under it.

The problem of roots growing underground is uncontrollable and the issue came into the fore only a few years after the advent of above ground pools into the market. It did cause some concern and in some places mayhem because many had not considered this natural phenomenon until it occurred. Once it occurred and above ground pools were damaged pool pads which were impenetrable was placed under the pool bottoms. Though these pool pads were initially able to withstand Nature working underground, with time even these gave way to the vagaries of nature. This was mainly due to the dampness underneath the above ground pool which unwittingly attracted roots from all over the garden.

Hence placing any pool pad under your above ground pool would not be sufficient to stop this natural phenomenon which is Nature working in its own way which Man cannot control. Extensive Research and Development (R&D) has now been able to rectify the problem by using specially formulated breathable material. It is only the best above ground pool pads which uses such breathable material in their manufacture hence selecting the right one would be your prerogative. It is very important that you make the right decision and select the right product because the consequences of your purchase would be known only after a few years of use. You could either have a damaged Vinyl bottom above ground pool or one that has cheated Nature whilst still being in perfect condition.

Another important aspect to give due consideration is that the above ground pool pad should be resistant to mold and mildew formation at the bottom of the pool. To ensure nothing untoward takes at the bottom it is imperative that only the best above ground pool pad to sit your pool on it. The pool above ground pad should act to resist any sort of intrusion from the underside for which it should also be thick and tough. It is generally envisaged that once you set up your above ground pool on your garden it would sit there for many years. Used during summer and kept covered during the winters and all through this extended time if would be vulnerable to many of Nature’s happenings underneath. The only thing that would protect the Vinyl bottom of the above ground pool is the pool pad hence it should stand the test of time.

Why do You Need an Above Ground Pool Pad?

The bottom and sides of any above ground pool is made of specially formulated reinforced and flexible but strong Vinyl material. Though it may be strong it is vulnerable to tear which would depend on the force applied on it. Vinyl is not a metal and could be easily punctured if pierced with a sharp instrument or any sharp object. The Vinyl could be easily damaged especially with the vertical weight on the bottom and the lateral weight on the sides of the water in it. The weight of the water bearing down on the sides and bottom creates a tremendous pressure which needs only a pin head of equal pressure form the opposite side to tear the Vinyl open.

It is to prevent such an unfortunate thing from happening that the above ground pool pad is placed as an effective buffer between the bottom of the pool and the ground it is placed on. Once a small tear occurs it would run through across creating a long tear causing the above ground pool to be thrown away. Placing a pool above ground pad especially manufactured for the purpose you could safeguard the pool as well as have longevity in its use. The best above ground pool pads are thick with the best about 1/8 of an inch ensuring a soft bottom for dainty feet.

What to Look for in a Pool Pad

It is imperative that you consider all the salient aspects pertaining to the real purpose of installing the best above ground pool pad before you would venture out and spend your hard earned money. A few aspects are very important to consider because if not you could place anything from cloth, to polythene to rubber, plastic or any other material and try to achieve only one of two criteria required in the purpose. It is not only the need of a soft base that is required because there is more.

Primarily the pressure exerted on the Vinyl bottom of the above ground pool has to be either neutralized or effectively addressed. To do so the best would be to have a soft intermediate between the ground and the Vinyl bottom of the pool. The next issue would be to either, reduce, minimize, completely evaporate or breathe out the dampness underneath the Vinyl bottom of the pool. The dampness is due to the water under the bottom of the pool unable to normally evaporate if the above ground pool does not prevent it. This creates water under the Vinyl bottom which would attract growing underneath towards this particular area of the garden. Hence the material of the above ground pool pads which would be selected has to be breathable and not trap water below it.

The other pertinent aspect is to ensure is that the best above ground pool pad is indeed the best and is one piece however big it would be. These above ground pool pads are manufactured to match and marry with the standard sizes of above ground pools manufactured to international standardizations. The thickness of the pool pad would also matter with most reputed manufacturers maintaining a 1/8 inch standard. This would provide the softness under the feet and also buffer the vertical weight of the water.

Check out the material that is used in the manufacture of the pool above ground pad which is generally limited to some of the best available which are Polypropylene geotextile, Geotextile, Tear-Guard weave and Polyester geotextile among some others. These are all strong, sturdy, tear resistant, mold and mildew protected but most of all they are breathable.

Taking chances by placing a substandard pool pad would not be in your best interests especially after paying a handsome amount for your above ground pool. It would be prudent to keep in mind that once you have filled up the above ground pool with water and installed the water filtration system the water and the pool would remain there for quite a long time. To ensure longevity of your pool and to enjoy it for a long time selecting the right above ground pool pad would be imperative.


Once you have brought home your above ground pool with all the required installation accessories including the water filtration system, pump and other additions take a good hard look whether you have missed anything. Prior to beginning installation ensure you have got everything because you would need to begin with the setting up of the pool before you would do anything else. One of the most important steps in the installation is the setting up of the base of the above ground pool.

Ensure that you have brought home the best above ground pool pad because on it would sit your pool where you would contemplate years of enjoyment, laughter, fun and frolic too. A substandard pool pad would dampen the zest that you had when you brought home your pool and that would not be the case if you choose wisely. Choose only the best above ground pool pad to sit your above ground pool because nothing else would do.