If you were wondering what to do when all the pools are sold out and the weather is still getting warmer, you could beat the heat with this simple, cheap pallet pool, big enough for you, the family, and the rest of the crew.
The size will be based on the pallets you salvage. For our family’s build, it was roughly 10 feet wide by 24 feet long.
Most of the materials were sourced from my garage that’s been storing job site leftovers.
It helps to be picky about the pallets you choose for the cleats, as they will be used as the primary method of assembly, so be sure to inspect the inside. I use a custom pallet bar that I welded from scrap metal and a chainsaw bar cut in half. Avoid driving the nails or cutting them, it makes cutting them further painful and dangerous as well.
If you have trouble removing the nails from the cleats after removing the boards, don’t be discouraged: some are easier than others. A few simple tips for unclamping cleats, use a table-mounted vise to clamp a flat bar or similar claw/blade. Use it as if it were your hammer. You’ll save your back by using the entire cleat as a point of force on the nail instead of the short length of your hammer. Kick the nails before you pry them out, this can help break the mechanical bond formed by the adhesive they receive at the factory.
For a minimalist approach, if you don’t have a tool trailer lying around, just these essential hand tools and a few power tools can get the pool built.
Mark Four corners of the perimeter where the walls will sit, double-check the pallets you sourced with this physical layout then start by clearing out the ground within the four corners; remove the grass and any rocks, leveling out any noticeably high spots.
Now you can prep your walls. Nail ice and water to one side of the pallets followed by the synthetic underlayment; this was my solution to ensuring the tarp didn’t bulge through the gaps in the plank walls when filled also prevents the pallet from sitting damp and dark. Connect the walls first at the base with the angled legs, half of a leg in one wall, the other half in your next fence, then drive rebar through the legs into the ground. Add a joining cleat at the middle section of each pallet in the same manner as the steel angle legs.
Next, start to fill the interior with sand and foam; just sand will work as well if you don’t have auto foam eating up real estate in your garage. Now line the inside with the house wrap; this acts as a vapor barrier sealing and separating the underpayment material from the liner.
Next, add the tarp start at one side work your way down; be sure to leave enough material to expand into the bottom corner of walls taking the leftover at the top, roll the excess liner in the top joining cleat. This prevents the liner from pulling into the pool from the weight. Use the strap to run around the entire outside of pool walls, about halfway up, and if you want a little deck around it, pallets cut in half are just the ticket.
Now you can fill your pool up and start researching filter options, ECT. Be sure to check with local code and ordinances for your area’s exact specifications for pools.
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