How Sturdy are Above Ground Pools?

how sturdy are above ground pools?

When you start searching for a new pool one of the questions you will probably ask is how sturdy are above ground pools? If you are debating between an inground and above-ground pool then there is no question that the inground pool is going to be much sturdier in general. Concrete pools lead the race as the sturdiest pool you can get.

This article is more for those who want to know which above-ground pool is going to be the sturdiest option within their budget.

Modern Above Ground Pools can Last 15-25 years when installed correctly and well maintained. Some above-ground pool manufacturers like Doughboy or Aqua Leaders provide long substantial warranties on their pools because of the confidence they have in how sturdy their above-ground pools are. Soft wall pools when given the right TLC through the seasons can last 3-5 years, these are products like Intex and Bestway.

I’ll discuss some of the concerns related to how sturdy are above-ground pools to hopefully answer some questions you might have. If you are concerned about kids jumping into your above-ground pool that won’t be an issue with most models and you can read about that here.

Do Above-Ground Pools Break Easily?

This is a bit of a similar question to, do buildings fall down easily? They don’t fall down easily when they are installed correctly and well-maintained. My stepmom’s family has had their above-ground pool for over 30 years because of the care and attention her dad gave it when he was alive and maintaining the pool. Above-ground pools do collapse though which can happen due to weather and poor installation usually related to the ground beneath and around the pool.

Sometimes models do come with defects and that is just the nature of manufacturing but the warranty will cover that. You’ll lose time and it will cause frustration but buying from a legit company won’t cost you if there is a defect.

How Often do Above-Ground Pools Break?

This is a tricky question because I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Above-ground pools do break but this is typically when they are at the end of their life span and there has been an existing issue with the pool structure for some time.

For example, a 15-year-old pool that has had a leak by the skimmer for the last 2 seasons and then collapses. Yes, the above ground pool broke, but it was quite old at that point and there had been an existing weakness with the leak that wasn’t taken care of.

But to answer the intent of your question, which is concern over your pool breaking. Examples like the one above can be found online, and many of these people who report the breakage have already ordered their next above ground pool to replace their old one. This tells me they were satisfied with the original sturdiness of the pool and happy with the product itself.

There are other anecdotal reports of pools breaking right after installation, and the most common issue is the soil around the pool from installation. Many people do take on above ground pools as a DIY installation project, which I think is fine. But, I see many instances where professional installers even make mistakes because certain soil can be tricky to place an above ground pool on.

Also, above-ground pools are not meant to be buried, there are only certain models of above-ground pools from suppliers like Doughboy and Radiant pools that are meant to be fully buried. If you bury a model that isn’t durable enough to withstand the forces on the outside walls, you are going to have a big issue on your hands and sooner than later your pool will collapse.

how sturdy are above ground pools?
Brand New Collapsed Summer Waves Pool, Most Likely a Defect Covered under Warranty

How Long do Intex Above-Ground Pools Last?

If you have proper installation, no defects, and good soil under your pool these soft-walled products like Intex will last 4-5 seasons. Honestly, if you look at the price of some of the large models of the Intex pools and compare it to the summers of fun you’ll get out of it, I think they are really incredible deals. Especially with how sleek some of the models can look.

These pools can have defects and issues though, so be prepared to take your time installing this pool correctly. Possibly even document your installation just in case there is an issue that you can prove it was the pool defect.

What are the Longest-Lasting Above-Ground Pools?

The longest-lasting above-ground pools are of course the aluminum, steel, and resin models. The soft walled pools like those mentioned above with Intex are only good for a few seasons. Decent hard-walled models of above-ground pools should last 20 years. To play it safe, you could budget your purchase like it is meant to last 15 years and anything you get after that is a bonus.

I mentioned the warranty for some of these manufacturers above and I think it’s really important to have a look at that before making your purchase. Also, if you pay to have the installation done through a local retailer if any issues come up from the installation that should be under warranty as well. I don’t believe the few thousand bucks you might save by installing it yourself is worth voiding the warranty on your whole pool. If the model breaks because of poor installation you did yourself, they aren’t going to warranty your pool and then you’ll be paying more out of your pocket in the long run.


The founder of I wanted a place to share all of the great information from my family to other pool lovers, builders, and those looking to buy a pool.

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