How to Add Water and your Skimmer to your Above Ground Pool 

WARNING - Read and follow all instructions in the actual owner’s manual and on the equipment. Failure to follow instructions can cause severe injury and/or death.


If you plan to use a garden hose to add water to the pool, check the metal nozzle to make sure there are no sharp edges that could damage your liner. If so, file them down or cover them with duct tape prior to adding the hose to your pool.

Start filling the pool with water (with the Shop Vac on if using one). When the water is no more than 1" deep, check if the pool is level. If water runs to one side, pull back the liner from the pool wall and make the ground level with sand or sifted earth.

Once level, continue to fill and adjust the liner as needed until you have about 6” of water in the pool so the liner is under weight and stretched to the proper position.

If using a Shop Vac, now is the time to turn it off and remove the vacuum hose from behind the liner. Remove any duct tape being used with the Shop Vac. Continue filling the pool, stopping to adjust the liner if any wrinkles develop. The liner cannot be shifted after the skimmer and return holes have been cut. You will want to adjust these as you go. 

Step 11 - 2

PRO TIP: Overlap liners should be monitored to make sure they aren't being overstretched. Once you have about 6” inches of water in the pool, you can release any tension on the wall vinyl by removing and reinstalling the Coping Strips one at a time.

Step 10 - 1

WARNING! Do not cut the skimmer and return holes in the liner until fully adjusted and the pool is 1/3 filled. Do not install faceplates, inlets, light fixtures, etc. until the water reaches 3” below the specific opening. Installing these items ahead of time may cause the liner to rip away from the opening as the water pulls down on the liner.




For this tutorial, we are using an Embassy Skimmer from H.I.I. manufacturer of  Doughboy Pools. 


  1. weir installation on an above ground skimmerAttach the weir to the skimmer.
    Locate The Simmer Weir and Hardware pack and find the 3 smallest screws. These will attach the weir onto your skimmer using a number 2 bit on your drill.
    On the weir, there are going to be 3 slots on one end. You'll line those up with the 3 holes on the inside portion of the skimmer's frame. The easiest way to do this is to insert the weir through the top opening of your skimmer and then line the weir slots up to the skimmer holes.

    Start by putting the first screw in the middle hole and tighten it using a drill or screw driver.

    Be cautious not to over tighten the screws as the skimmer and weir are plastic and can crack under too much pressure. 

    Add the reaming two screws.

  2. Attach the vacuum port cover to the skimmer faceplate.
    Locate the vacuum port cover and the 4th small screw from your hardware pack (also using a number 2 bit on a power drill).
    Secure the vacuum port cover using this screw to the very bottom of the skimmer's faceplate.
    (You'll notice the hole on the faceplate for this item is smaller than the rest.) vacuum port cover
  3. gasket installation on an above ground skimmerAttach Gaskets to the pool wall. 

    Locate the skimmer and vacuum port gaskets.

    These items are designed for the pool wall to sit in between the flaps of the gasket to form a seal and prevent leaks around the skimmer and cleaner port. 

    When putting gaskets on the pool wall, work carefully as the edges of the wall are sharp.

    After the skimmer gasket is on make sure all the holes on the gasket are lined up with the holes on the pool wall.

    Next add your cleaner port gasket to the smaller hole in the pool wall just under your skimmer opening.

  4. Prep the skimmer faceplate

    Using your fingers on top of the liner, locate the two top corner holes of the skimmer gasket from the inside of the pool.

    faceplate installation on an above ground skimmer

    Pre-punch those two holes in the liner using the screws provided.

    PRO TIP: Using a handheld screw driver for this can be easier than just trying to push the screw through the liner by hand.

    Once your first screw is through the liner, remove it and puncture the second hole, on the other top corner of the skimmer gasket.

    Make sure to remove the screws from these holes before continuing.

    Insert two screws into the upper two corners of the skimmer faceplate.

    Line them up with the two holes you just pre-punched, and press the screws into the holes you made.

    This will help keep the faceplate in place while you add the skimmer.

  5. Attach the skimmer to the wall

    above ground skimmer installationHave someone help you by holding the skimmer up to the outside of the pool wall and line up the top two corners with the ones on the pool wall.

    Secure the top two corners of the skimmer to the pool wall using a handheld or cordless drill.

    The skimmer should be secure enough on the wall so you can finish adding the rest of the screws yourself.

    The screw holes should be lined up perfectly once your top two screws are secured.

    PRO TIP: A good setting for your cordless drill (if using) is a 10, possibly an 11 if you're working on a colder cloudy day (the liner will not give as much when not warm).

    Don't tighten any of the screws until all the screws are in place. Once all the screws have been added, go back and tighten each one.

  6. Cutting the linerabove ground skimmer installation cutting the liner

    Next, you'll need to have a sharp razor blade or box cutter.

    Carefully cut the liner out from the inside of the skimmer's faceplate.

    Do the same for the inside of the vacuum cleaner port.

  7. Adding the skimmer accessories

    Add your skimmer basket into the skimmer and the lid to the top opening.

    Your skimmer installation is now complete!

    above ground skimmer installation



Hayward skimmer installation instructions

  1. If the SP1091E, Wide mouth extension, is not installed on the body, it must be assembled to the body prior to attempting to install the skimmer in the pool.
  2. To install the wide mouth extension, insert four (4) pan head screws 1” long through the lip of the extension and four (4) through the throat of the skimmer. Place the gasket between the extension and the skimmer body. Firmly tighten the screws.


  1. From the outside of the pool install the face-plate double gasket at skimmer cutout in the wall. Reach over the top rail of the pool and carefully press the face-plate and liner against the gasket and skimmer cutout in the wall. Punch out the two top corner holes using a blunt object. Insert two self-threading flat head screws (provided) into the top corner holes of the faceplate.
  2. Carefully push the screws through the holes that have been pierced in the liner and through the double gasket. From the outside of the pool, align the skimmer body with these screws. Lightly tighten the two screws.
  3. Using a blunt object, pierce the remaining holes in the liner. Insert and lightly tighten the remaining flat head screws through the face-plate, liner, gasket and into the corresponding holes on the skimmer. Firmly tighten all screws evenly, alternately left and right, top and bottom.
  4. Using the skimmer face plate as a guide, use a razor knife to trim only the liner, being careful not to the gasket, in the large
    skimmer opening.

HAYWARD RETURN FITTING INSTALLATIONHayward return fitting installation instructions

  1. The return fitting furnished with these skimmers is a SP1023. The hole required through the pool wall to install this fitting is 2.38±.03 inches. DO NOT CUT THE LINER.
  2. Place one rubber gasket over the threads of the return fitting adapter and push the threaded end against the liner and through the return cutout in the wall.
  3. Applying outward pressure to the return fitting cut and “X” in the center of the exposed liner from outside the pool. The return fitting will now be fully pressed against the liner and the wall on the inside of the pool. Using a razor knife, trim the excess liner material from around the fitting threads on the outside of the pool.
  4. Place the second rubber gasket and then the cork gasket over the threads of the return fitting now exposed outside of the pool. Screw on the lock nut and tighten.
  5. Screw on the adjustable directional ball fitting into the face of the return fitting from the outside of the pool. Position ball fitting opening away from skimmer opening. Do not over-tighten.
Note: On-going leaks from the skimmer or wall fittings may cause pool wall
damage that eventually may result in pool wall failure.


Continue to the next step: How to Secure the Vertical Supports on your Above Ground Pool 

Or view our guide on the 17 steps to installing your Round Above Ground Pool here


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