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How Much Sand Do You Need for an Intex Pool Filter?

Intex pool filters use cartridges or sand to remove fine debris. Using too much sand will cause it to leach into the water, whereas not enough sand won’t get the job done.

Pool sand is often sold in 50-pound bags, so you should know how many you have to buy before installing the sand filter.

You need 25 to 100 pounds of sand for an Intex pool filter, depending on the tank’s size. A 10-inch diameter requires 25 pounds of sand, whereas a 16-inch diameter calls for 100 pounds of sand. Cover the center pipe when pouring the sand, then fill the rest of the tank with water after the sand.

Throughout this article, I’ll show you how much sand your Intex filter needs, what kind of sand you should use, and whether or not chlorine is necessary.

I’ll also talk about what happens if you put the wrong amount of sand into the filter. Let’s get started!

How Much Sand Does My Intex Sand Filter Take?

Here’s a quick breakdown of how much sand your filter needs:

Filter DiameterPounds of #20 Silica SandSand Bags Required
10 inches26 pounds0.5 bags
12 inches50 pounds1 bag
16 inches100 pounds2 bags
19 inches150 pounds3 bags

Intex pools last longer when you use the proper type of filtration. Head to the next section to learn how to find the best sand for your Intex sand filter.

What Kind of Sand Do I Use in My Intex Sand Filter?

You should use #20 silica sand in your Intex sand filter. It’s designed for swimming pool filtration, so you don’t have to worry about abrasive sand, loose particles, or lack of proper filtration.

The sand should be poured directly into the filter when the pump is off. Using the wrong type of sand can ruin your pool equipment.

I suggest using FairmountSantrol 20-Grade Silica Sand. These 50-pound bags come at a budget-friendly price and include chemical-free filtration.

The sand can remove oils, dirt, and most debris that enters the pool. You can also store this sand for as long as you need to without it expiring, so it’s perfect for sand filters of all sizes.

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Another option is ZeoSand. ZeoSand, also known as Zeolite sand, is a modernized version of silica sand. It filters almost twice as much as #20 silica sand.

ZeoSand (50 lb bag)

The major drawback — and the reason I prefer silica sand — is that Zeolite sand sometimes restricts the water flow since it filters so efficiently. You’ll have to backwash and clean the sand filter twice as often.

Pro-tip: Some filters can’t use Zeolite sand due to its fine filtration. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to know if your Intex filter can use Zeolite sand. (Twenty-grade silica sand is always a safe bet for any swimming pool filter.)

Do I Still Need Chlorine for My Intex Sand Filter?

You still need chlorine for an Intex sand filter because chlorine is a sanitizer. The #20 silica sand is added for filtration but doesn’t kill bacteria, algae, and other contaminants.

Failure to use a proper filtration system with a sanitizer will result in a cloudy, dirty pool. You can use tablets, liquid chlorine, or low-concentration chlorine powder.

So, why can’t you use an Intex sand filter without chlorine?

  • An Intex pool filter can remove fine particles down to 20 microns. However, it doesn’t remove the bacteria from the pool. These filters are great at removing dirt, hair, and everything in between, but they can’t sanitize the water.
  • Sand filtration is technically the least efficient of the three major filtration methods. Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, can filter almost twice as efficiently as a sand filter (especially a quad-DE filter). Cartridge filters can filter between 5 to 10 microns finer than sand filters. In other words, the sand needs additional sanitizing from chemicals.
  • If you don’t use chlorine, your sand filter will get clogged significantly quicker. The pump cycles the algae into the sand, which needs to be backwashed once every week rather than the regular once-per-two-month schedule for most Intex filters. Chlorine kills the algae; Without it, your sand filter is the only thing cleaning the pool.

As you can see, chlorine is more than necessary for every swimming pool. Even salt systems use chlorine because they convert the salt into useable chlorine.

Remember that too much filtration can be worse than insufficient sand. If you want to know what happens if you overload the filter with too much sand, read on.

Can You Put Too Much Sand in a Pool Filter?

You can put too much sand in a pool filter if it exceeds the maximum capacity. The sand should never go above the opened center pipe inside of the filter.

Failure to follow these guidelines will send sand particles into the pool, causing excessive cloudiness. The sand can damage the pool liner if it’s not removed.

Keep these tips in mind when filling an Intex sand filter:

  • Never pour the sand over the center pipe, or it’ll get into the plumbing.
  • The sand shouldn’t go too far beyond the middle of the tank.
  • Don’t forget to add a little bit of water before the sand to prevent it from getting too dry.
  • Fill the rest of the tank with water after adding the sand to soak the filtration system.
  • Always prime the pump after filling the filter with sand to replace lost water.
  • It’s normal for a little bit of sand to get into the water after filling the filter, but it should stop after a couple of minutes.
  • Vacuum excess sand from the bottom of the pool to return it to the filter.

How much sand do I need

You’ll need specific measurements and information to calculate the amount of sand you need for a pool project.

Here’s a general guideline:

  1. Base preparation: If you’re using sand as a base layer for your pool, the amount of sand needed depends on the size of your pool and the desired thickness of the sand layer. The typical recommendation is to have a sand layer thickness of around 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm).

To calculate the amount of sand required, follow these steps:

  • Measure the length and width of the pool area in feet or meters.
  • Multiply the length by the width to obtain the area in square feet or square meters.
  • Multiply the area by the desired sand layer thickness (in feet or meters) to get the sand needed in cubic feet or cubic meters.

For example, if you have a pool measuring 20 feet by 10 feet and you want a sand layer of 3 inches (0.25 feet) thickness, the calculation would be:

20 feet x 10 feet x 0.25 feet = 50 cubic feet of sand.

  1. Sand filtration system: If you’re referring to the amount of sand needed for a pool’s sand filtration system, it depends on the size and type of the filter. Sand filters typically require a specific amount of filter sand for optimal performance. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines or the filter’s specifications for the recommended amount of sand needed. It is usually measured in pounds or kilograms.

Consult the pool manufacturer’s guidelines or a professional for specific recommendations tailored to your pool’s requirements.

What is the size of my pool?

To determine the size of your pool, you will need to measure its dimensions. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Measure the length: Using a measuring tape, measure the distance from one end of the pool to the other along its longest side. This measurement represents the length of your pool.
  2. Measure the width: Measure the distance from one side of the pool to the other along its widest part. This measurement represents the width of your pool.
  3. Measure the depth: Measure the depth of your pool by measuring the water level to the deepest part of the pool. If your pool has varying depths, you may need to measure the different sections separately.

Once you have obtained these measurements, you can calculate the size of your pool. Multiply the length by width to find the pool’s surface area in square units (e.g., square feet, square meters).

Remember that this calculation provides you with the pool’s surface area but not its total volume. If you need to determine the volume of water your pool can hold, you need to multiply the surface area by the average depth or use a more precise formula that accounts for the shape of your pool (e.g., rectangular, circular, or irregular).

What type of sand do I need?

The type of sand you need depends on the specific purpose or project you have in mind.

Below are few common types of sand and their typical uses:

  1. Play sand: Play sand is fine-grained and typically used in sandboxes, play areas, and recreational applications. It is clean, non-toxic, and safe for children to play with. Play sand is usually washed, sterilized, and free from contaminants.
  2. Masonry sand: Masonry sand, also known as “brick sand” or “mortar sand,” is coarse and primarily used in construction projects. It is often mixed with cement and water to create mortar for brickwork, stonework, or other masonry applications.
  3. Pool filter sand: Pool filter sand is specifically designed for use in sand filters for swimming pools. It has a specific particle size and consistency, trapping debris and impurities from pool water as it passes through the filter.
  4. Silica sand: Silica sand is composed of small, granular particles of quartz. It is commonly used in industrial applications, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, ceramics, and sandblasting. Silica sand is not typically used for residential or recreational purposes due to potential health hazards associated with inhaling its fine particles.
  5. Beach sand: Beach sand is natural sand found along coastlines and beaches. It is often used for landscaping, beach-like areas, or decorative purposes. However, it is important to note that taking sand from beaches may be regulated or prohibited in certain areas to protect the environment.

When determining the type of sand you need, consider the specific requirements of your project, such as the desired texture, particle size, and intended use. Consult with local suppliers or professionals in your area who can provide guidance based on regional availability and suitability for your project.

How deep do I need to put the sand?

The depth at which you need to put sand can vary depending on the specific project or purpose.

Here are a few common scenarios where sand is often used and the corresponding recommended depth:

  1. Base layer for a pool or pavers: The recommended depth is typically around 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) when using sand as a base layer for a pool or paver installation. This provides a stable and level foundation for the pool or pavers.
  2. Play areas or sandboxes: A depth of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) is often recommended for play areas or sandboxes. This depth allows for ample sand for children to play and build sand structures while providing enough cushioning for safety.
  3. Underneath artificial turf: If you install artificial turf, the sand is sometimes used as an infill to provide stability and support. The depth of sand infill can vary depending on the specific turf product and manufacturer’s guidelines. It typically ranges from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch (0.6 to 1.3 cm).
  4. Beach or landscaping projects: When creating a beach-like area or for decorative landscaping purposes, the sand depth can vary depending on your desired aesthetics and design. It can range from a thin layer for surface coverage to several inches for a more pronounced beach effect.

It’s important to note that these are general recommendations, and the specific requirements for your project may differ based on factors such as soil conditions, intended use, and local regulations.

It’s always a good idea to consult with professionals, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, or seek advice from local suppliers to determine the appropriate depth of sand for your specific project.


  • Jonah Ryan

    Jonah has worked for several years in the swimming pool industry installing and repairing equipment, treating pools with chemicals, and fixing damaged liners. He also has plumbing and electrical experience with air conditioning, ceiling fans, boilers, and more. When he's not writing for Temperature Master, he's usually writing for his own websites, and

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