Filling In An In-ground Pool
The story of our inground-pool removal, the cost to remove the inground pool, the cost to fill in the inground pool, the process of the inground pool demolition, and the how the inground pool was filled in and our backyard reclaimed! Hint: best home improvement project EVER!!
When we purchased our house seven years ago, the number one thing I did not want was a pool!
So of course, our house came with an in-ground pool.
For years I lobbied to have it filled in, always being vetoed by Hubby and Sonny-boy.
For the first few years that we lived here, Sonny-boy and his buddies would use the pool several times a week. While I disliked the cost and the maintenance, at least someone was using the pool.
Or at least that was the argument Hubby and Sonny-boy would give me.
And the truth is, I refused to clean the pool or add water to it, or prime the filter, or purchase the chemicals, or… well, do just about anything related to the pool. And yes, that did include swimming in it.
Over the years, Sonny-boy went off to college and Hubby was working insane hours so slowly it became my job to add the water so the filter would still run. I also scheduled the opening and closing and picked up after the pool guys. Slowly but surely the slippery slope developed where I was adding water, then chemicals, then cleaning the sides of the pool … pretty soon I could see that I would be vacuuming and skimming and that is when I put my foot down. We hired the pool company to do the weekly maintenance.
They were about $100 a week, but it was either that or marriage counseling, so the cost was negligible by comparison. And all this money was for something that was being used under half a dozen times a year!
Throughout this period, I was still lobbying hard to get the pool filled in. I figured we were spending about $3000 a year on a pool no one used! What a complete waste of money.
All of this came to a head last year (2011) when the pool guys could not get the pool blue. They would come out, clean it, add chemicals, etc, but no amount of shock was clearing the pool water. It turned out that our pool had become porous, and an algae of some-sort-or-another was living in the lining, and could not be removed. The cost to empty the pool, blast the sides, reskim, fix the one broken tile and redo the cool-decking was $15,000. Yup, FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! To fix a 35-year-old pool that probably didn’t cost that much to install originally.
When we first moved in, I had given a cursory look into filling in the pool, and that cost was approximately $10,000.
Hmmmmm $15,000 to fix a pool we seldom used + the $3000 yearly costs, versus $10,000 to fill it in and be done with the headache and regain a portion of our yard.
Seemed like a no-brainer to me!
Well, over the course of the winter hubby ruminated on the idea. I kept offering to get a few more quotes to fix the pool, and he kept putting it off. I suspected he was coming around to my way of thinking but wasn’t certain.
Three weeks ago, we had a clean-up landscaper over to quote spring cleaning yard work and trim the bushes that enclose our backyard (they are almost 16 feet tall and that is totally beyond us). During casual conversation, we mentioned the issue of the pool and that we only knew of one place that filled in pools in the area. He told us of someone he worked with frequently who specialized in pool-fill-ins, and gave us a name and number.
A few days later, the excavator stopped by, gave us a quote for $7,800 to fill in the pool and that included sod and resodding.
Done! Hubby checked references, and we signed on the dotted line.
Two days later, they were here and starting the work of breaking up the pool.
Max would like to help!
The final empty.
They moved in a small bobcat while the pool was emptying.
He punched hundreds of holes in the pool for water drainage.
Once he got an area weak enough, he’d start collapsing the exterior of the pool and the cool deck.
While no one else was amazed with the bobcat operator, I was simply astounded he didn’t dump the bobcat in the empty pool!
They had intended to fill in the pool with fill the next day, but as luck would have it rain was forecast and they were concerned that we’d have a mudhole in the backyard before the sod could be laid and the inspector signed off on the work.
So, the initial break-up work was done on Thursday, and they did not return to fill in the pool until the following Tuesday.
Some groundwater did sink back in, but we have a guarantee that if the fill-in sinks, they will come back next year and refill and resod the depressed area.
They covered all the sidewalks:
And the grass:
And then the dump trucks started arriving with the clean fill.
In all, we were told that the 10 rounds of trucks (two per time) were dumping 20 yards of fill each time … 200 yards of fill total.
The bobcat driver made himself a path that he kept driving over again and again. Not only did that allow him to reach the furthest end of the pool, but he was basically tamping down the fill as he went!
And they filled it!
After they finished filling in the broken apart pool with the clean fill, they added a layer of topsoil and screened.
The next day, Wednesday, our sprinkler guy (who is all sorts of awesome! Truly, I can’t recommend this guy enough. If anyone in the Buffalo-area needs a recommendation, you can email me!) came in to lay the lines, the inspector came to check the electric, they laid the sod, cleaned up after themselves (they were amazing!) and we now have this:
We had a heater and a sand filter in the garage, as well as electric for the pool lights, the filter, and pipes for the natural gas. That is all gone now too! They dumped the sand into the pool, wheeled that empty container out along with the heater, took all the pipes and the pool cover (a shame that could not be reused on another pool, but it is custom made). We now have a good eighth of our garage back which I am sure hubby will quickly fill with useless stuff.
Also, even though it is only April and the daytime highs are only in the 50s, we still need the new sod watered heavily. The sprinklers did this once in the middle of the night, and once during the day for a little over a week. It was soggy, but that sod grass has greened-up nicely.
All in all, for us, this was a wonderful experience. It took three days total to go from a useless, old pool to a wonderful green yard that we will enjoy thoroughly, especially when I consider we are saving thousands of dollars per year on not having to maintain a pool! If we had done this when we moved in, the fill-in would have paid for itself in three years. Oh well, hindsight is 20-20. I am just glad it is done and we can now enjoy the savings.
It is now a year later and I could not possibly be happier with our decision to fill in our pool. The picture above shows the area a year later, last week to be specific. Not only do we have more green-space in our backyard, we don’t have to deal with pool upkeep. We also no longer worry while on vacation that someone might enter the pool – regardless of how high the arborvitae, or how sturdy the gate lock.
All-in-all this is one of the best decisions we ever made for our homelife!
Update it is now 2018, six years later. It is still my favorite home renovation project to date. I cannot tell you how thrilled I have been to have so much of the backyard reclaimed, to not have the pool costs, to not have the worry of when we go away someone will fall in and hurt themself (and later sue us!). In all that time we have had one small depression at the shallowest point of the fill-in (go figure!). We only notice when we are running over it when playing with the dog. I again want to say how thrilled we are with this project, and the contractor who did it (he’s still in business, and I am still sending out his phone number to those who inquire).
Note: this post originally appeared on my old blog, Coupons, Deals and More
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I always wondered what it took to fill in a pool. Now I know! What a project!
Fortunately all I had to do was stand around and take pictures, but yeah, it was something!
Glad you finally got what you wanted! We installed an inground saltwater pool last summer, and it was very interesting to see how you fill one in, as I have only seen how one is built! Our costs are considerably less to maintain the pool since it is saltwater, but it is still a major job to keep it clean and operable. I can’t imagine we’ll ever want to fill it in, but if we do, it’s nice to know how much it will cost!
Molly if you have children or grandchildren, especially between the ages of 6 and 18, I think a pool is wonderful! The first couple of years when Sonny-boy was home, that pool was used a lot. Once he left it said mostly unused, just costing us money and yard space.
I hope you love your new pool!!
People should consider using minnows to keep the pool clean and forget about chlorine altogether. They live on algae and if one dies it is not a big deal, it will decompose and the algae formed will be eaten by the other minnows. This is OK for a family, not a public swimming pool.
I have finally convinced my husband to fill in our backyard in-ground pool. It’s not that big, I never wanted the maintenance and repair costs, not to mention the liability involved (we have a 5 y.o. and several small kids in the neighborhood). We live just outside the Memphis area– Germantown, TN– does anyone know a reputable company to fill in a pool in this area?
Hi Jess. I am in Germantown TN too! We just bought a house with an in ground pool. I am considering filling it in. Did you ever find a good company?
I live in Memphis/Raleigh and we have an 18month old and my 2 year old nieces live with us. We would love to fill our pool in and are looking for a good company. Just wondering… is all of the demolition 100% necessary? I was just thinking you could fill it in with dirt/sand/mulch and be done. Now that looks like wishful thinking.
Amber is does get filled in with dirt. The pool is broken up to make clean-fill, and then it was filled in with those 20 truckloads of dirt in the pictures above.
Awesome! Thanks for posting this! The pics were great step by step. We r buying a lovely home with a pool we dont want also. This will make the decision a no brained now. Thanks!
I came across this online..we have a old massive in ground pool they we need to get filled…having a hard time to find someone to do it..stupid question..were you able to walk on it right after? Was it safe or did you have to wait for dirt to settle? Sorry I know this was posted years ago? Just need advice…helpless in Ohio
Ann is this company still in business? I have an inground liner pool and I can no longer maintain it, can you give me the name and phone number please .
I never post to these sites but this is exactly the inspiration I needed. THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR SHARING WITH SUCH DETAIL.
how I wish I could fill my pool in….it has a leak and no one swims in it anymore, I tell everyone, get an above ground pool then when you are sick of it you can just throw it away
Wow, Ann, that was alot of work. I am glad you are so happy with it. Did you take the picture with your new camera?
That last picture was indeed the new camera, Candie. All the pictures above were from the Droid, Quite the difference!
Tamona Valentine says
Freaking crazy Ann! OMG I almost cried just reading it all. I need to do the same but I refuse. The house already aint worth a damn, if I take away the pool, it wont be worth a hot damn lol!
Tamona with all your kids I would think fixing the pool would be worth it! If nothing else just to get them out of your hair and into the great outdoor (or backyard in this case).
Little bout of illness but I am back. That is great Ann. Looks fantastic!! Upkeep of a pool totally is crazy especially for us in the colder climates. A friend of mine just bought a house here that has an in ground pool. I am personally not a fan of having my own pool. Too many worries. But they fun to have.
I am glad to hear you are feeling better, Liz.
You do know how to tell a story. I was stopping by from French Country Home and was riveted by this tale. I had no idea upkeep was so expensive.
What an amazing project! I have a new weekly link party which is live now and I would love if you stop by and link up this wonderful post! Hope to see you there! Hugs, Maria
Parent Club says
What a huge project.
Danielle Royalegacy says
I am glad that you are so satisfied with your backyard. I love swimming and would love to be able to. Where I live, a high desert in Southern California, we have so many bees that flock to any water source. It isn’t fun to have to battle the bees just for a little water fun.
Have a nice day.
Kristen @ My 3 Little Kittens says
That was quite a lesson & what a project it was!!! The grass looks great and glad there was a happy ending!
Sarah Halstead (@InTheMomentWith) says
That is so awesome! Yay! Looks great.
Thank you, Sarah!
We have an in ground pool and love it…of course we also live in the south and have five children 🙂 I had no idea how much work it took to fill in an old pool! That’s amazing. Your lawn is beautiful and looks perfect for lovely outdoor parties.
Thanks Marty. If we had 5 children (or grandchildren), we probably would have sucked it up and paid for the repairs.
Good for you for finally getting it filled in – especially with no one using it!
PS…I’ve always wanted a house with a pool 🙂 As long as hubby would do all the work!
LOL yeah … if Hubby or Sonny-boy had continued the work, I might have felt differently about it. Or not.
Smart move. I have friends who bought a house with a pool but was unusable and refused to have it fixed. This is NY so it was crazy amount of money for house they only used on weekends. So there pool sat with a tarp for years and both our kids were toddlers. I was always freaked out that our kids would run across the tarp and fall in to the pit. I think like you my friends argued a lot over the cost of filling in and finally my friend convinced her cheapskate husband.
And you are right, why have a pool if no one uses it.
That is crazy! A tarp? I’d have been a nervous wreck. We had a cover that a 200# person could have trotted across with no repercussions, and that made me antsy. But a tarp? With toddlers? Yikes.
This post was really interesting! I would never have believed maintaining a pool was that much, OR removing/filling! Your yard looks FAB! Lots of room to play! 🙂
Perhaps that I should be glad that I’m a working class sod who could never afford such niceties as a pool. It sounds like an awful headache.
Wow! What a job! It seems like more trouble to break up and fill a pool than to install one! Sad to see on the one hand because I grew up with a backyard pool and loved it. We live in the SE now and could literally keep a pool open from April through September. I’ve often wanted one to share with my four children…but your post gives me pause. Do I really want to rope myself into the cost and maintenance?!
My hairdresser keeps his pool open from April to September in our area. He doesn’t use his heater either. I think he’s nuts! Some people really do like pools though.
Wow, I had no idea it was such a process to fill in a pool! Great post I loved reading all about it and the pictures were great too!
Holy cow, how miserable! I’m glad you were finally able to get it filled. It looks fantastic now, a year later!!
It does Evelyn, and I am so very glad we did this!
Wow that looks like a massive job but the transformation is amazing
Wow! We may end up doing that to our pool. Like you sai, our kids used it when they were younger but now that they’re getting older (teens), they’re working and don’t have the time. Thanks for the idea.
Good luck, Joanne. The cost to redo the pool and cool decking just didn’t make sense for us. This was probably my favorite renovation of all!
Backyard looks wonderful!
We just purchased a house with a built in pool and we are also having it filled for $7,500,because we have small children and thought of them running out freaks me out, but that price doesn’t include sodding or refilling…. Can you tell me did yours sunk in after a year much? I’m debating whether to sod right away or wait a year we are doing this next week and I heard October was a good time to sod
Masha we had one little depression. We had a one year guarantee, but didn’t need it.
Realize it will be a mud hole depending on where you live if you do not sod immediately. As I understand it, October is an excellent time to sod. We did this in March/April, and had to turn on the sprinklers to make sure the sod didn’t dry out and die.
Good luck! I hope you are as happy with your decision as we were with ours.
Thanks for this helpful article. We made an offer on a great house recently. Unfortunately it has a pool that is in need of much repair. If the sale goes through, we plan on filling the pool. However, we’re not sure there is enough room to get big machinery into the backyard. Do you know of any other options if this is the case?
Izzy I didn’t think they could get the bobcat in our backyard either. Apparently they make a few different sizes, and that is a smaller one. They had to get through our gate with has less than a 6′ wide clearance while open. They talked about taking down part of the fence and then putting it back up, but in the end went with the smaller bobcat.
Good to know. Thanks Ann. This blog has been extremely helpful. I’m sure I’ll have a few follow-up questions if we end up getting the house.
One quick one for now: You mentioned you had a cover that could hold up to 200 lbs. About how much do those cost for a mid size pool? We don’t have kids, but we have large dogs that I don’t want to fall into the pool once its drained.
Izzy the custom cover is what you see in the first picture. The pool company comes out, measures and fabricates. They put it on at pool-close, and took it off at pool-opening. I “believe” it was around $2K, maybe a little more. We bought that seven years ago, so my memory may be a tad fuzzy and the prices probably have gone up. Our dog was the reason we purchased it (he was a 90# Samoyed/Irish Setter Mix). That and our arborvitae were quite short and we didn’t want to have to fish a deer out of the pool some fine winter morning.
Best wishes on your house purchase!
Ann, I came across your article as I was looking into the cost of doing this sort of thing. It stems from a house that I’m considering to buy, here in Boston. It’s got an old pool. As much as I love to swim (at the health club) and the feel of summer that a pool gives, I’m terrified at the thought of a neighbor’s child wandering into the backyard and drowning. (I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on it since I’m gone all day long and a few weekends too.) Thanks to your article, I see what would be entailed in filling in an the pool. By the way you have a great sense of humor…you’ll have to come and hang out at my next (non-pool) party!
Thanks Phil! My grandparents lived in Stoneham (until they passed away), and I still have a lot of relatives in the Boston area. I don’t get there as much as I’d like to these days, but I certainly remember the area fondly.
Best wishes on your new home.
Can you tell me the company you used to fill in the pool? I have heard of it costing up to $20K which sounds really high compared to yours and since you were happy with the work that is great as I prefer to go with a reference. I am looking at a house that has a pool and really don’t want one.
Elyse, this was two years ago, and in the Buffalo, NY area. If you need a name and phone number because you live in the area, drop me an email. I have the contract pulled, and so have the company name and phone number.
Thanks anyway… we live in the Boston area… I am sure there are lots of people here that can do it but are there any specific questions you can recommend asking?
We wanted to know how they would accomplish the fill in, was the pool going to be removed or crushed and filled in? What kind of fill and top soil would be used? What type of sod? What type of equipment needed to get into the backyard (then there was a discussion on what would fit, etc). Who pulls the permit? What exactly does the cost included? Copies of licensing and insurance. Warranty. How long will this take – will they be there every day (weather permitting) until finished?
If you aren’t familiar with contracts (either as an attorney or in business), you may want someone who is to read over your contract.
Depending on where you live in the Boston area, $20K may/may not be crazy price. It is going to depend on your yard (just thinking about my relative’s yards in first ring Boston suburbs, I KNOW it would cost more to fill a pool in their yards than the easy access of our flat backyard), the size of the pool, the area permits, etc. I do have to say that at $20K, I’d call more construction companies for quotes. If no one is listed as “filling in an in-ground pool expert”, call some landscapers or pool companies and ask if they have any recommendations. We found our company through landscapers.
Hi Ann! 🙂 love the post. I just emailed you a few questions!
I responded. Good luck!!
Thanks so much for posting this!! My husband and I are currently interested in buying a particular home, but it has a pool…which is so unnecessary for this part of the country and we have very young children. I was looking for possible costs of a fill-in…I had no idea they break it up first and leave the debris. The debris was left behind, correct? There was no risk of a sinkhole bc of cement displacement of soil?
I am not sure anyone can guarantee there is “never” a chance of a sinkhole anywhere, Mel. We’ve seen some crazy stuff on the news! But, leaving the broken pool debris in the hole, plus all the fill and tamped down soil, should make it a lot less likely.
Thank-you so much for providing the pool removal information in such detail. We are looking to remove as well, in South Carolina. We have a decent quote, but I was concerned as I have read that nothing can ever be built over a swimming pool demolition, and that the demolition has to be related to any potential home buyer in future. I thought perhaps a complete removal, with everything hauled away, would remedy that, but apparently not. I wonder if your contractor gave you any pros and cons relating to this? We are confused at this point.
I am afraid he didn’t, Annie. Since the old concrete is now clean fill underneath the demolition, anything deep (another pool) would definitely require the old material be excavated when prepping for a new in-ground pool. I can’t imagine what else you’d have a problem building on top of the old pool fill in though – clean fill is clean fill and used in all sorts of construction where something is built on top.
What did your contractor say about a complete removal? My guess is once they haul away the old pool, they’d have to haul in new clean fill anyway, defeating the purpose of what you are trying to accomplish. But that is just a guess. I would definitely ask.
South Carolina requires the disclosure of an old pool that was broken up and remediated when you go to sell the property? That is very interesting.
Annie, I live in SC too, in the Summerville area and need a pool fill-in. Have you found anyone to do the job yet? (I had a membership with Angie’s List but cancelled it when I found out I’d have to pay again, to switch areas after I moved here.)
Ann: did the little Bobcat not tear up your yard with all the to-ing and fro-ing?
No, it did not, Marika. They left the yard in better shape than when they got there. Everything was covered, they cleaned up all mud, debris, etc. We were very pleased.
Good luck with your search! If you can’t find anyone through a pool company, try asking a landscaper. That is how we found the company we used.
Thanks for showing this in great detail and what it took to remove your pool. I am also considering removing our money sucking pool that no one uses. It is old and needs repair and I just don’t see why we are keeping it. To remodel it… where I live could cost as much as 100k or more? I have been told that a pool adds resale value to your home, maybe a new beautiful pool will add that, not my old rectangle pool. It is also very costly here in California to remove a pool, city codes and fee’s to pay. But I appreciate the information.
Wow, Susan! I’d have to get $100K more out of my house when I sell it, or really enjoy that pool prior to sale, to make that kind of investment in a pool. Every time I see a new pool go in at a house in my subdivision, I just marvel. Some people really like their pools – and some people really don’t.
That is exactly what I need to do brilliant display of photos! I’ll be renting a bobcat later in the year to burry that fing money suck in my yard…..7 years x 2500 . Painful lesson there. Thanks for documenting your experience.
Good luck with your fill in!
Was looking up information to send to a friend who wants to do a fill-in and enjoyed your post very much. Back in 2011 we got an estimate of $25,000 to rehab our pool, which had a leaking liner and many other problems. We had already spent $5,000 on pool equipment (including a new sand filter and pump when we moved in) and maintenance in the previous years we’d owned the house. Because our pool wasn’t heated and our backyard is shady thanks to neighboring trees, we could really only use the pool between June and September. When I got a quote of $9,900 to fill in the pool, I said “sold.” We have a young son, but in our case, the pool either had to be completely rehabbed or we had to fill it – and with filling being less than half the cost of a rehab…and with us hoping to send our son to college one day…that pretty much made our decision. The fill-in took about a week and we rocked in the backyard instead of sodding (we live in the Southwest and feel like that was a better decision, water-wise). I got quality fill dirt and planted a garden right where the middle of the pool was, and we have enjoyed tomatoes and other vegetables instead of dealing with the pain of maintaining an old, crumbling pool. I think pools are great IF you have the money, desire and time to maintain them…filling in our pool was the best decision we have ever made for our home and I have zero regrets. P.S., we had the house re-appraised a year later and with no change in the real-estate market at all, the house appraised for $20k more than it did when we had the pool. Pools are a hard sell in our area, is what the appraiser told us.
Amy, I am so glad it worked out for you as well. Thanks so much for a southwestern cost perspective.
Hi Ann, About 3 years ago I purchased my house because it is completely handicap accessible and I needed those features to prevent my husband from going into a nursing home. He has since passed and I now find myself with an inground pool to take care of and way too much work for me. I would like to get an idea of the cost to fill in the pool and would really appreciate it if you could tell me who you had do the work. I live in North Tonawanda NY.
Phyllis, I emailed you the information about the company that filled in our pool. I hope they work out for you.
My condolences on your husband’s passing.
Your blog and pictures are most helpful. We moved into our home in 2005 and like you it came with an 18×36 inground pool that I didn’t want. Sonny Boys and Dear One used it. Dear One maintained it. This past November, youngest Sonny Boy had a friend over and his dog ran over the cover and fell into the pool. While hoisting out the flailing dog, the dogs nails tore holes in our liner. Water began draining overnight. We contacted insurance company and with local pool company’s quote of $5875 for new liner and install, we signed the estimate to proceed. Before signing I looked into filling it in but found the cost excessive (just under $10K), so we signed the agreement under protest. Over the winter, the water was all but out of the pool, we noticed the pool skirt separating from the concrete. We called local pool company and they said, nothing they could do until our ‘scheduled install date.’ May 24 they arrive and promptly walk off job saying they can’t install liner now. Pool structure is compromised. We insist for a meeting with owner and tech and have them tell us what the issues are and what options do we have? Snarky owner said – option 1 – repair pool structure (remove all concrete, dig down and tie rebar back into the wood siding (apparently the other pool company didn’t do this when they installed new walls for the prior owner!), and this most likely would cost more than installing a new pool at a WAG estimate of $27K. Dear One Hubby’s head almost blew off. I called insurance claim adjuster to tell her what was occurring. She said, ‘send me the quote.’ I told her that per the pool company – they will not refund the $2800 for the liner should we decide not to go forward… Claim adjuster was very kind and said, have them send me the proposal. So, all that to ask what you’re thoughts are? Do you think the claims adjuster would accept a quote to get the pool filled in? I’m ready to cut my losses and eat the $2800 on the d&@#M liner. My Dear One enjoys the pool and doesn’t fuss about the maintenance. My thoughts are – when selling this home, an inground pool added value is only $3000 and this is per a Realtor. My Dear One feels that the local pool company did not respond to his calls in Feb and March when he was seeing the concrete/pool skirt separate. He feels they are to be held responsible, but I think their agreement (which we signed) puts all the risk and responsibility on us. Drowning in South Central Pennsylvania.
Margie, that is a tough one. My suspicion on not returning the $2800 is that the pool company ordered non-returnable materials (or that is what they will claim), and that $2800 covers their OOP cost. I bet in your contract it states that somewhere… the deposit is non refundable.
As far as repairing at a cost of $27K vs filling in at a cost of $10K – that is a personal decision. Can you afford the extra $17K to make the repair? If so, will you get $17K worth of enjoyment from the pool in the the years that you continue to live in the house? Clearly an additional $3K on resale is a non-factor as your pool will keep away as many people as it attracts.
It all comes down to affordability and pleasure. If you can afford it, and love your pool, fix it! If you can’t afford the extra money to repair your pool and/or hate the pool and would like to reclaim the backyard space, fill it in.
Ultimately, you need to do what is best for you and your family be it pool, or no pool.
Best wishes on your decision!
I just got a quote to remove a 60 yr old kidney-shaped 20×40 pool, demo 40×60 patio and build new 16×54 lap pool with jacuzzi and new 40×60 patio…the bid is $130,000!
Did you need to obtain permits from the town you lived in? I live in the suburbs of Chicago and we need to remove our in-ground pool that is 47 years old. The Building Inspector is telling us village ordinance requires us to remove ALL pieces of the pool out of the ground. We can’t fill it in. Our first estimate is $30,000.00. Yikes. I hope we get a better quote. Any advise?
Holly, we needed permits in our municipality in NYS. I can’t imagine a Cook County municipality won’t require them too.
What is your pool made of that full removal is required? Since clean-fill will need to be trucked in to help fill the hole left by the removed pool, and the concrete from the pool is considered clean-fill, I do not understand the rational of a complete removal (only to have the same materials trucked back in). Is your pool not concrete and that is why they are requiring a full removal? Did you look over the village ordinance? Is that really what it says?
At $30K, what is the fix-it cost? How many quotes did you receive? I’d investigate this a whole lot more for that kind of cash.
S. Denise Pendleton says
Thanks for this information. I have just recently been thinking of filling in my 16 x 32 in ground pool. I have thoroughly enjoyed it in the past, but I’m getting older, I live alone, and have just recently lost my job due to downsizing due to the economic situations in our area. I thought this would be the year that I would have enjoyed the pool to it’s fullest extent as I am only working part time. However, I’m having liner issues and I have not been able to get the water clear for the past two months. This is causing me to be anxious, disturbed, and depressed.
I had no idea where to even start looking for the solution to this problem. I had to keep the pool closed for two years once before so I would do a remodel/overhaul due to the old liner getting torn in a tornado when the winds picked up lawn furniture and put them in the pool. I had to take out a second mortgage to get all those repairs done and that was fifteen years ago. I then got another new liner about 4 years ago.
Do you know of anyone in the Jeffersonville, IN area that would be a good place to start for getting bids for this type of work? I would appreciate the information if you should happen to know of any one in this area.
I know that with the income I have now there is no way I can continue to keep operating the pool even for this summer. Much less in the years to come unless some source falls from the sky. I know I won’t win the lottery because I can’t afford to buy tickets! Well it’s not that–I’m just not a gambler!!
Disturbed and Depressed Denise
Denise I am so sorry for your misfortune. I do not personally know of a company in your area. However, I found my company by asking our landscaper! I’d start dialing local landscapers and ask who they know that fills in pools. There probably will not be many locally, so once you get those bids you will be able to make the hard decision of repair or fill-in.
Ashvin Kalyanaraman says
I read your blog and thank you for being diligent and posting all these pictures. One question, I have is my town stated that once the demolition is done, we cannot leave the concrete debris in it. The town inspector stated that the hole should be all clear of debris before it can be filled in. But in your photos, I do see that the fill was applied on top of the concrete debris. The town inspector stated that he would not allow to proceed for the filling step, if the hole still had debris. Any thoughts you have and experience around this would helpful to me.
Ashvin, ask your town what the rational is for emptying the hole. Once empty, you have to have clean fill trucked in, then fill with dirt. So why take away clean fill (the concrete of the pool), just to truck in different clean fill? Unless your pool is made of something that they deem to not be clean fill? Or is for some crazy reason your town only wants dirt?
You’ll have to ask your local inspector for the whys and wherefores in your community. If this post and all the wonderful emails have taught me nothing over the last few years, it is that municipal codes vary widely in the United States.
Ashvin Kalyanaraman says
Oh yeah that is true, even my neighboring town, the rules are different and they allow to keep the concrete debris inside the pool. But my town does not. I do not know what is the reasoning behind their comment. I can ask them again. My pool is a Vinyl pool so not sure why they wouldn’t deem it as clean fill.
That very well could be why, Ashvin. Concrete is clean-fill, I am not certain if vinyl would be considered so. Please let me know what your inspector says! I really am interested.
Iwona Dylewski says
My grandparents live in Surrey, BC and they have a pool in their backyard. At this point in their lives its unsafe for them to own a swimming pool as they can slip and fall. What is the procedure of removing a pool and costs associated.
Looking Forward to your email.
Sandy Luss says
I’m buying a house in Marilla that has an in ground pool that I would like to have removed. Was wondering who you had do the work on your pool.
Thanks for posting. I bought a house in 2012 and the pool was supposed to have a new liner and be in working order. The actual day of closing, after packing and renting a uhaul she was finally able to open the pool and show it to us. Completely destroyed. I’m now kind of stuck as a single mom with either a pool that doesn’t work or to fill it in. I don’t have money for either so had a loop lock cover over it. Well we just had the craziest weather and ice accumulated on the cover an fell in the pool. I’ve just had it!!! I need to either fix it or fill it. Sad to see it costs so much to fill 🙁 I’m on Long Island NY so I’m sure it will be a lot like everything else sadly.
Now that it has been a few years since the fill-in, has the ground over the pool sunken in at all? Can you tell there was ever a pool there? My husband and I are considering purchasing a home that has a filled in pool. Thank you!
No, Pam, you can’t tell there was ever a pool there. We too are looking for a new house, and while I don’t want one with an inground pool, knowing I can easily fill it in has opened up our search – because I know we don’t have to keep it, we can easily, and relatively inexpensively, fill it in.
If you look at the “after: photo, you can see how it usually looks (we had terrible snow mold in 2015): backyard lawn.
nina johnstone says
thank you so much for the pool fill-in info. I have had exactly the same experience for the last 10 yrs or so with the pool except that in the beginning it was me who wanted a house with a pool. however, being from the northeast and now living in tx, it is just too hot to use the pool. for the last 5 years neither of us has used the pool more than 2x. it is also as 35 yr old pool and needs $10k plus of work not to mention the chemicals all year, parts maintenance, and yes, the work.
finally convinced the hubby he could have an awesome outdoor kitchen if we just filled the darn thing in. this should be good ammunition to add to the debate.
Good luck, Nina. I wish I had gotten an outdoor kitchen out of the deal. 😛 But seriously, this was the BEST renovation project we have ever done on our home.
Your blog was very informative. My family has lived in our home for 28 years. My husband and I have 4 kids who grew up swimming in our 20′ by 40′ pool with their friends every summer. We are in the foothills of South Carolina on 2 acres of heavily wooded land so we could only use our pool from Memorial day to Labor Day. My husband had a stroke 2 and 1/2 years ago and he was the one maintaining the pool with the help of our 3 sons. My children have all grown up and moved out and I am considering filling in the pool because it attracts snakes, mosquitoes and small animals if it’s not treated with chemicals on a regular basis. We now have two very loud bullfrogs living in it. This is a lot of work for me since I work part time and am my husband’s caregiver the rest of the time. Reading the explanation of your renovation and all the informative questions and answers has given me a lot to think about. Thanks for all the information.
Best wishes, Maureen!
Hi Ann. Did I understand that you are from the Buffalo area? I can’t wait to get rid of my pool. Who did you use?
I sent you an email with the information.
K McGill says
It was interesting reading about pools; pros and cons! We had one for about 30 years; cost $3,400 to install way back then! Had it filled in about 5-6 years ago…removal cost, with extensive landscaping was $16,000. Haven’t missed it one little bit! We live in London, Ontario, Canada. It was a landscaping firm that did the “removal”…the cement bottom and the cement deck stayed crushed at the bottom of the pool; the vinyl liner and metal behind the vinyl were taken away. Last year, and again this year, we have a small sink hole in the grass. Our property is on sand. We were able to recoup a bit of $ by selling the heater; sand filter; and kreepy krawly pool cleaner. By the way, not one of our 5 labrador retreivers enjoyed swimming!
K, do u think leaving the cement in the ground has caused problems? I’ve heard mixed opinion on whether to remove everything or leave broken concrete as backfill.
Thank you, Ann, for this info. I am also considering having my 40+-year old inground (gunnite) pool filled in. I live in northern NJ on a quiet cul-de-sac, on a lovely and heavily shaded property (which means in order to enjoy the 38K gallon pool, I absolutely must heat it–which is expensive!). My children and grandchildren are in California and rarely able to come east, and I haven’t used the pool much in the last years. I swam in the pool 3 times last summer!
The pool needs to be replastered (ca $17K all in), and the deep end skimmer leaks and needs to be repaired (ca $1200-1400). The cost of filling in is roughly half. It’s a no brainer.
I really appreciate your detailed account of your pool removal, and especially all the photos. My pool looks very much like yours used to–but older. I now have a better idea of what to anticipate.
I will make sure to ask my pool removal company to cover the grass on the path back and forth to the pool site. They will also use a small bobcat to get into the yard.
Thank you again for your info and thanks also to all those people who have commented. I feel more confident about my decision to go ahead and remove the pool.
Good luck with your fill, Enid. It is – without a doubt – the BEST home improvement we have done. I hope you are as happy as we are with your fill-in!
Thank you, Ann.
If the next owner of the house wants to put in a pool, they will have to either remove the concrete fill from the site of the former pool, or choose another location. A filled-in pool must be disclosed to prospective buyers.
Who knows, in this neighborhood, my 95-year old home may be a tear down!
we just filled ours in last month. haven’t got new sod planted due to a couple logistics issues but you can walk on it as soon as they’re done. they say there may be slight settling after rain but it is pretty well compacted. right now it is very muddy since we recently had rain but hopefully when we get sod down it will be terrific. glad we finally did it. I can send a couple pics if you’d like.
Ann, your post about this project is spot on!
We are facing the dilemma of whether to fix the pool or remove it. With two young children and the depressing thought of having to spend $2K+ a year on maintenance for a pool that is likely going to need total replacement in 10 years, I am heavily leaning towards REMOVE.
I found a contractor who provided an attractive quote and am looking to have an engineer certify soil stability. Any updates on your project or things you wish you’d thought of?
Good luck, Emily.
No updates – it is years later and I still say it is my favorite home improvement project – EVER!
I had my concrete pool removed almost two years ago at the end of 2016. I had the area sodded, since my yard is very shady, and it would have been a challenge to establish a decent-looking lawn. It has been a relief not to have to think about pool maintenance and renovation. The area that was sodded is still a slightly different shade of green, but it’s becoming less obvious as time passes.
I’m happy to say that I would make the same decision all over again, with the benefit of hindsight.
Thanks for the update, Enid. It’s encouraging to hear!!
Gerry Martens says
Thanks for all the information, pictures were very helpful. We have the same issue but still Is a big decision. The comments from others were very helpful too.
Mary H Morales says
I am single senior living houston, all my children have moved out . i am left inground pool, drained pool to clean and before we could filled pool up again our area was hit hurricane and causing pool to rise up on one end, I need to fill it in
I am not sure how old this string is, but the bulldozers are in my yard adding clean fill to what was my in ground pool! I was Googling to see how long I should wait to sod. I wondered about the ground settling. Your story is incredibly similar to mine. I finally put my foot down. SO much time wasted caring for this thing not to mention money and space for peripheral equipment. It looks like you did sod right away. Any lessons learned? I am so thrilled to be doing this. Donna
Gerry Martens says
We had our inground pool filled in in February, 2019. We have had lots of rain so our contractor needs to do the finishing touches & bring in more clean fill dirt & sod. That being said, since we have had so much rain, it has given the new dirt time to settle. I think whenever it drys up enough so they can work there we will go ahead & sod & plan on watering lots this summer to keep it growing. I’m glad it’s done, even though it was a hard decision, we are older, kids are gone & great-grandchildren live out of town, it was a lot of work & expense to have it & it was a 30 yr. old pool. Can’t wait to see my nice green lawn.
Sandra Spaderna says
Two years ago I had my gunite pool filled in. Grass now is showing outline of pool. It is very dry and we
need rain, but why is the outline of the pool showing the shape of the pool in the dying grass?
Is it the concrete particles in the dirt that was used to fill the pool in? The shape of the pool is obvious.
Hopefully it will go back to green once we have some heavy rain.
Sandra, I’d call whoever did it to come back and give you more clean-fill and redo the grass. There does not seem to be enough clean-fill + compressed dirt in your pool fill in. Ours has never shown any type of indentation.
Wow we filled in our in-ground pool for 75$ we rented a pump to remove water then we got bricks and cement blocks that had been left and dirt from the country and filled it in our selves best decision
Hi Ann….we came across your post when we were searching about filling in pools. We have a 40 year old 35,000 gallon gunite pool that we either have to put much money into fixing it due to age, or fill it in and use the space for something all year round (i.e. we’re thinking a small container house for office or guest house). Being that we’re in NJ, we only use the pool 2 months out of the year. I reached out to two contractors I found while searching on the internet for companies that specialize in filling in pools to get estimates and neither one got back to us : ( Would you be willing to share the name of your contractor that you used….by the looks of your blog and pictures, they did a fabulous job! Thank you!
My contractor is located in the Western New York area. Unfortunately, that will not help you.
Start dialing landscapers for names. They know who will fill in a pool. Hopefully, that will result in more than the two names you already called.
Really helpful and interesting. I assumed they would take away the cement they crushed up. Someone warned me that I would have to disclose it to any potential buyer because they can’t build on top of it. Have you heard this before? I long to get rid of my expensive pool, but wonder if I have to wait for an expensive repair to move forward.