The Homeowner's Guide to Swimming Pool Demolition and Removal

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Pool removal typically involves draining the pool, drilling holes in the bottom, demolishing the top, and filling the pool with the rubble and additional dirt soil. However, above ground pool removal is less complicated, involving just draining the pool, tearing it down, and hauling it away.

On average, it costs $6,500 to demolish an inground pool, and $2,200 to remove an above ground pool.


Removing your pool has many benefits.

  • You save time and money on swimming pool maintenance.
  • If you sell your house, it may increase the number of potential buyers and make your home easier to sell.
  • You no longer have the additional hazards and liabilities that come with pool ownership.
  • You have more yard space for other activities or landscaping opportunities.
  • If you have young children, removing your pool eliminates any potential safety hazards associated with pool ownership.

What are the different methods for removing an inground pool?

1. Partial Removal or Pool Fill-in Method

How it worksPartly removing and filling in a pool is the most common form of pool demolition. It involves draining the pool, punching holes into the bottom, demolishing the top layer of the pool (18" - 36"), placing the rubble in the bottom of the pool, filling in the pool with additional dirt and top soil, and compacting the soil. Unless your city requires it, the partial fill in can be done without the oversight of an engineer technician.

AdvantagesThis type of inground pool removal is often the most affordable option, and is also the fastest to complete (typically 2-5 days).

Disadvantages

  • This will be something you have to disclose to future buyers of the property, and it could affect the value of your home.
  • If this method isn't performed properly, there is an increased risk of sinkage, swelling, or lack of proper seepage.
  • A majority of cities consider the area of the former pool to be non-buildable, meaning no additions or dwellings can exist there. However, the area is still suitable for sheds, concrete, landscaping, trees, etc.

 

2. Partial Removal or Pool Fill-in with Engineered Backfill

How it worksThis partial removal method also involves draining the pool, punching holes into the bottom, demolishing the top layer of the pool (18" - 36"), placing the rubble in the bottom of the pool, and then backfilling and compacting. However, the fill-in of the pool is done under the supervision of an engineer technician.

Note: This method is typically only used when the city requires it, but if you're not confident in your contractor's skill, this may be a good route to take.
 

AdvantagesThis method is also a fast, affordable option, and has the added benefit of knowing the area has been properly compacted.

Disadvantages

  • This will be something you have to disclose to future buyers of the property, and it could affect the value of your home.
  • If this method isn't performed properly, there is an increased risk of sinkage, swelling, or lack of proper seepage.
  • A majority of cities consider the area of the former pool to be non-buildable, meaning no additions or dwellings can exist there. However, the area is still suitable for sheds, concrete, landscaping, trees, etc.

Full inground pool removal process

3. Full Removal with Non-Engineered Backfill

How it works: The pool is drained, and all materials (e.g. concrete/gunite, fiberglass, liner, re-bar, etc.) are removed and hauled away. The area is then filled and compacted without the supervision of an engineer.

Advantages

  • Although you will have to disclose that you fully removed a pool that was once on the property, it should have little to no impact on your home's value.
  • With no concrete buried in the old pool, the risk of sinkage and seepage is greatly reduced, even eliminated.

Disadvantages:

  • A majority of cities consider the area of the former pool to be non-buildable, meaning no additions or dwellings can exist there. However, the area is still suitable for sheds, concrete, landscaping, trees, etc.
  • This option is more expensive than partial removal.

 

4. Full Removal with Engineered Backfill

How it works: The pool is drained, and all materials (e.g. concrete/Gunite, fiberglass, liner, re-bar, etc.) are removed and hauled away. The area is then filled and compacted under the supervision of an engineer who performs density testing and submits a final engineer review declaring the area "buildable."

AdvantagesThis is the best method for maintaining your home's value. In the eyes of real estate and builders, it's as if the pool was never there.

Disadvantages: This is the most expensive option.


Find a local pool removal contractor


How are above ground pools removed?

There are several types of above ground pools; the removal process is basically the same for each (and much easier to perform than an inground pool removal). 

Generally speaking, hiring a reputable contractor to handle your above ground pool removal is the easiest solution.

However, if you're a do-it-yourselfer, here's how it works:

1) Drain the pool. The easiest way to do this is with a pump, and there is typically a sewer point within 100 feet of the pool.

2) Tear it down. Depending on the type of pool you have, this process will vary a bit, but it typically involves unscrewing bolts, taking a sledgehammer to the walls, and ripping them apart. 

3) Haul it away. Rent a dumpster or hire a junk removal company to get rid of the resulting debris, but be sure to recycle whenever possible. This will save on costs and help keep debris out of the landfill.

4) Repair the site. Once the pool is gone, there's going to be a patch of dead grass in its place (or in some cases, a layer of sand or stone). If a new pool is replacing the old one, this won't matter. But if you want to have grass in its place, your contractor might be able to assist in repairing the grass for a fair price. Be sure to ask!


Pool Demo & Removal FAQs

How much does it cost to remove a pool?

The cost of pool removal depends on several things, including:

  • Type of pool (above ground or inground)
  • Size of the pool
  • Accessibility of the pool area
  • Method of pool removal
  • The contractor you choose

Inground pools

The average cost of inground pool demolition ranges from $3,500 to $7,000 for a medium size pool with relatively easy access.

Be aware: Costs can rise to well over $10,000 for a large pool with a large deck and difficult pool access.
 

The average cost of complete demolition methods can increase to an average of $7,000 to $15,000.

Above ground pools

The cost to remove an above ground pool varies considerably, but it's generally significantly less than removing an inground pool.

TIP: Check out our Pool Demolition Cost Guide for real pricing information nationwide.
 

Find a local pool removal contractor


Do I need to get a permit before demolishing my pool?

That depends on your local government, but in many cases, a permit is required.

The cost of a permit may be anywhere from free to several hundred dollars, depending on your local municipality.

It's also important to note that many local governments have rules about how a pool must be removed.

  • Some may have zoning ordinances or codes stating that a pool must be completely removed, not just filled in.
  • If partial pool demolition and removal is allowed, there may be specific protocols on how the pool must be filled in

 

Can the heavy equipment used for pool removal damage my landscaping or underground services, like a septic tank?

Depending on the heavy equipment used to demolish your pool, damage can be done to landscaping, driveways, septic tanks, sewer connections, etc. 

This is why it's important to work with an experienced pool removal contractor. They will carefully consider how to gain access to the pool, and what size/type of equipment is best for your particular swimming pool and yard.
 
 

How many estimates should I get for my swimming pool removal project?

Inground pool removals are costly, so it's best to get more than one estimate and more than one opinion on the best way to go about the pool demolition project.

The estimate should be in writing and include details, like:

  • payment schedule
  • dates for project start and completion
  • who is responsible for obtaining and paying for any necessary pool removal permits

If swimming pool demolition is on your to-do list, Hometown is here to help.

Hometown makes it easy to find the most reliable and affordable pool removal contractor in your city.

In addition to screening local demolition companies across America, we also provide you with all the information you need to ensure your pool demolition goes smoothly. Let Hometown help you find the right swimming pool removal contractor.

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