How to Fill in a Pool

inground pool

Updated June 29, 2023

Filling in a pool is a great option for those who are looking to get rid of their pool without the price tag of a complete pool removal.

We’ll go over some of the most common questions when it comes to filling in a pool:

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Difference Between a Pool Fill-in and Pool Removal

The two primary methods to get rid of inground pools are partial demolition (commonly referred to as a "pool fill-in") and complete pool removal.

Pool Fill-In

This method involves removing only the top portion of the pool by breaking it off, throwing it in the bottom of the pool, and backfilling with gravel, dirt, and/or topsoil.

  • Pros: fast and inexpensive
  • Cons: more complications are possible compared to complete pool removal

Complete Pool Removal

This method involves demolishing the pool completely, hauling away all the debris, and then filling and compacting the area with dirt and/or gravel.

  • Pros: best option for maintaining or increasing property value
  • Cons: more expensive and takes longer than pool fill-ins

Keep reading: The Homeowner's Guide to Swimming Pool Demolition and Removal

What to Know Before Filling in Your Pool

Before reaching out to contractors for estimates on your pool fill-in project, gather some information about your pool.

Determine Pool's Volume

  • Measure the length, width, and depth of your pool in feet.
  • Multiply each of these numbers. The product will be your pool’s size in cubic feet.
  • Divide this number by 27. The quotient will be the cubic yardage of your pool.

For example, if the pool is 25 ft. long x 20 ft. wide x 5 ft. deep, it has a total volume of 2,500.

List Pool's Features

All pools are different, so it's best to have an understanding of what your pool is made of and how easy it will be for the contractor to access it.

  • Is your pool made of fiberglass or concrete/gunite?
  • Is your pool vinyl-lined?
  • Does your pool have ladders, stairs, or other similar features?
  • Are there any trees, fences, or other objects that would make accessing the pool with heavy equipment difficult?
  • Is there still water in your pool?

This is all pertinent information for your contractor; however, oftentimes, the contractor can discern all these things in person and provide you with a free quote within a day or two.

How to Fill in a Swimming Pool

Step 1: If there is still water in the pool, it is drained. If the water contains harmful chemicals, like chlorine, the water should not be allowed into storm drains or other areas that could lead to environmental damage.

Step 2: The bottom of the pool is broken up, or holes are punched into the bottom of the pool using a jackhammer or hydraulic tool. This will allow rainwater to drain properly in the future.

Step 3: The walls of the pool, the pool lining, and pool components (e.g. pool ladder, pool filters, etc.) are removed.

Step 4: The top layer of concrete decking is broken up and placed in the bottom of the pool.

Step 5: The pool is then backfilled with dirt, gravel, sand, etc. and compacted as it’s filled. Compacting as you go will ensure that the area does not settle.

Step 6: Once the pool is filled and compacted within about 6 inches of ground level, a layer of quality topsoil is placed on top so that grass and other plants can grow.

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Cost to Fill In a Pool

The average cost to fill in a pool is between $3,500 and $5,000.

However, while filling in a pool is a relatively routine project, costs will vary depending on a number of factors, like:

  • Size of the pool
  • Materials used to build the pool
  • Pool’s location
  • Complexity of the pool
  • Who you hire to do the work

Who to Hire to Fill in Your Pool

Filling in a pool is not overly complicated, but things can still go wrong if the job is not handled properly. That’s why hiring a professional to fill in your pool is always advised.

We recommend using a company that is experienced in filling in pools and is also licensed, bonded, and insured to perform pool removals in your area.

Get at least three estimates from three separate companies to ensure you choose the best contractor for the job without overpaying.

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Learn more about hiring the right contractor: