How to remove an inground pool yourself

jazzygardener(z4 MN)April 19, 2009

My husband and I removed our in-ground swimming pool ourselves & saved a lot of money. Ours was over 40 yrs old though you can't tell that by the pictures. We used a box cutter to remove the liner, then took a cutting torch to the metal frame and finally used a bobcat to fill in the pool. It took about 128 yards to fill our 16 x 32 ft pool. My husband jackhammered the concrete from around the pool and we used it to make raised bed gardens. When you flip the cement upside down and stack it it looks like flagstone. After the gardens were done, we filled them with good top soil and I planted away. It was a lot of work but, well worth the effort.I only miss the pool when it hits 90 degrees then I run through the sprinkler and the thought passes.

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With all due respect,
It hasn't been that long since you filled in the pool yourself, so you really aren't aware of the long term effects of your DIY swimming pool fill in.
I saw a professional outfit do this for a client on TV, and it was very involved.
There are so many considerations to take into account.
Drainage for one thing, ground settling over a long period of time, you wouldn't believe the work it was.
If you sell the property, please tell the new owners what you did, if you don't they could sue you for nondisclosure.
Remember, it will affect your neighbors also, and many counties require a permit with inspections.
If there are people reading this that may consider it,
please think twice.
Have professionals at least give you advise and speak with your local government as to the county requirements for swimming pool excavation work.
I hope you don't have any major damage to your home from this in the future, because I guarantee you your home owners insurance company will not pay a dime to you when they find out you did it yourself. (they use any excuse they can, believe me).
Good Luck to you years from now.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:31AM
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jazzygardener(z4 MN)

Removing the swimming pool ourselves wasn't an easy process but, it was well worth the effort. However, we checked with our local builing inspector before we proceeded. The yard was filled with a layer of topsoil before we planted and there isn't a drainage problems as the gardens help with that. It's in better shape then when we had the pool. We've received alot of praise for our back yard gardens. I'm a member of our county horticultural society and plan to put my back yard, and gardens on the next garden tour. We've created 7 raised bed gardens which are a better benefit to wildlife then our 40 year old pool that used up chemicals and water on a daily basis.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:30AM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

it looks better, that is for sure, and a LOT less maintenance!

it will probably sink in some over the next year or two, but another load of dirt will take care of that.

i don't see how it has to be disclosed that it was removed, not like this is an oil tank or something. there are no voids that could collapse, just teh potential for a depression where the new dirt settled in. though you may want to call teh tax office and inform them it was removed, as i bet dollars to donuts they were charging you for it on your property taxes!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 5:41PM
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jazzygardener(z4 MN)

I agree,our yard looks much better then when we had our old swimming pool. We now have beautiful wildlife gardens that attract lots of birds and butterflys. You're right this doesn't have to be disclosed,(not that I'm hiding it).That's nonsense.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 2:53PM
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First, thanks for your tips on removing an inground pool with a liner! My husband and I have been trying to get rid of ours for a few years, but the cost of removing one is just as, if not more, expensive than putting one in! Now that it has been at least two years since you removed your pool, do you have any issues with drainage? I'm thinking when we fill in our pool, our neighbors should benefit since when the pool was installed all the dirt removed from the pool was used to regrade our backyard making it sit higher than everybody elses! Also, removing it and regrading the back yard to its original grading, should benefit the foundation of my house!
Did you have a cutting torch on hand, or did you rent it? If you rented it, where did you rent it from? Home Depot in Michigan does not rent them and I don't know where else to look.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Hi, Jazzygardner,
We have a liner pool and have had enough. We have to remove it (cost and pain in the neck), we just don't have money to spend with children going off to college, getting cars and the like. We saw you removed your pool yourself. Could you give us step by step instructions as to where to begin, and each phase we can do ourselves to save money? We intend to check with our county next week as to regulations and would like to begin this spring before the weather gets too warm and it becomes a mosquito nursery. We live in Georgia. Thank you for your assistance.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Jackie312 - OMG it's like we're the same person. I'm in Arkansas and in the same boat. So...Did you ever find more information about removal? My concern is how to get rid of the metal sidewalls. A cutting torch? I'm pretty sure I'm not using one of those!!!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:22PM
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@KW & Jackie, We live in AR and had a 18x36 inground pool that was probably 30 yrs old. Once our kids left for college, we never opened it again; when getting ready to put the house on the market, the pool man said replacing the liner & fixing the pool would cost about half as much as a new pool, (also realtor said pools do not add value to a home when it comes to resale, however, that was definitely a feature that sold me on the house), so we decided to take it out. It had a slide, diving board, steps. Fortunately, my husband can do anything, so he took a backhoe and busted the concrete around the pool and basically just buried it all in the pool including the pump. He did dig up the stuff that made the floor & sides of the pool (gray clay stuff under the liner) to the dirt so drainage wouldn't be a problem. Then hauled in two loads of dirt to level it off. We do not live in city limits and our house was on 5 acres, so that wasn't an issue for us. I'm guessing if you lived in a subdivision in the city limits, there might be some regulations so not to mess up draining for close neighbors. I would look for someone who does dirt work with a backhoe for my first estimate as it might be cheaper. There was a neighbor who filled his pool in with dirt then poured concrete on top. When it rains, water sits on top of his concrete where the dirt had sunk in the middle. That's another option, but would make sure you waited long enough for the settling of the dirt. Hope this helps some.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Well, we did it. It was a record-breaking 100+ degree summer here, so we took SEVERAL weekends, but here is how we managed, along with some hints:
Step 1, Concrete & rebar removal (1 person, 3 Saturdays) This could have taken only one weekend with the proper jackhammer. 80 lb worked twice as well as a 60 lb. Plus, rent it from a company who's not open on weekends, and you'll get a better rate for a weekend.
Step 2, Metal braces and metal wall removal, (2 people, I lost count on the Saturdays.) Again, proper tools! We didn't have a great sawsall or rotary cutter and went through probably 20 blades. We cut the metal about 2 feet down, all around and found someone to haul it off as free scrap;
Step 3, Remove posts. (1 guy, 2 Saturdays - one to dig them out, one to pull them out.) For some reason there were about 15 4-foot hollow posts standing filled with concrete around the pool that had been under the concrete. We pulled those out with a tractor, but had to dig them out first.
Step 4, Fill (1 guy, one Saturday). We hauled in a load of donnafill, and had to spread that out across the pool manually b/c it ended up all on one end of the pool.
Step 5, Level and fill some more. (2 guys, 2 Saturdays) We hired a friend with a decent tractor ($40 an hour) to scrape the area surrounding the pool, level the ground a bit. Then brought in two loads of fill dirt, again our tractor guy spread that out and scraped some more.

We haven't had rain here in two months, so we're letting that settle before we top off with topsoil, but right now we have a flat backyard at a cost of just over $1000.

My husband did 80% of the work himself, which is why it took 3 months+, plus we skipped a few weekends and most he only worked one day of the weekend. Poor fella. Was it worth saving $4000? Maybe, but having him work out in the heat, I'm not so sure. There were days I thought about just hanging it up and calling someone in.

Good luck to any of you who undertake this. It's much harder than it looks. Don't do it in the summer.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 11:09AM
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