In-ground Pool Demolition and Removal

Why did I get rid of the pool?

The pool was becoming a PITA.  It required almost daily cleaning due to the immense number of trees that surrounded it.  If any one chemical was off balance, everything else fell out of line and it sometimes took days (and many more chemicals) to get it back in line.  There was no heater, and there was too much shade to allow a solar cover to be really effective.  We had no backyard at all because the pool took up almost the entire property.  Not to mention, we only used it a total of 3 days this past summer.

I received a few estimates on removing the in-ground pool and decided I’d better try and tackle it myself.  Every estimate I got was over 5k, and they all had pretty much the same plan of attack.  Surely I could do this myself and save tons of money,  right?

I called my brother, Mike, and a friend from work, Jake, to help with this project.

Pool before pool before 2

Weekend 1

First, we drained the pool using the current pump.  I bought a really long backwash hose and ran it out to the sewer.  After pumping all the water, I removed the vinyl liner and threw it away.  I removed all the plastic return and skimmer fittings as well as the light fixture that never worked.

Draining Draining 2 Draining 3

Liner removal Liner removal 2 Liner removal 3

Weekend 2

Next step was breaking up the concrete at the bottom to allow drainage.  I naively thought that a few guys with sledgehammers could easily do this.  Jake took 1 swing with the sledge and nothing happened.  Not even a crack.  So we rented a jackhammer from Home Depot.  We broke up the bottom of the pool and also broke up the concrete decking where it attached to the steel frame.  The concrete slabs were connected by steel rebar, so we had to cut through that also.  The concrete slabs were then dumped one by one into the bottom of the pool.  It took all three of us to lift them up and tip them into the pool.

Breaking up the bottom Breaking up the edge Breaking up concrete

Breaking up concrete 2 Breaking rebar Dumping slabs

Dumping slabs 2 Dumping slabs 3 Breaking concrete 2

Weekend 3

The plan was to remove the steel lining as best we could.  We decided to cut it about 18 inches down from the top all around the perimeter of the pool.  Now we could remove the steel in sections by just cutting the supports where each piece butted together.  We cut the supporting braces and removed some small bolts.  I did most of the perimeter cutting with a circular saw and a metal cutting disk.  Later on in the project, I discovered that a reciprocating saw with a metal blade did the work much faster.  I purchased a new reciprocating saw and finished cutting out the steps.  I took the steel to a scrap yard and got about 50 bucks . . . we used that to buy pizza and beer for the workers 😉

Removing steel Removing steel Removing steel

Steel gone Steel gone 2 Steel gone 3

Weekend 4

I put some ads on craigslist for fill dirt, but all of the hits I got required me to haul it away myself.  Since I had no way to load it or transport it, I started calling trucking companies.  The first place I called (MU Trucking) seemed promising and said they could have some dirt to me in 2 days.  When that day arrived, I waited for a call all morning.  I finally called them around noon and they had misplaced my number.  He said they would be out as soon as possible.  I called them back around 2:30 and the guy said he was still trying to get a truck lined up and he would call me back shortly.  Never heard from him again.  Wasted a whole day.

The second company I called, RKE Trucking, was extremely helpful on the phone.  They also promised to be out in 2 days with 4 trucks of dirt.  I got a call first thing in the morning saying they were on schedule and the trucks would be showing up shortly.  I had originally thought that I would move this dirt myself with Jake and Mike helping.  Another bad assumption on my part.  This was a lot of dirt, and not just dirt, large pieces of clay and huge rocks.  After they dropped off the dirt, one of the guys asked me if I had a skid loader.  I told him no, and he suggested I call their office if I wanted some help moving this dirt around.  I called that afternoon and they gave me a quote on 4 hours of bobcat work plus they could call in more dirt if needed.

They had a guy out the next morning to move that dirt into the hole.  We ended up needing 3 more loads of fill dirt and 1 load of topsoil.

No seeding yet, as I think its too late in the fall.  First thing in the spring I’ll get this thing seeded and hopefully be cutting the grass by May.

Just before the fill First few loads First 4 loads

RKE moving the dirt RKE moving dirt 2 Grading it out

Grading it out 2 Flat Flat 2

The total bill sits at $1369.  That includes a few tool purchases, the jackhammer rental, and the work from RKE Trucking (8 loads delivered and 4 hours of labor).  A far cry from the estimates I was given from people originally.

Jake and Mike helped out tremendously, and I know that good labor is hard to come by.

14 thoughts on “In-ground Pool Demolition and Removal

  1. Pingback: O RLY?! » Pool Demolition

  2. What a project to take on! You guys did an awesome job…Papa was no doubt guiding someone’s hand on this job! Your kids will appreciate having this back yard to play in. Good choice to remove the pool! Love you guys!

  3. Super Job !

    Amazing what some detailed planning and some added “bull work” can do to accomplish a money saving goal !!!!
    You guys make terrific team.
    John, Aunt Laurie was right, Papa must have been looking out for you from up above! You ‘re reminding me more and more of him everyday. If he wanted to accomplish a task, he’d study his options, prepare his plan of attack, organize his work force, and methodically plow through the task with excellent results.

    Reward all your helpers including Lucy and Shellie and above Abbey !

  4. John,
    Thank you very much for your info and photos to show how to dismantle and in-ground pool. The property I bought has a in-ground liner pool that the former owners neglected and it is an eyesore like you’ve never seen. I have been wondering how to fill this in and reclaim the beautiful flat property it is taking up.
    I really appreciate your sharing this info with others!
    Just wish you and your crew was for hire in the Reading area! LOLOL!

  5. Thanks for the play-by-play, as I have a similar project in the works at my house. Not to rub it in or anything, but my job won’t be quite as grueling, since we have a vinyl liner with a wood frame, not concrete and steel. I think. :/ I’m going to forward this link to my husband because we didn’t know we could hire someone to operate the bobcat, and that would be very helpful! Thanks again, and great job!

  6. Thank you sooooo much for breaking it down, and explaining the procedures you took to dismantle an inground pool. Yours was the only one I found to be truly helpful in understanding the detail that this project will entail. The images that are also included just made things even more clear, and to actually see the process is even more exhausting but worth it to have a backyard.
    Thanks again!

  7. I am entertaining the idea of removing my inground pool. I’ts well past time for new plaster, but instead of spending the money on that I am thinking about removing it. Like you, I was assuming that me and about 7 guys could just wheelbarrow the dirt into the backyard – since it’s very tight and I don’t have much room for a bobcat. Now I realize, I might just have to factor in bobcat space. Did you notice any sinkage over time? Or was it compacted very well?

    Thanks for posting.

  8. Thanks for the great information with details on closing your pool. I am right in the middle of doing the same and was stuck on how to remove the metal frame.

    I too checked on the cost of hiring a crew to do the work and it was going to be many thousands of dollars.

    I just hope my completion turns out as well!

    Appreciate you very much!

    John in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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  10. Like others have commented, your article clearly explains the process that most of us are interested in. Do you have a company that performs this type of work. If so, would you please email to me your name, telephone number and email address. Thanks.


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  12. Had ingrained pool for 23 years. Husband has ALZ. can no longer deal with it. I WANT IT GONE! Obviously WE cannot do the work. How does one find someone who does? HELP please!

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