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How Much Does It Cost To Remove & Fill In A Swimming Pool?

Typical Range: $2,700 - $19,000

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Updated: August 30, 2021

Cost to Fill in a Pool

The average price to remove a swimming pool falls between $3,000 and $10,000. The cost to eliminate an above ground model averages $2,700. An inground unit can be extracted for $9,000 to $19,000 or filled in for about $5,000.

A homeowner may choose to scrap their swimming pool for a variety of reasons, whether for safety reasons, no longer wanting to pay for maintenance, replacement of an old model or for landscaping reasons. In any scenario, this is no small task. The job involves heavy-duty equipment and machinery, safety gear, city and/or county permits and debris removal. It's important to hire a pro for a removal project.

Pool Removal Cost Estimator

Average Cost$5,000
High Cost$19,000
Low Cost$2,700

Average Swimming Pool Removal Costs

The starting cost of removal is between $3,000 and $7,000 for an inground pool and around $2,700 for one that's above ground. This is the price range if it's easily accessible and small (10 feet by 20 feet) or medium size (15 feet by 30 feet), or you're only looking to fill it in partially. Larger, more complicated projects (20 feet by 40 feet or greater) can see a price tag of $10,000 or more.

cost to remove and fill in a swimming pool is $5,000 or $2,700 to $19,000.

Contractors will typically charge on a per-project basis for pool removal. If you're hiring someone on an hourly contract, be sure to discuss how long he or she expects the task to take because this will help you establish a firm timeline and keep your costs down.

Some city and county codes may require you to work with an engineer, especially in the filling stage, to perform density tests and submit a declaration that the area is safe and able to be built upon. The average price to hire an engineer is $500.

Above Ground Pool Removal Costs

Pools that live above the ground have a relatively simple process for teardown, averaging $2,700. However, if there is an intricate deck or landscaping attached or near the pool, those elements might warrant removal or redesign as well. For the pool itself, the elimination will involve:

  • Draining it with a sewer pump.
  • Unscrewing and unbolting the walls before tearing them apart with a hand tool.
  • Renting a dumpster or hiring a crew to haul away the debris.
  • Redesigning the space left behind, either with landscaping or a new structure like a patio. Building a deck costs most homeowners about $7,700.

If this type of project isn't new to you, you may be able to complete at least part of the process yourself and hire a pro to tackle anything beyond your abilities or comfort.

Inground Pool Removal Costs

There are two main methods for removing an inground model: demolishing it wall-by-wall or filling it in. Filling in is more cost-effective than removing it entirely. You can spend anywhere between $9,000 and $19,000 to physically remove a swimming pool, while covering one runs an average of $5,000.

The most common way to eliminate an inground is to conduct a backfill, either overseen by a licensed engineer or independently. This process requires:

  • Draining all the water.
  • Tearing down and removing the floor, walls, and materials, such as concrete, vinyl, rebar, etc. Concrete removal costs most homeowners between $500 - $1,500.
  • Smoothing over the filling with compacted topsoil.

Your pool's material will also impact the cost of labor:

  • Fiberglass and vinyl: These need to be cut before being dismantled and taken away, and are generally less expensive to work with.
  • Concrete and gunite: These are the most expensive materials to have removed, since they're heavy and need to be broken down before being taken out of the ground and off-site.

Using an engineered backfill is the most expensive option, but it also usually means that the city will allow a homeowner to build another structure on this area since it was done by a professional. Additionally, you won't have to disclose that a pool ever existed to prospective buyers.

Completing a full removal without an engineer is more affordable, but the area is not considered suitable for new construction once the pool is gone. Because a trained engineer was left out of the process, there may be debris left underground, dirt that was packed incorrectly, or drainage issues, which could make adding a new structure hazardous. For these reasons, you will be required to disclose the project when you put the home on the market, which could affect its value.

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Filling in With Dirt

Fill dirt costs between $5 and $15 per cubic yard. If your pool is 20 feet long by 15 feet wide, with a depth of 6 feet, you could be looking at roughly $340 to $1,000 to fill. Although it's a cost-effective choice, it can settle over time, which might make the ground above it less stable. For this reason, many people choose to use a mix of dirt and stone.

Installing a New Pool

Some homeowners remove a pool to replace it with a new one. Typically, the installation of a new swimming pool costs $17,000 to $45,000. People often opt for this choice when their existing one hasn't been properly cared for and is suffering visible structural damage, or they are looking for a more modern look or more economical size.

If your goal is to replace your pool, your project will be more expensive and take longer to complete than if you were simply taking one out. You should expect to pay added labor and material fees. However, you won't have to worry about filling in the space since you'll be installing a new one, which can save around $15 per cubic yard.

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Tools & Price Factors

The common tools involved include:

  • Excavator with rubber tracks.
  • Jackhammer or heavy-duty drill.
  • Sledgehammer.
  • Truck for pouring in fill.
  • Dumpster for storing debris and hauling it away.

Typically, a contractor includes these charges in his or her estimate. If this is a DIY project, it could run a homeowner up to $2,000 to rent equipment for a few days.

Another item that might add to overall price is access. If it's tricky to get the required equipment into your yard for the teardown, fill-in, and haul-off, then the cost of the project could rise substantially.

Pros & Cons of Removal

Pros

  • One benefit of removal is the elimination of long-term pool repair and maintenance charges. A conservative estimate adds more than $200 to your bills each month that your pool is up and running. In some locations, homeowners have paid as much as $700 a month to maintain the cost of a pool.
  • Other homeowners enjoy having more room in their backyards for year-round activities. Plus, it's not uncommon for water sources to deter home buyers, especially those with children, senior, or pet family members.
  • Removing a pool may increase your resale value to some buyers.

Cons

  • Unless done under an engineer's guidance, depending on your city or county's codes, you may only be able to landscape on the space.
  • Additionally, you'll have to disclose an engineered or partial fill when you put your house on the market, and that might turn some home buyers away.

Permitting

As with the installation of inground pools, there may be required permits or inspections before removal can begin. Permits can cost between $50 and $250 depending on the type of removal and the city's ordinances for each step in the process. This number varies by area, so it's very important to contact your local municipality.

Many contractors pull all necessary permits on behalf of their clients. If the specialist you work with offers to do this for you, it's still a good idea to be knowledgeable about what you need so you can rest assured that the hired professional doesn't miss any necessary legal steps.

Hire a Professional To Remove Your Inground Pool

DIY or Hire a Pro?

While this can be a DIY project for those with the necessary skills and experience, hiring professionals is recommended for proper and safe demolition. Necessary tasks involved including purchasing permits, calling for inspections, renting equipment, and protecting the integrity of your home are best handled by professionals. When you're ready to demolish your pool and get a few quotes, consider these questions:

  • Do you have insurance, and if so, what does it cover?
  • Does your quote include the cost and organization of obtaining permits and hiring inspectors?
  • Do you have experience with debris storage and removal?
  • Can you show me an itemized list for your estimate?
  • How long will this project take, and how many people will be working on it?

Even though removing an above ground pool is an easier process than an inground, it is still in your best interest to hire a professional to make sure this project gets done right. If you do go the DIY route, it may make sense to hire someone who can help you with restoring your yard afterward, like finding a professional landscaper, who can bring new life to the spot where the demo took place.

At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide if the cost of removal outweighs the price of keeping your swimming pool running. Fortunately, there are options available for most homeowners if you understand the process and are clear about your expectations.

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