Do Over! The Cost of Removing an Inground Pool

Inground Pool Removal

When you install an inground swimming pool, the last thing on your mind is the possibility that you will have to get rid of it one day. This is especially true if you’re building a gunite or fiberglass pool that’s built to last for decades.

And yet the demand for pool removal is strong enough that there are companies that specialize in the service. Here are a few of the main reasons people decide to remove a swimming pool:

  • The pool needs extensive repairs/renovations that the owner can’t afford or simply doesn’t want to pay for
  • The space is needed for something else (possibly even a new, upgraded pool built from scratch)
  • The owners have lost interest in owning a pool, or sold their home to someone who doesn’t want it for whatever reason

So, how much does it cost to remove an inground pool? As usual, it depends.

What’s Involved

Unfortunately, you can’t simply backfill an unwanted pool with dirt and call it a day. With no way for rainwater to drain out of the shell, your old pool will quickly become a muddy, unstable mess. There’s also the possibility of the pool rising up out of the ground over time as the earth exerts pressure on it.

At a minimum, pool removal involves pulling up the pool deck and punching large holes in the shell to allow water to drain. Then the pool can be backfilled and landscaped over. This is the least expensive option, and may even be possible for an ambitious do-it-yourselfer with access to a jackhammer.

However, there are many situations where this no-frills form of pool removal isn’t desirable or even possible. For example, if you’re planning to build a structure on the spot, you’ll likely need to demolish or haul off all the old pool materials. Local laws may also have something to say about how much of your old pool you can leave buried in the ground.

The cost of a complete swimming pool demolition varies depending on the size of the pool, the exact materials to be removed, and whether your backyard offers easy access for heavy duty equipment. There are also price differences between different contractors, so the rule about getting multiple quotes applies here. Don’t be surprised if the cost is $10,000 or more due to the amount of labor involved.

A Deeper Dive Into Pool Removal

Regardless of whether your pool removal project lands on the cheap or expensive end, there’s one other potential “cost” to be aware of. We’re talking about the damage that pool removal could do to your property value.

The effect of a swimming pool on a home’s value varies from place to place, but in many cases losing a pool will have a negative impact (unless the pool in really bad shape, in which case getting rid of it could actually help). The last thing you want is to lose a bunch of equity in your home, on top of paying a hefty pool removal bill. Before filling in a perfectly good pool, you might want to confer with a knowledgeable real estate agent so you understand the consequences.

On the other hand, there’s at least one way to recoup some of the cost of removal. If some of your pool equipment is still in good shape, you can always sell it to the highest bidder – potentially fetching a significant price. There’s an active market for used pool equipment on eBay and other websites. That old pool pump of yours might fetch more than you think.

It’s natural to reevaluate your plans once you tally up the price of pool removal. You may decide that it makes more sense to put your pool in “low maintenance mode” until you sell the house. Or, when you compare the costs side-by-side, you may find it tempting to double down on your pool by remodeling. You won’t know what the best course of action is until you have all the facts.

9 thoughts on “Do Over! The Cost of Removing an Inground Pool”

  1. I see so many nice houses with nice yards….except there’s an in-ground pool right smack in the middle. I don’t want a pool, never have wanted one, and will never have one. I want the back yard to be earth…green. The kind of place that’s environmentally sound, where you can grow things, walk on it, play on it, sit on it. The kind of place that attracts birds and that will grow flowers and fruit. A pool ruins all that. I’ve never met a person who in the end was glad they had a pool. It’s pricey to install, costly to run, adds to liability insurance cost, and is a problem to remove. Not many people want pools, so altho they add to the value, the number of people who will buy your home is much less than if it didn’t have a pool.

    1. I’ve had a pool for 23 years. It’s beautiful, it makes my back yard beautiful and way more useable, and I love it. But, I have to agree that it can be a liability in terms of property resale value.

      But, the question is whether your home is about resale value or loving where you live. My back yard is very green – surrounded by trees and shrubs – environmentally sound, lots of flowers, it attracts birds and butterflies, I grow things, I can walk on it, play on it, sit on it. The pool costs about $400/yr to operate (including all chemicals, pump power, water bill, and professional closing.) It cost me about the equivalent of a new car 23 years ago, and it still runs great and is more beautiful than any 23 year old car that gets $400/yr in maintenance. I could check, but if there is any additional liability insurance I’m sure it’s trivial compared to car insurance. (Frankly, I haven’t even thought about it in over 20 years.)

      We’ve had great times with family and friends at our pool. In the end I’m glad we had it. Now that I’m 62, I might opt for a spa rather than a pool if I move. But, a pool would not dissuade me from purchasing a home I liked.

      The real issue with a pool is similar to that with a car – do you like it? If you’re a Corvette person a Dodge Caravan is probably not gonna do it for you. On the other hand, a beautiful pool is easy to fall in love with.

      If the difference between a home sale and no sale is a $10k pool removal allowance, so be it – that’s the price of the enjoyment I’ve had for 23 years. On the other hand, if you’re not a pool person, it certainly doesn’t make sense to own one.

    2. My pool is off to the right of the main back yard, it is on a slight enbankment. There is plenty of grass to play volley ball, kick ball or baseball.

  2. Just bought a house with an inground pool this past summer. Was the only house the wife and I could agree on as inventory was low here in the northeast and the time to move was dwindling. The pool had zero impact on our decision as we never had one in the last three houses we owned. What a PIA! If it was up to me I’d write a check today for 15K to get it all ripped out and filled in. The chemicals, the algae, Ph is off, this is too high, that’s too low, shocking it like every week(it gets sun all day). Had someone maintain it while we were moving as well as the rest of the summer as I had no time or experience. $90-150 a week to vacuum and add chemicals. So this year, I’ll be doing it all and for what!? A pool that at the most will get used twenty minutes a week even in the summer. Maybe I should get into radio control boats. At least then it would serve a purpose.

    1. I’m retired and in my 60’s, the cost of maintaining an inground pool should be no more than $200 a season, that’s not that much, the most important thing to do is to keep the filter cleaned, vaccum the pool, once you have all the winter crud up, vaccuming is minimal. Oh of course there is work involved but much more fun if you are a family and a person who enjoys entertaining!

  3. I found the house that I loved but it came with a pool. I have a 20×40 in ground cement pool. I have been have had a hate then love relationship with my pool of 17 years. I did worry about the pool when my children were small as well as their guests. Pool safety was taught to everyone who came to my home young and old. The first year I hated the extra work and worry over safety, the next year the cost of replacing equipment, then something beautiful happened. I learned to live with it. Just like teaching your kids how to drive and be safe and responsible on the road we taught them pool safety. Just like repairs on a car or house, we had to plan ahead for additional maintenance costs. Now, its part of the budget. Now, its just one more thing to clean (but I enjoy how relaxing it is to vacuum the pool and how it gets me to be outside now that the kids are on their own. I have an open house each Friday for whoever wants to stop by for a swim (my only rule is bring your own towel and snacks). Find the joy in having a pool. Do not fight it and you will be surprised how much you love owing one. I love the sound of the pool, the sun reflections, the laughter of our guests, looking at the sky as I float on a raft, the landscaping I do to enhance the pool beauty, the privacy and bbq and eating by the pool. Find the find the work side of taking care of a pool so you can enjoy it even more. So my advice is give it some time to grow on you and you may be surprised how much you love having a pool.

  4. Pamela Heimburger

    We bought our dream home with a dream of a backyard. When we signed a contract for purchasing and had an inspector come out it was still winter. We had an inspection but he could not check the pool with a winter cover on it and snow.. We were under the belief every thing was fine with the pool. When we took ownership of the house finally in June, we had professionals open our pool for us, since we had no idea how to open in ground pool. Our pool is an inground roman style on the small side. On the one end we noticed that the fiberglass pool is sligtly raised up out of the concrete. The following year that slightly went to about 1inch to 1 1/2 inch out of the ground and the pool separating slightly from the concrete. Pool is also buckling slightly on two sides of pool. (sand is wet and heavy pushing in on the sides.) The sand that is suppose to be supporting the steps is no longer supporting either end of the pool. Over all the pool does not look that bad. But I am not sure our pool could with stand another Northeast ohio winter. I know our pool is somewhere around 20 years of age. I found a company that fixes fiberglass pools, problem is – is it worth fixing a 20 year old fiberglass or are we better off replacing it, keep in mind we diffidently do not have money growing out of our ears. But we do love having our own pool. I do like the looks of fiberglass. Everything I read sounds like a advertisement for us to purchase their pool. How much longer would our fiberglass pool last if we spent the money on getting everything fixed including a few cracks that have developed. Or is it better to buy another- what last and is best for the buck? Please help if you have the answers, we are confused!

  5. Our situation is that we have an in ground, vinyl lined pool thats gotten old, and now we’re in our 60s. The pool needs a liner replacement. I was given a quote to replace the liner for $5000. An estimate to fill it in and plant grass is $7000. Now the decision is not difficult because the cost of operating the pool averages about $800 per year, (chemicals, electric bill, equipment replacements) Then the liner is good for 5-10 years at 5K per pop so thats another 500 per year prorated, to factor in. The safety cover is about $1500 and has about a 5 year life to remain safe another $300 per year prorated. A sand filter, a new pump etc can occur any time. Add a few hours of labor every week of cleaning and balancing chemicals, for about 29 weeks of pool season. Family coming over 5 times per summer isnt worth it, and neither my wife nor I got in the pool more than 3 times this year. I decided to fill in the pool, and plant a garden where it was. Would recommend buying a membership in a pool club if swimming is important to someone. It was ok for a short time, but is otherwise, its mostly a huge pita.

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