Sometimes a pool is just old, so what do you do with it?
If it adds no value to the property, as it sits, what are the homeowner’s options:
- remove it,
- bury it,
- cover it over with a deck,
- cover it over with dirt,
- renovate it,
- drop a new pool inside it,
- convert it.
Possibly the best answer is to remove the pool in its entirety. That means demolishing the decking, the walls, and any of the related material and transferring the debris to a waste disposal site.
It would be difficult to argue with this approach. It certainly makes good sense. The problem is that it is costly. It requires a demolition crew, likely a building or demolition permit and waste disposal fees based o the weight of the debris.
The next step would be to fill in the hole and landscape over top. This might easily amount to $12,000 to $15,000. However, once it’s done, you’re finished with it, and you don’t have an issue on resale.
After receiving the estimates for complete removal, homeowners will often wonder if there is a less expensive alternative. This time, just consider burying it. Here, the debris from the pool is going into the hole. So, this time we are avoiding waste disposal fees and trucking the debris to the waste dump.
Depending upon the municipality, you may still need a demolition permit. The decking will be removed, and the top part of the walls will be removed. The debris will then be dumped into the open pit.
The more expensive route will be to demolish the floor and the walls. This is the case with both concrete (including gunite) and vinyl liner pools.
The argument is that the presence of the old remnants of the pool will interfere with the proper drainage of the water on, off and through the site. This, of course, is true, but wasn’t that the case when the pool was in operation? So, why is it suddenly a significant problem now? Well, the solution from some pool demolition experts will be to spend another $1,000 to $1,500 and “do it right”. That means, of course, break up the pool.
If you would like to view a video, have a look at this:
Gunite pools are going to be very difficult to break up. Concrete pools are easier and more likely to have been susceptible to leakage. With vinyl pools, the usual route would be to break up the concrete floor, dispose of the galvanized steel walls to a scrap metal dealer and take the vinyl liner to the dump.
Cover it Over with a Deck
This is also a possibility. If you have a good pool, worth keeping, and you just don’t want it, why not just cover it up! This way, in the future, if you or someone else wishes to use it, then it will still be there.
This approach is often to construct a structure within the pool itself which will support a floor, basically a deck, on top. That makes good use of the area on top of the pool which would otherwise be wasted. In the southern climates, they use a wooden structure for this purpose, in northern climates subject to frost, this framework should be steel, fibreglass or concrete. So, it’s a little more expensive here.
Now, when you do go to sell the property, there’s quite a story to tell, and possibly the new purchaser will be looking for some guarantees. That’s a continuing problem.
Cover it Over with Dirt
At first blush, this does seem to be the quick and dirty approach. However, if you don’t remove anything, you are likely adding 6 to 8 inches of soil on top. This means you have altered the drainage in the area. If you have neighbours, this could be a problem. The subdivision agreement registered on title means that you are legally prevented from changing the grade. So, this works, assuming that you live on a 100 acre farm.
Drop a New Pool Inside it
If you have an old concrete pool or a gunite pool of reasonable dimensions and structurally in good shape, you may wish to consider dropping a vinyl pool inside. You will lose some space, but you will still have a pool. And, this approach could be considerably cheaper than renovating the old pool.
You could also use the one piece fibreglass pool, but they are quite expensive.
Don’t forget that you could actually renovate the pool, provided that structurally it’s in good condition. Replace the lines, marbleize the pool, replace the tile and coping and your old pool looks new again.
Convert it into a Pond
Sometimes, people are just through with pools. They don’t want to swim anymore. The kids have left home and the pool is no longer necessary. So, if you like landscaping, and a pond and wildlife, why not convert the pool? You had a pool and now you have a pond. This will mean bringing in asphalt and fill to top up most of the space. You will need rockery rocks, water plants, and maybe a nice waterfall. You may even need to buy some exotic fish!
If you are interested, then have a look at this pool to pond conversion:
Some Words of Caution
This can get expensive, so do it once and do it right. Get a reputable contractor. Interview several. Make sure you get building permits and demolition permits as required. Supervise the project daily.
Technically, this is committing waste under the mortgage, so you may also need your mortgagee’s consent. And, don’t forget about the neighbour, if you have to trespass on their property, make sure you hire a professional landscaper to come back and put their place in order, once everything is in order.
Enjoy the pool, the pond or whatever you have!
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker