How much does it cost to fill in a pool?
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Fill In Pool Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Swimming pools can be a fun way to spend your time in the warmer months of the year. But if you have an older swimming pool that is not used or requires a lot of work or repairs, it may be time to remove it or fill it in. Removing a swimming pool can be done in two ways, depending on what you want to do with the area and pool type you have. This and the pool size result in a range of costs for the project.
The national average cost to remove an in-ground pool is $5,000 to $10,000, with most people paying around $7,500 for a full pool removal of a 12’x24’ fiberglass pool shell that needs to be cut into pieces. This project’s low cost is $3,000 for a partial pool removal of a 12’x24’ concrete pool. The high cost is $15,000 for a full pool removal of an 18’x24’ concrete pool with moderate landscaping.
Cost to Fill In Pool
|Pool Filling Service Cost|
|National average cost||$7,500|
Cost to Fill In a Pool by Type
There are two basic methods for removing a pool. The first is known as a partial fill-in, where part of the pool is removed and the rest is broken up and buried. This can be done for concrete pools of all types and some vinyl pools. The other method is a complete removal of the pool material, which must be done for fiberglass pools and some types of vinyl pools and can be done for concrete pools. Each type removes evidence of the pool from view, but partial fills must be disclosed at the time of a home sale and limit what can be done with the area later on.
|Type||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Partial||$3,000 - $7,000|
|Full||$5,000 - $15,000|
Partial Pool Fill-In
The cost of a partial pool fill-in is $3,000 to $7,000. Partial fill-ins remove the equipment from the pool and the lining for vinyl pools. The deck and edges of the pool down to about ⅓ to ½ of the walls are broken up into the pool. Holes are drilled in the bottom of the pool about 3’ deep to allow it to drain. Then, the remaining space can be filled in. This must be done properly to avoid sinkholes in the future, and the space cannot be built upon. You need to disclose that a pool was filled in and where if you sell the home.
Full Pool Removal
The cost of full pool removal averages $5,000 to $15,000. Full removal completely removes all the pool material before filling in the space and landscaping. You must have a full removal if you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool with metal walls. If you want to build on the area where your pool was or are worried about sinkholes, removing concrete pools using this method is a good idea as well. This method is more time-consuming than a partial fill-in. However, it usually gives more consistent long-term results.
Cost to Fill In a Pool by Material
The pool type you have impacts the removal cost because concrete and some vinyl pools can be partially filled, which is less expensive. Fiberglass and other vinyl pool types must be completely removed. Full removal is always an option for concrete pools as well. In addition, the pool age and area surrounding it may also impact how it is removed, potentially changing your costs. Below are the average costs to remove a pool for different materials.
|Material||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|In-Ground Vinyl||$3,000 - $10,000|
|In-Ground Concrete||$3,000 - $15,000|
|In-Ground Fiberglass||$5,000 - $10,000|
Fill In an In-Ground Vinyl Pool
The cost to fill in an in-ground vinyl pool ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. The method you use to remove your vinyl pool depends on its frame. They can have concrete, wood, or metal frames. If your pool has a concrete or wood frame, the liner can be removed, and you can partially break up the walls and do a partial fill. However, if the frame is metal, you need to completely remove it. This can be less costly than a complete removal of a concrete pool because the panels that make up the frame can be easier to remove than broken concrete.
Fill In an In-Ground Concrete Pool
The cost of filling in an in-ground concrete pool averages $3,000 to $15,000. The most common method of filling in a concrete pool is a partial fill. The concrete pool and deck can be easily broken up and left underground to keep costs down. By breaking up part of the pool, you reduce the fill needed to finish the project, dramatically lowering costs. However, in some cases, you may need to remove it completely. This can be more expensive, both to break up and remove the pieces and fill in the remaining area.
Fill In an In-Ground Fiberglass Pool
The cost to fill in an in-ground fiberglass pool is $5,000 to $10,000. Fiberglass pools must be completely removed. They cannot be partially filled in because of the material. There are two methods for removal. If the shell is in good condition, the entire thing can be lifted out in one piece. If this happens, it may be able to be reused, and your pool company may give you a discount. If the shell is not in good shape, it may need to be cut into pieces to remove. When this happens, it can increase the project cost. The more pieces, the higher the total costs.
Cost to Fill In a Pool by Size
The size also impacts the removal cost, and there can be a very wide cost range for several reasons. The first is the depth. A pool that is 12’x24’ and 6’ deep at its deepest will cost less to fill in than a 12’x24’ pool that is 12’ deep at its deepest end. The pool type, fill-in type, such as partial or complete, soil type, and whether you finish the area with seed or sod also impact costs. Therefore, you will see overlapping costs for pools of various sizes. Below are the average ranges for common sizes.
|Size||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|10’ x 20’||$2,000 - $10,000|
|10’ x 30’||$2,500 - $10,000|
|12’ x 20’||$2,250 - $10,000|
|12’ x 24’||$2,500 - $10,000|
|14’ x 28’||$3,000 - $12,000|
|15’ x 30’||$4,000 - $15,000|
|18’ x 36’||$5,000 - $16,000|
|20’ x 40’||$7,000 - $18,000|
Cost to Fill In a Pool by Material
The material used to fill in your pool also impacts the cost, but this depends on several factors. In a partial fill, your pool will already be partially filled in with broken-up pool wall and deck pieces. In this case, you do not need as much material to fill the remaining space as with a full removal. In addition, it is sometimes possible to cover the broken material with a layer of fabric, further removing the amount of material needed.
From here, you will use a mixture of stone and dirt, with roughly 80% of the mixture being fill and 20% being good-quality topsoil so that you can plant grass and landscape over the area.
In addition, you can fill most of the area with soil and backfill and then add a layer of concrete to create a patio area. The cost of each material depends on its quality and the quantity needed. Below are the average costs per cubic yard of the most common materials installed.
|Material||Average Cost per Cubic Yard (Installed)|
|Gravel||$5 - $8|
|Dirt||$8 - $12|
|Topsoil||$12 - $15|
|Concrete||$104 - $144|
Fill In a Pool With Gravel
The cost of gravel for a pool fill is $5 to $8 a cubic yard delivered and poured. This is not the preferred material for most jobs because it is difficult to compact it tightly. However, some people use it as a base layer to cut the costs of the fill. This can be done with partial and complete fills. However, you should not fill the entire space with gravel because it settles more easily. This can lead to things like sinkholes over time. By mixing the gravel with dirt or other materials, you can get the compaction necessary for a long-lasting yard.
Fill a Pool With Dirt
The cost to fill a pool with good-quality dirt averages $8 to $12 a cubic yard delivered and poured. Dirt is one of the most common materials for filling the pool. It is easily compacted and is not as likely to settle over time. There are different grades of dirt, including some that are mostly gravel and others with more fine qualities. Ideally, you want a good-quality dirt that is a mix of soil and gravel so that it can be easily compacted. This material should fill most of the pool, leaving 18” to 36” at the top for the topsoil. This is necessary for the landscaping you do later.
Finish Filling a Pool With Topsoil
The cost of topsoil for your pool ranges from $12 to $15 a cubic yard. You will use much less of this than the other materials. It will cover the top 18” to 36” of the filled pool. 18” is the standard for those planting grass, while 36” is for more intensive landscaping. If you choose to plant a tree, you may need to go even deeper with the topsoil. Topsoil is a richer, finer soil with fewer rocks and stones. It may also have more nutrients to nourish your new lawn and landscaping. Unless you plan on paving over the area for a patio, topsoil will be the final material added before the grass.
Cover a Filled Pool With Concrete
The cost of concrete to pave the top of a filled pool area is $104 to $144 a cubic yard delivered and leveled. This is much more expensive than soil, but you will need much less of it. Most people only pour a slab that is 4” to 6” thick, so you only need a few cubic yards to complete this project. You can only use concrete in this way to finish the area. It is not possible to completely fill the old area with concrete. This is prohibitively expensive and limits what you can do with the area in the future.
Cost to Fill In a Pool Breakdown
There are many project parts associated with filling in or removing a pool. This means that while you may receive a single bill from your landscaper or pool company, it can be broken down into different costs. Below is the breakdown of costs from the average fill-in for a 12’x12’ pool of various materials. Labor makes up the bulk of this project, including breaking up the pool, drilling holes, hauling away old material, and filling and compacting the site before finishing. Full removals and difficult-to-work-with materials will result in higher labor costs than partial removals or easy-to-work-with materials.
|Permit||$50 - $250|
|Material||$1,020 - $1,275|
|Labor||$1,000 - $4,000|
|Dumpster Rental||$200 - $550|
|Clean Up||$320 - $800|
|Landscaping||$450 - $5,000|
Steps to Fill In a Pool
Most pool removals have similar steps. The project can vary from pool to pool, but for the most part, there is a set project timeline that helps you know what to expect. The following are the basic procedures followed for most removals, but there can be variations based on the pool and project.
1. Drain the Water
The pool must be drained to help avoid sinkholes in the future. If the water contains chlorine, you must have the water drained and carted away because it cannot enter the sewer system or nearby environment.
2. Drill Holes in the Bottom
Holes must be drilled about 3’ down into the bottom of the pool. This allows rainwater to drain effectively in the future. Without this step, you could have a swamp in your yard.
3. Remove Old Equipment / Shut Off Plumbing and Electrical Lines
Your pool’s heating equipment, filter, pump, and other equipment need to be removed, and any plumbing and electrical lines feeding the pool area must be turned off before more work can continue.
4. Remove any Unnecessary Decking
Concrete, stone, and most wood decking can be broken up along with the rest of the pool walls. However, some types of decking and coping may need to be removed and disposed of rather than broken up into the pool.
5. Break Up the Remaining Decking and Pool Walls
Anything not removed will be broken up and tossed into the pool. This will go down 18” to 36” on the walls, depending on how deep the pool is.
6. Fill With Material
Your decking and pool walls will fill the bottom of the pool area. Then, gravel or dirt is added to fill in gaps and create a solid surface. This needs to be compacted regularly throughout the process to ensure that the surface is level and no gaps remain.
7. Cover With Fabric
Landscaping fabric is usually stretched above the dirt at this point. This helps the area stay level and avoids sinkholes or pool-shaped depressions in the yard as the years go by. This step is not always done, but it can be a good choice for creating a long-lasting yard.
8. Add Topsoil
The topsoil is put down last, filling in the last few feet. The more you intend to landscape the area, the thicker this layer of topsoil needs to be. Grass seed and sod need the least amount, while trees need the most. Speak to your landscaper about the recommended amount of topsoil.
9. Landscape Above the Old Pool
Once the topsoil is in place, you can landscape. Grass seed and sod are the two most common types of landscaping for this area. However, you can also choose to build a patio or deck, hardscape the area with rocks and gravel paths, or build a garden above it. This translates into different costs, depending on the project.
Conversion Ideas for a Filled-In Pool
While many people simply plant grass over the area where their pool was and turn it back into a lawn, there are other things you can do with the space. Keep in mind that you need to remove the pool and pool material before adding to the area. And in many cases, doing so requires you to completely remove it. You cannot build any structure on a pool that was partially filled in. The costs below are for removal and the new project that will take its place.
|Project||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Garden||$8,000 - $20,000|
|Deck||$10,000 - $25,000|
|Pond||$10,000 - $35,000|
|Greenhouse||$10,000 - $35,000|
|Sunken Patio||$10,000 - $35,000|
Turn a Pool Into a Garden
The cost to turn a pool into a garden ranges from $8,000 to $20,000. This includes the cost of filling in the pool and any plants, shrubs, walking paths, and other garden items you may want to add. Turning a pool into a garden is a fairly common project. This is especially true for homeowners who do not want a large expanse of lawn where the pool was but want some landscaping. The more elaborate the garden, the higher your total costs. In most cases, you do not need to do a full removal to garden there.
Turn a Pool Into a Deck
The cost to turn a pool into a deck is $10,000 to $25,000. This includes the cost of pool removal and building a deck there. To build any structure on the pool area, the pool must be completely removed, meaning a higher starting point for the project. The most common deck added to this area is a floating deck or platform deck. True raised decks are not normally installed at the distance from the home where the pool was likely located.
Turn a Pool Into a Pond
The cost to turn a pool into a pond averages $10,000 to $35,000. While your pool was a water reservoir, turning it into a healthy pond is not as easy as filling it with clean water and vegetation. You need to completely remove the pool and shell. Then, the cost to install the pond may include making the area deeper, depending on how deep the pool was. You may also want to reshape the area, refill with water, and plant appropriate vegetation and landscaping around the edges.
Turn a Pool Into a Greenhouse
The cost to turn a pool into a greenhouse ranges from $10,000 to $35,000. Any structure you want to build where the pool was means completely removing it. Otherwise, a partial fill may not support the weight. Therefore, to build a greenhouse, you need to remove the pool and level the area first. A greenhouse can be erected in the area where the pool was located. In some rare situations, you may be able to keep the decking and use it as a surround for the greenhouse to cut costs down.
Turn a Pool Into a Sunken Patio
The cost to turn a pool into a sunken patio averages $10,000 to $35,000. This will likely also result in the complete removal of the pool, although you may be able to get away with a partial fill in some rare cases. To create the patio, the area is only partially filled, and the walls are reshaped. The walls and patio area will then need to be covered in your patio material. Concrete is the least expensive method, while some kinds of stamped pavers and landscape pavers for the walls will be the most expensive. Costs depend on the material and overall patio size, depth, and shape.
Pros and Cons of Filling In a Pool
Most people who fill in a pool do so for a few reasons. It is not being used, is too expensive to maintain, or needs significant repair work to be usable. Filling in the pool eliminates any of these issues instantly. Having a pool can make a home more difficult to sell in some areas, so removing it can make your home more attractive. This is only a good idea if you are removing it entirely. If you opt for a partial fill, your home may actually be more difficult to sell because the land will have restrictions on it. You will also need to disclose that a filled-in pool is on the property at the time of sale.
Filling in a pool can also be expensive and may make it difficult to reverse unless it was completely removed. In a partial fill, it can be very difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to install a new pool there down the line if you change your mind.
When to Fill In a Pool
There are many reasons you may want to fill in your pool. If the space is not used, you still need to maintain it to prevent future problems. This can cost thousands of dollars, making the pool removal very attractive. The sooner you fill it in, the sooner it can start paying for itself by removing maintenance costs.
If it has leaks, cracks, develops untreatable algae problems, or you want to use the space for other reasons, you may want to remove the pool. Some repairs can actually approach the cost of a new pool. If you are not currently using it, removing it can be the least expensive option. In some areas, removing the pool may make your home easier to sell in the future.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Remove an Above-Ground Pool
Above-ground pools can be much less expensive to remove. Depending on the above-ground pool, costs start at $500. If you need to landscape beneath the pool once removed, your costs could be much higher, approaching $2,000 in total costs.
Filled-In Pool Landscaping
Most homeowners want to landscape the area where the pool was after it filling in. This may be as simple as putting down some grass seed or as extensive as creating a walled garden. Landscaping costs typically range from $500 to $5,000 but can go higher.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permit. You will need a permit for this project. Permit costs range from $50 to $250, depending on where you live. Speak with your municipality for more information.
- Hire a professional. Pool removals should not be done DIY. There are too many issues that can go wrong, which can dramatically increase the project cost.
- Resale potential. Many potential buyers do not want a house with a pool. Filling it in may make your property more attractive. Beware that if you do a partial fill, you need to disclose this, which may turn some buyers away.
- Restore a filled-in pool. You can install a new pool if you completely removed the old one. If you partially filled the pool, you need to completely remove it before a new pool can be put in. Once the area is entirely clear of any material, your costs will be similar to a new pool installation.
- Timeline. Partial fills can be done in 2 to 5 days. Complete removals may take longer, 5 to 7 days.
- Can you just fill in an in-ground pool?
Technically yes, although you will need to break parts of it up first to ensure proper drainage. Some materials like fiberglass also need to be removed first.
- Is it a good idea to fill in a pool?
If the pool is no longer being used, is in bad shape, or needs significant repair, it may be a good idea to fill it in.
- Can you restore a filled-in pool?
If the pool was completely removed, you can install a new one in that location. If it was partially broken up and filled in, you need to remove it first and then install a new one.
- Can you fill in your own pool?
This is not advisable. Many issues could go wrong and complicate the project. Always hire a professional.
- How long does it take to fill in a pool?
Depending on the pool type and size, the process takes anywhere from 2 to 7 days from start to finish. Partial fills generally take less time than complete removals.