How to Fill in Your In-Ground Swimming Pool

In my case, my in-ground pool was in need of some costly repairs, so my wife and I decided to fill in the swimming pool. Hiring a demolition company to do the job can also be very costly. In the range of about $5000 – $8000, as I found out. So we decided to tackle the job ourselves. This is a step by step process of how we did it.

This project is for avid do it yourselfers. Make no mistake. It is a physically demanding job. However, you will save thousands of dollars. First of all, be safe filling in the swimming pool. You must take every precaution to be safe as with any do it yourself project. Always wear ear and eye and face protection. This is simply a step by step account of how we did it.

Let’s get started! Drain any water that may be in the pool. Disable all power going to the pool.

The first thing I had to do was go to the City where I live and get a permit to perform the demolition of the pool in my backyard. This permit only cost me about $35. The City simply wants to make sure that the pool will drain sufficiently once you fill in the pool.

Next, I had to punch holes in the bottom of the in-ground pool to allow for drainage. You don’t want a big mud bog or standing water that will breed mosquitoes (or other creatures). To accomplish this, I rented an electric jackhammer. I made a series of holes close together near the drain at the deep end. Then using a sledge hammer, I began to break through the concrete. The rebar that is embedded makes this a little difficult, but just keep working on it. Every time I exposed the rebar, I would cut it out with an electric grinder with a 4 inch abrasive wheel. Keep hitting the edge of the hole you created to make the hole bigger and bigger. I made the hole in the deep end of the pool about 3 feet by 3 feet. Make sure you go deep enough to the underlying dirt.

I also dug a trench across the shallow end of the swimming pool as well as punching several random holes in various places. I wanted to make sure the pool would drain with no problem.

Now to break up the pool. After a couple of good rains and running some water in the pool, I was confident that I had good drainage. I notified the City that I had completed the holes. They then sent someone to inspect it and gave me the OK to start filling it in.

I began breaking up the Cool Decking around the pool with sledge hammers and jackhammer. (My wife also got out there frequently to swing the hammer, I was impressed. This activity will keep you in shape, that’s for sure.) Throw all of the broken pieces into the pool as well as any rocks, bricks, broken concrete you want to get rid of. I also put out the word to all of my friends that I needed some filler and to bring anything they have as well. You need bulk at this point to fill the bottom of the pool.

I chose to cut about a foot off the top edge of the pool. I had to cut deep enough to cut the rebar in the wall. A concrete saw was used for this. I also used a walk behind concrete saw to cut the concrete and rebar going around the top edge of the pool. (All tools rented at Home Depo or anywhere that rents tools). I made these cuts about 8inches apart. This makes it a bit easier to break up with the hammer. I simply throw all these pieces in the swimming pool as well.

After all of the concrete demolition of the pool is complete, now I needed dirt and lots of it. I found a great resource. Craigslist. If you look under the Free or Materials section, you can find people or construction companies looking for places to dump their dirt. Some will dump it for free. Just keep looking, you will find what you need. I found a guy that not only brought me about 8 loads of dirt, he also had a tractor that he brought over to level it all out, photo. It cost me a whopping $350.