A pool removal is a major undertaking. One can remove an unwanted swimming pool and reclaim the backyard for another purpose. These projects can be somewhat expensive depending on the home and other factors, prompting some homeowners to try to carry out their pool removal entirely on their own or at least handle one part of it, such as backfilling, to save money.
The backfilling process will determine the ultimate stability of your yard. It entails filling the empty space that was once occupied by the pool with dirt, sand or gravel. It must then be compacted carefully to prevent shifting. Although it seems less dangerous than demolishing the pool, there are still plenty of ways it can go wrong when it’s carried out by someone who is inexperienced. Here is a look at some of the common mistakes people make when they attempt a DIY pool removal and backfill.
Using the Wrong Tools – Or Using the Right Tools Incorrectly
One of the biggest reasons that home pool removals and backfills fail is a lack of proper equipment and poor technique. Although it is possible to rent the equipment and tools you need for this task, most people are simply not accustomed to operating the heavy-duty equipment involved. This puts you at risk of a major accident that could cause injury to yourself, those around you, and your home and yard. It is all too easy to destroy your sprinkler lines, damage your plumbing pipes, or break your septic tank. Even worse, falling into the pool while operating a machine, such as an excavator, could lead to serious injury or even death.
Professional pool removal contractors, in contrast, have extensive experience operating the equipment that is needed for a pool backfill and know which types of problems to look out for.
Not Compacting the Dirt Properly
Filling in the pool cavity is just one part of the process-you will still need to compact it afterward. Fill dirt tends to be very loose because the soil has been broken free from the ground so the air molecules get inside of it and cause it to expand and take on a fluffier texture. If you do not compact it properly, these air molecules will eventually go away on their own as the soil settles. When this happens, further backfilling will be needed, and you may also have to work to make the area where the settling occurred match the remainder of the yard, such as planting more grass. If a structure has been placed on it, it could topple over, sink or break.
Compaction essentially forces this settling process to occur all at once, so you can leave your yard in the condition you want and not have to worry about future settling. Compacting the soil will not only make it more stable and improve its load-bearing capacity; it also decreases water seepage and frost damage.
Compacting soil requires specialty equipment, and there is some debate among pool removal contractors about the best way of achieving this. The right tools and methods often depend on the specific dirt being used, the moisture content of the soil, the geographical area, and other individual factors, which means this is a job that is best left to the experts.
Selecting the Wrong Type of Fill Dirt
Another common mistake is choosing the wrong type of fill dirt for backfilling. To the untrained eye, all types of dirt may appear the same. However, a pool cavity cannot be filled with whatever type of dirt you can find; the right mix and quality is essential. Unfortunately, many homeowners turn to free fill dirt that is offered by area suppliers. Although this is a useful substance for certain types of projects, many types of free fill dirt contain clay, trash and other organic matter that can prevent it from being compacted and draining properly.
It is also important to get the right ratio of soil types to ensure a secure finished product. A good general guideline is 80 percent fill and 20 percent topsoil. This gives the space a solid foundation of dirt that can be compacted well with a top layer of soil that is conducive to growing a new lawn.
Backfilling a Pool Without Removing It First
Some DIYers believe that they can simply fill in their pool with dirt to save money and time. Adding to the confusion is the fact that there is a popular official pool removal method known as a fill-in. Although the name may seem to imply that the pool is filled in with dirt, there is actually a bit more involved in the process.
In a pool fill-in, also known as a partial pool removal, holes are drilled into the bottom of the pool cavity to facilitate draining and to prevent water from collecting there in the future. Once these holes are in place, the sides of the pool are then broken down at least 1.5 feet from the top-breaking down the top 3 feet is common. The broken concrete that results from this is then placed along the bottom of the pool.
Once those steps have been carried out, the pool can be backfilled and compacted. Failing to compact the backfill once it is in place can put your yard at major risk of flooding and other damage, not to mention the risks that come with the resulting unstable surface.
However, even a proper fill-in that follows all the required steps has some drawbacks when compared to a full pool removal. For example, you will not be allowed to build any new structures on the area you backfilled. You will also be required to inform any potential home buyers that you used to have a pool in your yard because this restricts how the yard can be used in the future. This may deter some buyers and have a negative impact on the value of your home. It is especially problematic for buyers who wish to build a pool, as they will first need to dig up the old shell and haul it away, which makes the project more expensive and complicated.
Reach Out to the Pool Removal Contractors at Dirt Connections
Backfilling a pool is far more complicated than it sounds, and it requires significant knowledge and experience. Many homeowners who try to do this on their own quickly realize they are in over their heads and end up having to hire professionals to take over, which can be more expensive in the long run than hiring contractors from the start who can get the job done efficiently and safely.
If you are ready to say goodbye to your pool and reclaim your backyard, get in touch with the pool removal contractors at Dirt Connections. Our team will be happy to explain the options available that suit your budget and project goals.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!