How Much Does it Cost to Fill in a Gunite Pool?

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Gunite pools have long been a popular choice for homeowners looking to enjoy the luxury of having a private swimming pool in their backyard. These pools are constructed using a mixture of cement, sand, and water, which is sprayed onto a framework of steel rebar. The result is a durable and customizable pool that can be tailored to fit any shape or size.

However, as time goes on, homeowners’ needs and preferences may change, leading them to consider alternative options for their outdoor space. This is where the process of filling in a gunite pool comes into play. Filling in a pool involves the deliberate and careful removal of the pool structure and backfilling the space to create a level surface.

In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of gunite pools, discuss the reasons why homeowners may be interested in filling in their pools, and provide a comprehensive overview of the process and considerations involved. By understanding these factors, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether filling in their gunite pool is the right choice for them.

Key Takeaways

  • Filling in a gunite pool involves various steps and considerations, including obtaining permits and hiring a licensed engineer for safety and compliance.

  • Filling in a gunite pool can be a costly process, with expenses ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on factors such as pool size, depth, location, and accessibility.

  • The cost breakdown includes permits ($50 – $250) and hiring a licensed engineer ($500).

  • Pool draining costs ($150 – $500 or more) depend on the pool’s size, depth, location, and accessibility.

  • Demolition costs ($5,000 – $12,000) vary based on pool size, complexity, and equipment required.

  • Excavation and leveling costs average around $2,500, but can range from $500 to $4,500 depending on pool size and soil type.

  • Removing the pool deck can cost between $500 to $1,700, while removing pool enclosures ranges from $800 to $2,000.

  • Fill materials and their costs per cubic yard: gravel ($5 – $8), sand ($15 – $40), dirt ($8 – $12), topsoil ($12 – $55), concrete ($100 – $200 per yard), and concrete slab ($4 – $8 per square foot).

  • The national average cost to fill in a gunite pool is around $10,000, but costs can vary based on factors mentioned above.

  • It is recommended to hire professionals for safety, efficiency, and compliance with local regulations during the pool filling process.

  • Topsoil is not typically used as fill material due to its lack of structural stability, but it is valuable for landscaping and promoting plant growth.

How Much Does It Cost to Fill in a Gunite Pool?

CostItemCost Range
Cost of Permits and Hiring a Licensed EngineerPermits
$50 – $250
Licensed Engineer (for pool removal)$500
Cost of Pool DrainingProfessional Labor$150 to $500 or more
Equipment and SuppliesIncluded in the cost range
Specialized EquipmentAdditional cost may apply
Disposal of WaterAdditional cost may apply
Cost of DemolitionAverage Demolition Cost$5,000 – $12,000
Average Cost of Pool Excavation$500 – $4,500
Cost of Removing the Pool Deck$500 to $1,700 (Usually included in demolition cost)
Cost of Removing Pool Enclosures$800 to $2,000 (more if made of aluminum or steel)
Cost of Filling in a Gunite PoolGravel$5 to $8 per cubic yard
Sand$15 to $40 per cubic yard
Dirt$8 to $12 per cubic yard
Topsoil$12 to $55 per cubic yard
Concrete$100 to $200 per yard
Concrete Slab$4 to $8 per square foot
Leveling and Compacting the Fill MaterialDepends on the size of the pool, the type of fill material used, and the compaction requirements
Cost of Grading and Landscaping the AreaBasic Landscaping$4 to $12 per square foot
Grading$500 to $5,000

Filling in a gunite pool can be more expensive than other types of pools due to its material and size. On average, the cost to fill in a gunite pool ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, with the national average being around $10,000.

The cost can depend on factors such as the pool’s size, depth, location, and accessibility. Fill materials such as dirt, gravel, and concrete can also vary in cost. It is recommended to hire a professional pool removal company to ensure safety and efficiency during the process. Additional costs may arise from permits, debris removal, pool deck or enclosure removal, and landscaping.

Below we’ll explain the cost breakdown in detail.

Cost of Permits and Hiring a Licensed Engineer

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When it comes to filling in a gunite pool, obtaining permits and hiring a licensed engineer are of utmost importance. These steps are crucial for ensuring the safety, legality, and structural integrity of the pool filling process.

Permits: Permits hold significant importance in the pool filling process as they ensure that the project is conducted safely, legally, and in compliance with applicable regulations. Here are some key reasons why permits are significant:

  • Compliance with Regulations: Obtaining permits demonstrates your adherence to local building codes, zoning ordinances, and other relevant regulations. It ensures that the pool filling process meets the necessary standards set by authorities, helping to avoid potential penalties or legal complications.

  • Safety and Environmental Considerations: Permits often require adherence to safety guidelines and environmental protocols. This helps protect workers, neighboring properties, and the environment during the pool filling process. Safety measures may include proper waste disposal, containment of hazardous materials, and precautions to prevent accidents or damage.

Types of Permits

The specific permits required for filling in a gunite pool can vary depending on the location and the scope of the project. Here are some common types of permits that may be necessary:

  • Demolition Permits: If the existing pool structure needs to be demolished or partially removed before filling, a demolition permit may be required. This permit ensures that the demolition is carried out safely and in compliance with applicable regulations.

  • Alteration or Modification Permits: If the landscape or surrounding structures need to be altered to accommodate the pool filling process, permits for landscape alteration or modifications may be necessary. These permits ensure that any changes made are within the legal boundaries and conform to relevant regulations.

Hiring a Licensed Engineer: Engineering expertise is equally essential in guaranteeing a successful pool filling process. Hiring a licensed engineer is of utmost importance when it comes to filling in a gunite pool. Their expertise and qualifications bring a range of benefits to the project, ensuring its success and compliance with regulations. Here’s why hiring a licensed engineer is crucial:

  • Structural Assessment: A licensed engineer possesses the knowledge and skills to assess the structural stability of the pool and its surroundings. They can evaluate factors such as soil conditions, load-bearing capacity, and potential impacts on adjacent structures. This assessment is vital to determine the appropriate methods for filling in the pool without compromising the integrity of the property.

  • Method Determination: Based on their expertise, an engineer can recommend the most suitable methods for filling in the gunite pool. They consider factors such as the type of pool construction, the materials used, and the site-specific conditions. Their understanding of engineering principles ensures that the pool filling process is executed efficiently and effectively.

  • Compliance with Regulations: A licensed engineer is well-versed in local building codes and regulations. They ensure that the pool filling project adheres to these requirements, guaranteeing compliance with safety standards, environmental considerations, and legal obligations. By engaging an engineer, you minimize the risk of non-compliance and potential issues that may arise from overlooking these regulations.

The cost of permits can range from $50 to $250. Additionally, some local codes may require you to hire a licensed engineer, especially if you plan to build something on the pool’s location. The average cost to hire an engineer for pool removal is stated as $500. It is important to comply with local regulations and ensure that any professionals involved in the project are licensed, bonded, and insured to limit your risk.

Cost of Pool Draining

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When it comes to removing a gunite pool and the cost of pool draining, several key factors come into play. Understanding these factors can help homeowners estimate the expenses involved in the pool removal process. The following factors influence the cost of pool draining:

  • Size and Depth of the Pool: The size and depth of the pool are significant factors in determining the cost of pool draining. Larger pools contain more water, which requires additional time and resources to drain completely. Similarly, deeper pools may require specialized equipment or techniques to ensure effective draining. As a general rule, larger and deeper pools will incur higher draining costs compared to smaller and shallower ones.

  • Pool Location and Accessibility: The location of the pool on the property and its accessibility also impact the cost of draining. If the pool is located in an area that is difficult to reach, such as a backyard with limited access or surrounded by landscaping or structures, it may require extra effort and time to drain. In such cases, additional equipment or labor may be necessary, increasing the overall cost.

  • Obstacles and Challenges: Various obstacles or challenges within the pool area can affect the draining process and subsequently impact the cost. For example, if the pool has a complex shape, multiple levels, or unusual features, it may require extra care and attention to drain properly. Additionally, the presence of debris, such as leaves, branches, or sediment, can slow down the draining process and may require additional cleaning or filtration steps.

  • Disposal Requirements: Proper disposal of the drained water is another consideration that can affect the cost. Local regulations may dictate specific requirements for wastewater disposal, such as treating the water or redirecting it to an appropriate drainage system. These disposal requirements can add to the overall cost, especially if professional services are needed to ensure compliance with local regulations.

  • Professional Services and Expertise: Opting for professional pool draining services can contribute to the overall cost, but it offers several advantages. Professional contractors possess the necessary equipment, expertise, and experience to handle the draining process efficiently and safely. Their involvement can help avoid potential complications and ensure that the pool is drained properly, minimizing the risk of damage to surrounding structures or the environment.

Cost: Generally, hiring a professional to drain a pool can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 or more. This cost typically includes the labor involved in draining the pool, as well as any equipment and supplies required for the task. It’s important to note that additional costs may apply if there are specific requirements or complications, such as the need for specialized equipment or disposal of the drained water. It’s recommended to contact local pool service providers in your area to get accurate quotes for draining your pool.

Cost of Demolition

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The process of demolishing the pool structure involves breaking up the gunite or concrete shell of the pool.

To carry out the demolition, heavy machinery such as excavators and jackhammers are typically used. Excavators are powerful machines that can efficiently break through the pool’s shell, while jackhammers provide more precise and targeted demolition in areas that require extra attention.

During the demolition process, it is crucial to exercise caution to ensure safety and prevent any damage to surrounding structures or utilities. Careful planning and assessment of the pool’s location and the surrounding area are essential to minimize any potential risks.

It is important to engage professionals experienced in pool demolition to carry out the task properly. They have the expertise to handle the machinery safely and efficiently, ensuring that the demolition process is executed smoothly.

Once the pool structure has been demolished, the resulting debris and rubble need to be removed from the site. This may involve using trucks or other equipment to transport the broken pieces of the pool away for proper disposal or recycling.

Cost: The cost of pool demolition can vary based on factors such as the size and complexity of the pool, accessibility, and the equipment required for the demolition process. The average cost of a gunite pool demolition is around $5,000 to $12,000, but costs can vary significantly depending on the specific project requirements.

Excavation and Levelling of the Pool Area

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After the pool structure has been demolished, the next step in the process of filling in a pool is the excavation and leveling of the pool area. This step involves removing any remaining pool materials and preparing the area for the placement of fill material.

The excavation process begins by clearing the pool area of any debris that may have been left behind from the demolition. This includes removing the pool liner, plumbing, and any other remaining components of the pool structure. The use of excavators and other earthmoving equipment, such as bulldozers or backhoes, is common during this stage to efficiently remove the materials and excavate the area.

The depth and shape of the excavation are important factors to consider during this step. The depth will depend on the desired final elevation of the filled area, which may vary depending on the specific requirements or preferences of the property owner. The shape of the excavation should be consistent and uniform, following the outline of the previous pool structure or any modifications made to it.

Once the excavation is complete, the excavated soil and debris need to be properly disposed of or repurposed. In some cases, the soil may be hauled away from the site and disposed of in accordance with local regulations. However, if the soil is suitable for reuse, it can be utilized for other purposes on-site or transported to another location where it can be beneficially used, such as filling in low-lying areas or supporting landscaping projects.

Leveling the pool area is another important aspect of this step. The excavated area should be properly leveled to ensure an even surface for the subsequent fill material. This can be achieved by using grading equipment to smooth out any irregularities and create a uniform base.

Cost: The costs for excavating the pool area depend on the size of the pool, the depth of the excavation, and the type of soil. Factors such as the presence of rocks or roots, the need for dewatering, or any site-specific challenges can also affect the costs. It’s challenging to provide an exact range without specific project details, but the average cost of pool excavation is around $2,500. However, it’s important to note that this cost can range from $500 for smaller DIY projects to up to $4,500 for larger pools.

Cost of Removing the Pool Deck

The pool deck removal process involves several steps. First, any furniture, fixtures, or accessories on the deck are cleared. Next, the demolition crew will use appropriate machinery, such as excavators or jackhammers, to break up the concrete. The debris is then loaded onto trucks or containers and hauled away for disposal. Finally, the area is prepared for further renovations or landscaping, depending on your plans.

Several factors can influence the cost of removing a pool deck. These include the size and complexity of the deck, accessibility for heavy equipment, any additional structures connected to the deck (such as pergolas or gazebos), and the local labor rates. Larger decks or those with intricate designs may require more time and effort, resulting in higher costs.

Cost: If the demolition company you hire includes the pool deck removal in their overall service package, the cost will likely be factored into their initial quote. However, if it’s considered an additional expense, you can expect to pay an average of $500 to $1,700 for the removal of a concrete pool deck.

Cost of Removing Pool Enclosures

Removing a pool enclosure involves careful dismantling of the structure. The demolition team will start by disconnecting any electrical or plumbing connections associated with the enclosure. Then, they will proceed to dismantle the framework, panels, and roofing materials. The components will be systematically removed, ensuring minimal damage to the surrounding pool area. Finally, any debris will be cleaned up, leaving a clear space for future plans.

Several factors can impact the cost of removing a pool enclosure. The size and height of the structure, the presence of any additional features like doors or windows, the accessibility for the demolition crew, and the complexity of disassembling the enclosure can all contribute to the final cost. Enclosures made of aluminum or steel may require more labor and specialized tools, increasing the overall expense.

Cost: The cost of removing a pool enclosure typically ranges from $800 to $2,000. However, if your pool enclosure is made of aluminum or steel, you can expect to pay towards the higher end of the scale.

Cost of Filling in a Gunite Pool

Pool VolumeDirtGravelSand
37 cubic yards$13,690$8,919$20,535
73 cubic yards$53,290$34,591$79,835
83 cubic yards$68,990$44,814$103,335
95 cubic yards$90,250$58,763$135,375
120 cubic yards$144,000$93,600$216,000
148 cubic yards$219,040$142,576$328,560

When filling in a gunite pool, there are several options for fill materials that can be used.

When removing a gunite pool, it is essential to consult with experienced professionals or contractors who can assess the specific project requirements and local regulations. They can provide guidance on the appropriate fill materials, ensuring proper stability and compliance with local guidelines.

Below, we’ll discuss the various options for fill materials commonly used in gunite pool construction. We’ll also highlight their pros & cons and approximate costs.


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Gravel is a commonly used material in various construction and landscaping applications, including leveling the ground after pool removal. It offers several benefits that make it suitable for creating a stable and functional surface.

One of the primary advantages of using gravel is its ability to provide stability. When compacted properly, gravel forms a solid and durable base that can support heavy loads and withstand the pressures exerted by construction equipment or vehicles. The compacted gravel acts as a firm foundation, reducing the risk of settling or uneven areas over time. This stability is particularly important when planning to construct structures or install features, such as patios, walkways, or garden beds, in the pool area.

Gravel also plays a significant role in preventing soil erosion. Its coarse nature allows water to flow through it rather than pooling on the surface. By promoting proper drainage, gravel helps to redirect excess water away from the filled area, preventing soil erosion and the potential for water damage. This is especially important in areas prone to heavy rainfall or where the natural soil composition may be susceptible to erosion.

In addition to stability and erosion prevention, gravel offers effective drainage properties. Its porous structure allows water to permeate through the material and into the underlying soil, preventing the accumulation of standing water. This helps to maintain the integrity of the filled area by minimizing the risk of waterlogging, which can lead to structural issues, the growth of mold or mildew, and the deterioration of nearby landscaping features.

Furthermore, gravel is relatively low maintenance compared to other materials. Its composition allows for easy permeation of water and air, which promotes healthy soil conditions and prevents the formation of stagnant water pockets. This can be beneficial for maintaining the overall health of any vegetation or landscaping features that may be installed in the pool area after leveling.

It’s important to consider the appropriate size and type of gravel for the specific application. Different sizes of gravel, such as crushed stone, pea gravel, or river rock, can be used based on the desired aesthetics and functional requirements. The choice of gravel size also impacts the compaction process, as larger gravel may require more compaction effort to create a stable base.

Cost: Gravel costs $5 to $8 per cubic yard. It’s the most affordable fill type. Typically, you would fill the pool partially with gravel—to the halfway mark—and then fill the rest with dirt. If you use gravel alone as a fill, you’ll find that the gravel settles over time, which can lead to sinkholes.


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Sand is often used for leveling the ground and creating a smooth surface after pool removal. One of the primary reasons for using sand is its ability to be easily compacted. Compaction refers to the process of compressing the soil or fill material to remove air voids and create a denser, more stable base. Proper compaction is crucial to ensure that the filled area does not settle or become uneven over time, which could lead to structural issues or other problems.

Sand is well-suited for compaction because of its granular nature. The individual sand particles have irregular shapes and can interlock with each other when properly compacted. This interlocking mechanism helps to create a stable and solid surface. Additionally, the particles themselves can be compacted, reducing the presence of air voids and increasing the overall density of the fill material.

Another advantage of using sand for leveling the ground after pool removal is its ability to drain water. Sand has good drainage properties, allowing water to pass through it easily. This is important to prevent the accumulation of water in the filled area, which could lead to waterlogging, erosion, or other issues. The drainage capabilities of sand help to maintain the stability and integrity of the filled space.

Furthermore, sand provides a relatively smooth and even surface, making it easier for subsequent construction or landscaping work. Whether it’s laying a new foundation, building a patio, or planting grass, having a level surface is crucial for achieving desirable results. Sand can be distributed and leveled evenly across the filled area, creating a uniform base for further construction or landscaping activities.

It’s worth noting that the specific type of sand used for leveling after pool removal may vary depending on local availability and requirements. Commonly used sands include coarse sand, masonry sand, or all-purpose sand. The choice of sand may also depend on factors such as the desired compaction characteristics, drainage requirements, and the intended use of the leveled area.

Cost: The cost of filling a swimming pool with fill sand ranges from $15 to $40 per cubic yard. Fill sand consists of small rocks that are compacted more efficiently compared to gravel. For optimal results, it is recommended to combine fill sand with other fill materials. Homeowners might find it beneficial to incorporate a layer of fill sand, followed by a layer of dirt, and then a layer of topsoil when filling the void created by pool removal.


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Dirt or backfill soil refers to the material used to fill the empty space left by the pool. It is crucial to use clean and compacted soil for this purpose. Clean soil ensures that there are no contaminants or debris that could cause problems in the future. Compacted soil, on the other hand, provides stability and helps prevent settling or shifting of the ground.

To create a solid foundation, the dirt should be carefully graded and compacted in layers. Grading involves shaping the soil to ensure a smooth and even surface. This process helps distribute the weight evenly and avoids any uneven settling.

Once the grading is complete, the soil is compacted in layers. Compaction is achieved by using heavy machinery, such as a compactor or a roller, to compress the soil and remove any air pockets. Each layer of soil is compacted before adding the next layer, ensuring a tightly packed and stable foundation.

Proper compaction is essential because it increases the density of the soil, making it less prone to settling or shifting over time. It also enhances load-bearing capacity, providing the necessary support for any future structures or landscaping features that may be built on top of the filled area.

By carefully grading and compacting the dirt or backfill soil, the integrity of the filled area is maintained. This helps prevent problems such as uneven ground, sinking, or structural damage. It also ensures that any future additions, such as buildings, patios, or gardens, are built on a solid and reliable foundation.

Cost: Dirt costs $8 to $12 per cubic yard. You’ll need to leave 18 to 36 inches free at the top for space for the topsoil. Some people fill the pool entirely with dirt and topsoil, or you can use a mixture of gravel and dirt. Compared to gravel, dirt is easily compacted and can tightly fill the space with minimal empty spaces. The process involves initially placing gravel at the pit’s base, followed by a substantial layer of dirt.


Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, typically the top 5 to 10 inches, and is known for its high organic matter content and nutrient richness. It is formed by the accumulation of organic materials like decomposed plant and animal matter over a long period. Topsoil is crucial for supporting plant growth and plays a vital role in the overall health and fertility of the soil.

When it comes to removing a gunite pool or filling a large excavation, topsoil is generally not recommended as a fill material. The primary reason is that topsoil is not structurally suitable for providing stability and support to the filled area. It is relatively loose and prone to compaction, which can lead to settling issues over time. The moisture retention capacity of topsoil can further exacerbate these problems, as excessive moisture can cause instability and uneven settling.

Structural fill materials, on the other hand, are specifically designed to provide stability and support. They are compactable and often include materials such as gravel, crushed stone, sand, or compacted clay. These materials offer better load-bearing capabilities, ensuring that the filled area remains stable and minimizes the risk of settlement.

However, topsoil is incredibly valuable for its ability to support plant growth and contribute to landscaping aesthetics. It is best utilized in areas where vegetation is desired, such as gardens, lawns, or other landscaping features. By placing topsoil above the filled area, you can create a suitable environment for plants to thrive. The organic matter and nutrients in topsoil promote healthy root development and contribute to the overall vitality of the landscape.

Cost: Topsoil costs $12 to $55 per cubic yard. It has all of the nutrients and organic materials to help your filled pool area come back to life. You’ll need to add at least 18 to 36 inches of topsoil, depending on what you plan on doing with the space. Compared to regular soil, topsoil is more advantageous for plant growth due to its reduced presence of rocks.


Concrete is a highly versatile and widely utilized construction material known for its durability and strength. While it may not be the ideal choice for filling an entire pool, it can be effectively employed to create a concrete slab on top of a filled pool area, offering a practical solution.

When it comes to pool demolition, most pool companies typically choose to fill the pool with dirt due to its lower cost compared to concrete. However, if you are considering a partial removal of the pool, using broken-up concrete from the demolition process as fill material presents a more cost-effective alternative that requires less dirt. This involves breaking down the pool structure and repurposing the resulting concrete debris as fill material.

In cases where a complete swimming pool demolition is necessary, such as when you intend to construct a new building or structure on the site, installing a concrete slab can be a suitable option. By doing so, you can repurpose the pool area and transform it into a new patio or other usable space, maximizing the potential of your property.

When contemplating the installation of a concrete pad for the pool area, it is highly recommended for homeowners to collaborate with a reputable pool-filling company. This collaborative effort allows for valuable input regarding the size and shape of the concrete pad, as well as the selection of an appropriate fill material to be placed beneath the concrete slab, such as gravel or dirt.

Working alongside professionals ensures that the final outcome aligns with your aesthetic preferences and fulfills your functional requirements, providing a seamless integration of the concrete pad with the surrounding area.

Cost: The cost of concrete typically ranges from $100 to $200 per yard, making it a viable option for certain pool-related projects. However, it’s important to note that filling the entire pool hole with concrete is not recommended, as it can lead to structural issues. Instead, pouring a concrete slab in the top 4 to 6 inches of the pool area can result in a visually appealing and functional patio. The cost of installing a concrete slab typically ranges from $4 to $8 per square foot once the pool has been filled in.

Leveling and Compacting the Fill Material

Compaction refers to the process of mechanically increasing the density and removing air voids within the fill material. This is achieved by using heavy machinery and specialized compaction equipment.

The compaction process begins after the excavation of the pool area is complete. The fill material is added in layers or lifts, with each layer being compacted before the next one is added. This layering and compaction process helps ensure uniformity and proper consolidation of the fill material.

Heavy machinery, such as compactors or rollers, is typically employed to compact the fill material effectively. These machines apply pressure and vibrations to the material, which helps to rearrange particles, remove air voids, and increase density. The compaction equipment may vary depending on the type and size of the fill material being used.

The compaction process is crucial for several reasons.

  • It helps to minimize settlement of the fill material over time. Proper compaction ensures that the fill material is tightly packed and resistant to shifting or settling, which can lead to structural issues in the pool area.

  • Compaction improves the load-bearing capacity of the fill material. By increasing the density of the material, compaction enhances its ability to support the weight of the pool structure and any additional loads, such as water or landscaping features.

  • Compaction plays a role in promoting good drainage. Well-compacted fill material allows for proper water runoff and helps prevent pooling or water accumulation around the pool area. Adequate drainage is important for maintaining the stability and longevity of the pool.

It’s worth noting that the compaction process should be carried out by experienced professionals who are familiar with local regulations and guidelines. They can determine the appropriate compaction equipment, techniques, and compaction specifications based on the specific requirements of the pool project.

Cost: The costs for leveling and compacting the fill material depend on the size of the pool, the type of fill material used, and the compaction requirements. The cost may include the equipment and labor needed to ensure proper leveling and compaction. Again, without specific project details, it’s difficult to provide an exact range, but these costs can vary from a few thousand dollars to several thousand dollars.

Cost of Grading and Landscaping the Area

Grading and landscaping the area around a pool is an essential part of creating a visually appealing and functional outdoor space. After the pool area has been leveled and compacted to ensure proper drainage and stability, the next step is to focus on landscaping to enhance the overall ambiance and usability of the area.

The first consideration in the landscaping process is adding topsoil. Topsoil provides a nutrient-rich layer that supports the growth of plants and grass. It is usually spread evenly across the pool area, ensuring a consistent depth and thickness. This step helps to improve the soil quality and create a suitable foundation for vegetation.

Planting grass or other vegetation is another crucial aspect of landscaping. The type of plants chosen may depend on various factors, such as climate, local regulations, and personal preferences. Many homeowners opt for grass as it creates a lush and inviting surface around the pool. Other options include shrubs, flowers, trees, and even decorative plants like succulents or ornamental grasses. These plants can be strategically placed to provide privacy, shade, or aesthetic appeal.

To maintain the health and vitality of the vegetation, an irrigation system may be installed. Irrigation systems ensure that the plants receive an adequate water supply, especially during dry spells or hot weather. Different methods of irrigation, such as sprinklers or drip systems, can be selected based on the size of the pool area and the specific needs of the plants.

Constructing pathways is another important consideration when landscaping the pool area. Pathways serve both functional and aesthetic purposes by providing a designated area for foot traffic and enhancing the overall design. Materials such as concrete, pavers, natural stone, or gravel can be used to create pathways that complement the pool area’s style and blend well with the surrounding landscape.

In addition to the basic landscaping elements, desired features can be incorporated to enhance the overall appeal of the pool area. This may include installing outdoor lighting to create a welcoming ambiance during the evening, adding seating areas or outdoor furniture for relaxation and entertainment, incorporating decorative elements like sculptures or water features, or building structures like pergolas or gazebos for shade and shelter.

Throughout the landscaping process, it is crucial to adhere to local regulations and guidelines. These regulations may dictate the types of plants allowed, the distance from the pool to certain vegetation, or any necessary permits for construction or installation. Consulting with local authorities or professional landscapers can ensure that the landscaping project complies with these requirements.

Cost: The costs for final landscaping depend on the extent of the landscaping work, including the size of the area, the desired features, and the materials used. This can include tasks such as adding topsoil, planting grass or other vegetation, installing irrigation systems, and constructing pathways. Basic services generally range from $4 to $12 per square foot, with small projects costing $300 to $800 and large projects costing $2,000 to $4,000 on average. The cost of grading a yard or land can range from $500 to $1,000 for small lawns or $1,000 to $5,000 for the average backyard.

Pros and Cons of Filling in a Gunite Pool

Gunite pools are a popular choice for both residential and commercial swimming pool construction due to their design versatility and durability. However, there may be circumstances where filling in a Gunite pool becomes necessary or preferable. Let’s explore the pros and cons of filling in a Gunite pool:

Pros of Filling in a Gunite Pool

  • Cost Savings: Filling in a Gunite pool can provide significant long-term cost savings. Maintaining a pool involves expenses such as water treatments, cleaning, repairs, and general upkeep. By eliminating these ongoing costs, you can save money over time. Additionally, if the pool requires major repairs or has structural issues, filling it in can prevent expensive renovation or reconstruction expenses.

  • Enhanced Safety: Filling in a Gunite pool eliminates the inherent risks associated with owning a pool, especially if you have young children or pets. Accidental drownings and slips and falls around the pool area can be avoided entirely, providing peace of mind for homeowners concerned about safety.

  • Additional Space: One of the advantages of filling in a Gunite pool is that it frees up valuable space in your backyard. You can repurpose the area for other purposes, such as expanding your outdoor living space, creating a garden, building a patio, or constructing a new structure like a shed or gazebo. This allows you to make better use of the available land and tailor it to your specific needs.

  • Reduced Liability: Owning a pool comes with a certain level of liability. By filling in a Gunite pool, you eliminate the potential risks associated with pool ownership. This can protect you from accidents, injuries, or legal issues that may arise from guests or trespassers using the pool without your knowledge or consent. Removing the pool reduces your liability exposure and provides a safer environment for your property.

Cons of Filling in a Gunite Pool

  • Permanent Decision: Filling in a Gunite pool is a permanent alteration to your property. Once the pool is filled, it can be challenging and costly to restore it to its original state if you change your mind in the future. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider the decision and ensure it aligns with your long-term plans for the property.

  • Loss of Pool Functionality: Filling in a Gunite pool means losing the ability to enjoy swimming and other water-related activities. If you and your family frequently use the pool for recreation, exercise, or relaxation, filling it in may be a significant lifestyle change. Consider alternative options, such as pool renovation or repurposing, if maintaining pool functionality is a priority for you.

  • Aesthetics: The visual impact of a filled-in pool may not always blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. The filled area might require additional landscaping efforts to integrate it with the rest of the yard. Depending on the design and aesthetics of your property, filling in the pool could have an impact on its overall appearance.

  • Potential Ground Instability: Improperly filling in a Gunite pool can lead to ground settlement or stability issues. It’s crucial to hire experienced professionals who specialize in pool removal to ensure proper techniques are used and to avoid potential problems with the land’s stability.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Filling in a Gunite Pool

  • Size and Complexity: The size and complexity of the pool have a significant impact on the cost. Larger pools require more materials for backfilling, which can increase the overall cost. Additionally, complex designs with attached structures like spas, waterfalls, or custom features may involve additional labor and equipment, further contributing to the cost.

  • Material Removal: The cost of removing the gunite material from the pool is another important consideration. The method of removal can vary, such as breaking up the gunite and hauling it away or using heavy machinery for excavation. The complexity of the removal process, accessibility of the pool area, and the volume of material to be removed can affect the overall expenses.

  • Accessibility: The accessibility of the pool site can impact the cost. If the pool is located in a hard-to-reach area or has limited access for equipment and materials, it may require additional effort and resources. This can result in increased costs due to logistical challenges and the need for specialized equipment or manual labor to navigate tight spaces or difficult terrain.

  • Local Labor and Material Costs: The cost of labor and materials can vary depending on the location. Different regions may have different labor rates, material costs, and market conditions. Factors such as the availability of skilled labor, competition among contractors, and regional pricing trends can influence the overall cost of filling in a gunite pool. It’s important to consider the local market when estimating the expenses.

  • Permitting and Regulatory Requirements: Filling in a pool typically requires obtaining permits and complying with specific regulations and guidelines. The cost of permits and any associated fees can vary depending on local requirements. Additionally, certain jurisdictions may have specific rules for pool demolition and filling, which may require inspections or additional compliance measures. These requirements can contribute to the overall cost of the project.

How to Calculate Pool Size and Depth

Calculating the size and depth of a gunite pool is important when determining the cost to fill it in. To calculate the pool size, you’ll need to measure the length, width, and depth of the pool.

  • Length: Measure the longest distance from end to end.

  • Width: Measure the widest distance from side to side.

  • Depth: Measure the depth at three different points: shallow end, middle, and deep end. Add these three measurements and divide by three to get the average depth.

Once you have these measurements, use the following formula to calculate the pool’s volume:

Volume = Length x Width x Average Depth

For example, if your pool is 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, and has an average depth of 5 feet, the volume would be:

Volume = 20' x 12' x 5'
Volume = 1,200 cubic feet

To convert cubic feet to cubic yards, divide by 27:

Volume in cubic yards = 1,200 / 27
Volume in cubic yards = 44.4 cubic yards

The size and depth of gunite pools can vary widely. However, there are some common sizes and depths that can give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Small Pool Size: A small gunite pool might be around 10-15 feet long and 5-8 feet wide, with a depth of 4-5 feet.

  • Standard Pool Size: A standard gunite pool might be around 20-30 feet long and 10-15 feet wide, with a depth of 5-6 feet in the shallow end and 8-9 feet in the deep end.

  • Large Pool Size: A large gunite pool might be around 40-50 feet long and 20-25 feet wide, with a depth of 6-7 feet in the shallow end and 10-12 feet in the deep end.

It’s important to note that the depth of a gunite pool can vary depending on the design and purpose of the pool. For example, a diving pool will typically have a deeper end than a pool designed for relaxation or exercise. If you’re unsure about the size and depth of your pool, it’s best to measure it to get an accurate estimate.

Knowing the pool size and depth will help you determine the amount of fill material you need, and ultimately estimate the cost of filling in the pool.

Process of Filling in a Gunite Pool

  • Permit and Engineer Requirements: Before starting the process of filling in a gunite pool, it is important to check with local authorities and obtain any necessary permits or approvals. Additionally, consulting with a structural engineer may be required to ensure that the process is carried out safely and in compliance with local regulations.

  • Drain the pool: The first step in filling in a gunite pool is to drain all the water from it. This can be done using a submersible pump or other suitable drainage methods. It is important to ensure that the pool is completely empty before proceeding to the next steps.

  • Remove any remaining debris: Once the pool is drained, it is essential to remove any debris that may be present on the pool’s bottom and sides. This includes leaves, dirt, rocks, or any other materials. Cleaning the pool thoroughly ensures a clean and even surface for the subsequent stages.

  • Remove the pool equipment: Disconnect and remove all pool equipment that is connected to the pool, such as pumps, filters, heaters, lights, or any other accessories. These components can be salvaged for future use if they are in good condition, or they should be disposed of properly if they are no longer functional.

  • Break up the gunite shell: Gunite pools are constructed using a mixture of cement, sand, and water that is sprayed onto a rebar framework. The resulting shell is solid and durable, which makes breaking it up necessary for the filling process. This can be accomplished by using heavy equipment such as a jackhammer to break the gunite shell into manageable pieces. Alternatively, holes can be drilled into the pool’s floor and walls to facilitate the filling process.

  • Fill the pool with fill material: Once the gunite shell is broken up, the pool is ready to be filled with an appropriate fill material. Common options include clean fill dirt, gravel, or a mixture of dirt and concrete rubble. The fill material should be added in layers, and each layer should be compacted to ensure stability and prevent settling.

  • Compact and level the fill material: As the pool is being filled, it is crucial to periodically compact the fill material to ensure that it is tightly packed and stable. This can be done using heavy machinery or compaction equipment. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the fill material is evenly distributed and leveled to create a smooth and even surface.

  • Grade and landscape the area: Once the pool is completely filled and the fill material is properly compacted, the next step is to grade the area surrounding the pool. This involves shaping the terrain to ensure proper drainage away from the pool area. Proper grading helps prevent water accumulation and potential structural issues in the future. After grading, you can proceed to landscape the area according to your preferences, which may include adding plants, trees, grass, or any other landscaping elements.

Full vs. Partial Pool Removal

When deciding between full and partial pool removal, it’s crucial to consider factors such as your budget, desired land use, time constraints, and personal preferences. Consulting with a professional pool removal service is recommended, as they can assess the specific requirements of your project and guide you in choosing the most suitable approach.

They can provide you with a detailed analysis of the costs, benefits, and potential risks associated with each method, helping you make an informed decision.

Full Pool Removal

Full pool removal involves the complete demolition and removal of the entire swimming pool structure. This method ensures that no traces of the pool remain, providing a completely level surface. The process typically includes the following steps:

  • Demolition: The pool is demolished, which may involve breaking down the walls, floor, and any other components of the pool.

  • Debris Removal: The debris resulting from the demolition is carefully collected and hauled away from the site.

  • Filling: Once the pool is completely removed, the area is filled with dirt and gravel. This filling process aims to create a level surface that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

Full pool removal offers the advantage of complete elimination of the pool, allowing you to repurpose the area for other uses. It provides a blank canvas for landscaping, construction, or any other desired projects. However, it is important to note that full pool removal may require more time and incur higher costs compared to partial removal.

Complete Restoration: Full pool removal involves the complete demolition and removal of the pool structure, resulting in a fully restored area. This allows you to repurpose the space according to your needs, whether it’s creating a new outdoor living area, expanding your garden, or adding other features.
Higher Cost: Full pool removal generally comes with a higher price tag compared to partial removal. The extensive work involved in demolishing the entire pool, including debris hauling and potential site restoration, contributes to the increased cost.
Increased Property Value: Removing the pool entirely can improve the aesthetics of your property, potentially increasing its resale value. Some homebuyers may prefer a yard without a pool due to maintenance concerns or personal preferences.
Longer Timeframe: The process of fully removing a pool may take more time compared to partial removal. Complete demolition and removal of all pool materials can be a time-consuming process.
Elimination of Maintenance Costs: With full pool removal, ongoing maintenance costs associated with the pool, such as water, chemical treatments, and equipment upkeep, are completely eliminated. This can lead to long-term savings.

Partial Pool Removal

Partial pool removal, also known as a “pool fill-in,” involves removing only the top portion of the pool while leaving a portion of the pool cavity in the ground. The process typically includes the following steps:

  • Draining: The pool is drained of water to prepare it for the removal process.

  • Holes for Drainage: Holes are drilled in the bottom of the pool to ensure proper drainage.

  • Top Portion Removal: The top part of the pool, including the walls and other structures, is demolished and broken off. The debris is then placed at the bottom of the pool.

  • Filling: The remaining pool cavity is filled with fill dirt, gravel, and rubble until it is level with the surrounding ground.

Partial pool removal is often chosen as a more cost-effective and faster option compared to full removal. It allows you to eliminate the pool while retaining a portion of the pool cavity. This method can be suitable if you have budget constraints or time limitations. However, it’s important to note that there may be some risks associated with partial pool removal, such as improper drainage or potential complications like sinkage or swelling.

Lower Cost: Partial pool removal is generally more cost-effective compared to full removal. Since only the top portion of the pool is removed and the remaining space is backfilled, it requires less labor and material, resulting in cost savings.Potential Drainage Issues: One of the main concerns with partial pool removal is the risk of improper drainage. If proper drainage measures are not taken, complications such as sinkage or swelling may arise. It’s crucial to consult with professionals to ensure adequate drainage to mitigate these risks.
Quicker Process: Partial pool removal is usually faster than full removal because it involves less extensive demolition work. With only the top portion being removed and backfilled, the process can be completed more quickly.Incomplete Restoration: With partial pool removal, a portion of the pool cavity remains in the ground, even though it is backfilled. While the area can be repurposed for certain uses, it may not be suitable for all purposes without additional landscaping or construction work.

The Cost Implications: Full vs. Partial Pool Removal

When it comes to filling in a gunite pool, there are two main options: full pool removal and partial pool removal. Each method has its own cost implications.

Full Pool Removal

Full pool removal may be a preferred option if the pool is in a state of disrepair, poses safety concerns, or if you plan to repurpose the area completely.

The cost of full pool removal can range from $4,300 to $16,400 for an inground pool. The wide range is due to various factors such as pool size, accessibility, location, and additional services required. This cost typically includes expenses for permits, demolition equipment, labor, debris hauling, and potential restoration of the site.

It is important to hire a professional pool removal contractor for this method, as they have the expertise, equipment, and experience to safely and efficiently carry out the demolition and removal process.

Partial Pool Removal (Pool Fill-In)

Partial pool removal is considered a faster and more economical option compared to full pool removal. However, there are certain risks associated with this method, such as improper drainage that can lead to issues like sinkage or swelling.

The cost of partial pool removal is generally lower compared to full pool removal, with a range of $2,000 to $10,300 for an inground pool. Again, factors such as pool size and accessibility can influence the cost.

To ensure proper execution and minimize potential problems, it is recommended to consult with a professional pool removal contractor who can assess the site, provide guidance, and carry out the fill-in process correctly.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

When considering filling in a pool, you have the option to either do it yourself (DIY) or hire a professional. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between the two:

  • Cost: DIY pool fill-in can be cheaper in terms of labor costs, as you won’t need to hire a professional contractor. However, you’ll still need to consider the cost of materials, equipment rentals, permits, and any potential damages or mistakes that could incur additional expenses. Hiring a professional ensures the job is done correctly, but it will come at a higher cost.

  • Time and Effort: Filling in a pool is a labor-intensive task that requires physical effort and the proper equipment. It can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have limited experience or help. Hiring a professional will save you time and effort, as they have the necessary skills, equipment, and team to complete the job efficiently.

  • Expertise and Safety: Professionals have the experience and knowledge to handle pool fill-ins effectively. They are familiar with local codes and regulations, ensuring the process is done legally and safely. DIY attempts can be risky, as you may lack the expertise to handle potential hazards, such as damaging utility lines or underground structures.

  • Quality and Results: Hiring a professional pool removal company can guarantee a high-quality result. They have the necessary tools and techniques to ensure the pool is properly filled in, avoiding future issues with sinking or uneven ground. DIY attempts may not achieve the same level of precision and quality.

  • Legal and Permits: Pool removal may require permits and compliance with local regulations. Professionals are familiar with the necessary paperwork and can handle the permitting process on your behalf. DIY projects may require you to navigate the legal requirements yourself, which can be time-consuming and confusing.

Ultimately, the decision between DIY and hiring a professional depends on your budget, available time, physical capabilities, and comfort level with handling such projects. If you’re unsure or concerned about the complexity of the task, it’s generally advisable to consult with professionals who specialize in pool removal to ensure a successful and safe fill-in process.

How to Save Money on the Cost to Fill In a Pool?

To save money on the cost to fill in a pool, you can consider the following budget-savvy tips:

  • Partial Pool Removal: Instead of opting for a full pool removal, you can consider a partial pool removal. This involves demolishing and removing only a portion of the pool, which can be a more cost-effective option.

  • DIY Demolition: If you have the necessary skills and equipment, you can choose to do the demolition work yourself. However, keep in mind that pool removal can be a complex and labor-intensive task, so it’s essential to assess your capabilities before attempting it.

  • Select Affordable Fill Material: The choice of fill material can significantly impact the cost. Gravel is typically the least expensive option, while concrete is the most expensive. Dirt and topsoil fall in the middle range. By opting for more affordable fill materials, you can save money on the overall project cost.

  • Salvage and Sell Pool Equipment: If your pool equipment is in good condition, you can consider salvaging and selling it. Items like pool pumps, filters, or even pool accessories can fetch some money, offsetting a portion of the filling-in cost.

  • Shop Around for Quotes: Obtain quotes from multiple contractors specializing in pool removal. By comparing prices and services, you can find the most cost-effective option for your specific project.

  • Combine Pool Removal with Other Landscaping Projects: If you have other landscaping projects planned, such as patio installation or garden renovation, consider combining them with pool removal. Bundling these projects together can potentially reduce overall costs and save on labor and equipment rental expenses.

  • DIY Landscaping: After the pool is removed, you can save money by doing your own landscaping. You can level the ground and plant grass or add some shrubs to fill in the area.

  • Explore Financing Options: If the cost of pool removal is a significant concern, you can explore financing options available through contractors or financial institutions. Some contractors may offer payment plans, allowing you to spread the cost over time.

Remember, while saving money is important, it’s equally crucial to prioritize safety and ensure the pool removal is done correctly. Hiring a professional contractor experienced in pool removal is advisable to avoid potential complications and ensure compliance with local regulations.

Key Questions to Ask When Considering Pool Contractors

Before hiring a company to fill in a pool, homeowners will want to properly vet their services. Asking the following questions to each of the companies under consideration can help homeowners fully understand their process and what to expect during the project.

  • What is your experience in filling in pools? How many pool filling projects have you completed?
  • Are you licensed and insured? Can you provide proof of insurance and any necessary permits required for the project?
  • Can you provide references or testimonials from previous clients who have had their pools filled by your company?
  • What is the estimated timeline for completing the pool filling project? Are there any factors that could potentially cause delays?
  • What is the process for filling in a pool? Can you explain the steps involved and any specific techniques or materials you use?
  • Will you handle the necessary drainage and plumbing work before filling in the pool? How will you ensure that there are no issues with water accumulation in the future?
  • Do you obtain any necessary permits for the pool filling process, or is it the homeowner’s responsibility?
  • Are there any specific requirements or regulations in our area that need to be followed when filling in a pool? How familiar are you with these regulations?
  • Will you handle the removal and disposal of any debris, such as concrete, from the pool site? Is this included in the overall cost?
  • What are the potential challenges or risks associated with filling in a pool? How do you address and mitigate these challenges?
  • What guarantees or warranties do you offer for your pool filling services? Will you provide any follow-up support if there are issues after the project is completed?
  • Can you provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in filling in the pool? Are there any additional fees or potential extra charges that homeowners should be aware of?
  • Will there be any damage to the surrounding landscape or structures during the pool filling process? How do you ensure minimal disruption to the property?
  • How do you handle any unexpected issues or complications that may arise during the pool filling project?
  • Do you offer any additional services, such as landscaping or hardscaping, to restore the area once the pool is filled? If not, can you recommend any reputable contractors for these services?


Filling in a gunite pool is a decision that homeowners may consider for various reasons, such as changing needs, maintenance costs, safety concerns, or the desire for additional space. While there are pros and cons to filling in a gunite pool, it’s important to carefully evaluate these factors before making a permanent alteration to your property.

The cost of filling in a gunite pool can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the pool, local labor and material costs, permitting requirements, and the type of fill material used.

On average, the cost ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, with the national average being around $10,000. Hiring a licensed engineer and obtaining necessary permits are essential for ensuring safety, compliance with regulations, and structural integrity throughout the pool filling process.

Ultimately, the decision to fill in a gunite pool should be based on individual circumstances and preferences. It’s advisable to consult with pool removal experts and consider the long-term implications before proceeding with the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much does it cost to fill a 10000 gallon pool?

The cost to fill a 10000 gallon pool will depend on the location, how much water you need to purchase and the price of water in your area. Generally speaking, it could cost anywhere from $50-$200 or more to fill a 10000 gallon pool with water. This does not include any additional costs for labor or equipment rental that may be necessary to complete the job. If you are looking for an exact quote based on your location, it is best to contact local professionals who specialize in filling pools with water. They can provide a better estimate based on current prices and the availability of supplies and/or services in your area.

2. How do you calculate the cost of filling a pool?

When calculating the cost of filling a pool, it is important to take into account the size and capacity of the pool, as well as any additional services that may be required. Additionally, factors such as location and supplier can also affect the overall cost. Generally, water is charged by the gallon or cubic foot for filled pools, with prices ranging from $1-$2 per gallon (or foot). Other factors that should be taken into consideration when calculating costs include labor charges and other associated costs such as cleaning supplies or equipment rental fees. In some cases, insurance may even be required. Ultimately, all these factors need to be taken into account in order to accurately calculate the total cost of filling a Gunite pool.

3. What is the cheapest way to fill a swimming pool?

The cheapest way to fill a swimming pool is by using a garden hose attached to a water spigot. This method can take several hours depending on the size of the pool, but it is usually the most cost-effective solution. Additionally, if you have access to large quantities of free or low-cost water, such as from an irrigation system or well, this can be even more economical. However, you should make sure that any non-potable water sources are safe for use in your pool before filling it up. Another option is to have a truck deliver potable water and pump it into your pool at a fraction of the cost when compared to other methods.

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Written By Scott Keller

Scott Keller is an experienced pool industry professional with over 20 years of expertise in gunite pool design, construction, and maintenance.

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