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Thread: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

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    Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Hello all:

    I'm new to this forum and need a little advice. I'm in process of buying a home with a pool. I have two little toddler boys and I wouldn't be able to sleep at night with a pool in the backyard.

    I was planning on draining it and building a deck over it for safety as well as increasing the play area in the back yard. However, now I'm reading about the pitfalls of leaving a pool drained (pool shell floating out of the ground). I live in Southern California with very little rain so I don't know if this is an issue for us.

    I plan in refilling the pool a few years down the line when my boys are physically able to learn how to swim so I don't want extreme damage to the pool.

    I was also thinking about keeping the pool filled and install a pool safety cover over it and then build a deck over it. Is this a good idea? Having the kids play on top of a deck with 10 feet of water underneath makes me kinda nervous though.

    Thanks

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Your best option is to keep it in operation and fence it securely. Your boys are plenty old enough to learn to swim, and that should be a priority for you.

    It has to have water in it for the preservation of the pool shell and structure, and you need to keep it in operation so that the water in the pool can be treated to avoid mosquito breeding and smells.

    You may find that it is illegal in your community to not maintain the chemistry in the pool.

    Depending on the shape of the pool and you budget, you may want to look into an automatic cover as a second layer of security.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    I can guarantee my 3 yr old is not ready for swimming.

    What about installing a pool cover like these: http://www.ushardwaresupply.com/pool-co ... QgodDEoANg
    and then build a deck over it? I would still maintain the pool. This way its safe and we can use the extra space provided by the deck.

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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    I highly suggest a safety fence and/or cover and also keep the pool operational. I also recommend that you and everyone else get your kids in swim lessons regardless if you have a pool or not. We got our kids survival swim lessons where the end test was being thrown in the pool with shoes, jeans and a shirt on and then being able to swim to the edge of the pool and get out on their own. At that time we did not have a pool. I have seen too many young children drown, who are old enough to be taught to swim. My middle child knew how to swim proficiently by 3 years old. BTW - they have swim lessons here for kids as young as four months old.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Thank for all the swimming lesson advice. I'll look into that during the summer. But we all know that each child is different and I know my children. I've also seen those swim classes for babies, but my opinion is that if a baby can't walk then he can't swim.

    However, I would still like some info on building a deck over the pool/pool cover. There is currently a fence and i do plan on getting a safety pool cover.

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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Hi, Danny,

    Welcome to the forum. Buying a house with a pool and then not being able to sleep because there is a pool is tropublesome no matter how you approach it.

    Building over the top of it sounds attractive to you right now but I doubt you will successfully be able to keep it decent until you can use it.

    Add me in for maintaining the pool properly and providing adequate precautions until you can enjoy it.....there are ways.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    If the pool isn't very wide, a deck could be an option. Were you thinking about a wood deck or some other method of spanning the pool?

    It sounds like a safety cover would be a good option for you at this point to give you some time.

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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    IMHO - Personally I would never cover it with a deck. Just too many issues and liabilities come to mind. I still suggest looking into survival swimming for all young children. Google ISR in your area for more info. Good luck.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    What kind of liabilities and issues?

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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Okay, forgive me for saying this, but I don't think you should close on the house unless you have enough extra cash to fill the pool in. I just doesn't sound like the right house for you right now. Leave it for someone who wants the pool.

    The deck idea is poorly conceived. A true safety cover isn't something you're likely to pop open every day to check the chemistry. If the deck covers it sufficiently for it to be safe for a 3 yr old then you're not going to have the easy access you need to maintain it. And ultimately, all that enclosed moisture and humidity in heat will not only rot wood but its likely to cause mold. It just doesn't sound terribly manageable, so why buy the house?

    If you WANT a pool someday, then buy a house without one and build when you're ready. Or wait to buy a new house until your kids are able to swim.

    Btw, a child absolutely does not need to walk in order to swim. Swimming is much easier for a child than walking, particularly if taught young. However, if you feel you child will not be able to swim, please, please do not buy the house!
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by DannyN
    What kind of liabilities and issues?
    A deck would have to have very large beams to span more than 8ft or so.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Forgive me if I sound rude. But so far I'm getting advise on how to raise my children and what house to buy. Doesn't seem like anyone wants to discuss the issue at hand.

    I will be purchasing the house. There is no need to discuss the reasons why I am purchasing the house. Or whether I'm financially able to buy a house. i think my wife and i can figure that out ourselves

    I will teach my boys how to swim when i feel the time is right.

    I understand this is a forum for pool owners and most here probably hate the idea of covering a pool. However, i would rather not have a pool at the moment regardless if my boys can swim or not. I would like to have it in the future, hence I am looking for advise other than "teach your boys how to swim" or "don't buy a house"

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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    I agree that the deck doesnt seem like the best option. An auto cover, however, seems like a good option. I am not sure how easy or feasible it is to install after the fact, but I believe it could be done. Believe me, a safety cover is not something you are going to pop off often enough to keep the water in check.

    With all that said, add me in the camp of teaching them to swim. My son is six, and every year when we went on vacation we had to get his confidence up again that he could swim. We put in the pool this year, and he swims like a fish. My daughter, who turned two in September, had only been in a pool once prior to late April this year when ours got filled with water. By the end of the summer, with no formal lessons, she was able to swim (before she turned 2). Kids are amazing!

    Good luck with what you decide, and look into an auto cover.
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    Structurally speaking with an average pool width of 16 to 18 feet you don't have anywhere for support beams. If you we're to go with steel beams that width for support, then you're covering the pool and won't have access to maintain the pool. You could retrofit an automatic cover provided its not too free form.

    While you don't like our responses, they're due to the impracticality of what you're setting out to accomplish, which i maintain is ill-conceived if the intent is to preserve the pool. Any creative solutions would at this point be site specific and may require the over site of a pool builder and contractor.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    If you don't mind having to replaster later, this article shows how to build a deck over if the pool is empty. Thy mention the need for a sump to keep the space clear of water:
    http://www.rosieonthehouse.com/see_how_ ... aspx?id=17

    Ps, if you watch the video, it tells you the company that does this charges between $6,000 to $10,000. Replastering the pool if there's a spa may run you around $9k at some future date. This is all assuming your pool is gunnite.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    I would suggest a tall safety fence and a pool alarm. This does not recover the space but let's you sleep until you feel comfortable teaching your kids to swim.

    In the meantime you can maintain the pool and adults can use it.


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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    If you just cover it with a deck, imagine all the dead animals that will accumulate in the empty pool. It will basically turn into a disgusting smelly cesspool. Just fence it and keep it running. Your emotional worry of your kids drowning in the pool are unwarranted if you fence it properly.

    About 300 kids under 5 drown in pools/spas each year. 444 die from car accidents. You sleep fine at night even though your kids are being driven around every day. The reason why you worry about the pool is because it is unfamiliar and it is built into our brains to be more afraid of things we are less familiar with. We would be paralyzed with fear if we didnt basically come to ignore threats that are common (for example in israel they live with bomb threats every day that would freak us out). Build the fence, but adult only locks on all your doors, be hyper vigilante and you will very quickly be able to sleep at night.
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    Re: Draining pool to build a Deck over HELP

    ^Just for those who might not have followed the Deckover link I posted, -- and for posterity of future posters looking for similar solutions --- the system of converting a gunnite pool to a deck that I quote actually accounts for that and is engineered specifically to create pretty much an impenetrable space with an access hatch and capability for use as storage. Now, that's what the company claims -- who knows if it actually works as promises

    The deckover team estimates that it takes 5 days to convert, and that their team includes structural engineers who account for the future convert-ability of the space, but do note that the sump is required in case there's any leakage, and replastering is required for restoration. They seem, from the video, to build it down right into the pool cavity so that the edges are "sealed."

    I only post this because the original poster asked how to deck-over, we all fought the practicality of that etc., then I found that there is apparently a way that while expensive, does leave restoration as a viable option and does in fact address the other potential health and safety hazards of decking over a pool. Not a cheap remedy, but a viable remedy considering what the poster wants

    So if the poster were looking for that kind of contracted conversion, the accumulation of dead animals, etc. would likely not be an issue. Though that might be a good question to ask anyone who has had the conversion made. Which I hope the poster does if he pursues the idea.
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