Remodel my pool or fill it in, help me decide!

Nikolai1988

Member
Jul 3, 2016
23
Pittsburgh
Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Nick and I live in Pittsburgh, Pa.

In april of this year, the wife and I bought a home with an old in ground pool. We knew a pool was a lot of work, but boy were we in for a rude awakening...

The pool is old, Concrete, and has issues. First issue is that the only plumbing inside the pool, is the main drain, which does work, although I can not get my pump to hold a prime when i select the main drain as the inlet source. The other plumbing comes in the form of PVC piping dropping over the side of the pool with a skimmer attached, and an outlet for the pump. So as of right now are only using the skimmer as the intake for the pump, because if I select the main drain, or both in my valve, it will not hold a prime after shut down. Other issues include, I can not get my vacuum to work through the skimmer, I have tried and tried, but it just isn't very good suction. The skimmer does an excellent job of skimming, but the vacuum is terrible. So to solve that issue I bought an Aquabot robotic pool cleaner on amazon, initially it solve all of my problems, and kept me from insanity in those early weeks of owning a pool. It died after 6 weeks, and I can not get aquabot to reply to my emails. so i have just been brushing my bottom of my pool for algae, and using my skimmer to keep it clean enough... other issues include, the pump is old and need replaced, the pool is not visually appealing to me, and has been known to leak, wasn't mentioned in home inspection, but the neighbors told me all about it and the previous home owner after I moved in.

Here is where I am at in my decision making process:

I would like the pool to look modern and I would like for everything to work. I would also like the decking around the pool to be nicer than the current 40 year old concrete that is there with caulking everywhere. So maybe a vinyl liner, new skimmer installed into the wall, new inlets and outlets in waller, new pump, and maybe a heater. Those things I estimate would cost $15-$20k. I am currently in a position where I do have the money to do that, but $20k could go a long way to my retirement.

The argument for filling it in stems from this, I live inside the city as per my job requirement (firefighter). There fore I have a standard city lot, and my back yard consists of 3 things, A deck, an in ground pool, and about an 8x40 area of grass. If i were to fill in the pool i would have much more yard for the kids to play in when they get older. I was also told it would be about $2500 to fill in the pool, which is way cheaper than $20k to redo it.

What do you guys think?

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jblizzle

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May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
I do not think you are going to find many advocates for filling in a pool on this forum. ;)

Were there other plumbing pipes through the walls that have been abandoned? The current setup is certainly a bit odd.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
I also think your fill-it-in estimate is optimistic. People on this forum report costs almost as high as the remodel. I don't know that for sure but I would get a firm price before I started any demolition.
 

Nikolai1988

Member
Jul 3, 2016
23
Pittsburgh
I do not think you are going to find many advocates for filling in a pool on this forum. ;)

Were there other plumbing pipes through the walls that have been abandoned? The current setup is certainly a bit odd.

The only physical holes in the pool itself is the main drain, which is functional. But there are 2 pipes coming out of the ground near the pump, one for the main drain, and the old home owner told me that the other one was broken under ground and is no longer used. I believe there had to be some sort of plumbing built into the walls at some point, such as a skimmer and or outlets for the pump. I don't know if maybe they filled them in before they painted it or something? I am going to have the local pool company, Alpine Pools, come out and give me an estimate on updating this pool. Do you guys have any feedback as to whether or not it will cost a fortune? Also can you give me any feedback on giving this pool a cantilevered edge to make it look more modern, is it something I could have a landscaper do, or potentially do myself?

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I would really love to save this pool, not many city folk like me have an in ground pool! My son is 1 year old, and I know when he is older we will have a blast in the pool. I am just worried that It will cost far more than it is worth. Most of the remodels I can find online, the old pool at least had a skimmer in the wall... I am really disappointed in my decision to buy a house with an in ground pool and not do my research first...
 

Jimrahbe

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TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,202
Bedford, TX
A 3rd option would be to use the pool for one more year "as is" and not make a decision right now. My guess is that your existing pool would be a lot more fun if you weren't fighting algae all the time.

So, remodel it for $25K, fill it in for $5K, or invest about $100 in a TF-100, and a little time on this site. Pretty easy pick for me.

I also suggest you contact Amazon about your Aquabot robotic pool cleaner. They generally have an amazing return policy and even if that is not in the cards, they might be able to get Aquabot to respond. A robot is definitely the way to go vs. manual vacuuming.

This time, next year, you may feel much differently about your options.

Good luck with your decision...

Jim R.
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
4,245
Tampa, FL
Pool Size
7000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
I think I would look into the cost for getting things working properly, and worry about aesthetics later on. The look of the pool might not be as big an issue if the frustration of it not working right was gone.
 

Caco

Well-known member
I love Jim's idea of running as is for a year and see how you feel and if you are pool people. Then if you do want to keep it maybe you could upgrade / remodel to what you want over a period of time instead of all at once, spreading the cost. You would also have a better idea of what you would want / need in a pool.

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Edit
I know that there are plenty of people here who can offer advice on how to get your equipment and pool running in the most cost effective manner and relieve a lot of that frustration. All you need to do is ask :D
 

ataylor1215

Member
Jul 5, 2016
10
Pleasanton, CA
How old are your kids?
When the kids reach the middle school/high school years a pool is a great activity to enjoy with friends. We have a 9, 12 and 14 yr old and are looking into putting a pool in for that reason.
 

ntobik

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2015
98
Pittsburgh, PA
Nick,

A fellow Pittsburgher... DO NOT CALL Alpine! You'll be sold on how terrible your pool is and how you need a new drop in replacement fiberglass pool.

I was in a similar situation last year. An older pool with the same piping setup. We had PVC pipes coming over the top for a skimmer/return. It was going to cost us $10-12k to break up the concrete and fill in the pool, verses $16k to completely rehab the pool.

Call Joe at Choice Pools to do this, that's who we used and were extremely satisfied. He does a lot of these rehab type things. I think what they'd do is this:
1) Bust up the concrete and poke holes in the shell install a skimmer and returns.
2) Run new plumbing
3) If the shell is intact and holding water I wouldn't do a liner. Keep as-is
4) Replace the concrete patio

Based on what we paid for our work which was very similar I would think your cost would be about the same, potentially less because you don't need a liner.

I looked at the math on this and said to myself "I could pay $10k for grass and to remove a pool, or an additional $6k for a working pool. Would I want a pool if I could buy one for $6k?"

Nate
 

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mgmoore7

Bronze Supporter
May 9, 2015
552
Land O Lakes, FL
Pool or Yard for kids as they grow? Pool all the way!!!!

We got a pool this year because I have kids (7 kids ages 3-16) and they swim in it almost every day and often for hours at a time. Then they sleep really well. :) I love it too. As a kid, I had pools growing up and they were very frequently used. During the summer late spring and summer, almost everyday.

I would also consider the project in phases. Maybe get the pump & plumbing working and then consider the remodel. If they have to pull up the concrete to fix the plumbing, then maybe consider going all the way.
 

Nikolai1988

Member
Jul 3, 2016
23
Pittsburgh
Pool or Yard for kids as they grow? Pool all the way!!!!

We got a pool this year because I have kids (7 kids ages 3-16) and they swim in it almost every day and often for hours at a time. Then they sleep really well. :) I love it too. As a kid, I had pools growing up and they were very frequently used. During the summer late spring and summer, almost everyday.

I would also consider the project in phases. Maybe get the pump & plumbing working and then consider the remodel. If they have to pull up the concrete to fix the plumbing, then maybe consider going all the way.

Thanks for the advice, with all of the feedback, it seems I actually have some direction. I may just close it for the year and start fresh in the spring. I am going away for a month and when I return it will be cold outside.


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Nikolai1988

Member
Jul 3, 2016
23
Pittsburgh
Nick,

A fellow Pittsburgher... DO NOT CALL Alpine! You'll be sold on how terrible your pool is and how you need a new drop in replacement fiberglass pool.

I was in a similar situation last year. An older pool with the same piping setup. We had PVC pipes coming over the top for a skimmer/return. It was going to cost us $10-12k to break up the concrete and fill in the pool, verses $16k to completely rehab the pool.

Call Joe at Choice Pools to do this, that's who we used and were extremely satisfied. He does a lot of these rehab type things. I think what they'd do is this:
1) Bust up the concrete and poke holes in the shell install a skimmer and returns.
2) Run new plumbing
3) If the shell is intact and holding water I wouldn't do a liner. Keep as-is
4) Replace the concrete patio

Based on what we paid for our work which was very similar I would think your cost would be about the same, potentially less because you don't need a liner.

I looked at the math on this and said to myself "I could pay $10k for grass and to remove a pool, or an additional $6k for a working pool. Would I want a pool if I could buy one for $6k?"

Nate

Thanks for your advice, called them and left a message.


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Nikolai1988

Member
Jul 3, 2016
23
Pittsburgh
I have been in contact with Choice Pools thanks to Ntobik's recommendation. I got a quote from them and I would like to run it by you guys to see if everything sounds fair. First let me start by saying that keeping the pool for one more year is no longer an option. It is currently empty as it has been leaking all summer slowly and I didn't realize it and just kept adding water. So with that being said it is empty and just sitting by idle until I make a decision. I got prices on several different things as to cover every aspect of this remodel since I am not sure how far I want to go with cost.

Joe from choice pools told me that in all of his years of doing in ground pools, he has never seen one with no plumbing at all cut into the walls, very interesting.

Here is the quote, let me know your thoughts.





A new liner in the pool will cost $3570



I would cut the concrete pool wall to install a skimmer and return as well as an area on the concrete to plumb in the new skimmer. After the new fixtures are installed I would pour concrete in the disturbed areas. The cost to install the fixtures and repair the cement is $3850.


The filter pad would be relocated behind the fence where a new electric line will need to be run by an electrician.


All of the concrete could be removed around the pool and repoured with a concrete bull nosed coping. The cost to redo all of the concrete around the pool would be $9800.


Pavers could be laid over the existing pool deck at a cost of $9200


If either option of redoing the pool deck is desired we would need to use the neighbors driveway for entry in the pool area. The neighbor’s yard will need reseeded after and will cost $1400 to repair.


An automatic pool cover could be installed on the pool with a bench at the end for the cover to be stored. Cost for an automatic pool cover is $8350.


We could cut the concrete at the end of the pool and install a box in the ground to house the cover instead of a bench at the end of the pool which would add $2800 to the automatic pool cover.


An electrician would need to run power for the automatic pool cover.


If you would decide to install a liner as an option, you could add a set of corner steps for the liner to go over and eliminate the ladder for exit and entry. The cost for a corner step in the pool is $2300.


Thank you,
Joakim Lowenadler
 
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