What to do with 8’ hole?



My current 16 x 32 pool was built 28 years ago. Still has the original liner. It’s a Wilkes, and is buried about 1’ all around, but has an 8’+ deep end. It's heavy-duty steel. The top rail is OK but clearly the weak point in this pool.

I can see steel flakes poking the liner (inside of the wall must have rusted -- outside of it had little rust). There are no leaks, but someday that 28-year-old liner will fail. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to just replace the liner (with some sanding, painting, and foam around the inside of the steel walls), or if I’ll have to replace the whole pool.

I had the original company that built it out to look at it recently. He thinks that I can probably just replace the liner with said work on the walls (for a “few thousand”). He's supposed to check with the manufacturer to find out if there are any parts to work on the top rail. He also said that pools are not as well-made today as mine was, and that he thought that Wilkes was the best then and they still make a great pool -- but to replace mine with another Wilkes would be about $18k!!! They also sell Doughboys which are reputed to be real expensive.

This house needed a lot of work when I bought it. It was for sale for more than 2 years partly due to the condition of the house, and the pool surely didn’t help. It’s in a historic town, only 2 pools in my ‘hood, and not many in the whole town.

I was shocked by the $18k price to replace! An in-ground pool will raise my taxes substantially (and they’re already too high!). What would you do / what options would you consider? I'd like to delay doing anything as long as possible, but it seems like I should investigate now before it fails.




Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
Houston, Texas
Do you have any pictures? It is really hard to say if the current pool can be rehabbed without seeing what is going on.


There are 2 areas that are the worst: the bolts appear to be coming through the top rail at the center of the 32' sides of pool. Everything else appears to be in pretty good shape. A little rust here and there under the top railing, but still solid. It does look pretty good for an old pool, but it IS old! I guess that one solution might be adding some wood decking above the top railing, but it's pretty big to do that all the way around.



New member
Jul 29, 2010
Looks like a nice pool. What to do depends on whether you plan to keep the house, and if you like having the pool. I kept my inground pool until I decided to sell the house. It was in much worse condition and I still debated restoring it. I like pools even though I don't use it much. And my dog loved. I am in the middle of the demo now.

As for taxes, they are based on the value of the property and a pool, especially and older one, adds no value, and may detract from the value if it isn't in perfect shape. So you should not pay more due to having a pool except right after putting it in when they see how much you are spending on it. You can always contest your assessed value. I have had to do that the last few times and got them to lower the value.

Looks like simple metal cleanup and paint work on the railing. Can't see any real money there. A handy man could make it look nice. As for the old liner, enjoy it until it starts leaking then figure out if you still want the pool. It may be like owning an older car or house, it is never going to be perfect and you will always have something on the list to update next, but it isn't practical to make it perfect. Sounds like you are just in the updating mode on the house and may be getting obsessed with getting everything updated.

And if you plan to sell the house, get rid of the pool if there is any question whether to keep it or not.

Good luck.


Thanks for the info. Any ideas are helpful. I'll check out a fabricator for the 2 areas on the top rails.

At 28 years, the liner can't last that much longer, especially with the rust nearly poking through it!

Good luck with your demo and house sale!

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