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Q and A: Margaret needs advice on her pool

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Q: Do you have any advice on how to fill in a fibreglass pool? I have just received a quote for ±R48 000 which seems high.

A:I must admit that I have often considered filling in my pool as the time and cost of upkeep starts to outweigh the amount of time spent enjoying it. But then I think it will probably add to the value of the property when Mrs Mac and I eventually sell to move on to pastures new.

Margaret’s pool is about 27cubic metres so they are looking for about R1 750 a cubic metre to fill it in, which seems high. She is now getting another quote and I will run the numbers. Filling in an in-ground swimming pool can lead to all sorts of unexpected problems. Once the pool is empty, it can become buoyant while sitting in the ground.

If the soil conditions are right, the pool can begin to “float” up out of the ground, which can cause soil erosion or even foundation problems for a nearby house. 

First drain the pool. Do this when the soil is dry. If the water contains chlorine or other harmful chemicals, make sure it’s not going into stormwater drains or other places where it could cause environmental damage. Use a jackhammer, sledgehammer or other tool to smash holes into the bottom of the pool.

This will allow water to drain in the future. Remove any top decking, concrete walkways, coping tiles and any other concrete around the pool you don’t want and toss them into the pool over the holes you have made. Cover the old cement with a layer of crushed rock.

Then cover this with a layer of sand or just fill it up the rest of the way with dirt. If possible, tamp it down as you go so you will have less settling over time. Be sure that the last 300mm of dirt is quality topsoil if you want to plant anything on top of it.

There are some interesting ideas about what you can do with an empty swimming pool, rather than just filling it in.

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