Maryland and Virginia Pool Removal Questions
I find that some of our prospective pool demo customers are as apprehensive about their pool demolition as they are about getting a tooth pulled. Those that are about to have a tooth pulled fret over the procedure only to find that it really wasn’t as bad as anticipated. The same can be said for pool removal / demolition, provided you select the right contractor.
Over the years I have been asked the same questions and I’ve heard the same concerns on a weekly basis. To make this procedure as informative as possible, I have put together this page of frequently asked questions / concerns, and things to know. There is a lot of detailed information, so please take the time to read this page.
Does this work requires the contractor to be licensed?
Very important, first and foremost, both Maryland and Virginia state laws require that any person removing or demolishing a swimming pool in the commission of commerce to be a state licensed contractor. Outdoor Finishes is a licensed contractor individually in Maryland and in Virginia.
Furthermore, a contractor removing or demolishing a swimming pool in the state of Virginia must also have the special classification of “POL” on their Virginia contractor license. Outdoor Finishes corresponding state license number is provided on the proposal that you receive. DO NOT HIRE AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR, THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION.
You may verify Maryland contractor licensing status here: www.dllr.state.md.us/cgi-bin/ElectronicLicensing/OP_search/OP_search.cgi?calling_app=HIC::HIC_qselect
You may verify Virginia contractor licensing status here: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/
Opinions of others
Everyone who doesn’t own a pool thinks that owning a swimming pool is the greatest thing in life. They would never imagine that anyone would ever think about getting rid of their swimming pool! If / when you approach family members and friends for their thoughts about you getting rid of your pool, be forewarned – they’re going to try to talk you into keeping the pool.
If you’re an executor of an estate – there is always that ONE sibling, you know, usually the one that lives FURTHEST away and has NEVER even cleaned the pool – that will be adamant against demolishing the pool. Individuals that do not own pools have no conception of what it costs to operate, maintain, and repair a swimming pool, let alone the time involved for a family member to tend to a pool. I find that many people think the pool should stay because they think a pool adds value or a selling point to a property. The reality is a pool can actually deter prospective buyers or prospective renters from the property. I receive calls on a weekly basis from people who say “we’re looking at buying a house but we don’t want the pool, how much does it cost to demo it and fill it in? We plan to make an offer and we want to factor the pool demo into our offer”.
If there are other family members involved in the decision of the fate of the beloved family swimming pool – with all due respect, we ask that you please discuss the possibility of demolishing the pool with all involved family members prior to contacting us to help ensure everybody is on the same page. There is always that ONE family member that will say NO.
So, if you plan to consult with family and friends about getting rid of the pool – be prepared, they’re not going to understand why you would want to do such a thing. Believe me, I’ve heard all the stories.
We are concerned there will be a sinkhole in our backyard in a year or two.
Response: Outdoor Finishes takes steps to aid in eliminating the possibility of settlement. For starters, we place commercial grade geo-textile fabric (filter cloth) over the rubble. The fabric will prevent the fill soil from sifting through the voids in the rubble; it forms a bridge, separating the fill soil from the rubble. Think of a gumball machine: if you pour sugar over the gumballs – the sugar will eventually sift through the voids between the gumballs and will make its way to the bottom of the canister. But if you were to place a paper towel over the gumballs before pouring the sugar into the gumball machine – then the paper towel will separate and prevent the sugar from finding its way to the bottom of the canister. The same principle applies to placing a layer of geo-textile fabric over the rubble prior to backfilling your swimming pool cavity.
Furthermore, we compact the fill material with a vibratory trench roller as the material is placed in the cavity. We do not perform compaction by driving the skid loader back and forth over the fill material as this is not a proper method for achieving proper compaction. BEWARE: There are contractors that do try to compact fill soil by driving their skid loader back and forth over the soil, this is not properly compacting. Using the proper equipment for compaction, and using it properly – makes all the difference in the world!
Can we place concrete rubble in the ground?
Response: This question is often asked referring to the concrete apron / patio around the pool, as well as the pool’s side walls. Yes, this is typically allowed by most city, town, county, and state governments. Concrete is NOT toxic.
Do we need to be there while the pool is demolished?
Response: Nope, not as long as you leave us lunch, homemade cookies, and slices of fresh cantaloupe and watermelon by the back door.
All kidding aside the choice is up to you whether or not to be home. We do not need you to be there, some of our clients are owners of rental properties and reside in other states. If you do take off from work please bear in mind that past and current weather conditions may delay our start / work dates without notice.
When can you start?
Response: In most cases we typically start jobs 3-5 weeks after the signed contract and deposit have been received. ALL of our jobs are scheduled in the order they’re received. We will NOT schedule any jobs without first receiving the accepted contract and deposit, no exceptions. We are a small company, performing one job at a time. It does not take much for us to become busy and have a list of scheduled jobs in our inventory. Once I submit the proposal to you – the ball is in your court, the longer you wait to sign the contract – the further you’re delaying your start date.
What material do you use to backfill the pool cavity?
Response: We typically use fill soil. Fill soil is a natural product, and it typically comes from other construction sites. From time to time the soil may contain a little rock or brick, which is acceptable for filling and compacting a deep cavity. We then top dress all disturbed areas with top soil or soil suitable for establishing turf.
Where do you dump the fill material?
Response: When our prospective clients make first contact with us about demolishing their pool, a majority them presume that we will back trucks into the backyard. We will only dump fill material on paved surfaces (your driveway); we do NOT drive the dump trucks in the yard (unless perfect conditions exist). We will not dump fill material on your H.O.A.’s common area.
The dump trucks MUST be on solid, level, stable ground for dumping. When the dump beds on the trucks are raised, there is 19 to 30 tons of weight hoisted in the air. Soil does not spill out as freely as gravel does, and if the ground is not level and or solid – the truck is susceptible to rolling over (Pictures are worth a thousand words!).
Again – fill material is dumped on the driveway. Once in a while there are a few rare instances where we can use a truck mount conveyor system to get fill material to the pool.
We are also wanting to have other home improvements done to the house / property.
The pool demo involves bringing in machinery and equipment to the property. While we do not come to your property like a bunch of wild cowboys, there will still be a fair amount of dust. The lawn will be disturbed and the driveway will get very, very dirty.
We recommend that you hold off on any painting on the exterior of your dwelling, any driveway replacement and or sealing, on replacing the front walkway, on fence replacement, and on any new landscaping until the pool demo / removal is complete.
Can we preserve the concrete apron / patio around the pool?
Response: We need a span of 6 to 10-feet around the perimeter of the pool to work and to maneuver our machinery. So in most cases, the answer is NO, it’s nearly impossible, we typically cannot preserve the concrete around the pool.
Furthermore, if it is a vinyl lined pool we must remove the concrete apron in order to cut the steel sides and remove the steel from the cavity.
Do you put our fence back together?
Response: A majority of the pools we demo do have a fence surrounding the pool area so we are accustomed to opening a section of fencing and putting the section back together upon completion. Two things the property owner needs to be aware of:
- In many cases the fence exists because of the pool’s existence. Since your pool will no longer be there, for additional fees Outdoor Finishes can remove the entire fence while we’re working there.
- If you’re at the point where it’s time to demo the pool, chances are the wooden fence is deteriorating. If you wish to keep the property fenced this may be a good time to have the fence replaced after we’re done.
What kind of access do you need to get into the backyard?
Response: We typically need a swath 8 to 10-feet wide to access the backyard. If we are traversing close to a masonry block foundation wall, then we may need a little wider depending on the moisture content of the soil around the foundation.
Many properties do not have 8 to 10-feet of side yard access. In this case we hope that you’ve been VERY VERY VERY nice to your adjoining neighbors because we’re probably going to ask you to ask them to sign a release authorizing us to traverse over a very small portion of their property! Once in a while our clients will say “oh NO, we can’t ask our neighbors to go over their lawn!” Well, it’s really not usually that dramatic, grass grows back and the reality is most neighbors are elated to see that old nuisance pool disappear and are willing to do whatever it takes to cooperate. As a matter of fact when the neighbors of our customers see what we’re doing they often step out on their porches and decks and give us a big thumbs up.
If access is still a problem, we may then have to visit other possibilities such as a conveyor system and/or craning the equipment over the house.
Do you remove the pool equipment (heater, pump, etc)?
Response: Yes we do. However, the electric running to the pool equipment and the lights in the pool’s walls must be disconnected by an electrician prior to our arrival. If the pool has a gas heater, the gas supply to the heater must be disconnected prior to our arrival.
Is there a credit if we remove the pump, filter, and heater?
Response: This is a question that our customers ask a few times a year and the answer is NO. There is NO credit / cost savings if the pool equipment is removed by others. The reason is because removing the pool equipment is a very quick and easy task and is not factored into the time calculated to perform the project. It’s like taking your car to a business that specializes in oil changes. They’re probably going to vacuum the car’s carpet when they change the oil, but if you don’t want the carpet vacuumed – they’re not going to give you a credit. Removing the pool’s equipment is the most minor aspect of the project and we do not factor it into the cost, however the proposal does specify that we will remove the pool’s equipment.
Do we save money if we pump the water out of the pool ourselves?
Response: Yes, there is a savings if you pump the water out of the pool yourself. The savings is about $60.00 (sixty dollars). It’s not a lot of money because we’re performing other tasks while the water is pumping. On the other hand if we write in the contract “water will be pumped out by others prior to contractor starting the job” – then we’re not going to bring our water pumps when we come to start the work. If we arrive and find that the pool has water in it, we will then have to stop what we’re doing, run to the local equipment rental store to rent water pumps, then pump the water from the pool. Because of the interruption in our work, it’s going to cost you at least 6 times more than what you saved.
To maintain a healthy client / contractor relationship, please make sure we don’t arrive to a find a pool with water in it, even if there was a heavy rain shower the night before.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Response: We accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. We do not offer any financing.