Do I need to compact the dirt to fill in a pool?

kettlecornDecember 22, 2012

We got the pool deck and lining demoed and we're in the middle of hauling everything away. The pool is full with some dirt, twigs and a bunch of concrete from the deck. I'm wondering if it's mandatory to compact the dirt. I know people that will bring dirt literally to my doorstep for a delivery charge and I'm guessing I would need at least 30-40 cu yards. If I put in some time and sweat I can move the dirt from my drive way to the backyard and dump it all into the pool area.
Question is, do I need to hire someone professional to get a bobcat or power compactor to compact the dirt? It is the backyard. I don't have any plans to build on it and the quote we got was around $4000 to bring the dirt and do all the compaction, etc. which is a bit steep. We can save little bit every month to do this in a few years but if I move the dirt myself and the dirt will settle on it's own in a few years, that's $4000 saved for me on a tight financial situation.

For someone on a tight budget who can't afford to hire someone to work a bobcat for 14 hours minimum at their hourly service rate, what are my options? Square foot is probably 1500 sq ft. give or take.

ANY help appreciated, I'm young and don't have much experience with construction, demo, etc. as I was never taught this stuff but I love it and am learning quite fast.

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Before you fill it in, tell us what type of pool it "was" and did you get the required permits, if needed? Most municipalities require inspections. This is for your benefit. You can't just fill in a pool and tell the township that that's what you did to get it off your property taxes. They'll make you dig it back up to make sure you did the fill in to code.

Fill dirt must be compacted! I urge doing it in 6" lifts using a plate compactor. To not do this will result in voids eventually settling and causing the surface to become uneven or worse, form sink holes six months later. The soil must also be a suitable material and free of debris such as stumps and logs that will decompose.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 4:50AM
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You might be able to get free fill dirt. I had friends get free dirt to add to their backyard from a new subdivision because their house was much closer than wherever they were hauling the dirt to, so actually saved the developer money on about 40 loads (this was out in a semi-rural area).
I've also had a couple of friends lure away a few loads from nearby new pool dig-outs.
But as Scott mentioned, you need to make sure the dirt is good for fill before you commit.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:29AM
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When you get your pools all ready for enjoyment, you'll need pool chemicals to maintain it. If you need help on this matter, we, at Pools Plus Inc. could help you. You can visit our site at and we'll be happy to hear your thoughts and assist you in your needs for maintaining your pool water at its best.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pools Plus Inc. : Baqua Spa Chemicals

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 3:13AM
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Hey Wheeler, Do freeload your advertising. Pay Garden Web. Otherwise you are violating their terms of service.

The responses people get here are not unlike what you might see in Consumer Reports. We, being those that help others, do so freely and without prejudice. We don't toot our own horn.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Err, I meant DON'T Freeload.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 8:00AM
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You don't need to hire somebody to compact your dirt. And there's probably nothing in your code about compacting fill dirt.

Dirt will compact naturally. It's called gravity. It's how dirt gets compacted naturally in the wild. It's how people survived for thousands of years without expensive earth tamping equipment. It can be a slow process, but it's free. A foot depth of dirt will compact to within an inch of its final resting level within a week or so. A swimming pool full of dirt will compact to within a couple inches of its resting level within a month or two. A year later, you may notice the level has dropped an inch or two. But that's it.

If you're walking on it or dragging a wheelbarrow over it, you're going to speed up the process, and you'll feel how compact it is. If you spread it evenly and fill it slowly, there's no chance of it "collapsing" underfoot like these contractors want to scare you into believing.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:09PM
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