How to Take Apart an Above Ground Pool

Above ground swimming pool

If you live in a consistently warm climate, there are plenty of benefits to having an above-ground pool throughout the year. Unfortunately, the fun usually comes to an end one way or another. In my case, the pool was becoming a bit of an eyesore. Thankfully, figuring out how to take down an above ground pool was fairly easy.

Still, I wanted to share the steps I had to take to disassemble the pool in hopes that it could help someone else. But before I tell you all about it, as well as the tools you’ll need to get your hands on beforehand, I wanted to explain the reasoning behind my decision.

Why Would You Want to Take Down an Above Ground Pool?

Like I said, having a proper pool in your backyard can be a fantastic experience. Above ground pools are generally easy to set up, relatively affordable, and low-maintenance — when you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, the pool in question can turn into a disgusting pit of germs within a few months.

After all, if you don’t take care to cover the water when it rains or protect the pool during the winter, the integrity of the construction will suffer. The metal walls will start rusting and the vinyl liner won’t look too good either. When you take that into account, you can see why I wanted to cut my losses and get the whole thing out of my yard.

Still, other people might have different reasons for wanting to learn how to take down an above ground pool. For example, they might want to:

●       Utilize the yard space the pool is occupying during the off-seasons

●       Protect the individual pool components over the winter months

●       Increase the value of their property

●       Get a new pool altogether

Notably, above ground pools aren’t supposed to last a lifetime. At best, you’ll be able to get about 20 years out of one, and that’s if you take excellent care of it. Most above ground pools last for about a decade before it’s time to replace them. But trust me, they’ll start looking squalid much before that.

Between the way our filthy pool looked and the fact that it’s only a temporary fixture, I wasn’t surprised to find that having it in my yard decreased the value of the property. So if you’re looking to sell your house, you’ll have to get rid of the eyesore first. With that in mind, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need to disassemble the pool.

What Kind of Tools Do You Need to Take Down a Pool?

When I was first researching how to take down an above ground pool, I became somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of information I was presented with. People were telling me I’d need all sorts of tools to take apart the monstrosity in my yard. But in the end, everything I needed was right there in my garage!

Still, I couldn’t help but regret the decision to put up a traditional above ground pool instead of an inflatable one at this point. You can take those apart by simply twisting parts off, if not outright pulling them off. So let’s see how we can make this project a bit easier too.

First and foremost, you’ll need equipment for draining the pool. You can rent a pool drain pump along with the hose that goes with it. However, if you have a few garden hoses lying around already, you can just use those.

I even once used the wide hoses that come with the filtration system by just sticking one end in the water and creating a vacuum on the other end. Whichever method you end up going for, just know that you’ll need a hose that’s long enough to reach a drain or just go downhill.

For the rest of the process, you may need:

●       Metal cutters (if you want to break the wall into pieces)

●       A cordless drill and screwdriver with different bits

●       Rope or bungee cord for tying up metal wall sections

●       Bags and boxes for storing parts of the pool

Working with these tools will certainly make the job of taking down your pool easier — but it’s not the only way to do it. There’s no need to get cordless tools if you have corded ones — or even just a regular old screwdriver.

How to Take Down an Above Ground Pool — a Step-by-Step Guide

Before I tell you how to take down an above ground pool, I wanted to offer one last tip. Namely, I suggest that you go through the process I’m about to explain in your head before trying it in real life. Examining the way your pool is set up while reading my experience will help you figure out the way the process will differ for your pool.

1. Drain the Pool

As I have previously mentioned, the quickest way to drain a pool would probably be to rent a pump. But as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. For example, most pools have built-in drainage holes near the bottom of a wall. Alternatively, you can use a sump pump or even just go for the suction method.

To execute the suction method, find a hose (or several) that can make it from the pool to the nearest drain. Alternatively, find another place to deposit the thousands of gallons of water you’ll have to take out of the pool. When you find the right setup, plug the end of the hose with your finger and insert it into the water. When you unplug that end of the hose, the water should start moving out.

However, if you need to encourage the water to move faster, you can also apply suction to the other end of the hose. Make sure the end is clean and suck the air out of the hose. Just be careful not to inhale any of the pool water. If it’s anything like what was in my pool by the time I decided to drain it, it could be storing all sorts of life forms.

2. Remove All Accessories

While the pool is draining, you can start removing anything that’s not directly connected to the frame. So take any flotation devices and toys out, and remove and dismantle the ladder if you want to. Additionally, you might be able to disable and twist out the return inlet fitting and other pool accessories, like lights and alarms. As the water disperses, you’ll want to start dismantling the filtration system as well.

3. Dismantle the Filtration System

When the water is below the point of the filtration outlets and inlets, you can take out the filtration pump. The drain plug that’s attached to the pump and filter canister may have some water in it, so don’t be surprised if something comes out. After you drain that hose, you can empty the pump basket of debris and the filter it uses (whether it’s a cartridge filter, sand, or something else). Lastly, clean the filtration system to prepare it for storage.

Depending on your pool setup, you may have decided to upgrade the filtration system with a skimmer. But that shouldn’t make the process more difficult. If you’re the one who set it up, you’ll know how to take it apart too. Check the instructions or look up a video for the exact type of device you’re using.

Just make sure everything is clean and dry before you box it up. Additionally, you may also want to put all the pieces back together so you’ll know how they connect the next time you want to use them.

4. Start Taking the Frame Apart

If you were trying to figure out how to take down an above ground pool, this next step is probably the main source of confusion. But once you see how all the parts are assembled, you’ll see that it’s easier than you previously thought.

First, you’ll want to pop off the caps covering the posts that hold the walls of the pool up. Once you do that, you should be able to see the screws that attach the panels that run around the top edge of the pool. Unscrew those and make sure they’re clean before putting all identical pieces in a box or bag. If you want to be able to reuse the pieces, you can also put all the screws you took out into the same bag.

If the vinyl pool liner isn’t in bad shape, you could reuse it later on. In that case, don’t cut it off, but carefully remove the coping strips that hold it up. When the liner is loose, fold it toward the center of the pool. Just don’t leave dry vinyl in direct sunlight for too long — keep it moist if you want to reuse it.

5. Detach the Wall and Roll It Up

When you fold the vinyl liner in on itself, you’re going to see the metal sides of the pool. If they’re not too rusty, you can disconnect the bolts or screws that hold it together and roll it up for storage. However, if the walls aren’t salvageable, you can just cut them into square sections with heavy-duty metal cutters.

Of course, before you can do anything with the metal, you’ll have to detach it from the side anchors. Just go around the pool, taking off the top, upright, and bottom plates, until the exterior side of the walls is exposed too. Then find the seam where the cylindrical shape comes together and detach it before doing whatever you want to the metal.

6. Store the Pool Equipment Properly

Once the side anchors and metal walls are gone, you’ll have to deal with the liner. If you want to keep it for next year, you should wash and thoroughly dry it before packing it up. And that goes for all the other parts of the pool you’ve removed.

If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t consider storage when you set out to learn how to take down an above ground pool. But let me tell you — you should have cleaning supplies, boxes, and bags ready when you start draining the pool. That way, you can clean and pack up each piece as you remove it.

Trust me, you don’t want this stuff to smell rancid when you unpack it in a year or two. Additionally, you might want to keep an inventory of all the items you have stored away. That will help you find everything you need next year and replenish supplies before the next season.

Lastly, you should ideally store your equipment somewhere warm. If you keep them in the shed, certain materials may crack during the winter.

Alternative to the Traditional Backyard Pool

Having just removed my nasty old pool, you’d think I’d be happy to spend the next few years without one. But I find that I’m already missing having a pool. In anticipation of next summer, I have decided to look into alternatives to traditional above ground pools.

Seeing as most store-bought options seem to be easier to set up, I’m probably going to go for one of those. I’m still contemplating whether I want one with a PVC frame or one with an inflatable ring around the top. I suppose that’s something I’ll have to mule over during the winter!

Frequently Asked Questions About Pool Disassembly

How long does it take to take down an above-ground pool?

When I was researching how to take down an above ground pool, I was convinced that I could do it all in a day. Obviously, I know better now. After all, depending on the size of your pool and the method you use, even draining the water can take anywhere between a few hours and a full day. Either way, the process requires patience.

Is it hard to take down an above-ground pool?

Ultimately, disassembling an above ground pool can be a breeze if you have a good approach. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll have it all done over a weekend.

How much does it cost to take down an above-ground pool?

If you don’t want to bother learning how to take down an above-ground pool, outsource the job. A basic above-ground pool removal can cost between $300–800. However, if the pool is surrounded by a deck, the number can move up into the thousands.
On the other hand, you may be able to get someone to take the pool apart for free on Craigslist. But in that case, you’d have to be willing to let them have it.

Above ground swimming pool
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